Road Hazard

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Back in the fall we had a big old windstorm. Lots of trees fell. Power was out for a while. It made a general mess of the usual tidiness of human daily life around here. But then things got cleaned up. Power was restored. We got back to the day-to-day.

But some remnants can be found yet. This afternoon my kids spent a couple of hours manhandling the tops of two white pines that snapped off during that storm. They made a fence of sorts at the edge of the field. They managed to get covered in sap. Then they got covered in mud. They took advantage of the messiness of spring.

Up the road there is maple that almost fell. It broke near the ground and leaned out over the road to the other side. A beech caught it. It hangs there still. Every time I go by it seems the trunk is more rotted or torn. That thing is going to fall at some point. We rush whenever we have to pass beneath it. It hangs there, patiently waiting for a strong enough breeze. Or maybe an elephant. We don’t have elephants around here so that isn’t much of an option I suppose.

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Today was a warm one. When the sun rose over Camel’s Hump I headed up the hill. A flock of Snow Geese was pecking away at the muddy field. I thought I heard a Phoebe but that could have been wishful thinking. I went to the lake and watched the ducks. I got coffee at the corner store. Later, we went for a walk. We avoided the danger zone this time.

Easter tomorrow. We will hunt for some eggs, eat some candy, have a good meal. Likely, we will go for a walk at some point. I am guessing that leaning maple will still be leaning. But one of these days it will slide to the ground. Or crash to the ground. Tomorrow is as good a day as any. But I’m not betting it will happen so soon. Even if it is a day of new beginnings.

Stormy Day

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First it rained–a winter rain, cold. Then it got warm, and kept raining. By yesterday afternoon the temperature rose to 61 degrees. And that rain. The snow disappeared. By the time I got home from work the snow was gone. The fields were flooded. My headlights reflected on the flooded fields.

In the night, sleet ticked against the windows. The wind grew and the sleet pecked the windows. By morning, snow was falling, the wind tossing it around. Snow eddied in front of the garage and on the porch. Drifts stacked in front of the row of pines. With temperatures in the teens, the wind chill was below zero.  We went for a walk anyway.

My wife and I bundled up–down jackets, snow pants, mittens. We trudged through the snow, literally. The drifted snow, mixed with sleet, was heavy on the road. The plow had not yet come by. Ever walk in wet sand on a beach? It felt like that, except without the bare feet and warmth. Nevertheless, we persisted.

After a while thick flakes started to fall. We watched them drop into the river. Fields all around were flooded. The river ran high. Really high. Yesterday it had come up over the road. Yellow ice crunched under the snow. Circles of snow-covered ice clung to the base of trees, a few inches up. Farther up the road, our boots found slush.

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The walk back was colder. We walked into the wind. Back at home I drank coffee, ate the blueberry muffins I had made earlier. I read. I stayed inside. The two of us walked the driveway later to get the mail. Snow still blew sideways. The temperature dropped to single digits.

I had planned to do the Winter Bald Eagle Survey again today, but driving was just not a good idea. I will rise early and do that tomorrow. Hopefully I can access points along the Winooski River, where my portion of the survey takes place. It was be a cold morning. I’ll need to bring coffee. And at least one of those muffins.

Another Windy Day

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Our one fallen tree, toppled into the woods

Last Sunday we had some wind. Lots of people had some wind. OK, lots of wind. Strong wind. Hurricane-force wind. It didn’t really start up until after dark. We went to bed. We slept little.

Wind buffeted the house. Meaning, the house literally shook. I have not felt wind like that here before. It whistled through windows and any other crevice it could find. It blew stuff around outside. We tried to sleep, but it was just too dang loud.

In the morning we saw our aluminum porch chairs scattered on the lawn. Another chair, plastic, was in the neighbor’s field. While searching for it, my wife discovered the flipped trampoline. The wind lifted that puppy up and tossed it against the garage. Imagine what would have happened if it had blown into the field. It might have rolled right into town.

