Wednesday, March 19, 2014

An Adventurous Snowfall

   Eleven years ago on St. Patrick’s Day, we began a week long adventure of epic proportions. When all was said and done, seventy-three inches of snow filled our foothills area. You read that right: seventy-three inches. Six deep feet of cold white stuff. It was the craziest thing I’d ever seen, and I grew up in Minnesota where a ten inch snowfall was nothing! When drifts occurred you just hit the gas hard and blasted through to the other side.

   But the March 17 snowstorm of 2003 was beyond my imagination.
   Ron, thankfully, came home from work when the first foot of snow had fallen. We knew he’d never make it up the canyon if he didn't get home at that point. As the day wore on, the snow depth grew and grew. We prepared by making sure enough firewood was accessible knowing we were in for it and would probably lose power at some point. The trees hung heavy. When we heard a bad storm was coming, we had stocked up on food and water. We had no idea it would get to the level it did.
That's a 5 foot chain link fence in the center of the photo.
   Now days, when we hear about these piddly six inch snow storms coming in and folks flock to the stores buying everything off the shelves, pushing people out of the way for the last loaf of bread, we just laugh. They have no idea… Or maybe they do. Maybe they were here for the ’03 storm and remember all too well.
   Days wore on with the snow depth increasing. Our dog Gus loved it. I think he thought he was a Husky. He’d plop right down in the snow and enjoy the cool. There was so much snow that we had to shovel him a path to do his business. He learned one of his favorite lessons that week. You know how snow gets that crusty top? Well, Gus figured out while outside trying to “find a place” that if he walked ever so carefully on top of the crust, he could get up higher and out of the yard. He had quite a sense of adventure. I caught him one time practicing his “walk” on top. Oh the concentration with each little carefully placed step. Little did we know that he saw his escape by walking right over the fence. As the snow melted in the coming weeks, he developed just the right jumping muscles. Each day he’d head over the fence to see who he could find to play with. The snow would melt some more, he’d just leap a little higher, and on that went, until he was a seasoned fence jumper. From that point on, we couldn't leave him in the yard if we left. He now knew how to jump over and go find us.
   Everything got buried. You couldn't keep on top of the shoveling. There was just too much and then the problem of nowhere to put it. We could only sit back and watch it snow. And try to keep the roof load lighter.

   That St. Patty’s evening, we lost power. Only a radio with poor reception could tell us what was happening with the weather. That was also the night our troops went into Iraq. So the biggest news of the year and we couldn't find out anything. It became quite unnerving in the dark of night. Oil lanterns provided our light, flashlights were used sparingly not knowing how long we’d be without power. You couldn't see our cars anymore in the driveway and the road out front no longer existed by sight. At least we had snow to keep the milk cold.
   The house got a bit nippy so we moved a mattress to the floor in front of the wood stove and were able to stay toasty warm all night. As long as one of us got up to stoke the stove.
   It was quite an adventure. Three days of snow. Morning light on the fourth day brought sunshine, blue
It was an adventure for wildlife too.
skies and the sight of a whole lot of snow. We donned our tall Sorel boots, snow pants and headed out to see what was happening in town. The roads were deep with only walking paths by the brave souls who trekked out. A lot of folks were down the hill by the main road. One ambitious guy we knew had walked the four miles to the grocery store, coming back with his goods, he informed us that the roof on the store had partially caved in and a few others along his way had sustained damage. It was crazy out there.
That's deep.

Gus and I enjoying the snow fall.

   We waited and waited hoping to see a county plow come through, but they had so many roads to clear and our little street was not one of them. Folks tried to shovel, but there was no way we were leaving the driveway.

The driveway. Somewhere under all that was my car.

Yep, that was our "road". 
The "road" was Gus size 

So that roof design was a failure.

   Then the cavalry arrived in the form of a front end loader owned by a guy that lived on the next street. He made his way scooping snow as he tried to find the narrow roads to rescue us all. Cheers rang out, pretty much loud enough for all to hear. We all ran out of our houses, with tall boots on of course, handing the guy whatever cash we all had in the house whether it was one dollar bills, tens or twenties. We were so thankful. Then with the help of neighbors and the guys from our church, the shoveling crews worked on driveways wherever the help was needed.

The guys worked their way down the street shoveling driveways as they went. God bless them.

   It was a crazy time, an adventure I don’t care to experience again, but all in all, it was a time of blessing. Folks working together, keeping a good attitude. We had snowball fights from on roof to another as we all tried to lessen the loads on our rooftops.

Our neighbor's dog had an easy time of getting on and off the roof.

   Sometimes in this life, when stuff piles up deeper and deeper, all you can do is laugh and throw a snowball. Move on and do what needs doin’. You WILL come out on the other side. Just give the “snow” time to melt.