Oz Whiston writing as Oz Drummond (birdhousefrog) wrote,
Oz Whiston writing as Oz Drummond

A Tale Of Two Storms

There were actually three storms. Storm #1 was maybe 5 inches...it's faded from my memory already. Storm #2 was 30.5 inches. Storm #3 was 8 inches, but you would never know it because we had blizzard conditions with winds 35mph and gusting to 50mph. Storm #1 was a bit south and west of us, storm #2 was due east of us, and storm #3, thankfully, was centered northeast of us. Weatherdude had me prepared for all three (and that clipper system coming on Monday next) a good 5 days in advance with storm snow totals I could work with. Heck, when it's over a foot, I'm not too fussy about whether it's 2 feet or 2.5 feet. It's not very relevant. And when it came to storm #3, it was nice to have confidence that it would *not* be another 30 inches or even 20, but 10 inches or less. He is Mighty, is Weatherdude. Years of experience with east coast storms and there's that PhD thing, too.

My hands are pretty sore from shoveling. But the story goes like this...Storm #1 was cleared out handily by the snow blower and The Dude shoveled out both cars before he left for work. Storm #2 was much more of a challenge, being 30.5 inches of new snow. We waded to the internet dish and waded to the heat pump. (We? The Dude did that.) I helped dig out the cars and around the house. The snow started on Friday afternoon. By Sunday afternoon (Super Bowl Day), we were out on the roads in both our cars, but hadn't dug out my sister yet. To do this, Weatherdude had blown the entire length of the driveway and in the main car area around the house. We had carefully removed the 30 inches from the two cars and carried each shovelful to a pile. Putting it on the driveway would have meant even more work with the snow blower. So the sensible thing was to lift each shovel bit and carry it ten or twenty feet. Because it's a wee bit tight with 2 cars and there's nowhere to flip the snow. You'll see.

We were out and running around from Sunday through Tuesday. We'd lost power on Friday night into Saturday, but basically our spirits were pretty good and the neighbors had power and fed us hot food. Then late on Tuesday, storm #3 hit. And hit. And hit. The snow finally stopped late afternoon Wed, but the winds didn't. The Dude had blown 2/3 of the driveway clear on Wed afternoon. On Thursday morning, it was completely filled in again. What you will see in the Storm #3 set is ONLY 8 inches of snow. Really. Weatherdude is 5'7" for comparison. Where we were sheltered around the house, we did fine and kept the car area and the path to the barn fairly clear. But what's called our driveway will fill your soul with dread. Weatherdude began looking for front-end loaders or bobcats. I shoveled. He shoveled. Maralton shoveled and also kept us fed. We used the snow blower to widen what we'd shoveled to car width. Based on Thursday's progress, it would take us 3 days of work to get out. G-Dude arrived this morning and he shoveled too. From the outside in. At about 3pm, Weatherdude took a call from a guy with a bobcat, just as he met up with G-Dude. And the rest is being done by bobcat. With a slight delay for ditching the bobcat off the driveway at the very start, that is.

And I just typed way more than I thought I would, but I'm a really wordy writer. For the interested, the chickens all have cabin fever, but they simply don't do the white stuff. By now they could walk on it just fine. It's even with the level of their hatch. But I'm kind and I've put food and water in the coop for them every day. Most days I have to empty and refill their bucket due to icing overnight.

The Teaser...we got us some mean icicles here on Walkabout Farm.

Storm #2
This used to be Miss E's sled run, but right now it's the path to get to the chickens, kept open by snow blower. It's also how the snow blower gets out of the barn.

Our two volvos which had been roadtested the day before on Sunday.

Maralton's little red VW on Monday morning before we dug it out (this is equivalent to what was cleared off our Volvos on Sunday)

This is our beautifully hand-crafted driveway all blown out and travel-worthy for just about any vehicle on Monday.

An obligatory house shot from after Storm #2

Kitten (Ferb), provided for scale

Miss E's trampoline after Storm #2, provided for scale (them thar's 30+ inches)

Storm #3...These photos were taken on Friday.
The nice thing about snow here is the warmth of the February sun. which leads to these outside the kitchen window:

And then out the dining room patio door

But beneath all this prettiness following Storm #3, some ugly truths. Here are our cars, ready to go again. All I did was dump the 8 inches mostly off and the sun did the rest. (Remember, it was ONLY 8 inches.) Note that excavation piles have grown a bit.

