On Saturday evening as my family went out to synagogue for purim, I was astonished – driving through Schenectady there were only a few inches of snow on the ground. Now we often get more snow than lower elevations, but this time the difference was astounding – we have nearly four feet of snow on the ground.
I like snow, but I admit, I’ve never dealt with this much, accumulated so quickly – it snowed non-stop from Tuesday morning until Saturday night. Sometimes we had gentle flakes, other white-out, but snow it did, and looking out this sunny morning, my four and a half foot goat fences are nearly invisible, and our well pump is completely missing.
We have a long gravel driveway, and we ordinarily figure shoveling it out is good exercise for us, so we don’t usually pay someone to plow. But after we did the first 18 inches, and then you couldn’t tell we’d done it, we broke down and called the neighbor with the big truck, and thus we have 7 foot plow piles along our driveway.
The weather was warm – only just above or below freezing for most of it, so the piles and the snow have a thick layer of ice, and are pressed down by their own weight – it is tough snow to shovel, and for the most part, we haven’t bothered – just as much as is needed to get through. in some places we simply can’t – the plow piles, for example, are now iced over and can’t be moved without a bulldozer.
The kids think this is unutterably awesome and have decided that this is a new ice-age ecology, complete with a list of wildlife previously unknown – Snow Moas, Polar Aardvarks, Giant Arctic Ground Squirrels and other creatures have been discovered by my little naturalists (I think snow moas are particularly cool). For those of us tasked with the exercise of actually doing things, it is a little less awesome.
1. Three feet of packed snow means that animals are not bound by 4 foot fences. It is very difficult to keep creatures in or out.
2. There are lots of places for children or goats to get stuck. All of them vastly inconvenient to the adults who have to extricate them.
3. Getting hay out of our hay barn, plowed in by the piles and with a five and a half foot doorway now resembles, as Eric put it. “going down into the well of souls” – one walks along a precarious packed snow path through the seven-foot piles, and gets to the doorway, which was at one point fully blocked by snow. We dug it out, and now you slide through a foot and half hole down (standing up, I’m level with the top of the roof) into the hay barn. Bales of hay are hoisted out over your head, pushed up onto the snow piles, then you scramble out, and haul the snow along the icy path, hoping that you don’t accidentally step into a weak spot and sink past your hips.
4. Everything takes three times as long as usual. It is, however, great exercise, being both weight bearing and aerobic.
It is definitely early March, and things are dripping slowly. At the present rate of decline, I expect the last snow to be gone by early July, at the latest. Meanwhile, we’re adapting to our new habitat.