Winter Wonder

Well, we’re breaking snow records here at Leafhopper Farm. Last night we got a full 6″ on top of several other dumps we’ve had in the past two weeks. Supposedly this is the final big storm, and it’s still coming down out there as I write this. Luckily, not much is sticking any more, but that could change as the evening sets in and temperatures drop again.

This morning I did a lot of snow shoveling for the first time here in Western Washington. It was a race against time before the warm up would cause the light fluff to glaze into cement. Yesterday I did manage to get to town, but now, there’s over a foot on the ground quickly turning into hard crust. It’s going to be an adventure to get out tomorrow. I’m still thinking about cutting a path now, but things on the main roads are slick; safety first!

With a lot of snow comes the joy of skiing the farm! I got in a few runs and will get in a few more today. It really is a pleasure to briefly enjoy my favorite winter sport on the landscape. Though the runs are short, the energy of flying down my hill, seeing the land from a different perspective, and hiking back up for more fun is very rewarding. This is the third winter I’ve had the pleasure, but the first without my pup Indo running along. She is deeply missed.

We shoveled the roofs to keep things safe. With over a foot, the older buildings don’t have enough roof pitch to keep the snow shedding properly. We’ll still have to watch for ice dams as the melt begins. Right now the weather keeps going back and forth between snow and rain. I bet the roads tonight will be awful, so I hope everyone gets home safe.

I took the picture above before dawn, granted, we’ve had a few days of slight melt here and there, so this table is stacked with our two most recent snow falls. Not the grand total, which could be well over 14″. I’ve never seen anything like it here, and may never see anything like it again in my lifetime. Or will I? Some experts say this will become the new norm for Western Washington. I do hope not, because I moved here to have a temperate place without snow in the low lands. After years on the east coast, I was ready for a thaw.

Here’s a picture of the snow pile right outside the window by the truck where I shoveled this morning. It’s at the sill! Any more large accumulation and we’ll have some real challenges. I spent an hour digging out stall doors and the coop entrance this morning. The cold is sticking around for another week at least, and there is talk of more snow, though nothing like the dump on us last night. I do love snow, but in the mountains, where I ski, not in the lowlands, where I live in a temperate rain-forest.

Another good reason to embrace this snow is the slow watering our forest will get from it. We’ve been in a long drought here, with no real sign of change coming soon. This summer will be no exception, but at least now we’ll have enough snow to fill reservoirs and give the land a good drink before the heat comes. It could mean a lower risk during fire season, which is a welcome comfort, though not guaranteed. Off to take a few runs on the land again while this whiteout continues. Safe driving out there!

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