Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘blowing snow

Cold Enough

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How many days have I been writing about this latest cold spell? Don’t answer that. I don’t want to know.  I naively suspected the cold wouldn’t last unusually long, but I was wrong. According to the latest update of the forecast, not only will our cold spell be continuing, it is anticipated that it will bite even deeper this weekend than last.

The week of minor flurries and consistent wind slowly served to fill the edges of our plowed driveway with growing drifts to the point I needed to scrape them back last night.

The sides are soon reaching the limits of my blade’s ability to roll them over. I expect the next accumulation will result in a narrower overall width. At least we have made it to the second week of February. Winter is almost over, isn’t it? Don’t answer that.

I’ve lived long enough to know better than to get my hopes up about that.

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Written by johnwhays

February 11, 2021 at 7:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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Necessity Invents

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I was running out of options, in regard to clearing snow. In addition to the advancing drifts narrowing the bottom half of our driveway, we are facing the possibility of more heavy, wet snow this coming weekend. If I don’t open up some space, the next snowfall would really be a pain to clear.

Necessity being the mother of invention, I needed to figure out a way to open more width along the rise where the drifting occurs.

It was tedious, but using the most available tool –our Grizzly plow– I decided to make a series of 45-degree pushes in little “bites” to move the bank out wider. In the first 20 feet, I got stuck twice, and needed to shovel my way out.

Getting hung up like that was not going to cut it, if I was going to finish this project all at once. I needed to alter my technique.

I decided to skip ahead to focus on the narrowest section first. If getting stuck was going to keep me from getting very far, I should at the very least widen the narrowest portion of the plowed driveway.

I can’t say it was any particular savvy on my part, other than recognizing what was happening, but my switch to a new spot arbitrarily reversed my direction so that I was cutting into the snow bank from the opposite angle. In so doing, I ended up pushing first with the skinny side of the plow blade.

It quickly became apparent that this orientation facilitated backing out, while coming from the other direction was getting me hung up on the wide end of the blade.

I didn’t get stuck once finishing the rest of that whole southern stretch of the driveway.

John – 1; Drifts – 0.

I win!

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Written by johnwhays

March 6, 2019 at 7:00 am

Endless Loop

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Our weather is like a broken record, in the sense of a vinyl record, where the needle gets stuck, jumping back to play the same sound over and over. I almost titled this post, “Broken Record,” but I figured most people younger than me might miss the connotation.

“Needle gets stuck?!”

Our weather is like an endless loop of snow and cold, with barely a break between.

Delilah is showing increasing weariness over the deep snow and brutally cold temperatures. I had to cut short our afternoon walk on Sunday because her feet were bothering her. She would walk a short distance and then lay down to tend to her paws while I waited.

It became very clear that she was happy with my decision to reverse direction and head straight back to the house.

She allowed me to pause for a picture of the labyrinth, covered in an unblemished winter blanket. The path is impossible to discern.

Even though it hadn’t snowed all day yesterday, as I approached home on my commute from work, there seemed to be a surprising amount of snow in the air.

The wind was blowing last Friday’s fresh powder aloft. Is that a big deal? It was when I reached our driveway. A drift was forming on a large portion of the southern banks of the already narrow opening.

Reminds me of the predicament I was managing last week in the wee hours of the morning.

It’s an endless loop.

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Written by johnwhays

March 5, 2019 at 7:00 am

Different Bad

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We thought Sunday morning was bad, what with its dose of a slippery ice-glaze over every surface turning navigation from the house to the barn into a risky balance-testing feat.

Yesterday’s winter storm was very different. School districts around the region started announcing closures before bedtime on Sunday night! Since we were watching the Academy Awards show, it was impossible to miss the added drama of concern about the weather, as it constantly rolled across the bottom of the screen.

The number of school districts grew with each pass of the alphabetically sorted scroll. When the names of the biggest districts in the state showed up, it lent significant credence toward the probability I should plan to avoid trying to travel to work.

I hemmed and hawed over my options, ultimately making the decision before going to sleep. I would stay home.

After sleeping past my normal alarm time for a work day, I woke to discover I could have made the drive in if I’d gotten up like usual. I knew that was a possible result when I decided the night before to stay home, so I wasn’t too frustrated with myself at that point. The real concern was going to be the drive home.

Since I didn’t drive in, the plan was that I wouldn’t need to worry about the drive home.

Except, the real onset of the accumulating snow ended up happening late enough in the day that I could have worked a full shift, after all. I would have been home before things really began to get hazardous.

It was odd having stayed home from work all day when the view out the window looked so harmless. Postings on the local Live Weather Updates site of our public radio network kept warning that the onset was still coming, just delayed a bit from original guesses.

Their warnings ultimately proved totally justified.

Before the precipitation, the wind was gusting to startling degrees. Cyndie reported hearing a tree falling, but wasn’t sure about the location. I was a little nervous about venturing through the woods to look for it while the gusts were still raging.

The snow finally showed up for us around 3:30, and by 4:00, it was already hard to see beyond our property borders. We were suddenly isolated from the world, and being battered by unrelenting swarms of stabbing snowflake blades.

I succeeded in making it to the mailbox and back with Delilah, but she looked like she thought the expedition was a ridiculous idea, gladly retreating indoors when we made it back to the house. Cyndie was tending to the horses and chickens, and I figured she would be in shortly behind us.

Ten minutes later, I looked up from what I was doing and realized the visibility outside had dropped down to almost zero. The snow was coming so thick and wind-blown, I became concerned about how Cyndie was coping. I decided to gear up and go check. This wasn’t just bad weather, this was wicked!

Careful not to blindly pass her, in case she came up a different route than I went down, I squinted for signs of her outline. She was at the chicken coop. The hens had jumped one of the half doors into the barn and didn’t want to return to the coop. Who could blame them? She was hand carrying them back.

I helped to get the last two and we closed up the coop and then the barn doors.

Had I driven to work, I was planning to stay overnight at her parent’s house. Given how crazy, and sometimes even a bit scary it got yesterday afternoon and evening, I’m glad I stayed home.

Regardless how bad it wasn’t earlier in the day, it was worth it so that Cyndie didn’t have to face all this bad weather drama alone.

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Cold Morn

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It was warm yesterday in that relative way that 32° F feels on a January day in our region. That makes this morning’s well below zero wind chill feel so bitterly bone chilling harsh.

IMG_4226eLast night Cyndie and I were comfortably lounging by the fire when our daughter, Elysa, phoned to report she and Anne were coming to spend the night. If they hadn’t driven through the blowing snow, we wouldn’t have noticed how nasty the weather had turned until we were ready for bed and giving Delilah one last chance to pee for the night.

Their arrival and report of blowing snow alerted us to conditions we’d rather not make the horses endure. It is a good thing we didn’t neglect them. By the time we got out to ready the stalls and bring in the horses, they were already wet with blown snow and Cayenne was shivering as the temperature plummeted.

This morning in the barn the horses were warm and dry, allowing Cyndie to cover them in their newly washed blankets and let them out for some exercise in the daylight. They will definitely be back in the barn tonight for the even more extreme drop into the negative temperature numbers.

IMG_4224eIt is hard to determine how much snow fell, because there has been so much wind. The snowplows were out clearing the roads of drifts, but I don’t need to do much work on the deck. All we have is a small mountain range that drifted up to the back door. The rest of the wood has been blown clean and dry.

Clean, dry, and COLD!

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Written by johnwhays

January 4, 2015 at 11:29 am