No snow day. Snow day. Snow.

We knew weather was on the way. We changed some plans, moved some things around. We did things differently to account for possible interruption to our normal schedules. We were going to get snow, and freezing rain, and sleet, and wind. It would come at the optimum time for a snow day. Maybe, if the weather gods graced us with good fortune, we would have two snow days. In a row. We went to bed Wednesday night ready for an early morning call.

The call came at the usual time, but the online list had not included our regional schools. Maybe they hadn’t updated the list? The recorded call was to let us know that school would be held, but the hills would be closed. When the roads get slick, they close the hills to school buses. So anyone who lives on the several steep roads in town has to find another way to school. The call also said that inexperienced drivers should get a ride with someone more experienced, or take the bus. I was confused. School will be held, despite road conditions bad enough that school buses will not go up and down the hills, so take the bus if you can, unless you live where the roads are the worst, then we want you to drive.

Anyway, we all got to school and to work and we drove and rode the bus and it all worked out. There was only a little complaining around here. It snowed on and off all day. Several inches accumulated, along with sleet and freezing rain. And that night we got the call that school would be closed the next day. So we got our snow day after all.

It was a good call. One can often argue that we should have had a snow day, or that we should not have had a snow day, but this was not one of those days. We definitely were glad to be staying off the roads. I mean, we walked on some of those roads and the snow was deep. Plus, there was ice from the freezing rain and sleet beneath that deep snow. It was slick and sloppy.

And it snowed all day. It fell and fell and piled up. After dark, ready to head to bed, I reached my hand out the window to see if snow was still falling. After two days of precipitation it had finally stopped. The storm was awesome, in both the historic and contemporary meanings of that word. By Saturday, we were up to our knees in snow. The high school parking lot had literal mountains of snow once they cleared it and piled it up. Snow banks were tall, making it hard to see in places. It was a big old dump of snow.

And then the sun came out to make it all look pretty. Winter wonderland and all that. Saturday has turned out to be what they call a bluebird day. Blue skies and bright white snow. Bust out the sunglasses. We need to enjoy it. These days, it just doesn’t last. I am sure it will rain at some point and cause flooding, as is the pattern. But that is in the future. Today, let’s go make some snow angels.

No Snow Day Today

Everyone was excited for the storm. Several inches of snow might fall. Up to a foot! And the timing would be just right. The heaviest snow would come down just in time for the morning commute. It was going to be a snow day for sure. Until it wasn’t.

The forecast changed last night–less snow, the timing not quite right. By dark it was barely snowing yet. I suggested to my children that it was unlikely school would be canceled. They were not happy with me for suggesting such blasphemy. How insensitive of me.

It was snowing steadily at first light. Light fluffy stuff covered the bird feeders outside my bedroom window. Three inches or so had fallen. It was lovely. But school was on. It was a bit of a grumpy morning.

My kids got to school. I made it to work. Our road was not plowed when I steered the car out of the driveway. But the roads became more navigable as I headed to town. I traveled more slowly than usual but I got there.

And it was beautiful. The snow started out wet enough that it stuck to everything. Trees were painted white. Everything was painted white. I tried to tell my daughter, as I drove her to school, to be aware of that beauty. She was having none of it. “It’s not worth it,” she claimed, upset to the end that the snow day fizzled.

Still, I had to try. If I can least show her what it means to look at the world with a positive outlook, she may adopt that stance one day. We can focus on what we do not have, or we can ogle the snowflakes coating the fire hydrant. I guess it’s up to her in the end. But I’m hoping she chooses the latter.

Double Snow Day


It happened once before, several years ago, but that is a once-in-a-school-kid’s-lifetime situation–two snow days in a row. Now I guess we have proved it can happen twice.

Snow started falling about 9:00 Tuesday morning. It kept falling all day. It was cranking late on Tuesday, just dumping, piling up and blowing. It was a storm indeed. A blizzard, as it were. Snow kept falling overnight. At morning light it was still falling hard. And it did not stop until late in the day. The sun, if we could have seen it, would have been hanging just over the horizon when the snow stopped falling. As we ate dinner, late, the last of the snow sifted down. And then it stopped.

