Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘icicles

Relief Comes

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The temperature climbed above zero (F) yesterday. Given the reference point of the biting cold that we have been subject to for the last couple of weeks, stepping out into the February sunshine felt remarkably comfortable. Warm, even. Though it really wasn’t.

Just a little relief from the hunched clenching posture we and the chickens have been maintaining opens up a surprising amount of renewal in mind and body. Rocky and the hens were taking full advantage of the sunny wall on the end of the barn where we clear the snow for them.

Cyndie said the yellow Buff Orpington visible in the background of the image was digging in to take a little dust bath.

In a crazy coincidence of timing, Cyndie sent me a text about how big the icicle had grown from the corner of the barn roof. I suggested she knock it down proactively to avoid it falling unexpectedly. By the time she arrived to tend to the task, it had already fallen on its own.

Apparently, the frozen stalactite sensed our plan just as we were hatching it and took matters up with good old gravity to save us any extra trouble.

I struggle to reconcile a mixture of glee and guilt over the relative good fortune we are enjoying compared to the weather much of the rest of our country is suffering. The extreme cold we have dealt with is something we have lifetimes of experience and knowledge to cope with, while the cold and snow disrupting life in Texas and beyond is bizarrely out of the ordinary for them.

I feel for the hassles they are dealing with while also being grateful we have been spared a similar level of calamity.

May the southern states appreciate how quickly their climbing temperatures will melt the uncharacteristic amounts of snow that have fallen on them as we endure the typical long, slow transition from winter to spring our latitude abides.

Either way, relief does eventually come.

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Written by johnwhays

February 17, 2021 at 7:00 am

Quick Melt

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Yesterday was a day of blue sky and above freezing temperatures. The world around us responded emphatically.

It seems only fair. The winter storm that rolled over us last weekend came with its own significant emphasis. When I got to work on Monday, I was greeted by a three-foot drift that filled the sidewalk to our front door.

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I needed to shovel my way into work.

Yesterday’s swift melting was spring’s perfect response to the double-digit blast of snow.

The metal roof of the shop-garage is always a source of creative snow-melt. Before the large icicles had a chance to break off the edge of the roof, the entire mass of snow lost grip with the roof and slid down, curling as it rolled over the lip.

The sideways icicle made for a spectacular visual.

As the sun headed for the horizon, I spotted the withering snow mass covering the deck. I have no idea why the snow melted the way it did, but it became a blanket of patterned bumps that I have never seen before. Turn the image upside down and it could be a mammatus cloud formation.

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It didn’t feel possible last weekend, but I do believe spring is going to finally respond to the earth tilt that is lengthening our hours of sunlight.

Yep, we are finally getting a quick melt to this very long, slow winter. At this point, I’ll gladly take it.

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Written by johnwhays

April 18, 2018 at 6:00 am

Harvesting Popsicles

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It’s still February on the calendar, but our warm days have started the sap flowing in the trees already. As a result, the leaking wounds on our recently pruned maple trees are forming sap-sicles with a sublime sweetness and hint of maple flavor.

dscn5856eThe daytime temperature yesterday reached the melting point and the mostly sunny sky created the magical act of disappearing snow. I pulled the drifted snow off the roof over the front door and along the valleys beneath the main peak and the shingles started steaming instantly as they absorbed the solar energy and warmed up.

I had started the day with a walk down the driveway to assess the condition and found it to be a frozen mess. The snow that fell during the second half of the storm, after I had plowed once, was melting into a slush that had re-frozen overnight into an un-plowable mass.

That shifted my morning focus to shoveling. By the time I got to plowing in the afternoon, much of the driveway was exposed pavement. I cleaned up the edges, battling to keep the blade from slicing into the soft turf, and then worked on the gravel section around the barn.

That was a trick. The snow was sticky and the gravel soft. The task gets a bit less forgiving, requiring more attention to detail than I really wanted to give it. It becomes a mental wrestle to convince myself the chore even needs to be done, and if so, how thorough to follow through.

dscn5857eDo I need to leave space for more snow to follow? Will this be melted and gone by the time we next receive another plowable amount of accumulation?

I parked the Grizzly in the sunshine to melt the snow off the blade while I pulled out a shovel to clean up the edges. That’s when some maple-sicles caught my eye.

The first bites at the bottom are the sweetest and the texture is softer than frozen water. There is no question that these are not typical icicles. The hint of maple flavor is a wonderful natural reward.

I wonder how many grams of sugar I added to my diet yesterday.

That’s not counting the icing I ate on the couple of pieces of Cyndie’s spice cake I snuck in…

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Written by johnwhays

February 26, 2017 at 9:58 am