Here in central Connecticut the snow started on Friday morning. I was working from home and took this picture out my side door at around 8:30. Flakes were just starting to fall. Levels of anticipation by the local news station were on the rise but had yet to reach peak frenzy.
By mid afternoon, this was the view from my work area. More than six hours of constant snowfall had only amounted to a couple of measly inches. Snowfall totals and wind gust speeds had been downgraded for my area of Connecticut. On the news the all day weather broadcast raged on.
Later on that night the wind picked up and it started snowing heavily. When I went to bed I figured I'd wake up to maybe a foot of snow which for around here is a good sized storm. Catzilla had chosen to go out earlier in the evening and had yet to return. Even though the free loading flea bag seems impervious to cold weather and has access to a bed in my garage I was mildly concerned.
Before five on Saturday morning, Nick started pestering me to get up. One of the downsides to sharing life with an old dog who is used to a five AM weekday wakeup is you don't ever get to sleep in on weekends. Plus his bedtime constitutional had been disrupted by his reluctance to pee in blizzard conditions (can't say that I blame him). If I ignored him it would likely be at my peril.
When I got downstairs I was shocked by the two to three foot drifts piled up against all of my exterior doors. Fortunately the north facing patio door had the smallest drifts and wind had hollowed out a spot nearby where the snow was only a few inches deep. Snow was still falling and Nick was dancing a jig, so despite being clad in only a robe and slippers, I grabbed the shovel I keep next to the door, and quickly shoveled a path out of the house and down the two steps to the patio. Five minutes later I was back in bed. There was plenty of time to plan my attack and deal with the mess during daylight hours. Admittedly though I was still worried about that flea bag cat.
|Winter interest New England style|
|View from my front door.|
With all the drifting I have no idea how you arrive at an "official" snowfall total for a storm of this magnitude. According to the TV meteorologists weather observers are required to follow a strict protocol to arrive at a measurement. My method involved finding an open area on the patio where the depth of snow appeared uniform and sticking it with a tape measure. Since it was still snowing when I took this measurement, I'm going to proclaim the unofficial Idyll Haven Blizzard of 2013 snowfall total at 24 inches.
Official totals at Bradley Airport in Windor Locks (about 20 minutes north) were just over 22 inches placing this storm second largest on record.
I grew up in a suburb northwest of Boston and spent four years at the University of Maine in Orono so I am no stranger to large amounts of snow. Even for New England, two feet in one dump is considered a significant snowfall. Although I do have a snowblower to clear my driveway, just to get to the garage required significant shoveling. In an attempt to be strategic, I decided to launch my assault on the garage via the patio. Nick is 14" tall at the shoulder and requires paths to get around in deep snow. Best to kill two birds with one stone.
Oh and in case you're wondering, the cat nonchalantly sauntered in just after seven AM like nothing had happened, scoffed his breakfast, then spent most of the next 24 hours conked out on various household surfaces. When I finally got into the garage I found the spot where he had dug himself out.
In addition to the patio, I also shoveled out the grill. After all, when the weather outside is frightful you never know when you might feel like tossing a steak on the barbie.
Both walkways and main entrances to my house require hand shoveling. In order to get to this one I had to fire up the snowblower and clear the driveway first. My driveway is probably 100 feet long and opens into a two car garage. In some spots the drifts were higher than the machine. Strong northerly winds exposed me for the snowblowing novice that I am but I persevered.
To the right of the entry is my hot tub. Due to the weight, snow must be removed from the cover. In order to get to it, I have to shovel my way in and around.
|A winter wonderland in the making|
|Winter interest at it's finest|
Did I also mention I have a fire hydrant on my property? Thankfully one of my neighbors helped me hack through at least four feet of plow drifts and get that cleared. In the process we had to deal with a large Steed's Holly I have planted as a screen which had been bent over with the weight of the snow. Trimming of that bush has been added to my list of spring chores.
Last but not least I tackled the front walkway and entry. Even though it was getting late, I wasn't comfortable not being able to open the front door. After digging through that nasty plow crud for the first five feet in from the street, my left wrist had given out but I wasn't giving in. No pain, no gain. Sometimes I wish I was more of a condo person but where would the fun be in that?
By 5:30 I was done and I mean done. I work out heavily with weights four or five days a week, hill climb on a treadmill and a stair machine and practice yoga. By most standards I'm in better shape than the average schmoe but by the time I called it quits on snow removal I could barely manage a stooped shuffle to the fridge for a glass of wine. At that point though I would have crawled.
A few glasses of wine, a handful of Motrin and a good night sleep works wonders. Today the sun was shining and I dug a few more backyard paths for Nick, cleared a spot by the street for the trash receptacles, and opened up more of the front walk and hot tub areas. Then I went in search of the bright spots.
On Monday school is cancelled again in my town. Although the roads are plowed and passable they are still in sketchy shape. Many CT cities and towns are struggling with snow removal and people have been unable to leave their homes. In the true spirit of New England weather we are expecting rain by late morning tomorrow. On top of this much snow, rain will likely create another host of problems. Where is that rodent who predicted an early spring? Florida most likely. With any luck the next blizzard I see will be from Dairy Queen.
One of my storm pictures was featured on Hartford Daily Photo today. If you get a second, head over and check it out HERE.
Happy Valentine's Week!