Saturday, March 08, 2008

Ah, that lion...

March, in like a lion... I was scoffing at that just a few, short days ago. When will I learn? When will I learn not to ignore decades of conventional wisdom packaged into handy bite-sized nuggets for my convenience? In like a lion, indeed:


It's so bad, even the local bath house is closed:

Windy, too. 35 gusting something huge, and as it would be on just about any day, the wind is my enemy. The snow is not yet done falling, but what with my snow removal equipment limited to clearing accumulations of a mere 3 to 4 inches at a time, I have to keep up with it mid-blizzard. We've already had more than that, which in itself would be an increased difficulty, but to add a layer or two of even more increased difficulty the wind has blown it into much higher drifts.

And here, as you've come to expect from this writer, is my self-inflicted tale of woe: in years past, I have put out orange sticks along the edges of the driveway to outline the boundaries of the area I need to plow. The last couple of winters have been relatively light on snow, so the effort of putting out the markers went unrewarded. I didn't even think about it this year. Yesterday, when the first few inches had fallen and the doom-and-gloom weather guessers were calling for another 10 to 12 inches, I decided to go out and plow while I could still see the tips of grass poking out through the ground cover. Thus would be created some mounds of removed snow outlining the areas to be plowed. In theory.

What actually happened is those little mounds acted as accumulators for the snow being driven by the 35 mph winds. In other words, much of the 5 inches of snow laying on the open areas was blown into a nice trough between the mounds, creating a very deep pile of snow, in exactly the worst possible place.

So, on with the nice, warm Walmartt's (tm) that I bought in lieu of the very pricey Carhartt coveralls and out to the mighty 25 hp tractor and attached 48" snow blade. Only to get about 4 feet outside the garage before getting stuck behind the wall of snow that I was pushing. That was pretty much what went on for the ensuing hour (or more, I lost track of the time) of pushing, prodding, coercing, and downright begging of the snow to succumb to my will and get the hell off of my driveway. Going down the driveway was miserable. Turning around and coming back up, right into a 35 gusting infinity wind, itself propelling tiny little grains of sand-like ice directly onto the surfaces of my eyeballs, was miserable times ten.

But finally, FINALLY, enough of the driveway was cleared to get a car down to the impassable, unplowed road. Warm beer, that. A tediously created road to nowhere. It was like digging the Panama Canal, only to find that the Pacific side was only 2 feet deep, and thus useless to the ships that had traversed the canal.

Still, good work has its own inherent satisfactions, right? I backed the tractor into the garage, and as I let it idle for the 30 seconds required to keep it from backfiring when I shut it down, I walked out to survey my success. Which, as you can imagine, was already being filled in by the blowing snow.

Could be worse, though. Brave Sir Hogarth's "relief area" has snow drifts so high that the poor fellow is actually injecting liquid byproducts into the snow.

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