Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hunkering Down

I was wondering when Winter was going to get cranked up. Until a week ago or so, we had been treated kindly, gently, like the State of Maine somehow moved 500 miles to the South. I remember wearing shorts and a Tee into the first week of December. Damn odd weather.

Apparently someone was asleep at the switch. One of the minions left in charge of firing off that first salvo of Winter's assault dropped the ball and is now in charge of any weather conditions involving a blue moon. Naturally as these managerial snafus go, someone higher up was probably responsible. But they managed to create the impression it was a middle management issue. This could not have been something Ma Nature overlooked on her own.

When it was discovered that Maine had somehow missed out on what was due, lost time was made up with a brutal ice storm a little over a week ago, and then 12" of snow in back to back storms this past week. I guess we are still not caught up yet. Another 10" to 18" of snow is due today. A classic Nor'Easter.

I remember back in the day when my father was still predicting weather. He would say if you can smell SD Warren ( A paper mill about 45 miles to the Northeast), bad weather was on it's way. Unfortunately there are always negative side effects to what people call progress. Once SD Warren was forced to clean up the emissions coming out of their stacks, our best warning system for bad weather shit the bed. Of course the quality of life for those folks living outside SD Warren's gates has improved immensely. Positive change for some is never positive for everyone.

As much as I hold most weather people in low regard and no matter how envious I am of someone who is paid to be wrong much of the time, I have learned that when all of them agree, what they agree on will most likely happen. There is also my own ability to predict weather. Live somewhere long enough and you get a feel for when new weather is approaching. Since it really hasn't stopped snowing since the last storm and the wind is still coming out of the Norteast when it is blowing, I can tell we are in for another round of crap.

All the locals can feel it. Everyone is pushing back the snow further than usual in anticipation of this next round. The grocery carts are full of staples like water, batteries and candles. Vehicles are being topped off at the gas pumps. Firewood is being stacked closer to the house. Everyone's day seems to revolve around doing something to get ready for the new weather.

I am really grateful I took the time to clean up the roadside damage from the last ice storm. I could have shined it on, but would now regret it. By cleaning up the downed branches, I have removed possible threats to smooth snow removal in the future. The town plows won't be driving the branches into my drive and yard. Which will then not be cause for snow blower jam. A condition that can make me homicidal. Nothing worse than a snow blower dying part way through a removal job. Being forced to shovel over a 150 feet of driveway will often leave me in a mood to find the first weather guy I can and ......well, let's just say a snow shovel is not my favorite hand tool.

I still have some prep work left to do. I have to rake snow off the roof. I have to dig out the shed. And I would love to set off a couple of more burn piles I have set up but not torched yet. I only burn one at a time now days. A neighbor once had three or four piles going and well he ended up almost losing his house. I am not so cocky to think that it would never happen to me. Especially as I consider my neighbor a smarter man than I. Burn one pile at a time, but burn it well. I don't care that a fire could only spread to my house through all this snow by me carrying it in and setting it up in the basement or one of the bedrooms. I don't get fresh with fire. Fire is final. It does not leave much behind.

And so it begins. At 9:19 AM, we have horizontal snow for the second time in three days. See ya on the other side.


BBC said...

Mankind has messed up the planet so much that it's hard to say how the weather is going to go.

But I know this, mother nature is going to whip our butts and it's going to get worse.

I take weather reports with a grain of salt, stay prepared and take what comes at me.

Very nice home compared to my dumpy little shack, still, I'm glad it's not mine. I don't like that own me.

I clear my driveway by hand, about 80 feet. To much bother to maintain another machine for what little it would get used.

I guess I could try making a peddle powered plow, that's a thought.

Demeur said...

We got creamed here. Another 6 or 7" on top of 6". I don't see much moving out there except some SUVs from time to time. I live in a condo so I can let somebody else shovel unless I'm feeling kind. I hope this is the end of this mess, but I see it's starting again. Oh well another day of watching monkeys run into each other.

Gary ("Old Dude") said...

One quickly adapts to one's environment, one learns to be prepared, at least most do, but there are always a few newbies that get caught----we just had a two day rain, and the way the local news reported it, they made it sound like the end of the world. Temps are getting down to 40's at night, more rain predicted for this week---may be a wet Christmas---however well stocked on food and potables---so will be a good xmas regardless of the weather.----(whats a snow shovel?)(lol)

Kathi D said...

That is a beautifully written post!

Anonymous said...

At our house we know a storm is coming when we can smell the feed lots from Greeley.
We're in Chicago right now, trying to drive to Iowa and not die trying. We have high hopes for tomorrow. A full tank of gas and a van that was just checked over...we should get there ok. I hope.
Hunker down, man, and stay warm!

Bull said...

Dang. Thought I'd commented yesterday but think I hit "Preview' instead of post?

Too much trying to remember what I wrote.

Great post, glad to see you 'back". Stay warm.

Randal Graves said...

Speaking of fire, have you thought about a flamethrower? Sure, all that melted snow will quickly become ice, but that's what they invented skates for. Don't get caught in any shifting snow drifts.

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

Hey Crum... it's Monday, around mid-day. We're getting whumped up here in Atlantic Zanzibar by the same storm you posted about. Helluva mess.... but apparently a better day is coming tomorrow.

Middle Ditch said...

I am, of course, green with envy because we hardly ever get any snow here. And if it does snow, it's gone within hours.

I remember, years ago, when my children were small, that it began to snow at around five in the afternoon. By eight o'clock, and the tiny tots safely tucked in their beds, a real nice layer had formed. I knew this wouldn't last until morning.

I woke the kids, dressed them over their jimjams and off we went for a walk in the virgin snow.

They are well in their twenties now but still remember the magic of that evening.

I also know everything about setting things on fire. When we still had our coal fire and the hot ashes had to go out, I discovered a nice deep hole under the hedge. Perfect for those ashes. I filled up that hole nicely until one evening one of my neighbours knocked on the door and pointed at a fiercely burning hedge. Lesson learned.

MrMacrum, I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas and a happy and peaceful new year.

Hugs and LOL

Anonymous said...

I don't mind snow as long as we don't need medication; we have food and the heat stays on, the only time we leave the house is when some idiot (who didn't stay home) ends up in our ditch and Joe goes and shoves them out.

Utah Savage said...

We too are having strange weather. Much worse for us this December. Now I know why you haven't been getting around much. You have been very busy. Good work.