By the time it was over we had over 30 inches of snow. We got lucky. And when I say lucky I mean we got more snow than elsewhere. Some towns nearby got 14 inches or 22 inches or 18 inches. Somehow we ended up in the sweet spot. We trudged through it and dug tunnels and made tracks to ski in the meadow. And then we skied in the meadow. We jumped and did flips to fall into drifts. We came in to dry out and played games and ate lunch and watched a movie together. It was some quality family time.

It was a gift. Sure, it is fun to get to stay home from school or work. But having the time to do things together, when we are definitely not going anywhere due to the weather, to play and laugh and share the days–that is something you can’t beat. We took advantage of it, which is good, because two snow days back to back won’t happen again. At least, I’m pretty sure it won’t happen again.

Today, I have to get back out there, at least for a little while. I had a meeting cancelled (roads still not cleared) so I need to take advantage of that, too. Another gift. I need to appreciate it while I’ve got it.



Blizzard Situation


I just came in from outside. It is dark out there. And snowing. And a tad windy. Looking into the wind is a bad idea. The snowflakes are like needles on my face. Snow is drifted so the ground is close to bare in some spots and up to my waist in others. We have ourselves a blizzard.

The phone call came at 5:30 a.m. No school today. No school for my children and no school for me. A phone call at 5:30 a.m. means a bit of adrenaline in the system. There was no going back to sleep. I got up and got cracking.

My daughter and I rallied early. We popped into town. We picked up milk and seltzer and candy. All the essentials. I had made a stop in town just yesterday so mostly we were good to go. But I hadn’t gotten enough candy for the crew. We topped off the car with gas and parked it in the garage. No more driving today.

By mid-morning it was snowing. By late afternoon it was snowing like stink. The wind picked up. It became hard to see much in the distance. Cold, wind and snow, and lots of all three, means a blizzard. We have not had a storm like this in years.

About 6:30 p.m. the call came. Same guy, calling to let us know school is cancelled for tomorrow as well. The snow and wind will continue until late morning. Then more snow. We aren’t going anywhere. We tromped around a bit today and will do more tomorrow. Fun stuff. Exciting. It makes me appreciate my warm home. This place is awesome.

“Snow Day”


The forecast called for snow. And rain and sleet and freezing rain. It looked ugly. Predictions foretold a tricky morning commute. Weather would be worst just when buses would be transporting children to school. It was a set up for a snow day. So said the forecast. I would believe it when it happened.

We have had so little snow this year (and last year) that I am skeptical of any forecast for wintry weather. But sure enough, my wife woke me up this morning to tell me that schools all across the state were closed. Then the phone rang–recorded message that our school was closed. I was scheduled to be at two different schools today–one in the morning and one in the afternoon–and they were both closed as well. Snow day.

But it wasn’t really a snow day. It rained hard last night and was raining hard when I fell asleep. It turned to snow at some point and there was some sleet mixed in at some point. It was snowing when I woke, then rained again to freeze on every exposed surface. It was icy and sloppy, and treacherous driving was a given. It made sense to cancel school.

I did do some work from home today. I always have something I can do, although I have to reschedule two school visits now. That’s always a hassle. But still. Snow day! Even though it means a pain the backside for me, I always love a snow day. Today was a bonus family day. I went out to get some sandwiches in town, just for a fun lunch (and the driving was pretty slow), but otherwise we stayed home together. As my children get older those family days will get fewer, so it is worth taking advantage of them.

Tomorrow I will be back at it. I have some prep to do for the day yet. We won’t have two snow days in a row. But I feel a little more energized, a little more buoyant. A snow day is like a mini-vacation. I don’t want it to end, but I am better prepared to get things done tomorrow. Not a bad deal.


Snow Day Follow-Up


So it turns out we did have a snow day after my last post. The snow fell fast and wet and heavy overnight and it was a slick morning. Schools all over were cancelled. Only Burlington and South Burlington stayed open. They rarely close. Everyone in our house stayed put.

Everything was coated with snow because the snow was so wet when it first fell. And that wet snow was heavy, so it meant lots of dropping trees, then lots of broken branches. I walked out in it as it fell early in the morning. It was beautiful. The river gurgled under the bridge, and a few chickadees whistled. Otherwise it was quiet. Few people were out so even the sound of cars was rare. I like that kind of morning.


