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Sastrugi Finally Forms at the End of the Road


Sastrugi February 1, 2015

It hasn’t been a great winter for the formation of sastrugi. The snow has been heavy and wet, not much given to drifting. But this last snow storm brought frigid temperatures and high gusting winds. The result is the first sastrugi of the year forming at the western lip of the Sunken Garden. The word sastrugi is from a Russian word which means snow wave  or caves. We have all noticed them.


Same sastrugi February 2, 2015

More now. The sastrugi  shifts and  the Sunken Garden is filling up with drifts.


Sastrugi February 3, 2015

I couldn’t resist adding this photo showing the final sastrugi sculpture now that the snow and wind have stopped.


Gentle sastrugi waves February 17, 2014

Some times  the sastrugi waves are very gentle


Sastrugi cave along the road January 24, 2009

A windy winter brings many sculptural shows like this sastrugi along the road. The wind is a powerful and artistic worker.


Sastrugi collapse February 3, 2010

Sometimes the sastrugi is so extreme that it collapses under its own weight.  You may also notice the depth of the drift in the Sunken Garden. That stone wall is over 6 feet high.  The Heath winds come blowing from the northwest  across the open field and dump tons of snow into the Sunken Garden. I often have to  shovel the last icy bits of the drift out onto the lawn to help get all the snow out of the garden.

Sastrugi – Waves and Caves

Sastrugi waves

Sastrugi caves

Sastrugi are caused by the wind’s blowing  and drifting the snow.

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Sastrugi – Two Views

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Sastrugi At Last

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Mistaken Rose

photo courtesy of Heirloom Roses

I’ve ordered Therese Bugnet again.  She is a rugosa that Heirloom Roses lists with their Damask roses because of it double form. It is not only very hardy, it is very fragrant.  Unfortunately, the first time I ordered it, the rose that was delivered looked nothing like this.  I confess I didn’t notice at first. I forgot what the catalog photo looked like, but I have learned over the years that mis-labelling does happen, even in neighborhood garden centers.

I’ve had other mis-labelled roses arrive at the End of the Road. Early on I got a beautiful rose but it was not the Fantin Latour I had ordered – and that time I did notice.  However, I loved the rose, a buttery yellow, apricot and pink. The real frustration came when the rose died and I had no idea how to replace it with the same rose. Fortunately, I later saw an Abraham Darby rose that was very similar. I bought it. Twice.  Alas twice it has proved too tender for my climate.

I’ve sent in all my rose orders. Now I wait because it is still winter. This past weekend my daughter Diane arrived with her son Ryan for  the day. The Major (my husband) rooted through the attic and came down with ice skates. I got the heavy socks, and Diane got the shovel. It was off to the Frog Pond.

The Frog Pond In Winter

The Frog Pond was improved by the previous owners of our property and it has been designated as a Fire Pond. In fact, in 1990 when lightning struck our old barn and burned it to the ground, the Frog Pond is probably the reason our house is still standing. It is a great pond for swimming in the summer, and catching newts. So far the carnivorous  sundews that grow at the edge of  the pond haven’t bitten anyone.


Ryan is 12 and has never been on ice skates. The skates didn’t quite fit, but he has pretty good form his first time out. He can yawn like Apollo Ohno, Olympic champion, too.

I know my family is getting tired of it, but the sastrugi formations are really extraordinary this year. I’ll try to be restrained, but I cannot absolutely promise that this is the final sastrugi photo.

Sastrugi 2-21

Sastrugi Collapse

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Sastrugi Revisited

I have written about SASTRUGI before. This word from the Russian refers to the snow waves that many of us notice after a snowfall, but sastrugi can take many other forms than the gentle ripples in the snow caused by the wind.

We have had a least a few snow showers every day for the past week, and enough wind to blow the light dry snow across our field and into the Sunken Garden, created when the old barn was hit by lightning in 1990 and burned, leaving three stone foundation walls. The wind blows and creates a sculptural sastrugi bending over the top edge of the garden, but also creates a deep drift below that can last into May when I finally take a shovel to spread it out.

There is a large section of our drive (it is really town road that continues and ends in front of our house) where varied sastrugi form.

This sastrugi has a smooth swooping surface creating a shallow cave that is indicated by the shadow of the overhang,
but you can see sculptural shapes are formed below.
All Mother Nature needs are snow and wind, and voila, an everchanging sculpture exhibit.