Springtime in the Rocky Mountains

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RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

No snowblower here either, although that's not saying much.  We had ninety inches of snow this winter, I think the sixth snowiest on record, and I too walk shoveled snow down the road.  However, it's not because I have to: no man-made  10 foot piles here.  I do it so I don't have high piles that cause drifting of more snow that I would need to remove. 

I can't imagine the drifting you must get, Jane!

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

Very impressive, Jane! A 6 hour day I hope is only during your opening up season? With two of us shovelling like mad people (my friend refuses to do anything at a reasonable pace, and I have to keep up!), we  usually wrap up in 90 minutes to a couple of hours, and after that I hardly want to go to work..lol I actually don't mind shovelling snow,normally,  it has just seemed very relentless this year--not huge amounts at a time, but we need to shovel whenever there are a few inches, or it will get packed and rutted and be much worse.. I've never measured the distance we keep clear, would be interesting to do-- a wild guess maybe 100m of driveway ( I could be over or under) though about 1/3 we don't clear every time (nearly though) as its less used.. that includes parking area, which is extra wide with room for turning around, also extra wide at the mouth of the gravel road for turning in.. then a dog run area for my mom's dog, a half dozen paths to various parts of the property, from 10 to maybe 50 metres long, a couple of areas where woodcutting is done, the area around the mailbox on the road, so the mail carrier can pull in and out without getting stuck! and occasionally my mother's roof..Now that there is melting, we have to go back and do extra shovelling around the driveway to reduce melting onto the drive causing mud troubles.. We are just about exactly at the 5 month mark for lasting snow this winter...5cm forecast for tonight-- I'm hoping it stays under the shovelling threshold  ;D Now if it would warm up enough that I don't have to cut firewood...lol (I should be doing that in the summer, but then there'd be no time for gardening at all!)

These shots show part of the driveway, and part of one of the paths in early january..interesting how low the snowpiles look compared to now...lol.. still nothing like Jane's, fortunately :)

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Hendrix
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Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-12-24

Cohan, you get mail delivery?  Wow!  No one in the Breckenridge area has the "luxury" of mail delivery.  Everyone has to go to the post office in town and get it from his or her post office box.  It's a 10-mile round trip for us down a steep, winding road.  We alternate with our neighbor.  We have her PO Box key and she has ours.  We usually make just one trip a week to town to resupply with groceries (fresh stuff).  Our neighbor goes to church on Sunday and sometimes makes a second trip during the week so we might get our mail 3 times a week if we're lucky.  During this month, our neighbor is on vacation so we are picking up her mail and getting ours just once a week.

You have a long driveway to maintain.  90 minutes to a couple of hours times two isn't too bad but working that hard under pressure could have a negative impact on you.  Klaus and I work steadily but we don't push ourselves to exhaustion.  The 6-hour day is one of several of that duration in order to open the garden paths for the first time.  Then, when it snows on those shoveled paths, it's been taking me about an hour to reestablish them.  Klaus takes care of our two decks, the stairs, the driveway, the walkway to the utility box and the roof.  It takes him between one and two hours to reshovel the driveway when we get 10 inches or more of new snow. 

I still have two more garden areas to open up but today we decided to take a break from snow shoveling and have our first cookout of 2011 -- a hotdog roast.  It was sunny as a got things ready in the kitchen but then the clouds rolled in.  Below are photos of Klaus and me cooking hot dogs over our first fire of the year.  The green house is our next door neighbor's.  You can usually see the 12,000-foot-plus snow-covered peaks of the Tenmile Range behind that house but the cloud cover was low this afternoon.

In the last photo, Klaus is finishing his last hot dog as the snow is starting to come down.  It was about +32F (0C) at 1 p.m. today.  After we ate, I went snowshoeing and cut down an 8-inch-diameter dead spruce tree that was blocking one of our trails.  Also saw pine marten and red fox tracks in our back yard.

Jane Hendrix
Mountain View Experimental Gardens
Peak 7-Breckenridge, Colorado USA.
Elev: 10,000 feet
Zone 4
http://www.picturetrail.com/hendrix & http://www.picturetrail.com/snowtrekker7

 

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Jane, I really am impressed by your "snow-work"! When we are at our cabin in the mountains wintertime I have to clear snow from the entrance and make paths to use when we move around the cabin. And I really like it! - for a short while. I have found garden spades to be useful when the snow is hardpacked but use a broad bladed light spade when the snow is light and dry.The type Stephen showed I use when I remove snow from the roof!

Have you made your fireplace that tall so you don't need to bend or is it to find it in the deep snow?We often cook outdoors in winter - more often when our daughters were younger but we usually do it when we are away from the cabin on a hike.

Trond Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

LOL Jane, for many years, I had to pay to not get my mail delivered, too.  (For those who don't know, you are still forced to pay for a post office box!)

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Hendrix
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Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-12-24

That's exactly right, Trond.  It's uncomfortable to crouch down around a fire while cooking meat on a hot dog stick.  People do it when camping because they usually have no other option.  Klaus built that fireplace from leftover rock that I had collected for my raised beds.  And, yes, being several feet above the ground does make it easy to find in the deep snow of April when it's usually pleasant enough to have our first hot dog roast.

