Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘shoveling snow

Not Bad

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Even though the cold is extreme, it is not impossible to be outside enjoying the crispness of the elements. Yesterday, after giving Delilah an abbreviated opportunity to have an extra loop from the barn past the labyrinth, which gave her one last chance to pee before heading in, I spent a little extra time outside doing some clean up of the snow I pulled off the roof the day before.

The bright sunshine was providing enough energy against the shingles to evaporate some of what remained after my raking. I took a picture to see if I could capture the steamy clouds wafting up off the roof, but mostly it highlighted the smoke coming out of the chimney from the cozy fire in our fireplace.

I wandered over to the wood splitter to see how some of the stringy specimens responded to the frigid temperature. As expected, the efficiency of my treasured splitter was nicely enhanced and I quickly dispatched several logs. Splitting wood wasn’t the main thing I wanted to work on, so I left more of that for another day. The cold weather is predicted to last long enough that I will have an opportunity to make greater headway on filling the woodshed next weekend.

My main objective was shoveling the snow that had come down off the roof the day before. It buried our backup generator and I want the vents kept clear so it can breathe for its weekly automatic 12-minute maintenance run each Wednesday. That pile of snow was as dense and firm as possible after setting overnight in the deep freeze. It would have been a cinch to dig a snow-cave into that mound, but my objective was to remove it, so the density was more of a hassle.

From the generator, I made my way around the house to the back deck. The two roof-valleys on the backside of our house hadn’t been cleared yet all winter, basically a neglectful mistake on my part. Since I don’t see them every day like I do the front, they fall into the “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” category. When I do think of them, my faulty logic figures the increased sun exposure of the southern orientation will help reduce the need for my added effort.

Boy, was I wrong. As I made my way around the house with the roof rake on Saturday, each valley I came to ended up having more snow and was more difficult to pull down. I now hope this lesson will inspire me to put in the effort to stay ahead of the game by cleaning all four valleys each time snow accumulates, just to prevent it from becoming exponentially more difficult when conditions eventually force the need to avert ice dam accumulation.

While I was out on the deck shoveling, twice I heard the loud SNAP of tree trunks cracking in the cold. Since it was far from the coldest point of the 24-hour cycle of a temperature swing, it caused me to wonder if the sunshine on the dark bark contributed to some significant temperature variant that brought the stress beyond what it could handle.

It’s warm enough to melt snow on the shingles at 5-below and cold enough to grow ice formations on the facial hair of a warm-blooded human.

Harsh, but not really all that bad.

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Written by johnwhays

February 8, 2021 at 7:00 am

Wintry Spring

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The weather prank that would have fit nicely on April Fools’ Day happened two days late for that honor. Yesterday afternoon the flakes started flying and, beautiful as they can be, didn’t stop until there was an ugly couple of inches covering everything.

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Overnight last night, the temperature dropped to 22°(F) making it not only look like winter but feel like it, too.

April showers are supposed to bring May flowers. Well, April snow just might be an improvement on that because the snow tends to stay in place and soak the ground as it melts. If the forecasts are correct, this snow will disappear quickly.

The temperature shows signs of reaching 70 by Tuesday they are saying.

Growing things should find that enticing.

My reaction is to give the lawn tractor attention in preparation for the season ahead.

It is always startling when the number of days between putting away the snow shovel and getting out the lawnmower can be counted on the fingers of my two hands.

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Written by johnwhays

April 4, 2020 at 9:23 am

Even Icier

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If my experience yesterday on the south side of our house ends up being typical for any of you who happen to also be in the Twin Cities area that received rain over Thanksgiving weekend, I recommend that you check your roof for ice beneath the snow. There were areas where the frozen crust was two inches thick on our roof. That adds a lot of weight.

I knew there was an annoying frozen crust beneath the snow around here because it has made both plowing and shoveling a complex and frustrating endeavor, but I had no idea the result on the roof was so pronounced.

I struggled mightily to break through the thick frozen layer beneath the multiple inches of snow yesterday by turning the Avalanche Deluxe head on its side and chopping out small pieces at a time.

Using the head with the plastic film, I was only able to slide down the loose snow that was on top of the thick crust, but that still moved more snow, faster, with one stroke upwards than I ever did when trying to pull it all down with my old rake.

I’m just as pleased with my purchase today as I was after the first use on Saturday.

The only disadvantage of the ease of pulling the snow off the roof is the resulting large amount of densely packed snow on the deck, steps, and walkways that then needs to be shoveled away.

That project takes a lot longer than the time it took to bring it all down off the roof.

Shoveling it off the deck was made appropriately more laborious by the chunks of ice slabs mixed in with the snow.

I am very thankful for the forecast showing a few days with sun ahead and no days with precipitation in the next week to allow time for the raked roof to respond to the new exposure with some serious evaporation.

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Written by johnwhays

December 16, 2019 at 7:00 am

All Day

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Two all day things: It snowed all day yesterday and we shoveled all day. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!

On Wednesday night, we noticed all the school districts in our vicinity were announcing they would be closed on Thursday, so I decided that was a pretty good clue that I shouldn’t try driving to the day-job. As a result, I am going in today, in a swap of days for my 4-day work week.

Sitting at my desk today will be a welcome relief from the strenuous exercise of shoveling for hours on end.

I took a little break to see what the horses thought of all these flying flakes. Cyndie caught a picture of Dezirea and me giving each other the eye. I think the horses were growing weary of the long duration of snowfall.

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Cayenne was sporting some cute curls in her long wet winter growth.

I got out the snowshoes to walk Delilah on our trails through the woods. She was so fired up to be out in the deep snow that she wanted to run, but I couldn’t keep up with her at that pace. I felt bad slowing her down.

The chickens showed no interest in leaving the coop. I snowshoed all around the coop to pack down the snow for whenever they decide to come out again. It’s probably going to be too cold for them today, but eventually, they will get tired of being cooped up (literally!) and venture out into the world again.

We have one Buff Orpington that doesn’t seem to be her normal self. We think she may have scrapped with that possum and be suffering some ill effects as a result. Cyndie couldn’t see any obvious physical wounds, so we have decided to just keep her comfortable and see if time heals whatever might be bothering her.

Today, I’m hoping to not do any shoveling all day. I’m expecting to be confused by this disruption of my normal routine, commuting and being at work on a Friday.

I expect it’s going to make my weekend seem unusually short, but my body will appreciate today’s break in the manual labor of property management chores.

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Written by johnwhays

February 8, 2019 at 7:00 am

Not Logical

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For all the changes we have put in place since moving to this property in the fall of 2012, there are still plenty of things that we have left the same. One of them is totally illogical if you know anything about my penchant for clearing snow with almost neurotic precision.

The sidewalks from the driveway to the front and back doors of the house have a layer of river rock and stone slabs on top of the original smooth cement, providing an attractive rustic appearance.

We love how they look, but I gotta tell ya, they are the absolute worst when it comes to shoveling snow. It is illogical that I have kept them through the years, don’t you think? But here’s the thing: earlier in my life I would not have tolerated the difficulty of sliding the shovel to clear snow, yet in our time here, I have overcome that need for perfection.

It is unquestionably a hassle to shovel, but I have devised a technique that works well enough to get the job done. Basically, I turn our shovel over and sweep the snow out into a pile I can toss away.

The most significant thing about this really is that I have decided to accept it as not being a problem. It’s not logical.

That’s something of a milestone for me.

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Written by johnwhays

February 14, 2018 at 7:00 am