Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Aerie Aftermath

I drove down the hill today to pick up the mail. I wasn't able to get it on Saturday because our post office is only open two hours on Saturdays (9 to 11 AM) and I was at the Earth Day event. And I wasn't able to get it on Monday because I was busy trying to clear the driveway of snow and, when that was finished I just said, "Frelk it!"

Before I left home, however, I had to remove the snow that hadn't yet slid off the top of the Tundra. With the temperature above the freezing mark (barely) the snow was heavier and wetter than when it had fallen but the slight melting on the surface made it slick as a well greased pig. A little push or pull with the brush was all it took to get the avalanche started. Luckily, it's a long handled brush or my boots would have been buried and my feet soaked--again.

The road had been plowed and there was lots of bare dirt/cinders showing. The area just below our place was only one lane wide and you could see how the snow plow had had difficulty moving the easily packed and heavy snow. Huge balls of the stuff had been pushed to the side and it looked like a troop of easily distracted children had given up on building an army of snowmen when the first tier had gotten too large to push any more.

Here and there, branches littered the road where the heavy snow had caused them to snap or where, bent under the snow's weight, they had been broken off by the top of the dump truck used to plow and cinder the road. In other spots, whip slender aspens bent over the road blocking part of the lane and causing me to swerve around the outstretched limbs. I saw only one or two very large limbs/trees downed and their breaks exposed older partially rotted joints that gave way. (From our deck, I can see a few thin trees and/or limbs in the woods that I will have to cut in to smaller pieces.) A small old barn on the corner that had been listing about 15 degrees out of plumb was reduced to a pile of boards by the crushing weight of the snow.

As I neared Route 6, however, the snow depth decreased dramatically. The 10-12 inches at the Aerie became a mere 2-3 inches with lots of bare grass exposed beneath the trees. It was really quite a contrast. Elevation as well as location really do make a difference. The little blob that hung around all day yesterday did not extend that far to the northwest so as to reach the post office but it certainly produced snow here, some 1400 feet higher.

Anyway, there's a good deal of melting going on today as the temperature is in the upper 30s and even hit 40 degrees when the sun peeked through the clouds. The driveway--except where the snow slid off the Tundra and Jeep--is nearly down to earth and stone. Nearly all the clumps of snow on the pine boughs have either melted off or been blown off by the light breezes. It will take a couple of days for the snow on the lawn to melt completely but the grass and, most certainly, the dandelions will survive.


I mentioned on Facebook that we had a black bear come visiting last night. The bear looked to be a two year-old  with a pointed snout and, judging by its size when it stood leaning on the telephone pole, weighing between 150 and 175 pounds. It sat under the bird feeder I have hanging from the telephone pole in the yard and carefully removed every sunflower seed it contained. I watched it for a half an hour and didn't have the heart to chase it away as this was possibly the easiest food it could find with a foot of snow underfoot. And it repaid my generosity by not tearing the feeder down or even knocking the snow off its roof. It did investigate the deck but didn't come beyond the top step before heading back the way it had come--right under Terry's window and against the side of the house where the snow was less deep.

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