I had decided that this would be the winter it didn’t snow. It’s been so warm, up until the last couple weeks! I don’t think we’ve had more than a couple hard frosts all year and besides, we were due for a mild winter. Here in our coastal valley we often get a year, or even two in a row, with no snow. And we almost made it. Until the polar vortex met the pineapple express. A ton of chill and a ton of wet meant a ton of snow for southern Vancouver Island.
From Sunday night to Tuesday afternoon it fell almost uninterrupted, the bulk coming down in the first 24 hours. At its fluffiest, our snow was at least 22 inches deep. Early this evening, when I finally remembered to bring out the ruler, it had compacted down to 18. Tonight as I write this, it has started snowing again. There is. So. Much. Snow.
As anyone who tends livestock knows, cold weather makes for heavy work. We were already carrying buckets of warm water every time we made the trip out to the barnyard. The water lines out there have been frozen for at least a week, since the vortex began her visit. Now we must carry our heavy, splashy load through knee-high snow drifts, or teeter along snow-packed shovel-carved causeways, trying to keep from slipping off into the loose stuff, not always successfully. I can’t decide which is more difficult. Both seem to engage different sets of muscles, so I alternate.
We are enjoying ourselves though. B is on his Kubota, plowing the half-kilometre long lane we share with a few others. A couple of the other neighbourhood men are out too, one walking his snowblower down the road, another perched on his lawn tractor using his homemade blade. Having fun playing with their big boy toys.
My commute to work is short (down the hallway to my home office) and the internet is still on, so there’s no interruption there. That’s one of the downsides of my job, no time off in poor weather. Such is life. But I’m outside at chore time; early morning, noon and nightfall.
In this weather I’m outside working for longer sure, but it’s beautiful out there, especially at night. And so quiet, with few cars on the roads, no planes overhead. The little harbour-to-harbour seaplanes that fly straight down our valley must be grounded. Schools closed, buses partly shut down, ferries too. Standing out in the crisp cool air last night, I heard a foghorn call, loud and clear, its cozy grey moan rolling in from the sea and echoing across our muddy valley.
Last night the snow icing sugared the trees, every twig etched clearly in white. Tonight, the snow has aged, congealed, lost its powdery texture, and the trees look as though dabbed by tubes of thick white frosting.
The poor chickens aren’t enjoying the snow, it keeps them penned. And the donkeys and horse aren’t thrilled either. The dogs enjoy it, but they get to spend most of their day snoozing in the warm house.
I am kind of enjoying this latest weather drama, so far anyway, despite its inconveniences. It’s snowing again now, and supposed to keep going all night. I wonder what we’ll wake up to?