What it boils down to is if you live in the snow, you probably hate it. Hate is a strong word but who’s mincing words? Snow is aesthetically pleasing, it’s silent and it’s beneficial to the land, but snow will also stab you in the back and sprint away, chortling with glee.
Mind you, I’m not talking about the one or two inches that falls occasionally in town, transforming it into a fairyland. It hangs around long enough for folks to snap a few hundred photos each, most of which end up being posted on social media. I’m no different. As someone noted, “For someone who hates the snow as much as you do, you post a lot of pics…”
I do take many photos because snow is pretty, especially while it is still falling. There are so many variations on a theme that I could shut my eyes, indiscriminately aim the camera, and just keep snapping the shutter randomly, as I slowly rotate 360 degrees.
That being said, I would also gladly give up this pastime, if I could barter for safer walking conditions. When you get eighteen inches dumped on you over a 48-hour period, and the temperature drops after the front moves on, you’re going to have plenty of time to develop a relationship with your new-found friend.
Sunday through Wednesday we had bright sunny skies for the most part, but the temperature rarely raised its head out of the thirties during the day, and dropped back down to the twenties at night. The sun would do its part to start the melting process, but all that accomplishes is to turn the light, fluffy snow into a foot-thick blanket of ice.
|All frozen solidly|
It’s deadly to walk anywhere that the snow has been disturbed, either by vehicles, people or critters. Walking on unbroken snow is doable safely, because my feet break through the surface crust and go a few inches into the snow, but then my feet want to stay buried in the snow and tug at my legs as I make forward progress.
The net result is that I travel at a worm’s pace and it’s hard work. So, do I walk on packed down snow that is insanely slippery-but easy to make progress on, or walk on unbroken snow that is safe but extremely tiring? Whereas it’s always nice to have a choice, the choice here is one of necessity. I take the safer alternative because I do not want to have to ask myself, “What were you thinkin’, Lincoln?”
When I refilled the depleted wood boxes the day after the snow departed, I simply shoveled a path to make the thirty-foot wheelbarrow run manageable. That took time as does anything to do with snow, but it was still better than bringing in firewood by the armload.
It seems as though I burnt as much wood this past month, than I did for the entire rest of this winter, so I hope that pace is going to mellow out. On the other hand, water is the most precious commodity to the farmer, and you will never hear me sniveling about vast amounts hammering us.
|Water for the chickens...|
Making sure that water is available to critters outside is key when the temperature drops into the twenties. Sure there is running water in the creek just below our house, but with the snow as deep as it has been, that presents its own set of problems.
Having gotten into the habit of keeping a large saucepan of water on one stove and the tea kettle on the other one, I always have boiling water to help out with outside water containers for critters whose water is frozen. It’s hard to conceive of, but in plain language, without access to water, critters in the wild are in a world of hurt.
It’s been two weeks since my car has moved. There actually was one day in the middle there, when we got two nights and one day of pounding rain, around six inches altogether, and I could have escaped. Fortunately, in a rare instance of clear thinking, I opted not to venture out in 40-mile-an-hour winds, while two inches of rain pounded the highway.
It sounded like fun but not that much.
|Luckily, I found boots...|
Finally, because she has to be close to healthcare services in Willits, Gluten-Free Mama fled the mountain before the snow began, two weeks ago. She came back yesterday evening though, with the upcoming storm forecast to be rain only, and all is well with the cosmos.
It should not require a genius-level intellect to read between the lines, to discover the real reason I hate snow.
|That microscopic speck of light, middle left, is my house.|