“I would like to register a complaint!”

Got a bit of snow here in the ‘banks over the past few days. Nothing on the order of what they dealt with in Cordova last winter but there has been enough deposition that local schools (and some gov’t agencies…) got a snow day. Keep in mind they do not close the schools here when it is -40. No, this was because of poor driving conditions, and that is smart as we have some world class idiot drivers around here. The last weather day I remember was the so called “Ice-pocolypse” of 2011, (just for the record I hate those little attempts at linguistic cleverness so favored by the modern media…”Frankenstorm” would be another example…just sounds juvenile to me) when the ‘banks got coated in a couple inches of ice because it decided to rain in late November.


As I understand it, in the past two days or so the area has received between 10 and 15 inches, depending on where you are…which really is not THAT much, but still. Anyways, we had been well below normal for snow accumulation but with this recent business I expect we are getting back on track. I would love to go skiing right about now, even though it would involve breaking some pretty deep trail…but there is a fair bit of shoveling to be done. I would love to go out and shovel right about now, even though it would involve some pretty hefty labor…but I am sick. I would love to say that being sick is the complaint I would like to register, but there is another issue that has me irritated… the weather forecast.


So we got this snow, which is awesome. This has made it warm, almost too warm –poor driving conditions remember- but just in time the clouds are breaking and the temps are starting to drop before things get too close to melting. Normally I would say this is perfect, and well, mostly it is. Except…

Today is the day, for both skiing and shoveling. Tomorrow would be OK as well . After that might be acceptable for shoveling but I do not much care for skiing in temperatures below -10 anymore; either way, this being sick business is keeping me from both. Dammit. With any luck I will get better just in time for the return to -40. I do not mean to sound bitchy -that is just the pestilence talking- but I am genuinely irritated by this juxtaposition of realities.

As I have mentioned previously (here for example) I rather like shoveling. Though I will admit again, it has not always been thus. Shoveling the kind of snow that we have here now can be an enjoyable challenge. It is with little foresight that one charges out with reckless abandon and simply tosses snow hither and thither. No, it ought rather be purposeful and directed…mindful shoveling if you will. Zen and the art of snow shoveling.

A driveway in Cordova last winter.

A driveway in Cordova last winter.

There are factors one must consider; the overall depth of the primary deposition, the direction and trajectory of the clearing effort (thus influencing the secondary deposition), and in my opinion the effect of the first two on any subsequent deposition. Finally, one must consider the long term effect of any significant deposition; i.e., one might be tempted to pile snow in low lying areas but stop and think for a minute what will happen when all that compacted snow melts…mosquito farms. I also have future construction efforts to think of, not only do I not want to pile snow up in front of key areas  (material supplies or work areas for example) but I also need to have a way to clear snow from those areas when I need to. So, often clearing snow here involves more than just shoveling. It can also involve temporary staging areas and transporting of snow from them to more distant removes…using a sled for example. Push or toss snow into a pile in an easily accessible spot, clear a path to a more distant spot, pile snow from first pile into sled and make successive trips to new snow dump…and don’t forget about drainage. And when considering drainage, one would be wise to factor in how the season has played out thus far… for example we had  some heavy rains just before freeze-up. This means that the ground was saturated when it froze…then it froze HARD because we had that first cold snap, and with very little snow for insulation. So the ground is not likely to soak up much of that melting snow, no it is more likely to pool up in all of the low lying areas.

Anyways. No skiing and not much shoveling (I will simply have to force myself to do some). Rather I will slouch around on the sofa trying in vain to stifle the occasional sneeze or cough so as to not send the dogface into these irrational fits of terror that she is prone to of late when someone makes a perfectly natural noise. Maybe later I will watch some more Monty Python…pining for the fjords indeed!

Dead Parrot sketch from Monty Python's And Now for Something Completely Different


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