Saturday, December 26, 2009

White Christmas Day

(as usual, I have no clue how to get Blogger to put these photos where I want them.)
Oh, my! Talk about snow!

I think this is the biggest snow I've seen in Kansas, at least for a very long time. It's certainly the first time I've REALLY gotten the car the driveway, no less. AFTER DK and I did a lot of shovelling.

But so beautiful. I told DK that he couldn't go out until I got out first and took pictures of the pure, unblemished snow in all its sculptured drifts. He was pretty obliging. And I did take a few pictures, including a lot of the "glacier" that has been slowly sliding off the roof for more than 24 hours. It's so solid that when I whacked it with the storm door this morning, a chunk fell out but the main mass didn't budge. It just gradually drooped more and more vertical through the day. The photo above definitely gives me that "we're not in Kansas any more" feeling. Winnipeg, perhaps?

The drifts between the barn and high tunnel are especially least 2' deep. I learned something about farm door design: have one door that opens into the building, so you can get in without having to shovel out the snow around it. This is NOT how I designed the doors for the barn or HT.

Shoveling out the HT was really going to be a chore, since the drift was so deep and broad that there was a LOT of snow to move. Just getting to it was a challenge. There had to be a better way.

One of my listserv groups is gathering in the flesh in February in New York, so there's been lots of talk about winter sports like snowshoeing and cross country skiing...both just made for days like today. Don't I wish I had snowshoes to get the barn and around to do chores? The deep snow is so hard to walk in, and over my boots means wet socks.

Maybe I could make something that would work like snowshoes? Something big and flat and lightweight, and some way of strapping it to my a couple of tote lids, and an old pair of slip-on ice grippers. Short bolts and washers would work to attach them...but a considerable amount of searching yielded many long bolts and no short ones. It did, however, turn up a package of zip ties...and I knew I was onto something good. A few minutes later, I had removed the studs from the ice grippers, yielding two boot straps. Drilled a few holes in the ball-of-the-foot area and zip tied them to the lids. Voila! Snowshoes! And believe it or not, they worked. Here's a photo of them inside the HT.

I've never snowshowed before, but it was pretty easy to figure out what worked and what didn't. The rubber boot straps turned out to be a good safety feature...while the lids flop around a bit, they did flex enough to avoid spraining an ankle when I stepped on my toe and fell over.

Working from the snowshoes on top of the snow, I was able to shovel out enough to get into both the barn and HT. The sky was clear by then, and inside the HT it was in the 40s. Nice! I picked a delicious fresh salad for Christmas dinner at a friend's house. The photo shows the silhouette of the snowbank on the east (lee) side of the HT, where it slid off the roof. The insulation of the snow will help keep the HT warmer this time it's 26 degrees, while last night it got down to 22.

The snowshoes also made taking hay to the sheep much easier. We use a child's plastic sled to haul hay on, year round, because it's so much lighter than a cart, and easy to maneuver. So the sled and me on snowshoes made the chores into child's play.

After several forays around the farmyard, the plastic began to split and break, brittle from cold and from long exposure to UV. A better pair will be fabricated tomorrow. It was enough fun and function that I'll sacrifice two of my red "bulb crates" to salvage more substantial plastic, esp. since the forecast implies that this snow will be around awhile. Now to invent skis....

Dinner at a friend's house was scheduled for 12:30. Of course, I was just picking the salad about 11:45, after snowshoe fabrication, chores, snow shovelling, etc. So it was nearly 12:30 by the time I was all ready to go and headed out to the car. DK had been shovelling the driveway, as well as tromping it down by driving his car around...OK, by getting his car stuck and unstuck in a lot of places.

After getting the car all warmed up and brushed off, I started to back out the driveway. I got to the street, but that was it. I couldn't turn. The street hadn't been plowed, and the deep granular snow wouldn't pack or give any traction. It was like sand, nearly up to the floor of the car. I got stuck, DK and a passing neighbor got me back into the driveway and I returned the car to its parking space. Meanwhile another neighbor in a bigger car got stuck in the same place on the road. OK, it isn't my car and it isn't my driving.

I called my friends (again) to let them know I was delayed (even more).

Then, with the salad installed in my beloved frame pack from my Canada adventure a few years ago, and my feet snug in my "Winnipeg boots", I set out walking. It was a beautiful winter day, the sky was blue, nothing better to do than walk 2 miles to a friend's house for good company and good food. Besides, I needed to feed the cat I'm house sitting in town. So what's a good hour's walk but a pleasure on such a day?

It turned out I didn't walk more than half a mile. I decided to walk down 2nd St., even though the sidewalks were untouched, deep in snow. It was a good choice...the 4th or 5th truck stopped and offered me a ride. I didn't hesitate to accept. Evil people were surely not out looking for victims on such a day; I figured everyone on the road was either bound and determined to make it to a cherished relative's house for Christmas, or was out looking for good deeds to do. Or both, as it turned out.
It also turned out that my ride was an old friend of my ex-husband, though he didn't recognize me until I introduced myself. He had been at our wedding nearly 15 years ago. Small world, with God working in mysterious ways!
Good food, pleasant company...a good way to spend Christmas afternoon. As the day wore on, my host offered me a ride home along with her other guests. But the cat...? As luck would have it, the other guests lived near my cat-friend. I did chores while she took them the rest of the way to their home, and then she gave me a ride home.
The street had been plowed by the time I got home. So, what's to stop me from jumping in the car and going to my daughter's for her Christmas dinner? Well, nothing but the last (biggest, still unfrozen) puddle at the end of the driveway! Where the car remains stuck....

...Which I don't mind at all, since I enrolled in AAA last week, and my boss called me this afternoon to let me know that the bus system has been cancelled tomorrow so I don't have to go to work.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, Talya. Cold and clear here, too, at a time when it usually pours. Mt. Rainier blocked the rising sun for me, today, and it cast a wedge-shaped shadow on the roof of the sky (a high layer of rumply clouds). The rest of the clouds, not in the wedge-shadow, were crimson-bottomed. I'd never seen this before, as it depended on a clear day with a swath of high clouds and being 60 miles NW of Mt Rainier just when the sun was rising on the opposite side. This amazing, massive shadow-in-the-sky only lasted 10 minutes.

We made a Felt-A-Bit felt ball today. I wasn't that handy, and it ended up looking JUST like a cow-eyeball right before dissecting, with a corneal bump on one side, and all the "accent" wool buried, except a brown circle on the bump, making it very cow-like. Karl-bear thought it very funny. It made me think of you, of course.