Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Cold Clear Blue Sky
To date, January has been characterized by dismal overcast days and bitter cold. Perennial plants were fully exposed to both the winds and the cold. Frequent light dustings of snow failed to cover even the tips of the grass but road salt was needed in abundance. Anyone that had to drive soon coated their car with dirty grayish white salt streaks. A car wash was not an option because of the cold air. Tightly frozen doors on a clean car guarantee that it will stay clean since there is no way to get inside.
Yesterday brought us a snowfall of substance. Schools were closed and we had no interest in venturing out. Freezing rain fell at both the beginning and the end of the storm. The moisture content of the snow was sufficient to meet the seven inch forecast but the wet heavy snow compacted itself as it fell so the accumulated snowfall fell short of predictions. Now at least, perennial plant crowns were under cover.
We do not know if the overnight low temperature fell to three below as forecast since the sun was well up when we finally ventured out. We do know that the thermometer barely registered double digits early this afternoon. Still, stones absorbed heat from bright sunlight sufficient to melt some snow. Refrozen beads of ice and wet water dribble trails lie in contact with each other on the warmed surface of the stones.
My plan was to wait for the snowfall to stop before attacking it. The snow blower could have handled the thickness of the accumulation but the wet snow rendered it useless. Since I was uncharacteristically late in starting, a neighbor plowed the driveway. The finishing work fell to me and the little yellow plow in the background made the snow pile near the truck. It will push great mounds forward but cannot discharge heavy wet snow to the side.
This wet snow would freeze solid overnight and might then remain at the roadway's edge for weeks. I had to push it straight back to clear space for subsequent plowing. Darkness fell before both sides of the lane could be cleared so we will have to make this much open space work.
Time under the bright sun has dissipated the accumulated seasonal gloom and aching muscles from physical exertion somehow feel right. Our plants are finally under protective snow cover and we have spent time in the sunlight. Another seed catalog arrived in today's mail. We are finally heading in a comforting direction.