Thursday, January 12, 2012

the art of snow removal

It's a little late getting here, but winter has finally arrived. Anya is trying out the outerwear portion of her wardrobe:



There is an art to snow removal. Our little family has collected quite the array of shovels and scrapers, each essential and useful in its own way. There is the short-handled emergency shovel that folds up and fits neatly into the back of the car, and is also a convenient size for children who like to help out. There is the long-handled aptly-named "Snow Plow" with a wide blade to scoop snow off the deck and porch steps. There is a long-handled brush for clearing the car, an ice pick for when things get really packed down, a roof rake, and - my personal favorite - the bent-handled snow shovel most comfortable for clearing the narrow gravel driveway.

We have pretty much everything but a snow blower. God, I hate snow blowers. Those things are a scourge on the environment and they make SO MUCH NOISE.

I'd say we got about 6" of snow today, certainly not enough to cancel school, but enough to make the roads a slippery mess. I was grateful I didn't have to drive anywhere (though after 3 rounds of Chutes and Ladders and multiple readings of Anya's favorite Berenstain Bears books, I was just about ready to try it). At 1:00, when the snowstorm was about halfway done, we went outside to tromp around and get a head start clearing the driveway and try out my new snow boots (thanks to generous gift cards and clearance at REI!):



After 15 minutes, my dear little daughter was ready to go inside, but I was on a roll swiping snow off the car and scooping it into the yard, so I helped her get inside and came back out, trusting her to look at books and build with legos while I finished up. This evening, after a few more inches had fallen, as meatballs were baking and noodles were boiling on the stove and we were waiting for Stuart to get home from work, I sneaked outside to do it all over again.

The snow hadn't stopped falling from the sky, but it had slowed down a little. There is something really cool about shoveling snow by porch light. I cleared off the car again, starting with the roof and working my way down. Then I scraped snow off the steps off the front porch and back deck. And last, my favorite part, clearing the driveway with the bent-handled shovel. It probably sounds crazy that I like this so much, and if this were the 3rd or 4th or 5th major snow of the season, I probably would be complaining right now instead of waxing poetic about it. But the truth is, there is satisfaction in the physicality of shoveling snow, and when you're working in the half-dark, it's all the more magical.

I get a rhythm going, you see. 1-2-3-4: step, scoop, toss, step-back Start in the middle, scrape diagonally toward the street, toss in the yard. When you get to the bottom, go back and do the other side. Husband comes home. "Hello," I say. "Can you check on the noodles? I'm having too much fun to quit." He shakes his head and goes inside. 15 minutes later, covered in powdery snow, my hair coming loose out of the ponytail (I didn't bother with a hat, and it's still kind of windy), I walk in the door, breathless, and call the kids for dinner.

3 comments:

Pam said...

Beautiful! Yeah - something magical about the way the snow lights up the dark, muffles the sound, and makes you feel like you're in a special blanketed world of your own. And, coming inside to a warm house when your body is freezing cold feels really good. I say this not having seen much snow at all for about four years. But, I'm in Syracuse now and we're expecting a storm tomorrow. I'm glad I read this first. :)

gianna said...

Yeah! Today it was 14 degrees. It was a brutal late winter hello. No snow here, though!

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