Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Minnesota Lakes and Magic Ice

Yesterday after errands we went down to the public access on Fishhook Lake.

Canada Geese were flying in from the east..going west to find open water.  The lake is pretty much frozen.

Fish Hook Lake Canada Geese  November 25

Don’t let that small patch of blue sky fool you…that was it for the ENTIRE day.  The white stuff you see is snow.  The rest of the lake is frozen.

There has been talk about who is out fishing on the ice…in my opinion only idiots or people with a death wish.

When we headed home it was noticed that there are two portable fish houses on the millpond.   I did not get a photo but I can guess who they belonged to.

A few more days and we might have magic ice… we will see.  It is way cool.  I wrote about it one year.

November 23, 2008 in fact.  Just incase you missed it here it is.

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Magic Ice


If the weather holds cold with no snow the lakes will soon be perfect. Maybe the magic ice will arrive. Ice that only comes every ten years or so here in Minnesota, perfect ice for skaters on the lake.


The teenage girls, would check the ice everyday after school. "Mom do you think it is safe yet?" NO, not yet, be patient girls." Then one day I say they can skate but only along the shore, and only in front of our place, and only when I am there, watching... ready to haul them out should the ice crack and they were to take an icy dip. Magic Ice, sometimes this ice would then be defiled by icy rains and heavy snows, disappointment..patience was not rewarded its full due.


Once in a great while, for a few days it is the true magic ice. The magic ice you wait years for. After school the teenage girls run down the drive arriving breathless with excitement. "It didn't snow! Lets go MOM!" I have checked the ice, it is safe, they can skate out further in the lake today, maybe today will be the day that they can skate across the entire lake. The lure of being able to skate across this magic ice has a pull on them like Norwegians to a Lutefisk dinner.


The ice is clear, stretching out across the lake, clear and spooky. You can lay on your belly and shield out the light with your mittened hands and stare into the murky depths. You can see the weed beds, the submerged logs, ancient trees, and the black drop offs. The dogs would lick my face and rouse me from my under ice explorations ..as if to say "Pay attention to the girls." The ice would be like a huge frozen mirror, with a series of cracks and fissures that must be there every year, but only visible in magic ice years.
The girls would skate, sometimes chasing each other in a game of tag, sometimes hand in hand. Giggling, cheeks bright red, eyes sparkling. "Mom the ice is great! Can we skip school tomorrow? Ice as great as this shouldn't be wasted." "NO, you have to go to school, what kind of Mother lets their kids skip school to go ice skating anyway."


Only a few years was the ice perfect..to make it safely across the lake, I would watch them on the opposite shore, specks skating along. Specks growing larger as they skated toward me and the safety of home..on Magic Ice:)

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23 comments:

  1. This is a beautiful shot. Boy, does it look cold. The sound of freezing rain woke me in the middle of the night...glad we don't have to travel this holiday week.

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  2. I agree, beautiful picture with the Geese flying, well done!!!! Very cold here, Jack frost is nipping, Francine.

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  3. Saw a few 'idiots' walking out on a few lakes here too. Jeeze its still deer hunting!!! Love your story of magic ice. Never heard it called that before. No magic ice here, ours has a coating of light snow on top!!

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  4. Oh. I would LOVE to see magic ice sometime. I'd be right out there skating across the lake and stopping to peer down.

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  5. That is a beautiful picture of the lake. No magic ice here as we had 3-4 inches of snow yesterday. That would really be cool to be able to look thru the ice and see the lake below.

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  6. I take it that it's magic because it's clear? Your description makes it sound like that. It sure looks cold! You must be busy starting the preparations for Thanksgiving by now. I know I am, and there's only two of us. :-)

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  7. A wonderful, descriptive post! It took me back to my childhood, growing up on a Minnesota lake. Indeed, magic ice was rare, and yet, it is a vivid memory. I also remember the sound of the lake 'making ice' at night.

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  8. How fun that would be to skate on the magic ice! I don't think we ever get that here. The lakes here haven't frozen over enough to go out on them.
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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  9. I loved reading that. Most all of our ice is what you would call magic, because rarely do our ponds freeze when there is snow. But pretty much when we have skateable ice it involves times like what you described. And yep, I'm one of those moms who would allow her girls to stay home to skate, oh wait, they were homeschooled. Thanks for reposting, it was a delightful read.

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  10. I remember being on the farm as a kid and my dad would make a big ice rink in the yard for us to skate on or we would got to a neighbors who had a huge pond and all the farm kids would skate on . Our lakes and pond freeze here every winter but lately the ice has been thin due to our winters have been more mild ! Great post and love the photo ! It is a snow mix here today mild and damp ! Thanks for sharing . Have a good day !

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  11. Ah, Magic Ice. Conjures up fairies and other fantasies!

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  12. I don't like to be out on the ice - it scares me to hear it creak and moan.

    Our description of Magic Ice is wonderful - it makes me wish I could skate like the wind.

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  13. I have skated on magic ice. It's smooth and soft. Sometimes we had miles of it in the wet years. You're right. It doesn't come very often.

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  14. What a neat idea "magic ice." A new one for this landlubber. I do think that those idiots and people with a death wish also fish here on the Mississippi. It can not only be too early but heavy currents under the ice created that illusion of thickness all winter long no matter the temperature. Then cars and pickups disappear into the river....

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  15. I love the story of the "magic ice" and the girls. We have 43 degrees and pouring rain right now and I have complained about being cold today!! I can't even imagine a frozen lake!

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  16. I remember the rare times in southern Iowa when our farm ponds would be smooth and clear. We usually had to shovel our pond near the house to get to skate. It usually had rough areas but very few years it would be perfectly smooth and clear in many areas. The cold has hit us this afternoon Tuesday and the south winds blow right through your clothes. We were out but got in by early afternoon.

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  17. You make it sound so ... magical! You were a good mom to get out there in the cold with your girls.

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  18. a memory digger. I remember our pond freezing when I was a kid. (small) but we would skate on it. we had to watch for the splotches of grass growing thru that would send us flailing. But the best part was laying down and looking at whatever was beneath. Lots of strange life went on down there.

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  19. Great post ~ I remember ice skating after pushing away the snow with neighbor, Kelli) but I don't remember skating on just ice "magic ice" -- very cool in kind of a creepy way! I am sure my southern brother-in-law would "not" like it :)

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  20. Oh, I love your description of magic ice! Hope you get some this year...

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  21. What wonderful memories of a magic time. There are hardships in living in such a cold place, but there are rewards too, like magic ice!

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  22. I know what you mean by magic ice, but I hadn't heard it called that before. My grandpa would try to maintain an ice skating spot for us, but it was always so bumpy and running into the cracks wasn't fun at all. Eventually we would give up and join our friends at a flooded school rink. Fun times!

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  23. We never called it magic ice, but I know what you mean. It so seldom has frozen over enough before the snow flies. I grew up next to a small MN lake. Never learned to skate. I had ice skates, but I was never good two-inches off the ground--not for roller skates, either. Spent most of my time on my butt of knees. But I loved the ice on the lake when you could see the weeds and slide endlessly around on ice that was like glass! Thanks for the memories. It really was magic ice. ;)

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie