Work and weather conspired, this past week, to preclude getting out with the camera. We have had rain (to near flood) and snow and everything-in-between. We experienced a low temperature of 4°F last Sunday night and a daytime high of 61° just three days later. We had snow on the ground last weekend, none at midweek, and a white blanket is forming once more as I write. We struggled to keep the temperature in the house above 60° overnight, last weekend, and then fought to keep it below 80° during the day, at midweek. These fluctuations have been difficult. None of the animals mind the heat and none mind the cold, as long as they are dry. What they cannot abide however, and what can in fact be quite dangerous for small ones especially, is cold and wet. A wet fleece or coat, especially in high winds (which have accompanied each of the week’s fronts), cannot insulate like a dry fleece or coat and a wet animal may become quickly hypothermic. All of our animals have access to shelter and it is during these very cold and rainy days that they are most likely to seek cover. Those that prognosticate the weather suggested that we might have clear skies in the morning before snow showers would return. This promise called us north in search of the trail head of the Rail Trail we frequent when the weather is fine. When we arrived we walked along the creek to stretch our legs. The recent rains had saturated the surrounding soils. Not only were all of the contributing feeder streams full and running quickly but water, along the bank, was seeping, dripping, running, and shooting from out of every available void. As a consequence there were lots and lots of icicles. The anticipated collection of sheets, stalactites, stalagmites, and columns were there in abundance. What caught my eye however was a formation that I do not think I had seen before. The usual top-down stalactites had formed at points, above running water, where water dripped from over-hanging vegetation. Where these met the water below, the end of the formation flared and then flattened like the bell of a trumpet or trombone. I can only imagine that repeated, brief, contact with the water results in the accretion of these flared constructions. I thought they were beautiful in the morning light, and very, very cool … literally.