Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Oh, Snow!

This post is just for my friends down south. 

I spent much of my childhood in the deep south.  When I was in junior high school, we lived in Alabama.  One year, we had a pretty bad winter with about a half inch of snow and ice that pretty much immobilized the city.  The best entertainment on that "snow day" was the Orkin man who tried for an hour to get up the hill in front of my house.  He finally gave up trying, and I guess, just rescheduled. 

My family from Kentucky made fun of the Alabamans.   

In the early 1980s, my family moved to the mountains in southeastern Kentucky.  Kentucky gets a lot more snow than Alabama does.  Most of the time, the snow is big, fat, wet flakes that covers everything for a day or so, and then, it melts pretty quickly, but that day or two of snow cover can be significant - anywhere from an inch up to three or four inches - and driving is dangerous, because it's just enough of an anomaly that people don't *really* learn to drive in it, but enough of a regular occurrence that everyone thinks they know how - especially people who have 4WD (most of them). 

I don't ever remember shoveling snow when I lived in either Alabama or Kentucky.  I don't remember it ever being necessary.

In the late 1990s, I moved to Maine. 

Living in Maine, one really appreciates snow.  It's rumored that the Inuit have many words for "snow", and I can actually understand, now, how different snow is.  There's the snow with big, fat, wet flakes that is the prettiest when it's falling, but is also the absolute worst.  That kind of snow makes the roads slick, like oil, and it's heavy and wet and difficult to shovel.  It's also the kind of snow that breaks trees, because it is so wet and heavy.

Then, there's that light, powdery stuff.  It looks solid enough, but don't walk on it, unless you're a cat.  You'll sink to your knees.  And don't fall, because you won't get up, unless you roll over on your back and sit up.  Don't put your hands down and try to push yourself up, either.  My dog even got stuck trying to walk through that kind of snow.  It's surprisingly wet.  So, when you fall, expect a wet butt.  It's easiest to shovel, except when the wind blows, and then, it just settles right back where it was.  That's fun.

Snow mixed with sleet is the absolute worst.  It leaves an icy crust on the top of the snow pack.  Walking through that can cause some serious damage to one's shins.  Experience for the win!  

The most recent storm was measured in feet, not inches, for much of our state.  From reports, my town received a foot and a half of snow (okay, 15", if we must), but where I am in town, I'm pretty sure we got more than that.

My mother loves to call when we have inclement weather up here.  The other day, during the storm,  she calls and says,

"How's the weather?"

I looked out the window and reported, "It's snowing."

She asked, "How much did you get?"

Stretching my achy back from the two-hour long shoveling session I'd done earlier, I said, "I don't know.  Probably a couple of feet."

She chuckled and said that there, in Kentucky, they'd gotten 3" or so. 

I laughed.  This time of year, after having snowstorms every couple of days, 3" isn't even enough to take out the shovel.  We just stomp through it.   I'm not making fun.  It's just a different perspective.    In Alabama, the city shut down for a half inch.  Here, we have to get feet (plural) of snow to shut things down.

The last storm we had ... shut things down.  Both Deus Ex Machina and Big Little Sister had a snow day. 

Of course, a picture's worth a thousand words, right? 

I'm taking this picture from the road in front of my house.  That sign says "Herbs", and it's probably 5' tall, including the 9" of stake at the bottom. 

The dog is sitting in the road in front of my house.  I tried to get some perspective, but it's just really hard to see, from this picture, how tall the snow wall really is. 
Where's the garbage can?

 Oh, there's the top!
Found it!
The cat is on the gate, which we will not be able to open without some serious digging ... or more likely, until the spring thaw.  

These photos really don't do it justice.  Wish you all could see how magnificent it is. 

Another storm is predicted right on the heels of the last - just enough time for us to clean up a little.

It's February ... in Maine.  Keep the shovels handy and the coffee brewed.

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