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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Snow - Blizzard Style at 9,750'

Today is an inside day as long as the blizzard rages on. We woke up to snow this morning and so far have approximately 14-15" of the white fluffy stuff. We have a friend - Deirdre - who can use poetry to string words together to make even the most nasty snow storm sound beautiful and lovely. We love to read her posts with the word beauty as seen through her eyes. Carol commented earlier how beautiful it looks outside too, with the operative word being outside. Sitting inside I have to agree with that observation. I hope the photos will reveal the delicate beauty of this fresh snow.

But then there is the reality! ... the fact it has to be moved/cleared.. Having an A-Frame house means that the snow piles up around the house several feet deep due to the steepness of the roof. Unfortunately the snow thrower won't reach these areas so we have to shovel it away by hand. You don't want to be under the roof when it lets loose either. Snow down your collar is nothing compared to hundreds of pounds of snow knocking you over. So when we get over a foot of fresh snow we can get the bulk of it with a snow thrower but there are days of shoveling involved too. The snow thrower also takes time to warm up - about 3 degrees per hour when the block heater is plugged in. So when it is 14 degrees out like it is presently that means about 8 hours of being plugged in just to get it going. As to the follow up days of shoveling, you just approach it one shovel full at a time until it is done. If that takes 2-3 days; that is just a fact of life in the mountains.

So that leaves us inside today and when it stops snowing and blowing (wind is about 30 MPH - wind chill -7 degrees) we just hunker down inside and wait for it to stop. Everything has a good and bad side and the good side is that we only have 6 more months to go and it will all melt away and we can move freely outside. No more clumpy boots, and bulky coats. The bad side is we only have 6 more months to go. Living at this elevation also means that there are more storms yet to come and we usually get at least one a winter that dumps up to 4' of snow on us all at once. The good is that now there is plenty of room to move it around. The bad news is that as the snow season grows on we will have 10' snow banks along the drive and around the house and it just falls/slides back down into the driveway. We have two seasons here, snow season and no snow season, with the snow season being the longest of the two.

Therefore if you don't like snow and lots of it, plus having to deal with it for months at a time, living in the mountains might not suit you. Much has to do with how you perceive snow and we look at it as providing the needed moisture in a semi arid environment. 25+ feet of snow per season is far better than a wildfire. Also the exercise it provides. Reality at 9,750' elevation can be sobering and harsh, but what extraordinary beauty we have. When the sun comes out again the snow will be blinding bright and sun glasses will be needed. I'll probably be posting several photos of snow over the next 6+ months. As the weeks and months go by I hope I can remain objective and civil about all the snow we get. It can generate a lot of work but it is part of living here too. We will deal with it for as long as we can.

Our primary source of heat is the wood stove so with sufficient supplies of firewood on hand it looks like we are good to go and the snow is only a temporary annoyance. A very long annoyance maybe but when you take it one step at a time - non snow season will be here before we know it.


Ron and Thelma said...

So where do you keep the tractor. In a shed or barn. Where do the dogs go potty

Bruce said...

Keep the tractor under the front deck. Snow drifts in but we keep it covered with a tarp and its easy to get out since it is open.
The dogs still go in the back yard to potty. They get an area trampled down and with their long legs they don't have any problem.

Patricia said...

Do you think an A-frame is the way to go or do you regret that style?

Bruce said...

Patricia: When you weigh the pros and cons of an A-Frame I think the pros out weigh the cons. The snow comes off the roof, and because of so much roof space it keeps the interior warmer if you have a dark colored roof.
I like our A-Frame but if I had to do it over I would put a 4-6' wall and run the roof up from there to achieve more floor space. Presently the angle of the roof cuts into the floor space. I would also build it on an above ground foundation to get it higher. Beyond that I think the A-Frame is perfectly suited for the mountains. I have not regretted building an A-Frame at all. Very easy to maintain and take care of.

Deirdre said...

In mother tree and snow cold bough, in woodstack and in salt lick -- balance. From verdant green to pearl white, enscorreled lie the beingness of the beam, as in arcs arabesque the sunshine slants -- and turns with Atlas's axis to flakes, that in perpetual gyration become the whirl -- ice blown shards to pierce the thirsty earth and bless it with God's draughts of life -- Mountain seasons, mountain's men and women live well and truely inside continual seasons, wellsprings of hope -- ancestral archetypes among us with techonlogy in one hand and a shovel of snow at a time in the other -- Bruce and Carol -- Makers of Markers to remember, in these forgetful days of modernity. Long may you live togehter with two snow shovels; may you continue to bless the rest of us with your thoughts -- one word, one touch of snow, at a time.

Bruce said...

Thank you Deirdre: Now everyone can see your artistic word work.