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Unfortunately, it didn’t fare well. It’s frame is made from steel tubes. Several of those tubes are bent and ripped. Not safe. We managed to right the thing, four of us leveraging it to standing again. It looked, however, pretty sad.

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Sad trampoline

The thing is, it is still windy. The wind has not kept up constantly but we have had some stiff winds every day for a week. Right now, trees wave back and forth. Hang on to your hat. I have been to the lake a few times this week to look for shorebirds and waterfowl. Whitecaps. Rain has fallen frequently among all this wind. At least the convection is keeping things somewhat dry.

Some of our neighbors had their power restored only yesterday. We lost ours for less than a day. That makes hygiene easier. Plus checking the weather. I baked blueberry raspberry muffins this morning. Electricity makes that possible. Eating a hot muffin and drinking hot coffee while looking out over the windblown field makes for a fine Sunday morning. The wind keeps blowing and the house still stands.  On to next week.

Blizzard Situation

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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.

Still Ready for Snow

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Today it was cold. It was 9 degrees when I rose this morning. But the sky was clear. It was so cold because the sky was clear. I would have liked to see some snow.

The photo above was taken a couple of days ago. I wanted to capture how little snow we have. Then it rained. I could share a photo of the same spot, snowless, now, but that would sting too much.

Plenty of people complain about snow. I guess part of what makes a culture is complaining about some aspect of the weather. Those people are missing out. Snow is amazing.

Just the fact of snow is amazing. Snowflake Bentley had it right. He really looked at snowflakes. Have you done that? They are beautiful. They are all different. I know you know the cliche about no two snowflakes being alike, but have you checked them out? Seriously, they are all intricately unique. Mind blowing. For real.

But I’m not just talking about flakes. I am talking about that big storm that lasts for two days and dumps feet of snow. The kind of snow you have to wade through. The kind of snow you work up a sweat to shovel it out of the way. The kind of snow you can just fall back into. Heavenly, deep, lovely, cold, fluffy oodles of snow. I miss that.

We have not had a storm like that in years now. We had a couple of inches not too long ago, but I want a storm. We used to have this thing called the January Thaw. Maybe you have heard of it? That quaint idea that it would warm up, temperatures rising above freezing, for a few days in January, and then it would get back to proper winter temperatures? Now we get these January freezes, where it gets cold for a day or two and then gets back up above freezing. It was 50+ degrees the other day! Shameful.

I guess I need to get used to this. It isn’t going to get any colder. We might have a winter or two that gets cold again, sure, but I am afraid this is the new normal. So you get what I’m taking about, even if you don’t get what I’m taking about, here is one to remember from March, 1999; shoveling the driveway. That was some snow.

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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.

Waiting For Snow

Giant Snowballs Waiting for the Big Storm

 

We might get some snow tomorrow. We’ll see. In one scenario, it falls heavily just as the morning commute is humming. Could be messy. Could be a snow day. In another scenario, we get a little snow to make things pretty, then done. Like I said, we’ll see.

The last almost inch we got the children rolled what they could into giant lumps and made a wall. Once we get more snow it will be a great place to sneak behind when tossing the fluffy stuff back and forth. Or so they think. They are not as tall as I am, but still, it isn’t very high. But those are some awesome giant snowballs and don’t try to argue any differently. They do, however, look a little lonely on the lawn.

I need to drive about 50 minutes tomorrow morning. At least it takes me about that long on a good day. Could be longer tomorrow. Or we get a snow day. That would be great except for the rescheduling hassle. Either way it will work out. I will take what I get.

No matter what I look forward to some snow. It has been lacking. Bogus, if you ask me. Someone pointed out to me the other day that it sure saves on the plowing bill. Truth, that. And you can’t get stuck in a snowbank. But shoot, what is winter for? If we have cold, we might as well have snow. That is the attitude in our house. And that is not changing any time soon.

I hope those giant snow lumps get covered in the morning. It sure would make them look dandy. And who doesn’t like dandy?