Saturday, February 6, 2010

Six More Weeks? The Deuce, You Say!

The Weather Service would not commit yesterday. You might get a foot of snow. Or maybe about four inches. Who can say?

You bastards.

So, turns out, it might have been a good idea to bestir ourselves after Perfesser Chaos' last fire call last night and plow out the driveway when we had only 11 inches.

Because Tractor-San is a game little thing, but we cannot even raise the blade high enough that it does not act as an anchor.

A man might come tomorrow to extract us. I'm not sure what it's going to cost us. We've actually jumped the queue on account of PK being a firefighter. Even though his substation is only about a quarter mile away, he can't get there fast enough on snowshoes to make the truck when the pager goes off. Depending on where I sink the yardstick, we've got between 18-22 inches, and are going nowhere.

Meanwhile, we still have power, there's oil in the tanks, wood in the shed, plenty of toilet paper, half a case of home brew, a whole case of Mexican Coca-Cola, two bottles of rum, 80 pounds of beef scrap for dogs, and a couple new Netflix on hand.

Four pairs of snowshoes, two pairs of skis, a case of toe warmers, and a gallon of gatorade.

Two feet of fresh powder sounds wonderful. What it really is is a shitload of work.

Sophia actually did some of the trail-breaking, but she is not particularly skilled at route-choosing, and tends to porpoise in aimless circles. Mostly it was up to Perfesser Chaos. The English shepherds were happy to hang back and let The Help perform this function.

Even where the trail was broken, the smaller ES had to porpoise to get through.

I only fell once. It's actually pretty hard to fall when the snow is over your knees, but the concealed tripwire brambles in the pasture finally had their say. Getting back up is not a straightforward exercise when one's skis are five-foot snow anchors. I got plenty of helpful advice on how to manage this task from the non-ski-wearing Peanut Gallery.

I think Cole might be carrying half his weight in snow dingles here. He also got to relive the testicle experience in gigantic ice form. It wasn't as good as he remembered.

Interesting that Barry White, who braved the same drifts, collected nothing. I think he repelled the dingles with force of will. He's never going to suffer that indignity again.

There were few game trails apparent, and only in protected lee areas. I'm hoping our trail-breaking will be a boon to the wildlife -- except for the tiny tunnelers and the hibernators, a snow dump like this one makes hard times for wild creatures. Our route coincidentally connects the deer bedding area in the pines on our north boundary with our neighbor's unharvested cornfield to the west. I figure that by February, that corn is forfeit to the local Bambis. I filled two feeders with safflower seeds and black oil sunflower, and hung out some more suet.

I opened the window for the turkeys to come out. Yeah, I was just messin' with 'em. They knew it, and did not take the bait.

Interesting that wild turkeys manage to survive even though their feet sometimes touch snow.

One hour of porpoising through snow higher than their backs has given us a houseful of very quiet dogs tonight.


  1. Loved the pics and post. Sympathies for all the shoveling and extra work, but sure made for a good read. Thanks.

  2. Thanks for sharing. It looks beautiful, but you're right, it's a boatload of work.

    We didn't get the 8-9 inches we were supposed to get here, but now they're saying we could get more Monday evening/Tuesday morning. Of course, after the first false alarm, no one believe the weather service.

  3. Great post. I might have to re-think this whole moving-to-snow-country thing and buy property near Chico, Calif., instead.

  4. Yeah, porpoising -> quiet dogs.

    Only when they sleep in the Jeep on the way back from ski-touring, they are rested and ready again!

    Wait for the spring blizzards, you betcha.

    Even though two of the country Road & Bridge guys are in my VFD, I doubt they would plow me out special. I'd have to slog in bunker gear down to the county road to be picked up, maybe.

    Word verification: humblys. How I would feel after aforesaid slog.

  5. Love the pics!
    My (new to me -- have had her 2 wks this past Sunday) Aussie rescue girl Ruby got loose Saturday morning and I had to chase her all over suburbia, wading through my neighbors' back yards in 15+ inches of snow. Not quite porpoising, but bad enough. Snow doesn't seem to stick to her, but it does to my other dog, Caden (more ES-y, much more feathering on his legs), who came with me on the chase. He had the fist-sized snow dingleberries when we got back to the house, and patiently let me scrape them off. Poor boy. So I just had to laugh when I saw your pics. Wish I'd thought to take some of my own!

  6. It just takes an hour running around the tundra to wear out Miley O'Shea.(She's an Irish golden retriever who watches Hannah Montana.)

    We missed out in the worst of Snowmageddon. We got only about half of what we got from the December storm.

    But there's more of this crap coming tomorrow night.

  7. We got about 30 inches and once it stopped I had a couple of the more mature dogs breaking trail for the smaller dogs. The Pointer, although not a fan of snow, is an experienced snow dog, having shipped out from Washington state in the huge 2003 storm here in the mid Atlantic as a pup. He has had to brave more than a few in the past 7 years.

    My Dutch Shepherd guest had a nifty Pug shaped appendage for the two days it took to clear the drive by hand. One would have thought the Dutch Shepherd had one extremely misshapen testicle with legs of it's own.

    They managed though. The Pug found a rhythm that enables him to function in 3 foot snows. As long as he stayed behind the big dogs.

    We are expecting 12 or more inched by Wednesday. At this route, my son will be in school til July.

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