Monday, January 31, 2011

Snow Day

... or how we spent our Sunday afternoon.

I love bandying about "old sayings", because mostly they're true. Like the one about a penny saved or the one about birds of a feather.

Then, there's the one about the family that plays together staying together, and I'm really hoping that one is true.

Last weekend, while I stayed home and worked, Deus Ex Machina and the girls went through the woods for some cross-country skiing. This week, I worked more wisely and I was able to go and play, too :).

What? Well, who do you think is taking the picture?

After a short jaunt through the woods, we came to the hill. From the pictures last week, I was expecting more of a hill than what I saw.

All I can say is looks can be deceiving.

See? This is why they invented ski-lifts. Pay no attention to those three little smarty-pants ... er, highly skilled girls on the skis behind me. It was tough going. I swear it.

Going down was much easier than going up.

Then, I took the camera away from Deus Ex Machina ... er, the camera batteries died, and we didn't get any more pictures (ahem), but we had a blast playing, and I got better at climbing the hill without using my hands ;).

While we were out in the woods, I realized some truths about dealing with cold that I thought I should share.

Lesson #1: When we started out, we were all pretty well bundled up. About halfway through the woods, I realized that my big ski coat zipped up over top of a sweater with a scarf and a hat and those awesome gortex-lined wool mitten-gloves were too much when the temperature is 35° and we're trekking through the woods. When we're sitting in the house, 60° can seem cold, but when we're skiing through the snowy woods and the temperature is in the 30s, we can work up a sweat.

I had to take off my hat and unzip my coat. At one point, most of us had taken off our coats.

I think this is an important lesson, because we hear so much about how dangerous cold weather can be, and it can be, but only if we don't know how to deal with it, and one way of dealing with it is to get moving. I was comfortable in a pair of jeans (with no long underwear), a thin sweater over a tee-shirt, and gloves ...

Which brings me to Lesson #2: Gloves! Gloves! Gloves! I can't overemphasize the importance of covering ones hands when there's snow on the ground. In fact, on some warm days, when the temperature gets in the upper 40s (okay, that's warm for us - *grin*), we'll be outside working in short sleeves, but if there's any snow involved, our hands are always covered. The fastest way to get cold and uncomfortable is to allow one's hands to get wet - which is what happens, rather quickly, when dealing with snow and above freezing temps. And, believe or not, snow is cold, and cold hands are painful.

My advice to those of you who live where it doesn't normally get cold, but who are now experiencing that weather phenomenon we call "snow" is to enjoy it, move around in it, and get gloves (and not those crappy, thin knit things, either. You need something thick and absorbent ... or best, yet, is leather. Even unlined leather gloves, which keep the wet and wind off one's hands are better than those thin, cotton-yarn knit gloves or mittens that are so popular for children, and basically useless after five minutes of being in wet snow.

The absolute best moment, though, was when we were heading back home. What you can't see in the pictures, especially the ones with us in the woods, is how deep that snow really is, because our skis allow us to glide, basically, on top. We sink a couple of inches, but we're not even close to the bare ground. I found out how deep it was on the way home, when I fell backward onto my rather ample anchor.

Deus Ex Machina, Big Little Sister and Little Fire Faery were a little ahead of Precious and me, and I fell. There I am, floundering on the ground. I'd put my hand down and try to push myself up (which is not, by the way, how to stand up on skis ... just so you know), and every time I did, my hand would sink further. I was, quite literally, up to my elbows, when I felt the dormant plants under the snow and was still no where close to being able to stand up.

I was growing increasingly frustrated and more tired. I was covered in snow, and it had even gotten in between my coat cuffs and my glove cuffs and my wrists were burning from it.

Precious starts instructing me: "Mom, roll on your back and put your skis in the air!"

When I stopped struggling and listened to her instructions, I was able to get up. That's one smart little girl ;).

Before we left for our jaunt through the woods, we put a pot roast on the woodstove, and when we got home, I boiled some potatoes, and we had dinner - whipped potatoes (with potatoes from Flaherty's farm in Scarborough) and Yankee pot roast (beef from the cow share, onions from Snell Farm, and tomato sauce from tomatoes we grew and canned last summer).

It was an amazing day. Good fun, good food, and if it's true that a family who plays together, stays together, then I imagine a future for myself that's full of similar days ;).


  1. Everytime I fell I managed to twist my ankles funny, which hurt. Maybe it was because everybody did an hour and a half of pointe Saturday? So my ankles were sore, and having a hard time?

  2. Now THAT was a great day! And followed by a home cooked roast, yum!

    True about the layering and not overbundling. I never wore a coat in VT last week, just turtlenecks and a sleeveless fleece hoodie. When you're moving about, you build up your own heat :)

    P.S. So nice that you have access to a great recreation spot.

  3. Yup, I remember getting off the snow on skis: roll onto your side, dig your skis into the snow, parallel to the slope, let gravity nudge you onto your skis, stand. It helps if you have poles, too. :)

    Lots of people are getting whacked tonight and tomorrow. On Planet Georgia, it's just rain.

  4. Keet - You fell? When? I'm sorry that you hurt your ankles. I was thinking that we should probably stretch before we head out on the skis, especially if we're not going to do it more often, you know?

    Farmgal - it was, and despite what Keet is trying to pretend, we all did have a great time ;). And the roast was awesome! About the recreation spot, it's actually right around the corner from our house, and yes, I agree. It's wonderful that we can walk ... er, ski there. Loads of free fun. Who could ask for anything more?

    FARf - Yeah, about the poles. Someone decided we should learn to work without them, and it's probably better to do it that way, because if improperly used, they can become like a crutch ;). Of course, getting up would be easier.

    We're supposed to get whacked again, too - tomorrow and Wednesday. So, cool! and I'm SO looking forward to another snow day ;).

  5. I am glad we made it. It was a great time. Maybe, we can repeat it next week ....