Something New

OK, I finally got the keyboard thawed out, now I can write! Actually, I should not complain about the cold. We did not have it nearly as bad as all of MN, WI, most of IA and IL. My coldest temp was -17 and that was for a very brief time shortly after midnight early Thursday morning. Most of the temps I saw during the cold snap were in the -4 to -8 degree range. Pretty amazing to think that the big lake kept us warmer than locations nearly 600 miles to the south of us. Cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, plus TONS of snow! The Keweenaw is truly a magical place.

Speaking of snow, the final 10 days of January saw 40″ of new snow drop on us here in the suburbs of Mohawk. That’s a pretty healthy amount, even by our standards. Needless to say, it is starting to get deep around here. As deep or deeper than it was all last season. Part of the reason is that a lot of the snow prior to the second half of January’s snow was system snow and not the lake effect fluff. I love the fluff, but it is also nice to have a great base of dense snow down before it comes.

It has gotten deep enough that the roofs are now in need of a shoveling. That was the shop roof and I do not mess with it. It has actually already self-cleared several times this season and other than where the lean-to is, it just fine. The overhanging drifts could use a bit of assistance in dropping off and that will happen soon. My depth here has been hovering around 34-38 inches deep for about 2 weeks. The lake effect that fell last week pretty much compacted itself down and we even had a bit of freezing drizzle early Sunday morning that did some settling of the snow. This week looks like a lot of system snow will fall, so I am fairly confident that we will go above the 40″ mark and stay there for a while. Actually, with as much snow as is in the forecast for the next 5-6 days, might we go above 50″? Only time will tell. The depth is measured in a spot not too far from the woodshed, but for those wanting to see the depth at any time of the day/night, be sure to check out the woods cam. Here is a view of the nearly buried utility spool from a slightly different angle. The spool has been completely buried in the past and it looks like we have a good chance for it this winter.

As mentioned, we did not get as cold as most other areas in the northern Midwest last week, but we did have our fair share of winds and wind chills. Schools were called on Wednesday and Thursday because of wind chills of -40, even during the day. The winds also created some interesting patterns in the snow. I noticed a cool pattern on my truck and had to snap a shot of it to share, before I cleaned off the truck for use. By the way, the winds were blowing from rear to front when they created that pattern.

Another interesting pattern I spotted in the snow this weekend was a gi-normous paw print in the snow. Certainly not from Huck or Millie! That was a big one! There is not a lot of things that can leave a print in the snow that large. A full grown wolf? Yes would be the typical answer, but in this case…Nope, just Bleau! Yep, his paws are so huge, I cannot believe it. He does float on the snow very well. It is funny to watch him romp around in the snow with Huck and Millie. He only sinks in a few inches and looks like he is wearing snow shoes. Poor Huck and Millie sink right up to their undercarriage. Sometimes even deeper.

We had to put our evening play sessions on hold last week because of the cold, but were able to get out over the weekend. We might have run them all bit too hard during Saturday’s play session, because on Sunday, the only one really wanting to play was Grace and for a little bit Bleau. He gave her a few pulls around the driveway, but then seemed to lose interest.

On Saturday, the Keweenaw Snowmobile Club held its annual bonfire to give sledders an on-trail pit stop with food and beverages, as well as meet some of the members of the club and make a donation if they wanted. The weather was nearly perfect for it, with temps in the 20’s and a bit of light snow falling from time to time. We had a wonderful turnout. It was never a mad-house, but we kept pretty steady from a little after noon through 3 and I finally had to pull the plug on my attendance by around 4 to head home. One of our club members even showed up on an antique sled with his two boys riding in the back in a cutter. It sure brought back memories of when I would ride in the cutter with a blanket over me. Fell asleep several times if I remember correctly! Anyway, thanks to all that stopped in and payed a visit. It was fun chatting with you and getting to know you. I am very sure we will be making this a long-running annual event.

Yesterday we were invited to a snow show/ski expedition to the big lake. We have friends that live down in Jacobsville and are in walking distance to a little beach area. We walked to the beach on this path back in the warm months and yesterday strapped on skis or snow shoes and made the same trip. Poor Nora has come down with a bad cold, so she had to forgo all the fun, but Grace, her two friends and our friends and I all made the venture to the big lake. I chose skis, as I was hoping it would be a little less effort than snow shoes, but I am not sure that was the right decision. Even though temps were in the 20’s, the snow was a little sticky to my skis and so I did more walking that striding, but still made it there and back. It was cool to see the ice formations along the shoreline, as well as the ice flows out in the big lake. Off in the distance we could also see Bergh Island. OK, so it’s not called Bergh Island anymore, but since the “Bergh” comes from it’s first settlers who were Nora’s great-great grandfather/grandmother, I feel obligated and proud to call it that rather than Rabbit Island!

When I woke up this morning, all was calm. A storm was bearing down on us, but it had not started yet. I was out with the dogs around 4:30 letting them go potty when a single snowflake fell right in front of me. A moment later, another, then another and before we went inside, it was snowing lightly. The strange thing about the snow flakes was that they seemed to be falling faster than normal. I knew this storm was going to provide a myriad of precipitation types and knew we were going to be very close to the demarcation line between pure snow and something else, so that likely had something to do with the strange velocity at which the flakes were falling.

About 90 minutes later, as the girls awoke for what looked to be a 2 hour delay in school (they ended up with the day off), it was a really cool scene outside. There were the biggest flakes falling that I have ever seen. Most were 2-3″ in diameter and a few seemed to be as large as 4″! Prior to this, the largest I had ever seen was around 1-2″. I did snap a few shots of the snow falling, but it was dark out and the phones camera just could not fully capture the true size of the flake, but still cool. Needless to say that the snow piles up quite rapidly when the flakes are that large, but it was interesting. It did not pile up in the typical smooth surface, but yet in a very bumpy surface, as each flake seemed to leave its own mini mound of snow. I also shot a quick video of the snow falling. What is cool to see is when the flakes hit the side of the vehicles. They explode into the individual flakes that made up the giant ones. Hope you enjoy.

Well, I guess that covers it for this one. I am off to clear snow off the ice rink, our neighbors driveway and then ours, then settle in for a nice evening with the family.

Good night from the Keweenaw..