Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Winter's Fury

Recent weather forecasts described a powerful winter storm system heading in our direction.  Most of the time we catch only the edge of these storms and that was the case once again.  Between eight and ten inches of snow cover the ground here now but we have been getting small daily snowfalls in addition to the big storm.  Road travel has been hazardous as I watched a nearby car that lost traction and crash on an ice covered bridge.  Some combination of new equipment, luck and experience kept us out of the accident.  We traveled safely but spent much of the storm time at home. Walking about after a storm brings scenes of beauty while surrounded by still air.

Snow, stones and sunlight combine to produce interesting science.  Our air temperatures have remained below freezing for several days but signs of snow melt can be seen near the stones.  Heat from sunlight is trapped and held by the dark stones causing some snow melt.  Clouds frequently block out the sunlight and the frigid air quickly refreezes the water.  Clear ice forms at the bottom and in this instance supports the snow column.

This wind formed deposit of snow has nearly reached the tipping point.  Soon the weight of the melt water icicle will pull its source snow to the ground.  Here again the only human involvement in the placement of this snow was the building of the wall a decade ago.  Wind currents pushed this snow into the cave created by poorly fitted stone work.

The picture allowed me to see for the first time the different colors of the sediments that formed this rock.  Recent reading revealed a description of seasonal impacts on the colors of layers of sediment. Light and dark layers may be the result of different seasons but here the red and grey likely reveal different chemical makeup of the sediments.

Machinery is now necessary to remove the snow from our long driveway.  When we first made this location our home, the man that plowed for us only came when the snowfall exceeded four inches. Lesser snowfalls were removed by hand.  A full day was needed to clear from the trailer to the road but not a single day of work was missed because of snowfall.  Either age or wisdom has changed our approach.  Our snow thrower will blow a high arching plume of snow but then the wind blows tiny stinging snow particles in my face.  A low throw may not look  impressive but my cheeks remain dry.

The snow continues to fall .  We will postpone a planned outing and Ed will get to spend more time today clearing the driveway.  It is as pretty as a Christmas card out there.  I hope when he gets outside with his plow that the kid in him will kick in and he will have fun.


Jean said...

Wow, I can't imagine that much snow. But it all looks really pretty. Lovely photos.

sue catmint said...

It's good to see the upside of this situation: that it's pretty, and hopefully Ed will treat clearing the driveway as fun. For me it's a beautiful and mysterious world, only encountered on a handful of occasions in my life on holidays in cold places. Loved this post and the photos.

PlantPostings said...

It does look pretty as a Christmas postcard! I guess it's likely, at this point, that you (and I) will have a white Christmas. Enjoy!