Nanook rubs it in

p1000433The bitter cold has broken.  Several days of warmer temperatures.  It must have been 20 today and it’s supposed to be warmer yet tomorrow.  On the other hand, it’s been snowing.  Not just the 1 – 4 inch dusting kind of snowing, really fucking snowing.

Yesterday began the task of digging the greenhouses out so that they can be used in a couple of weeks; there’s plenty else to do but it can’t be done until places are accessible and places can’t be made properly accessible until the emergencies are taken care off.  The Quonset hut design is strong stuff.  Metal arcs twenty plus feet across spaced four feet apart for ninety feet bears a lot of stress, even with just two sheets of plastic stretched across it.  It doesn’t bear an infinite amount of stress.  They will fall down.

In the process of saving a particularly dire case yesterday (it was pushing along the ridge visibly to the East) the normal routine of turning on the furnace for an hour made things worse.  All the snow on the East side slid right off; all the snow on the West side stayed put…there was nowhere for it to go.  There’s only five feet between houses.  Climbing the bank between them put me four feet off the ground.  An hour of furious work, back breaking work later had me standing close to nine feet up.  I don’t know where the snow will go if we keep getting more.

I can only carry so much of it home on (and in) my clothes.  It barely fazes me anymore.  Today i was on a bank, about five feet, that broke loose; i slid right down the son-of-a-bitch and my coat acted like a scoop…all the way up to the base of my neck.  Knee deep is a pleasure.  Going from standing on a pile of snow in shoes to being hip deep every couple of minutes is normal.  In some cases the trick is to be beneath a great, great many cubic feet of snow and break the bottom edge of the snow mass off.  Eventually gravity takes over and the rest comes down at you.  No work, all reflexes.  There’s not much like a good day of running avalanche simulations.

And on a great day, you tie a redneck climbing harness made out of 3/8 manilla rope on and knot the other end to the tow point on the tractor.  This contraption is used to hang out on a snow covered metal roof, shoveling it off.  Trust me, it was far safer than bringing it down from below.  If it came down in one piece it would fall directly on an elbow in the main gas line for that half of the property…and i’m not too enthused about having a ginormous hunk of hard pack come down on me while i’m standing on a ladder.

Plenty of tractor work to be done as well, which is easier and drier but colder and a lot less exciting.  The less exciting part is cool, “exciting” and “tractor” don’t really belong together in a sentence anyhow (tractor pulls excepted).  But i don’t have the faintest idea where all that snow will go either.  Critical mass isn’t far off.

And it’s supposed to start snowing again on Saturday.

What are ya gonna do?  Laughter is the only medicine.  Sometimes imagining that you’re on the ice planet Hoth preparing for the Imperial invasion helps a little too.


~ by Lex on January 20, 2009.

3 Responses to “Nanook rubs it in”

  1. But do you have one of those Hoth creature things to ride? You know the thing with horns. Now that might be more fun than a tractor…

    At the risk of sounding like a mother (but I am one, so it’s authentic at least) – take care of yourself out there… you could put an eye out – oh wait, that’s running with scissors…

    Take care 🙂

  2. Hmm, perhaps i’ll use the tune to “If i had a hammer” to write a song about Ton-tons today. It would be handy to have one, in the worst case i could slit it open and keep warm.

  3. When I cut a sack of cheese open at Main Street, I often find myself imagining that the shredded mozzarella that nearly springs from the slit along the top is actually the innards of a ton-ton…

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