Sunday, January 24, 2016

Snowed in.

Did you get snowed in this weekend? I did. 
This was yesterday afternoon.  Kept up for another 10 hours. 

It only takes about 8 or 10 inches to make our driveway impassable so when the Weather Bureau started forecasting 24" or more for this weekend we started doing all the stuff we do when a big storm is coming. Find the snow shovels, fill the cars with gas, make sure the woodbox is full so there won't be any digging firewood out of a snow covered pile in my "pajamas", and a dozen other things you do when you live in the country. We could live for weeks just off of the leftovers in the fridge so we wouldn't really have to go to the grocery store at all but I always do anyway, not for bread and milk like the people who were cleaning out the store when I got there(Milk Sandwiches?), but for other stuff. The sort of stuff that makes being snowed in more fun. You know, Guacamole, Cherry Limeade, ingredients for 7 different kinds of cookies, some Ribs and Frito's, that sort of thing. My younger Daughter was worried about having enough Ramen. I was unaware till now that she'd developed something of a dependency on those little slabs of desiccated carbs. She's up to like 2 packs a day which would be more alarming if it wasn't the cheapest high in the world. 4 packs for a dollar.

It started Friday morning and was really getting going by the time I left work. When we got up yesterday morning we had 8" or so. My Wife feels compelled to start flinging snow whenever it gets deep enough to slide a shovel under, so we made a path down to the road where we'd parked the cars then went out a couple of times to keep it open as it filled back up or blew shut. The snow was still fluffy and light so it was nice to be out of the house with her working up an appetite for ribs and stuff. It didn't seem like a pointless drag even though by the time I took my Older Daughter to work at 3 for her shift at the Nursing Home it was pretty much like we'd never even tried.  By the time I went out at 7 to bring her home it was all a worn out Subaru could do to get back from town and you couldn't even see my tracks from an hour before. It kept it up all night and at about 2 am I woke up and looked out our bedroom window to see snow pouring down with the light of the full moon filtering through enough to bathe everything in this soft grey blue light. It made me sort of want to sneak out and go look around but I knew if I did the Dogs would wake up and think it was time to party/chase deer/bark at snow so I just went back to bed and watched it fall through the gap between the curtains.

There's a gravel driveway under there somewhere...
 This is what it looked like this morning.

Somewhere between where that Badger is sitting and where I was standing the drift was about 40" deep.  There was a Pileated Woodpecker drumming somewhere close while I was taking this picture but I never saw it...

See the cupola on the roof? When my friend Mike(who's a REAL Carpenter and one of the reasons the house I built is still standing) and I were up there setting trusses we got this bright idea to build a cupola up there. My Wife was a little surprised when she first saw it but it's become one of the best parts of our house. It's about 4 feet square up there and you can stand up and everything. It's the best place in the world to watch a thunderstorm(till lightning strikes a tree in the field behind the house, then it's a little Pee-ey-Scary) or to go up the morning after a blizzard and look out towards West Virginia and pretend you're in Narnia... It also allows me to tell people I live in a 5 story house without being that big a liar.
This is what it looked like this morning from up there.The farthest line of Mountains is the Alleghenies, West By God Virginia is on the other side. The grain elevator went up right after we moved in about 8 years ago. It sort of looms over the neighborhood but in photo's it's so small and faraway that it looks more like the Castle my Girls used to pretend it was when they were little. It looks like it belongs there now and we might even miss it if it disappeared. It's better than the rendering plant that's a couple of miles behind it. I'm surprised you can't see a little plume of stinky steam over there...
This is looking East, see the cars way down by the road? I've shoveled that stupid driveway dozens of times now. My wife at least twice that. It's the biggest hassle about living here and the reason we'll one day say "screw it" and move to town. Or maybe not.