Snow clinging to branches

The town plow came by a few times later in the day and we flopped around out in it for a while. As it got dark, the power went out. We rarely lose power. Green Mountain Power is great about keeping lines clear and the power on. So when we lose power it means power lines are really getting the what for.

We lit candles and stoked the wood stove and cooked pasta on the camp stove. We were cozy and set. Power did not, however, return the next morning. It was not until over 24 hours later that our lights came back on. We were fine, of course, and it made us realize how much we rely on electricity. The real bummer was not having water. Since we need electricity to pump water up from the well, no power means no water. We melted snow on the wood stove to flush toilets and we had filled a few bottles to get us by, but we did need to truly be careful with our water usage.

Many people were without power for many days. We had a second snow day and over the weekend we drove Route 17 over Appalachian Gap, the pass through the Green Mountains. We saw lots of dark houses and lots of power company trucks. We were, as always, lucky. We have nothing to complain about. We got to go skiing that weekend. We have first-world problems.

It looks like rain will wash away the snow by Christmas. We could get a couple inches of rain. That will make things soggy. It is officially winter. I wish that meant we would get only snow when precipitation fell. That, I am afraid, ain’t happening.

Droopy trees on the trail

Droopy trees on the trail

Snow Day on the Way?


Two days ago I had the privilege to be part of a rare event. I checked the weather and noticed that a winter storm watch had been posted for later in the week. This in itself is not unusual. It is December and a storm watch is to be expected. What was special about it was that my wife had not yet noticed it.

My wife is a weather junky. Some people don’t pay attention to the weather and some people do. She falls in to the latter category. But she goes beyond just wanting to know if we will have rain later in the day. She goes to the NOAA web site and reads the meteorologist discussion page. This is where the National Weather Service meteorologists post their ideas about what they think will happen with the weather. Will the storm stall? Will the front move farther north? Will there be enough moisture to produce more or less snow? That kind of thing.

But I noticed first. That just doesn’t happen. I wish I could say it was because of some effort on my part, but frankly, it was just luck. That made me a little bit happy (well, enough for a fist pump or two) but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we are forecast to get a bunch of snow, regardless of which model is right. We might get a foot, we might get half that. Either way, it will be a snowy wonderland around here.


Snow just starting to stick this afternoon

It started snowing early this afternoon. Rain mixed in on and off, but now that the sun has dropped, along with the temperature, we have light snow. Tonight it will come down harder. The timing could be just right for a snow day. This, of course, is exciting. I still get the thrill when I hear that school is cancelled. That just doesn’t go away I suppose. I have mixed feelings about it these days, however. Whenever school gets cancelled it is a hassle for me. I work in schools so a snow day means I have to reschedule. In a month like December, which is shortened already by the holiday break, there just aren’t many days to do that.

Whether I like it or not, however, I am still encouraged the idea of getting lots of snow. It means possibly skiing around the field and snow forts and sledding and snowballs. We were planning to go alpine skiing this coming weekend with whatever snow was available. Looks like that will work out for us pretty well.

Snow Day Number Two

We had another snow day today. The snow fell all last night and most of the day today. It is hard to tell just how much snow fell. The wind blew hard. We may have gotten two feet. We had “blizzard-like” conditions. A blizzard needs to have sustained winds of 35 miles per hour for three hours. We did not quite meet that definition. A severe blizzard also has temperatures of 10 degrees or lower. We started the day at 14 degrees. So I guess we just had a snowstorm.

I stayed inside for a while, although the kids did get out early. They didn’t last long in the cold and wind, but they went out several times throughout the day. I figured I would start with breakfast. Since I did not have to drive anywhere I used what would have been my commuting time to make home fries.

I paired these hot crispy potatoes with a hot omelette

I paired these hot crispy potatoes with a hot omelette

The snow did let up eventually. I took a walk in the afternoon when it was falling lightly, although the wind was still pretty fierce.

The town road crew got the road passable, but wind kept the drifts coming

The town road crew got the road passable, but wind kept the drifts coming

There's a river under there somewhere

There’s a river under there somewhere

By the end of the day the sun came out for a bit, the light low across the white landscape. Before the sun set the world turned pink. After a dinner of soup and hot sandwiches, we all headed back outside again. We fell backward off the hill into a huge snowdrift and flipped upside down into the pile the plow had left. We tossed snow at each other in the dark. We came inside red-faced and a little soggy. After some reading together the children headed up to bed. Two days off and they are back to school tomorrow. I worked a bunch from home today but I am back at it myself once the sun comes up. It was a great couple of days in our house. We have to enjoy the snow when it comes, and we did.