Kitten (Ferb, who likes to be out) provided for scale, looking back toward the cars, see the pretty circle all done with blower and shovels and ready for us to rock and roll outta here.

But wait. What's this? The driveway narrows from post storm #2 car width to...how narrow? What you're seeing (the pine branch on the edge of the driveway, right side) is where we stopped on Thursday. Stopped excavating storm #3. Weatherdude used the snow blower to clear 2/3 of the driveway on Wed night and by Thursday morning, you couldn't see where he had done.

And here's how we start the process. Dig a path wide enough for the snow blower. Actually, today, Friday, it was just 'dig a path.' And dig. And dig. Note how deep 8 inches really is, given a chance to drift.

Interlude for obligatory cat footprints in snow, showing it can support at least 8 pounds of cat (Ferb).

Here is PD for scale. He's not a micro-cat, like the kittenz. He's 15 pounds of attitude and Maine Coon.

Here is our neighbor's place at the end of our field

See? It's not that much further to the corner.

Let's take another look at that distance, this time WITHOUT the zoom. That's more like it.

And...looking back?

About now, you're supposed to be bowing down three times in our vague direction and worshiping Teh Weatherdude for getting us out of 30.5 inches on Sunday previous. He is Mighty, as I said. But Storm #3 nearly broke his spirit. Remember, on Wed late afternoon, in a whiteout, he used the snow blower all the way to that electric pole. You can tell where he was, right? Or where we were getting out on Tuesday, right? Sure you can. All three adults were out there with shovels digging out from the winds of Storm #3. Slow, slogging work. As you can see (or maybe you can't) this snow would be over the top of a snow blower. This was 8 inches of snow, not 38. East and North, they got twice what we did and the drifting. Philly got even more, over 2 feet, I believe. And when I said the neighbor's snow ended up on my driveway, I meant it.

G-Dude arrived to help by digging in from outside. I had tried wading through the stuff to have the wind at my back when I was shoveling on Thursday. It was waist high and soft footing. Unless you were headed for a place the wind had carved out, there was nowhere to stand and work your way back. Just around the corner, the cow breeders had plowed the access road for us all. It's over a ridge, so it was 8 inches deep.

It was a race to the electric pole. Weatherdude was cutting and heaving huge blocks. He noted we could have made an igloo. (Had we had any energy left.) I was his squire by this time, handing him another shovel when needed. And when he took a break, I shoveled ten little scoops for every one of his.

The race was watched by one of our tinier woodpeckers. (I've been hearing the pileateds, too.) I kept listening to the tiny sound until I spotted where he/she was.

Again, the zoom is misleading. The distance was still pretty great.

The Dude and G-Dude jogged across the last bit as my Dude was following the right edge and G-Dude followed his right. G-Dude, as you can see, made it first to the pole. But his path was ultra-narrow and not to the dirt, so quality control disqualified him. But, we were out. We were connected to the world. And, as it turned out, we didn't blow the rest out.

And then, the Golden Spike...

Tomorrow I shall post photos of the canyon that is being created by the bobcat that is finishing up the task of digging us out.

One final note. A lot of people have had snow this year. In fact, every state but Hawaii has had measurable snow. I know there are places that get a lot. But I do hope these photos indicate that we're not whining over one or two inches here. Living in the country on ten acres is a personal choice. We're not unprepared after eight winters. We know what we're doing and Weatherdude knew exactly what was coming. Storms this bad and this close together are rare. It was a lot to get in a short amount of time. And yes, we don't happen to own a pickup with a plow on the front. But guess what? It wouldn't have been much use after Storm #3. There's nowhere to 'push' the snow. That's been happening all over the area the past few days, even with the mammoth plows. Now a tractor with a some sort of front end loader attachment...hmmm, wonder if we can justify that for use once every seven years?

Frog Out, sore and exhausted
Tags: farm, house, storms

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