Thursday, January 31, 2008

And more...

Reaching critical mass here. I'm beginning to feel like the people who live in the Tahoe area who have trap doors in their roofs so they can escape when the snow piles over doors and windows. Where the snow slides off the roof, it is stacked above the window sills (this is my studio window), and my satellite dish is in danger of being swallowed up. After more slid off in back, I noticed the pile is only a few feet from the eaves. I'm thinking a lot about my grandparents who homesteaded on the Dakota prairies. I grew up on stories of 10 foot drifts and getting out the horse and sleigh to get into town or to the next farm.

I got my mail yesterday, but today they didn't deliver. Another 5 inches of snow fell overnight, and it has warmed up above freezing - a mixed blessing. The accumulation on the shoulder next to the mailboxes is part from the sky and part from the snowplows. What they spray from the highway has de-icer in it and so the shoulder is a slushy sloppy mess.

I spent about 3-1/2 hours yesterday removing the berm next to the car and shoveling all around it and at least a car's length behind and in front of it so I could get out today. Oh, yes, and I also used the shovel to remove the over 20 inches of snow stacked on it. I normally use a broom to do this, but the bottom 6 inches had a crust over it, followed by the next two snowstorms worth of snow. I could move the snow under the crust, but the crust just sat there. So shovel the car off I did. The warmer temps today made the new 5 inches easier to remove, and the ice on the windshield had melted away.

Yes, the mixed blessings of the warmer weather. The snow slides off the roof and hangs maybe a foot beyond the edge before it finally breaks loose. Here it is encroaching on the porch itself...

And filling the opening off the front of the porch.

And yes, more is expected tonight.

And you have more questions. Annabelle commented that the UK where she lives would grind to a halt if it were hit by this kind of snow. Ah, but this is Northern Idaho, where we are supposed to expect this sort of thing. There are a ton of Subaru Outbacks like mine - all-wheel drive - and 4-wheel drive trucks and SUV's. We are prepared as long as the plows push most of it to one side. Still, we are on the verge of breaking a record here. We have gotten over 80 inches of snow already this winter, which is well over the average. In anticipation of the additional snow scheduled to dump on us in the next week, the county has declared itself a disaster area. See these two local articles for more details: here and here. So while we have not ground to a standstill, we are finding it challenging to negotiate all this. I was just a little irritated at the weatherman who seemed to think the warmer weather was a good thing because it would melt some of this (can you say sloppy mess with standing water to hydroplane through?), and flippantly noted that in a few weeks all the snow would be gone and we'd be left with our stories of the winter of 2007-2008. Gone in a few weeks? I rather doubt it. I'm sure my piles of snow will still be lingering come April.

Annabelle wanted to know what my dog thinks of it. Well, she's a dog - she loves it! She refuses to wait until I've shoveled a path; she dives right in and plows through it, bad shoulder and all. She loves to stick her head in it and woofle around. She's been pretty patient about hanging around while I shovel, but it tires both of us (even though she's doing NO work!) Her limp is worse and she sighs and moans a lot, but then, so do I.

It was pretty interesting to get out today and see what the rest of the area looks like. I'd heard that people were complaining about how rough the roads were. Well, duh - we've had a lot of snow and you can't always plow right down to the pavement. Warmer weather, and yes, that layer of snow pack is going to break up. Semi's have been told to chain up period in Northern Idaho so that chews up the roads too. Sidestreets are slushy. Standing water in the roadway abounds where drains are clogged. I was pretty impressed with Wal-mart's parking lot, though - they'd done a fine job of plowing.

So I've had my day out, ran the errands, and am ready to hunker down for the next two or three storms coming through. I am getting nothing done in the studio - all my time and energy seem to be consumed by keeping up with the snow - common lament in these parts. I am becoming one with my shovel...


Feather on a Wire said...

I love reading about your snow. My only experience (apart from a couple of trips to Switzerland) is the winter of 62 here in England when it fell on 26th December and didn't melt until Easter which was late that year. I was a kid and loved every minute of it.
Then I went to Chicago at the end of your bicentenary. Now that wasn't just snow, it was COLD, very very COLD. Cities that deep in snow are not pretty.
I think one of the consequences of global warming is we shall all experience more extreme weather.
Here over the last 24 hours has been very very high winds.Perhaps we shall have to give up fencing our gardens....

Wil Opio Oguta said...

the snow looks beautiful, but I am glad we don't have it here. By the way I tagged you.