20130223. A nice date brought to you by 0, 1, 2 and 3.
Congratulations to all of today’s newborns.
WARNING: This blog is for my entertainment more than yours, including the parts that you contribute. Apparent indications to the contrary should be viewed another way.
NOTICE: You are reading the blog of
The Conqueror of the West-Northwest Wind.
I enjoy clearing snow, but not when it is solely to remove drifts, without the benefits of fresh, significant snowfall. In this context, the Balsamea Dictionary 8th Edition defines “significant” as at least four inches of snow within twelve hours, preferably at least once per week from Pearl Harbor Day to Saint Patrick’s Day.
Lately we’ve had more snow accumulation by drifting than falling. It is an annoying pattern where one or two inches of snowfall gives you up to a foot of drifted accumulation in all the wrong places, and it keeps happening for a stretch of contiguous days, including days when there is no snowFALL, just snowBLOW.
I have some orange plastic snow fencing material that I have not used in years, though I should put it up every Halloween to save some time shoveling, and play with the dog instead. Then I would not feel so guilty when I’m having fun clearing snow and Buddy just sits there in the cold, watching me, drilling holes into my back with his ray-gun eyes, transmitting in telepathic dog-speak, “When the heck are you gonna stop that and go for a walk in the woods and then play ball LIKE WE ARE SUPPOSED TO DO OUTSIDE?”
Here in the third week of February I’ve decided that sometimes late can be better than never. Our snow storms often come well into March, sometimes April.
I put up a fifty-foot section of fence to protect one of the two severely affected areas. The second area will have to wait until next year, because my 100-foot fence is stored under the shed and trapped in there by a big snow bank.
Tah-dah! Voila! Since the moment I finished rigging the fence, the wind has not blown more than ten miles per hour. So there! I won! I did it! I killed the West Wind! I knocked the wind out of the drift maker! Right now as I type, in the big window overlooking my desk (the only way to write), I see the snow falling heavily and almost perfectly VERTICAL, with no wind-driven slant, for the first time this year.
Ding, dong, the wind is dead.
Most of the Munchkins, including the Lollipop Guild, came out of the woods dancing and singing, celebrating the death of the West Wind. So I put on my ruby snowshoes and joined them for a parade all the way around Balsamea’s outer perimeter trail. Buddy was ecstatic. I keep telling people there is no solitude in a forest.
Give yourself a really great gift. Watch this amazing work of color movie-making in 1939, thirty years before there was a color TV in my home:
I’m gradually experimenting in small ways with fiction blogging, initially borrowing things from best-sellers until I get my wings. Much of so-called non-fiction, especially in personal writing, is fictional anyway, because we so often “see things as we are, not as they are.”*** Which also supports the idea that there is no such thing as fiction.
(*** I like to attribute the quote to Anais Nin, because she was so cool, and she made the saying famous. But she attributed it to the Talmud. Some Talmud gurus say it isn’t there. The quote is also attributed almost certainly incorrectly to Steve Jobs, Immanuel Kant, the great naturalist E. O. Wilson, H.M Tomlinson, Leo Rosten, and a Chinese fortune cookie. It comes very close to some things said by the philosopher Epictetus in the 1st Century C.E., who is also cool.)
So now I’m thinking about making some 3’x4′ flags out of the orange plastic fencing material, and attach them to trees on both sides of the driveway out by the road. That will warn any young, inexperienced gusts to stay away from the wind-killing Balsamean. Like I always say, “God don’t let me kill again.” (Some day I’m going to get rich selling the lyrics to that song, if I ever add any more lines.)
In the picture below, given the location of the car (that Space-Age-looking gray thing right of center, beside the house) you can see that the snow fence will protect the driveway area behind the car. The center of this picture is east-southeast, the prevailing downwind direction. At the camera, I am standing about half-way from the house to the road. The west-northwesterly wind comes howling into the driveway from behind the camera.
SOMEBODY is going to ask if the snow fence is too close to the car parking area. Trust me (never trust people who think they have to say that to get your trust), I used advanced celestial reckoning techniques to establish the perfect place for it. I put it a little farther up wind than the amount of space filled by the normally worst snow drifting.
Okay? Sheesh. Everybody’s got an opinion. Actually, I’m responding to that imp on my should who looks and sounds exactly like my father.
In the next house picture, I’m facing almost exactly due west, standing at the roughly 12’x18′ cleared area (behind me) in front of the shed. Before I killed the wind, that path-channel through the snow to the house often got half-filled with drifting snow in the course of a day. On one occasion this path was completely filled. For that, I broke out O.B. (“Orange Beast”) the snow thrower. Funny how the snow thrower is painted orange, and so is the snow fence.
Obviously to the left above there’s the 41-year-old camper trailer, a.k.a. The Squatter, home to Balsamea’s one human and one canine and a few assassinated mouse residents for two years from May 2008 – June 2010. I often think of getting rid of it, but the sentimental value … imagine getting rid of Thoreau’s cabin.
Any questions? Really observant and curious people should notice at least one thing in this snowy scene to ask about.
For instance, one day somebody asked me why I have that big blue plastic tote as a cover over the propane tanks on the camper hitch. I answered with the line from that funky old 1974(5?) hit song by KC & The Sunshine Band, “Because that’s the way uh-huh uh-huh I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh.” I often say the same thing to the imp.
It’s because I don’t like having to chip ice and snow off the tanks and valves and fittings every time I swap in a refill. Yeah, I really lived in it through two winters. Thoreau did not. But he didn’t have a Toyota and a snow thrower.
As you can see in the picture captions above, I decided to no longer accept the nonsensical, barely legible gray-on-gray default color that WordPress puts on picture caption text. I inserted color codes on the captions. (WordPress bloggers: let me know if you want to know how.) I like captions to amplify, not just identify pictures. WHAT IS IT with this trend toward GRAY text in so many websites, blog themes, etc.? Are they in cahoots with the eye doctors, or just all under 30 years old?
Thus concludes this blogofrivolous scribblement from Balsamea.
- I enjoyed this piece by Jane Fritz. They used the same kind of reckoning to set the distance for the snow fence … sorta: Lessons learned from farming in winter: snow fences work, eventually (robbyrobinsjourney.wordpress.com)
- I’ll just call this article Digger, about a Coloradan’s battle with wicked snow drifting.
- Snow Blower vs Snow Shovel, from a Rochester resident, my former home for 8 years.
- Here’s a fun piece laced with alliterative lighthearted humor on the dance called The Snow Shovel Shuffle, from blizzard-stricken Wisconsin.
- And, to prove that the blogosphere encompasses everything from sand to sunspots, see: The Official Anais Nin Blog and its newer version.