Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘mailbox

Getting Out

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I’m burnin’ daylight, what little there is today. I have a full day of work ahead of me clearing snow and entertaining the “every-hour-I-need-attention” canine. I need to make this post short and get outside to shovel, plow, rake, and shovel again. Oh, and I need to reattach the mailbox, as usual.

The plow had only made its first pass by the time Delilah and I made our way down to the road to find the mailbox tossed down into the ditch. I won’t bother reattaching it until the plow passes one more time to clear snow off the shoulder.

Do you think this will inspire me to install a “plow-proof” mount that swings away? Probably not. I’ve toiled seven years already like this, so I suspect the most I might do is take another crack at erecting a legal obstruction to deflect the force of the snow spray away from the vulnerable surface of the mailbox.

At least the plastic sliding grooves are designed such that the box just pops off the base each time, so it can be replaced again with relative ease.

Time to go outside and play!

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Written by johnwhays

January 18, 2020 at 9:54 am

Snow Wrecker

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The worst thing to happen during snow season is a rainstorm. Dry snow is so much better than wet snow. Wet snow becomes slush after a time, and after the day-long rainfall we experienced yesterday, we ended up with nothing but a soupy slush.

The ground is frozen enough below the snow that water won’t soak in. Instead, it pools until the water reaches an outlet to the next lowest spot.

The drainage from the paddocks that flows across the back pasture was running like a river when Delilah and I braved the rain for her mid-day walk.

She made it across without much effort, but my big feet were going to make a definite splash. I stopped to gather my courage and plan my maneuver. Delilah busied herself with a face wash while waiting for me to take some pictures.

Everything I tried to do was made significantly more complicated by the umbrella I was fumbling to keep over my head.

As we neared the road on this typical trek around the property, I spotted the stump where our mailbox is usually mounted. That meant a snowplow must have roared past and tossed up a blade-full of the slush; a mass that packs more punch than my plastic mailbox can survive.

We found the box portion unceremoniously discarded upside down in the ditch, soaking up rain. Luckily, the plow had blown by before the mail delivery arrived, so there were no drenched bills inside.

Delilah growled at the odd scene as we approached.

I guess I kind of growled, too. Expletives.

The paddocks are a disaster of packed down slush, transformed into a dangerously hard and slippery wet surface against which the horses struggle to maneuver their hefty weight. We didn’t bring them inside overnight Wednesday, despite it ending up being the smarter thing to have done.

I brought them inside last night, with hope they might appreciate it even more, after their previous misery.

Even Pequenita was able to express her opinion about the nasty conditions outside yesterday, even though she is supposed to be an exclusively indoor cat.

Before the rain had totally destroyed the several inches of new snow that had fallen on the deck at the beginning of this weather event, I was preparing to light a fire in the fireplace. I opened the door to grab some kindling from the box out there, without noticing the cat had positioned herself right in front of me.

‘Nita walked outside before I had a chance to corral her.

Two steps into the sloppy snow, she just stopped. It was not a good day for an escape.

Maybe not good for her. Escape is pretty much all I want to do from this weather fiasco.

Rain has no place in our northern snow belt during winter. Bah, humbug!

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Written by johnwhays

December 28, 2018 at 7:00 am

Novel Approach

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Almost every time we experience a significant snowfall, the snow thrown up by the plow clearing our road knocks our mailbox off its post. Luckily, our mailbox is made of molded plastic, and can be remounted with moderate effort, but the plastic is getting damaged a bit each time. Also, it is annoying to be forced to fix it after every storm.

I’ve been pondering coming up with some way to shield the mailbox from a direct blow by deflecting the snow that rolls off the plow blade as the truck races past. One idea was to make a decorative arching arbor over the mailbox. Another was to create some variation of a cone shape that I could mount on a post beside the mailbox so the blast of snow from the plow would be deflected around the wide, flat surface area of the mailbox. Both of these solutions would best be fabricated during any time of the year that is not winter. Since the problem of snow storms will be around for a while yet this year, I’ve been hoping to come up with something I could try immediately.

IMG_iP0516eIMG_iP0515eI decided to try making a deflector out of snow last night. When the sun dropped below the horizon, I figured I better get some pictures of the progress up to that point, while there was still enough light to see it, but these shots were taken before I finished it with a wider top to cover the exposed ends of the mailbox.

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My hope is that it will freeze solid enough before the first test that it doesn’t just collapse and add mass to snow that rolls off the blade into the side of our mailbox as the truck cruises by.

I won’t have long to wait. The storm warning we are under today is for 8-12 inches of snow, followed by heavy winds. The threat is significant enough that the Governor of Wisconsin has declared a state of emergency! That’s enough to keep Cyndie and me home from our workplaces and off the roads for the day, where we’ll be saving our energy for yet another session of plowing and shoveling to come. …And trying to figure out where we are going to put it all!

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Written by johnwhays

February 20, 2014 at 7:00 am

Day’s Difference

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Here are the images I took on Tuesday morning, after the overnight dump of almost a foot of snow. It is hard to get an exact measure of the total amount, because, it is so heavy and wet, it compacts on itself as it accumulates.

When I left for work on Tuesday, the road beyond our driveway had only been plowed one-lane wide. That made it really nerve-wracking to climb the hills, not knowing what might be approaching from the other side. Luckily, there was no other traffic at that hour.

By the time Cyndie left, the plow had made another pass, and she discovered that it blew our mailbox off its post, again. With how heavy the water-logged snow was, it didn’t surprise me one bit to hear.

Next winter, I may need to strap that mailbox down, or I may be repairing it after every heavy snowfall. The plastic platform on top of the post, which is where a mounting screw is supposed to find purchase, is showing signs of wear, after the two dramatic failures this year.

When I got home from work yesterday, I re-mounted the mailbox, and then pumped up the tires on the new trailer, putting it to work moving firewood. I hauled the last of the split wood that the sellers had left stowed under the eve of the barn, moving it up to the wood rack we bought for the deck.

IMG_2109eI took a picture of the trailer in action, which shows how quickly the snow disappears in the late-April sun. What a difference a day makes.

The water run-off was really flowing! I spotted something very interesting while inspecting how well it was running off the plowed field to the north of our property, and into our ditch, where a culvert runs under the driveway.

Just to the left of where the water was flowing in a concisely defined stream, there was a small pool that appeared to be bubbling up from the ground. I figured it was an optical illusion, and that it was just more of the flow through the grassy area.

I hopped from the edge of the driveway, through the flowing water, to get across the ditch, for a closer inspection. I moved all the grass away, to verify there was no above-ground stream feeding this flow. Sure enough, this water was bubbling up from below grade. I stuck my boot down into it, but didn’t really feel anything noteworthy.

That served to cloud up the water with the silty soil. Most revealing was how quickly that cloudiness was replaced by the very clear water that was flowing up from below. This was a classic example of what I had read about, where the spring appears when the ground in the area is saturated with water. I will keep an eye on it, checking to see how quickly after things dry up around here, the water ceases to flow from that spot.

I’m guessing it won’t be running for very long. And, if I discover that I am wrong about that, I’d be delighted.

Written by johnwhays

April 25, 2013 at 7:00 am