The Waiting is Over

Finally, our first accumulating snow! It sure too a while. I did not look up what is the latest date for our first accumulation of snow, but this has to be up there in the top 5. I believe it is the latest since I moved up here 17 years ago. 17 years, really?! Holy cow, I had to stop for a minute and take my shoes off to make sure I was doing the math correctly! It sure does not seem that long ago. I guess it really is true what they say about “Time flies” I guess!
So we ended up with about an inch from the storm. All of the accumulating snow had fallen by the time we all woke up Saturday morning. It was still raining when I went to bed and saw that it changed to snow around 10:30-11 pm Friday night. I was a bit surprised we did not pick up much lake effect snow (LES) on Saturday. It did snow steadily all day and actually into Saturday night and Sunday, but just not a clip where it could accumulate any further. I am fine with that. We have been in the low to mid 20’s since early Saturday morning and things are freezing up hard. I cannot speak for the larger puddles, but I know the smaller ones we had either disappeared into the ground or have frozen. It does not look like much of a warm up will be occurring anytime soon either. We may pop our heads above freezing for highs Tue and Wed, but not by much. Lows look to dip into the teens and 20’s, so overall, things will continue to freeze up. There does look to be some light snows that will fall up here on Wednesday and perhaps again by the weekend. There are even ideas that most areas of the Midwest north of I-80 will have snow on the ground for Thanksgiving. So overall, I think there is a lot to be optimistic about in the overall forecast and I like what I am seeing from the models out beyond day 10. Maybe not the “dream pattern” for snow lovers in the Midwest, but a definate change in the pattern looks to be unfolding that will be more promising for cold and snow in the upper Midwest the next several weeks.
Waking up to the fresh snow Saturday was exciting. Even though it was only 7 months ago since we last had it, it always looks to weird to see snow on the ground for the first time of the season. By midday Saturday…it seemed like it had never left! Strange how that works as well. Most of the Dee’s did not waste any time getting out to play in the snow. It was not even light out yet and we had not even had breakfast. I had gotten up around 6:45, Nora was already up and Gracie rolled out of bed soon after me. She asked if we could go out and play in the snow, to which this kid said “you bet!”. So the pups, Gracie and and got ready and headed out. There really was not enough snow to do too much playing, but if you get Gracie and the pups involved, it does not take much. Some snowballs were made and tossed and there was a lot of general rough housing that went on¬†and then we went in for some breakfast.
A busy day was planned for Saturday, but we still had enough time after breakfast to get back out and play in the snow a bit more. Only this time in daylight. Gracie and I had a snowball fight and then she tried to make a “snow dog”, but the snow was too powdery to be able to form it. So she opted for the season first snow angel of the season. So the first snows have arrived and so has the first snowy front of house shot. Here is one of the woods. Both of those were taken just a little bit ago…before the sun went down. A bit more before any snow play can be considered, but its a start!
So backing up a bit, the weather before the snow arrived was typical of this autumn. Above average temps and fairly quiet. I did take the opportunity to get Big Red ready for the snow season. The oil and filters were changed. I have not exchanged the front lifting arms with the blower yet, but that is something that can be done in around 30 minutes in just about any weather. I want to keep the arms on so that I can move firewood around. Speaking of which, we did finish cutting the load that arrived a few weeks back. I say we, to include my brother and friend I have made from the site who bought a place up this way and has been working on it. It was good timing, as just moments before we started cutting that first load, the second one arrived! My brother and I have taken a decent bite out of that pile and figure we have another 4-5 cutting sessions before we will have enough to get us through the main heating season. Our cutting sessions are one take of gas, which I typically burn through in 30-35 minutes of cutting. That is just about the time we both are pretty sick of cutting and I know I am usually getting sore! I sure am grateful to have him helping me. I did do 4 cutting sessions solo a few weeks back when he was out of town, but it goes so much faster with a helper. I can concentrate on cutting and he does all the hauling/stacking.
So our busy Saturday consisted of us all going to several craft shows in Calumet. Most of them were holiday themed, but also had some of the general items sold at arts/crafts shows up here. After getting home from them, we all had lunch and then I headed off into the shop to work on the dining room table, while the girls got a ton of housework done. I came in from the shop and they were done with the chores and Nora had a yummy dinner in the oven. After dinner, we put up the Christmas Tree and then decorated it. I was pretty pooped out from my busy day, so I helped with the putting up of the tree and getting it ready for decoration. I then was instructed by the boss (Gracie) that we all were responsible for putting our own ornaments on, so she made sure that she got me all of mine and I put them up and then went and relaxed. The pups always seem to be excited when we are putting up the tree. I am not exactly sure why, but they love to hang out and watch all that is going on.
As Nora, Gracie and Jim were finishing up decorating the tree, I was outside with the pups while they went and did their business. A wolf was spotted crossing the road at our house the other day and until the snow is deep enough to keep the pups close to the house, I do not feel comfortable letting them out, as they tend to roam in the woods a bit. There also was a mountain lion spotted just outside of Calumet, so that is another animal that I am worried about with the dogs- especially when it is dark. Anyway, the reason I bring all of this up, is that as I was outside waiting for the pups to do their thing, I was enjoying the crispness of the night and the light snow falling. Then I turned to look at the house and saw the three others putting ornaments on the tree. The moment was quite stirring for me and made me realize just how lucky I am. Sometimes it just all feels like a dream.
I spent more time in the woodshop today and one of the times I came in to get something to drink, I opened the door, walked in and saw these two keeping an eye on the tree. I have to say that Gracie, Jim and Nora did an exceptional job of decorating. I think the tree looks as good as it ever has and I am glad that it is up already. Sure Thanksgiving has not happened yet, but it adds to the holiday spirit and it also makes the post-Thanksgiving routine much more relaxing.
As you likely gathered, I have been spending a lot of time in the woodshop this past week. My work has paid off as I am about 95% done with the construction of the table. Just a few small things left to do and then I can get the finish on it and have it ready for dinner on Thursday. I am pleased with how it turned out and am excited for it to become part of our home. It is capable of seating 8 comfortably when in its standard setup, but I made the ends be able to extend and accommodate a leaf at each end to bump the capacity to 12 persons. That is the exact amount of people we will have for dinner on Thanksgiving and it will be neat to have everyone around the same table, rather than some sitting at the bar in the kitchen or a side card table.
So I guess that covers it for this one. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone and talk to you next week!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD