Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Hard Day's Night

Sometimes, here in Maine, it's hard to think about anything but surviving. Especially for those of us who live in the more rural areas. It's as if Mother Nature says, "forget all that other crap you're dealing with and focus on this, right now."

As the weather guys on TV said, we just 'experienced a winter storm.' I would amend that slightly. We just got dumped on. BIG TIME. We're used to snow. We get snowed on a lot, and that's actually one of the things I like about Maine. But this was more - a lot more - than the usual storm. We had about 18 or 20 inches of gorgeous white precipitation, and suddenly, our priorities shifted.

Now, some people will talk about how beautiful it is, and show pictures of trees laden down with glistening snow; or how fun it is to play in, and show pictures of kids and their sleds or snow men. I'm not going to do that. I'm pretty sure there are enough bloggers out there to cover that topic, and they're all right. It IS pretty, and it IS fun to play in. But there are a lot of factors that affect how much fun it is, and I'm going to list a few of those here for you southern folks.


1. How much snow? 6 inches - pretty and fun. 20 inches - too much.

2. How much snow did you already have? If you already had snowbanks too high to see over when you wanted to pull out of your driveway, more snow is not always a good thing.

3. How much space do you have to store snow? One of the biggest issues is becoming 'where do we pile the snow?' We live on a major road, and aren't allowed to push it across the street (although sometimes we do...shhhh!) so it just gets plowed up until the snowbanks are as high as the second story of my house. I am perfecting the 'listen and pray' method of determining when it's safe to pull out of the driveway.

4. Do you have a garage? Huge factor, this one. If you have a garage, your life is totally different than us garage-less folks. Cleaning off your cars after a big storm is a major undertaking, and for us it's usually a task completed in a giant rush while the plow guy waits, looking grumpy. I-HEART-GARAGES. I plan to get one someday.

5. How much snow do you have to shovel by hand? Again, this is a huge issue. If you have a small area to shovel, you may actually enjoy it. I've heard of this, although I don't really understand the feeling. We have to shovel so much you wouldn't even believe it. Front steps and pathway. Back deck. Mailbox (if it survived the big state plow). Path to dog yard. Path through dog yard. Gates (and there are a lot of them). Individual dog spaces (30-plus of them) so that they all can access their houses and food bowls. Individual dog pens, where older dogs or puppies live, so that they stay secure (after 3 feet of snow falls, a safe 6-foot fence becomes a unsafe 3 foot fence). There's more, but you get the idea.

6. What is your method of heating your home? This becomes important relating to #5, because if you heat by oil, you have to shovel a path to the oil-fill pipe, or they won't deliver oil. And today's delivery day.

7. What is your back-up heating method? This relates to loss of power situations, which we had to deal with this time around. Luckily, we have our power back now, but there are 70,000 people in Maine who are still without electricity as I write this. If you have a good system to heat your home while the power is out, then you're in a better spot. Us? not a great back-up system. Gotta think about that one for next year. I was surprised to find out that wood pellet-burning stoves, which everybody was buying like crazy up here when oil was so expensive, actually need electricity to run. Who knew?

8. How hard is it to remove snow from your roof? I don't even want to think about this, but it has to be done. Sigh.

There's more, but I think you get the picture. It's beautiful, all right, but sometimes it's hard to notice that part, at least until you get by the surviving part. I took some pictures yesterday, and if any of them came out, I'll post them later on. In the meantime, I have to go and catch up on reading blogs. No power is bad for my blog habit!


Midwest Mommy said...

We never get this much snow... I can't imagine. However I think I lived in Maine I would just live in a townhouse with an association, let them clean it up :-)
Although that would be really hard with all the dogs, huh? Ok never mind.

Laura ~Peach~ said...

Snow blower... would be required and a fireplace with many many trees cut and stacked and close to the house... gas powered snow blower that is ...
removing snow from the roof always an adventure but must be accomplished...and yeah on the garage We dont have one either and when the saps run I sure wish we did cause they mess an auto up like crazy.
Glad you are ok and have power again... we cant have frozen ME and sons and pups... no no we just cant have that!

AirmanMom said...

ME...I'm in Portsmouth, NH this week (hubster working at the shipyard) Girl, it is C-O-L-D here! As I watched the the morning local news, my prayers were lifted for those without electricity!
I'm not in Maryland anymore!!!!
Stay warm and safe!


Under the Influence said...

We could use a little more snow here in OH, but preferably not as much as you receive!

Sue said...

It has been one of those winters in Maine! Glad when I was there in the winter, I was at college so someone else had to deal with the plowing and cleaning up! And I skied all the time, so snow was a good thing.

Hang in there! The clocks change on March 9th which at least gives us the mirage of spring coming!

Evansmom said...

You should move south! By that, I mean southern Maine. We only got 4 inches in Kittery Point!

Whoops, is that rubbing it in? LOL

Proud Mom said...

Here in VT we didn't receive very much in the valley, but a fabulous load of perfect powder in the mountains. And depending on where I was working, I heard either cheers (at the ski resort) or jeers (at the supermarket). Hearing your perspective about the trials and tribulations of a huge snowfall, I feel guilty for wishing every year for just one phenomenal nor'easter that would paralyze us for a couple of days.

Hang in the ME; I'm now wishing for an early Spring in the Northeast & tons of bright, warm sunshine from now on.

Alice said...

This list is also known as "Us Georgians have no idea what the hell you're talking about!" This list goes into affect after the first flake of white stuff is seen for us. :) Hahahahahaha Seriously, hope you're warm, safe and surviving just fine.

Lynn said...

I've shoveled my share of snow and I don't miss it at all but it is beautiful when there is just enough but too much !

Elenka said...

HA, man, you nailed it right on the head. That's our life, without the dogs. Path to propane tank on other side of house, path to compost pile, path to woodshed, etc. THIS snow was impossible to move, even with snowblower.My husband would snowblow 6 inches and the snow soooo compacted he couldn't move it any more without breaking it up with a shovel first. Yuk.
Yeah, I did post some of the beauty of it on my blog...but most of it was not beautiful at all. 35 hours of no power. But that's much better than the 9 days during the big ice storm!
At least my pets stay inside.....

Andrew Scott Turner said...

Add the following please:

how heavy is your snow? some storms dump fluff. others, like two days ago, dump heavy, rain-filled snow. the fluffy stuff just slides right off the shovel and you're done in no time.

the wet snow feels like shoveling wool blankets.

and. it. sucks

cloudmaster said...

I'm in penobscot county and we got about 20 inches. There is absolutely no place left to put it. It took forever to get the mailbox cleaned out so we would get mail and I thank god every storm that I have a garage!

Wonderful World of Weiners said...


I wrote that all by myself ME, just for you!

Hallie :)

Reddirt Woman said...

I think the most we've had at one time that I can remember is 14 inches. One of these days I'll do a post on it. We did have about 6 weeks of on and off snow back in the early 80's that shut down school quite a bit. If the state hadn't let the schools go later in the day and excuse some of the days they would have had to go until mid-June that year. But it was no where near what you all get and Okie street workers were no where near as able to deal with what we did get. Yes the photos are beautiful, but it is February and here in central Oklahoma I've been out working in the flower beds and getting ready to do some planting in the garden. As for shoveling... last time I shoveled was when we had the the 14". I shoveled a path off the patio and around the yard so the babies could go out to relieve themselves. The snow was deeper than they were tall!

jojo said...

we'd all crawl up and die if we ever got that much snow here. We had about 5 inches this winter and the entire city/schools/stores/etc closed down. We are big sisses here! Good luck with all that stuff...

American in Norway said...

SOunds a lot worse there, than it is here...but the roads have been very tight as they have no where to clear the snow away... I would love to see some pictures!

claudia said...

We just don't get snow. Period. I don't understand snow. I would kill myself driving in it, so it's better left to those of you who know how to do these things!
I didn't mean to be mean. I probably feel about my lawn as you do the snow. My lawn is not something fun, I let it get too high, cause, it's not like on the top of my priority list of things to do. My neighbors glare at me, I get embarrassed, it's just unruly. I meant it a truely bad way...I do not like my lawn, like you are not liking your snow right now, and all this rain, just makes my lawn grow that much quicker.
I would never intentionally be mean to you...really!

Odette said...

I feel ya! I am not looking forward to next year when we have a driveway to shovel! We too have snow banks that make it impossible to see when you back out of the driveway (Or turn a corner!)

I say "GET LOST SNOW"!!!!!!

Robin said...

i hate snow.

it's only pretty on a screensaver or a postcard.

the only part of snow i think is even a little cool is how quiet it gets when it's snowing. but that's not enough to make me like it.

it never snows in hawaii.

i'm just saying.

Joanie said...

OK, I won't complain about the little bit of snow we got this winter or the cold.

Vegas Princess said...

I do NOT miss all that AT ALL!! But having lived my entire life up until 5 years ago in snowy climates, I feel your pain. The no garage thing especially. That is what made our decision to move. No more shoveling out our cars in the morning before work.

Vegas Princess said...

After I wrote that I realized the irony of now that we live in a non-snowy climate, we have a two car garage. :)

Mary Lee said...

Snow is beautiful... ok, I said it. Here in MN, its either below zero or snowing a few inches at a time.

I love the occaisional foot of snow, but thats only good once a year. Winter should be December thru Jan, than spring can come on down! Sounds like you are having a snowier than normal year???

If Kim-d and I come to Maine in October, will we need our snowshoes?

Just Joni said...

When I was a little girl we lived in Maryland and I remember much of what you just described and oh, how my mother hated the snow! It is quite beautiful but I imagine it gets old when there is sooo much. Bundle up...warmer days are comin'.