Friday afternoon I realized I was too old to be bending over shoveling snow and made an extension handle for one of the shovels out of an old 3TTT threadless stem and a cut up and re-welded handlebar. OH MY WORD! IT'S SO MUCH BETTER! Maybe 1/4 of the misery. I'll have to make another one for my Sweetie, she didn't want to try it, maybe because she didn't want me to throttle back and stall but once she does I think she'll like it. I wont make any for the Princesses since they're still in their prime character building years and it could prevent them from becoming the Fierce Amazon Warriors they might otherwise be. The digging in the junk stem box and chopping/welding the old handlebar has been the only vaguely bicycle related thing I've done in about 2 weeks. I need to be working on some wheels and assembling a bike for a one of my Wife's Teacher Friends so I should probably get it in gear this week and stop taking off for "snow days".
Do you smell something?

This is the "playhouse" I built for my kids about 6 or 7 years ago.It ended up a bit bigger than I planned but I had a bunch of scrap lumber and some nice used barn siding. The left side is a storage room where we keep the mower and stuff. The area above it is a loft thats part of the "nice" part of the structure, the entrance to the cabin part in on the other end.At 12'x16' it should have had a building permit but whatever. Amurica! Don't tread on me and all that. I took a better picture of it showing the front door and the little front "porch" nestled in the snow covered evergreens but I must have deleted it somehow. 

 You can't tell from this angle but it's all finished inside, insulated and furnished with a couple of futons and a writing desk. We have campfires and cookouts out there when the weather's nice but since a spider was found in it before it was quite finished I'm the only person who's willing to sleep out there. Which I do whenever there's a bunch of High School Girls staying overnight and I need a bit of isolation or it's a fine spring night and I want to hear the Nighthawks calling and the Foxes barking as I drift in and out of sleep. It's one of my favorite places. Anyway, I haven't got a woodstove in there yet so hadn't been out there in maybe a month, when I checked today to make sure everything was OK in there I was a little freaked out to find that about a thousand of those nasty Brown Marmorated Stinkbugs have chosen it as their winter quarters. They're everywhere. They've even spelled out the words "KEEP OUT" on the inside of the window on the door with their creepy little bodies. It stinks like there's a thousand Brown Marmorated Stinkbugs in there as well. Not sure what I'm going to do about it. Maybe the spiders will get em'...

So tomorrow I'll have to go back to work in town while my Teacher Wife and High School Daughters have another snow day. I wish I could hang out with them some more but commerce has to be committed if we're going to be able to continue this extravagant lifestyle. I hope we get another storm before winter is through, just not so big and timed so I get a Friday or Monday off...


  1. I adore a fine Milk Sandwich, but not with a side of roasted dried Stinkbugs.
    (Those last need young Moldovan Brandy at the very least. Maybe Peanut Butter Schnapps.)
    We received about 8-10" that much snow yesterday. The Dachshund found himself digging a tunnel just to continue a walk around the block last night.

    Nice digs... Good to get a real look at such a singular spot. This might be the only place I know where one can go rummaging around for a biplane fork and find a biplane instead.

    Does it have a name? "Pedaler's End", or something like that?

    (A thought: maybe if you sweeten the deal by putting in that stove, the little snake from the Miata will move in and eat the stinkbugs.)

    1. Hey Corey,

      The Dachshund digging a tunnel is an interesting mental picture, all flying snow and thrashing drumsticks. My dogs had to be heaved(gently and with great tenderness) out the door with the least snow around it into the yard to "Get the morning started" if you know what I mean. Otherwise they would have simply quivered by the door, unable to make get up enough courage till their bladders exploded. Dogs that would leap out of a car window to get at a cat in another car at 80mph.

      No my estate has no name, at least not one we've given it. I once overheard someone at the store in the village/town/wide-spot-in-the-road where we live describe it as "That there Barn lookin' place where them people with the goats live". We hadn't gotten any goats yet at the time(a Redneck seer of the future?) but we've thought of adopting that as our "address" sometimes when trying to tell people which house is ours...