Perhaps you have sensed it, perhaps not, but my early season excitement for snow or, probably better put, lack of disappointment for lack of snow has been growing through the years. I was becoming a bit worried that maybe my addiction for snow was waning a bit. However, the past 6 -7 days has confirmed my love and addiction to snow has not gone away. We had 7 days straight of snow since I last wrote and have picked up 42 1/2 inches of snow! The only time I felt a little down was when the snows intensity lightened up a bit! So, as the tile says… I still got it…my snow addiction that is.
The cold is a different story. I have 21 pictures to share with you. Most of them are of the snow up here the past week, but there could have been a ton more, if it were not so darned cold this past week as well! I don’t know if I am getting any softer in dealing with the cold than I was previously, as I have never enjoyed having to tolerate the bitter cold. Keep it above 15 degrees F and I am just fine. Put temps in the low 20’s and I am even finer! So I do have pics of the snow, but most of them are not from some adventurous expedition into the snow. For that I apologize.
The first snow pic I have for you is the front of house shot from Monday, the 12th. I think it could more properly be titled the calm before the storm. We did pick up a few inches of snow on Monday, with some areas like Houghton and Hancock picking up even more, as a heavier band sat over them during the morning hours and brought a quick 5-7″ in a few hours. The real deal kicked in Tuesday morning, after sunrise. School was called off on Tuesday, but not because of what was happening that morning, but because what was to come as the day progressed. We are fortunate where our house is located, because all of the woods surrounding it really help to cut down the wind significantly. Here is a shot of the house Tuesday as I was getting ready to head out to get some fuel for Big Red. It was snowing pretty good and we had some wind, but nothing like when I got out onto the highway. Visibility was down to less than 1/4 mile and it was just plain nasty. By the time I to got to the “windiest gas station in the Keweenaw”, the snow and blowing snow had visibility down to a few hundred yards.
It also came down hard enough at times during the snow event that we did not even need strong winds to reduce visibility to yards. Here is a shot from the front of our house to our woods. At that point, it was snowing at the rate of 2-3″ per hour. When that is happening, I have a certain bounce in my step and smile on my face. I still got it! The view out the back of our house is a bit less dramatic when it is snowing heavily, but still no less beautiful. I am so thankful for the breathtaking view I have out my office window. It really is a pinch-me type of thing. I still have a hard time comprehending I am lucky enough to live where I live, have the life I have…including the view I have from my office window!
By late in the day on Tuesday, the snow had piled up to the tune of around 8″ new at our place. The winds were still howling, temps were in the single digits and the forecast called for nothing to change for the next 24-36 hours at leas. Thus school was called for Wednesday, much to the delight of Nora and Gracie. Wednesday weather did not disappoint from a forecast and snow lovers standpoint. Moderate to heavy snows all day and the winds were even worse. Here is a shot of the Honda as we were heading to pick up the mail Wednesday afternoon. That is a pretty good example of zero visibility! Back at home, things were a bit quieter and Gracie did a little playing in the snow to wear off some of the cabin fever.
By Thursday, things had quieted down enough that I figured I would go and clear the snow off the skating rink. It has been so snowy, that they have not even been able to put the first flood on it, but I do not want the snow to get too deep on it. Plus, the slab still was not froze in all areas because of the way the snow insulated it. So Thursday afternoon I headed over and cleared the snow that had fallen since Monday afternoon. I have not been there since, so I am going to try and get over there tomorrow to clear it off again and hopefully allow them to start flooding it.
I really have to say that having Big Red is probably a HUGE reason why I can say I still got it. Moving snow has really become more of an afterthought than something that I need to set aside an hour or two every day to do. Plus, I get to do it in the heated comfort of the cab. So while it was in the single digits, with windchills of -20, I was all nice and comfy. We did pick up 7 inches of new snow from 7 am Thursday to 7 am Friday, but most of that came in the overnight period and things again quieted down a bit soon after sunrise on Friday. School was back on after 3 days off in a row and all that was left to do at that moment was clear the new snow to get ready for the next dumping!
With all the snow and wind, there had been a lot of drifting all week. No so much off the house, but the shop was a different story. I still have not knocked that curl-over off yet and the last time I took Big Red out of the lean-to, the roof took off the bottom foot of the drift. I do plan to knock it off tomorrow, as well as the monster that is hanging off the downwind side of the woodshed! The drifting in other areas was equally, if not more, impressive. Friday had me running into the grocery store to pick up a few things and the Christmas trees that had been on display for sale out in front of the store had been nearly buried.
Friday night, the troops arrive from down south to ride. Friends Keith and Randy came up from far northern IL. They got in pretty late Friday and the weather had already turned snowy up here. The main system snows were falling to our south, but the lake was enhancing the system snow that was falling on us and we picked up around 6″ of fresh powder Friday night. Saturday morning arrived and temps were in the single digits, so there was not a huge sense of urgency to head out and ride. A bit of wrenching was done in addition to the annual putting on of the trail stickers and looking for all the stuff that goes out with on a ride up here. By later in the morning, the sleds were fired up and ready to ride. It is always so cool to be able to look down on the gauge display and see less than a mile on the odometer. Its even more cool to have to keep wiping the snow off the gauge so that what it displayes can be seen when I take a picture! Hopefully when the season is over, there will be considerably more miles on it!
So the four kitties were let out of their stalls and hit the snowy woods. Conditions were truly mid-January like. 2-3 feet of snow on the ground, a solid foot of packed/groomed snow on the trails and lots of cold! I did not take any pictures while riding Saturday. I am not sure if I just completely forgot, or if the bitter cold sort of helped me to forget to take my camera out and then have to take my glove off to get a shot. Either way, what happened in the woods of Keweenaw County Saturday will just have to stay there! We rode for about 4 hours, which was pretty good for as cold as it was and it being the first ride of the season. All went well and we returned cold, hungry, but wearing smiles!
Saturday evening was the date when the local volunteer fire department picks up Santa and brings him around to the children’s houses in our township. I have been told that they have been doing this for a very long time and that they typically start around noon and finish up at 9 or 10 in the evening! Truly a very special thing they do! Santa is not the only one though, he has some helpers in the form of one of his elf’s and Rudolph. They all took the time to allow us to snap a picture of them. Santa is a true dog lover, as he noticed the pups wanted to be in the picture too, so he took the time to pose with Huck and Millie. What cracks me up about that picture is the look on Huck’s face. When he went over to be with Santa, it was like he knew about all the times he had been naughty and nice the past year and was really tying to be on his best behavior. I have never seen him so well behaved and actually timid with a visitor to the house as he was with Santa this year. I also love the look on Gracie’s face in that last shot. The true excitement of the season. After their photo op with Santa, Huck and Millie headed over to check our Rudolph. Perhaps looking for a handout of some sort! Santa also wanted to prove to Grace that he was the real deal, so he invited her over to tug on his beard. Oh, these days…I am so glad that I get to partake in them and have loads of pictures and video to remind me of them!
So I guess that about covers it for this one. A few inches of snow look to fly Wednesday and then there are ideas of a biggie for us and others in the Northwoods for Christmas Day. It is still too far out in the forecast to have faith in the exact details, but it would be cool to get slammed on Christmas Day. I know I am more than ready for it to happen! With Christmas coming next Sunday, I am not sure when I will write, perhaps a short one on Monday or Tuesday. So with that said…
Have a very Merry Christmas everyone and Good Night from the Keweenaw..