Saturday, February 27, 2010

Letting it beat me

Scarcely two weeks ago, I was in Kentucky, visiting my folks, and about to hurry back - to see the biggest snowstorm to hit Pittsburgh in decades. We came back to a week of snow days, and for a few of them I was pleased: pleased for the girls to get the kind of Big Snow experience I remember from the late '70's in Lexington (6 weeks straight of no school!), pleased to get to wallow in winter, pleased even to shovel - at least when I looked behind and saw the space of clean driveway behind me.

Two days ago, I got back from a short trip to DC - where I saw pansies blooming and some bare patches between piles of dirty snow. Since then, we've had another snow day, and two occasions for shoveling the driveway. I'm glad to get the exercise - always - but golly, I am tired of this single form of it.

We've basically hunkered down. My two young vegetables, I mean children, have watched four movies in the last 2 days. They have read. Hazel has even done math sheets, voluntarily, for entertainment. Even the chickens seem to feel cooped up. (sorry, couldn't resist) When I see a blade of grass sticking out next to our sidewalk after I shovel, it is cause for excitement, because I feel I can hardly remember life before snow - even if the blade of grass is not exactly vibrant green.

And I have to keep reminding myself: it is still February. It is fine to have snow in winter, because some years we have very little. I should enjoy it, because who knows how long it will be until there is another winter like this one? So in a few minutes, I am going out skiing, and darnit, I'm going to try to enjoy this.

Because really, winter is almost over. Isn't it?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow excavation

I'm not sure Brian or I has ever experienced a single snowfall like this one, though for both of us it brings back memories of other great snows: central Ky, winter of '78; Boston, May '93; Ithaca, yearly (OK, partly kidding).

But for Emily and Hazel both, this is new territory. Sledding in the yard doesn't work, because the snow is too deep. I can't x-country ski through it. Even Brian's snowshoes, which we tried for the first time ever, didn't quite work, though I know that's probably because of our inexperience rather than the depth of the snow.

One activity which works perfectly (besides shoveling! That's going great, I tell you....) is snow-caving - right next to our own driveway. So yesterday, after we got out driveway clear enough to be functional, we made two forts: one tall, and tall enough for Hazel to stand inside; one long, twice my body length, with entrance, exit, and an escape hatch for safety.

Because as much as Brian and I feel like we've done this before, we haven't - not with the girls, of course, but never with our own driveway to shovel, our own snowpiles to shift and tunnel on our own. I'd helped make a decent snow fort or two in my life, but never one which required a head lamp and a sled to see and reach the interior.

Hazel and I saw a sign on a snowpile on our way home from grocery shopping: "Snow for Sale". I guess we don't need any more, but I bet I could buy some more, real cheap, and we could make more tunnels. If we needed to.