Late day sun on Camel's Hump

Late day sun on Camel’s Hump


Not Spring Now

Snow coming down hard

Snow coming down hard

It started snowing early in the day. School was cancelled. Then the snow let up. I went to work. Luckily I only was in town half the day. The drive home was slick and slow. Then it really started to snow. By late in the day it was coming down and the wind picked up. And the temperature dropped. We had ourselves a snowstorm.

I went for a ski around the field. It was fine when I had my back to the wind but heading into the wind–ouch! Those little crystals of ice are painful when they slam into one’s face. My hood was a handy tool. By my second lap my ski tracks were almost filled in.

Skiing in the blowing snow

Skiing in the blowing snow

This morning the snow was still falling. Drifts piled against the house. I could only see out half the bedroom window. No school today. I will get some work done from home. First, however, I plan to rekindle the fire in the stove and to brew some coffee. And to appreciate being warm inside.

Weather This Week

Is this really going to get washed away by rain?

Is this really going to get washed away by rain?

Anyone can talk about the weather. It is a universal conversation. In New England it is more of a conversation topic than in some other places. Santa Barbara-ites probably don’t have as much passion about the weather as we do here in Vermont. They still discuss it, I am sure, just not as much. But is hard not to talk about it when it gets so crappy changes so drastically. So here is my mini-conversation with you and me about the weather, only I am doing all the talking here.

I love weather. One of the things I love about living here is that it does change. It is sometimes hard to believe that the same landscape that has bare trees and gray skies and brown fields can host singing meadowlarks and blooming daisies and puffy cumulus clouds, that a stinging sleet can be replaced a few months later by a gentle warm rain. I mean, how could I not be amazed by that when it is so amazing? Winter, however, is the hardest season. I don’t mean to say that winter is difficult because it is cold, or the days are shorter, or the sun doesn’t shine as strongly. Those things are a challenge to some degree, sure, but it is the snow that pulls out the emotions in me.

We had a snow day last Friday. This is a huge hassle for me. I work in schools, so with school cancelled I had to call it a day as well. This means I have to reschedule things when I have few, or often no, days to reschedule them. It means more work and missed work and generally a nuisance all around. But we had a snow day. A snow day is the coolest, most awesome thing around. Lots of snow falling and making things beautiful and brightening the world and filling in all the cracks and crevices so we can play in it? That is just the best. So it is a pain but it is the greatest thing ever. That is what I mean by pulling out the emotions. Love and hate it, that kind of thing.

Once the snow is cleared from roads and walkways and doors, things get back to normal for the most part, but then we still have snow on the ground. This means snow forts and skiing around the field and snowballs tossed at the kids walking down to meet the bus and, again, the beauty of it all. I love the snow, and so does everyone else in our cozy house. When we have snow we are all happy about it. But guess what? Tomorrow or the next day it is going to rain. Now, I love rain. I love a warm summer rain or a cold autumn rain or a good thunder shower. But I do not like rain when it threatens to soak into and wash away my precious snow. It means first slush and then ice and no more snow forts or skiing around the field or snowballs. It means brown crust and slippery walking. I do not like rain after snow.

Winter is for snow, not for rain, at least around here. Rain in March, I can handle. I mean, winter has to end sometime and I can deal with that. But it is February. We should be getting more snow. I want to be able to ski out my door every day. The forecast calls for rain and then freezing temperatures. Ouch. No snow on the horizon.

Until another day. I am sure we will get snow again. I can’t really complain. Weather is just weather, not something to gripe about. I can dislike some of it and feel OK with that. It is a waste of energy to complain about the weather. I am just letting you know how it makes me feel in this case. Most of the time I love the weather, whatever it is. When it gets to 10 below zero I say bring it–if it is going to be that cold then why not 20 below? Wind is an audio delight, lightning is exciting, heat makes the tomatoes grow faster. But rain on top of snow, followed by a freeze? That just shouldn’t be allowed.