Thursday, February 15, 2007

Welcome Winter! (or How I spent Valentine's Day)

My oh my, but winter has arrived. I am one of those folks who genuinely likes cold weather, but with the storm that blew through the northeast over the last several days, I may have to change my preference.

(I took this photo out of a window this morning, then saw Cathy's wonderful icicle shot.)

I mean, when I said I like winter, I didn't mean WINTER. And that's what we got with this storm. I know, I know--all the folks in upstate New York would trade for our piddling snow piles. Or folks in Manitoba might say--you call that snow? Sigh.

We had snow, then sleet, then rain, then snow. The result was a leaden soggy heavy icy mess. Yesterday, my husband and I cleared out the driveway and sidewalks. We are good township citizens and try to honor the 24-hour clear sidewalks rule.

Ten years ago, we bought a new snow blower. It is to regular snow blowers what Tyrannosaurus Rex was to regular dinosaurs. It is a behemoth.

It all started this way. A bit more than ten years ago, our son and his fiancee were living in Troy, NY. When they decided to move to Pittsburgh, they asked for our help, which consisted of my husband helping them to move, and me staying here and caring for pets--theirs and ours. Right about this time there was a ridiculous snow storm which dumped about 4 feet of snow on central PA. To avoid the snow, my husband took a most unusual route to get from Troy to Pittsburgh--basically, he traveled to Buffalo, then headed south! Who would think that the Buffalo route would be the one to avoid snow.

Anyway, I was staying at our house, watching the snow pile up. We had a snow blower, but when it came to blowing snow 4 feet plus to get over the existing snow banks, well, it just couldn't do it. That's where behemoth blower comes in. Right after that storm, we purchased the new blower which could clear 4 feet easily. And, of course, global warming set in, and we have barely had to use it in 10 years, so it sat in the back of the garage waiting.

Until yesterday. Yesterday, my husband dressed warmly, even breaking out new boots (!) and headed out. He started up the behemoth -- oops, blower -- without too much trouble. And then the moment of truth. It was like trying to snow blow a frozen pond. Because the last part of the storm was rain it had mostly sealed the top layer. So, I went in front of him with an edger chopping up the hard crust so the teeth of the snow blower could dig in. Well, we won. But only after over-doing our muscles and exhausting ourselves.

I had a passing thought about women in Africa who I have seen beating corn maize in a large mortar and pestel arrangement. And that's how I felt chopping up the snow.

Ah--Valentine's Day, when two people who love each other and have been together for a long time, want only to spend time together and . . . clear the driveway!


Ruth said...

Chopping through ice-crusted snow is not fun. You pictures are lovely though. I like the comparison you make with African women beating corn maize. Hope your muscles are not too sore today!

Cathy said...

Donna! Don't go gettin' soft on me. You know you asked for this winter stuff ;0)

That was a huge job you and your hubby faced. I'll bet you had a wonderful appetite that night and slept great.

(Thanks for the nice comment about my icicle)

LauraHinNJ said...

Togetherness is all that matters.


Mary said...

I'm seeing lots of icicles on blog posts this week. They are all exquisite but I'm wishing warmer weather for everyone.

That sounds like very hard work. I agree with Laura, togetherness is all that matters!

Pam said...

All snow is muuuuuuch better!

Anonymous said...

From the perspective of a whole month with lows of minus 30 Celsius, I'm trying my best not to downplay the severity of winter weather in Pennsylvania. I'm trying really, really hard!

I know that ice is worse than snow -- that's why I like living in Manitoba. So I believe you that this blast of winter was bad: of course, if it had been a few degrees colder, you wouldn't have had all that ice. You see, it is global warming's fault!

As an aside, I have purchased a scanner, and hope to put some of the few pictures I have online for you to remember yourself a few years ago. Stay tuned.

Love, Daryl (signed is as anonymous, because blogger won't let me in today)

Pam said...

We didn't get the ice, thank goodness. Your pictures make me want a blanket, popcorn and a movie. Winter has it's beauty but as I age, I find that I'm not too nuts about the cold.

Anonymous said...

We have no icicles. We got only snow, none of the freezing rain and sleet. Ice is much worse to deal with, but pretty.

I like your Valentine flag. Did you make it?