Wondering about wild grapes

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wondering about ice jams on the Allegheny River.

Back many, many years ago, when I lived in Pennsylvania, some winters were so cold that the rivers froze over with two to three feet of ice.  In the Spring when the temperatures had warmed up, this thick ice started to break up.  It did so not just because of the warming weather but also because of all the extra runoff it was getting from the melting snows upstream.  Sometimes it would break up and go out a little at a time, the down-river end first and then work up river.  That was the neat and easy way.  Sometimes it all seemed to crack up in huge chunks and all the chunks wanted to get down stream at the same time.  Anywhere the river made a turn the ice would start to build up on the outside of the curve and if enough piled up, it would cause an ice jam.  This would work as an efficient dam and back up the water and the ice.  Presto!!  You got an ice jam.  As most of you know, water is not compressible (under normal circumstances) and the hydraulic force of the water shoving the ice would pick up bridges and move or crush any houses or structures too close to the river bank.

I am not sure, but I may have posted these pictures before.  Anyway, I am going to post them again since I just made a card and wrote a dumb poem for my Aunt.  Here are the pictures:

And just in case you really want to get bored, here is the poem:

Ice Jam on Allegheny

Here is plenty of ice to cool you down.
Now don’t you think that it is?
If and when it all melts someone could drown.
If it melts fast in a whiz.

So just chip off small chunks to keep you cool.
And close your eyes and just dream
Of ice and snow in the season of Yule
Better than leaving off steam.

Cover up with blankets and close your eyes
And take a comfy, warm nap.
Dream of the ice and see how the heat flies.
Like on a mountain ice cap.

I am sure that I have bored you or made you laugh at my silly attempt to write a poem, but remember, I have to write a different poem five times a week on what ever subject is depicted on the cards that either my wife or I make.  So, you all have a great day now, you hear?


  1. Well, i think you are very talented. I could never do that.

  2. You're a good nephew. I'm sure she looks forward to getting these cards from you and your wife. It's a great thing to do.

  3. Trouble, thanks, it is hard to write five poems a week, that is why they are not real good.

    Sharon, Thanks, and she sure does. Her eyes are not good enough to read them so she waits until someone can read them to her then she looks at the pictures. My wife not only paints cards, she paints the outside of the envelopes. Maybe they will also brighten up the postal workers' days.

  4. Don't know about PA these days, but our rivers in NH ice up like that. Some springs are darn interesting.

  5. Sixbears, I bet they are. Both my grandparents lived in river side small towns and the river was a big part of our world, ice and all.

  6. My five years in Washington were enlightening on many things that did not happen in Texas. The river ice breaking up and coming down river was one of them. It really surprised me how loud the ice creaking and groaning on the Yakima River would get to be. Those chunks of ice seemed like a few days old kittens the way they climbed all over the banks and islands.

  7. Barney, what is scary is when you are standing out on the ice and you hear what sounds like thunder and you realize the ice is cracking. That is usually not a bad situation because it doesn't always mean it is breaking up, just expanding and flexing its muscles.

  8. In 1976 or 77 the Ohio river froze over. We took the kids down to see it and I started to walk towards the center with them, following a nun. When she turned around and went back, I did the same. The river is so wide that when it freezes the ice pushes up into big chunks, making it difficult to walk on. The sounds give me the creeps though, but I'm glad we did that and still have a couple of pictures of it.

  9. Trouble, I used to sled ride down the big hill and out onto the river. To ice skate on it, the snow had to be swept off it but sometimes the wind would do that.

    Gypsy, If it is not smooth it is dangerous to walk on. Once you slop through the ice, it is hard to to get back out. Of course following a nun may have made it safe, for sure.