There is a shovel like one you pictured at a public cross-country ski cabin about a mile from our house.  Neither Klaus nor I would be able to handle that shovel when it's loaded with snow.  It just holds too much, and, in our enthusiasm to be as efficient as possible when shoveling our areas, we would tend to load the shovel with more weight than it would be prudent for either of us to handle.  So we use a lightweight, plastic-blade shovel -- and mine holds even less than Klaus's (so I can't "kill" myself).  But sometimes we dislodge large blocks of compacted snow and then we just pick them up with our hands and carry them to a snow deposition area.  If our winter were longer than it is (Heaven forbid!), we could build an igloo from those snow blocks!

Jane Hendrix
Mountain View Experimental Gardens
Peak 7-Breckenridge, Colorado USA.
Elev: 10,000 feet
Zone 4
http://www.picturetrail.com/hendrix & http://www.picturetrail.com/snowtrekker7

 

Hendrix
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Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-12-24

Rick, we could have a free post office box if we asked for one.  Because our whole area doesn't have home delivery, the U. S. Post Office must provide a free box to each residence.  The free box is the smallest size unless none is available.  Then the post office has to give you the next larger size for free.  If the mail you get exceeds the capacity of your box (whether you pay for your box or not) 20 days out of 30, you will have to pick up the excess mail at the counter and pay a "counter fee" of $800 per year!!!  Outrageous!  Since we don't get to town that often, to avoid that penalty, both we and our neighbor have larger boxes that we pay for.

It's not easy to pick up our mail.  Our post office is small and it shares the lot with a grocery and liquor store.  There are only about 15 parking spaces and they are used by customers of those two stores as well as by post office patrons.  During ski season (November through April), our 3,000-person town swells to 25,000.  It is often not possible to find a parking space anywhere near the post office, not just in front of it.  Sometimes I get out and pick up our and the neighbor's mail while Klaus circles the block.  I have to look through both stacks of mail before I leave the post office because very often there is misdirected mail and, if I don't leave it at the post office, the correct recipient won't get it until our next trip down to town -- in another week. Also, there may be a "pink slip" in either of the two stacks, which means I have to stand in line at the counter to retrieve a package that won't fit in our post office boxes.  Meanwhile, Klaus is still circling the block, wondering if I've been kidnapped!

Jane Hendrix
Mountain View Experimental Gardens
Peak 7-Breckenridge, Colorado USA.
Elev: 10,000 feet
Zone 4
http://www.picturetrail.com/hendrix & http://www.picturetrail.com/snowtrekker7

 

cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

Boy, using the internet today is an endurance event...lol--the connection I have (for laptop or pc) using smartphone networks, our fastest option out here, but can be spotty, usually not too bad, but horrible today--connect/disconnect, connect/disconnect.... if I weren't mostly editing photos, I'd have given up long ago-- in a couple of hours, I have sent one email, and read this one thread on the forum--we'll see how long it takes to send this....

Congrats on the first cook-out :)After a long winter, we need some sign of change--longer days, bare ground, something!..lol Our day length is now 14hours, up from 7.5 at midwinter--which seems funny, since after fresh snow again last night, it still looks like mid-winter out there!!

We have always (in my remembered lifetime, so since early 70's at least) had mail delivery out here, mon-friday.. the mailboxes are dotted along all/most of the rural roads, though not everyone gets to put the box right in front of their place-- I guess the carriers don't go down some roads, so people have to put their mailbox at the nearest intersection..Luckily we don't have to go to town for it, since our post office is in a small town 11 miles away (so would be a 22 mile round trip)--and we almost never have any reason to go to that town (we work and shop in completely different towns)! Occasionally there are parcels too big or delicate or requiring signature or something (though occasionally the carrier will drive into the yard to see if there is someone to sign!)  to leave in the box, and then we get a notice and have to go to town pick it up.. None of this costs us anything. If it's any consolation to you U.S. folks, your mailing costs seem very cheap! So I guess you pay less to send but more to receive.... I pay nothing to receive, but sending things is pricier...The post office used to be in the even smaller town 5 miles away that is still the name in my address, but it was closed, as was everything else except the elementary school.. ironically, there are more people living there now, but most of the hamlets have lost what few businesses they had when I was little, as cars and roads have got better, and everyone goes to bigger towns to shop..

We have one wide plastic shovel meant for pushing, though we still do have to lift it to an extent, a smaller one mainly for scooping/throwing, and a huge heavy metal 'scoop shovel' (also used in farming days for shovelling manure!) which I use sometimes in spring for moving wet/heavy/icey snow that would break the plastic....

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

My mountains, not the Rockies!

This Easter I haven't needed to shovel any snow here at the cabin! Usually I have to dig down at least 1/2 - 1 meter to find the terrace where we put our chairs and table!

Although the Easter is late this year the snow usually covers all the hills in April. This is more like middle of May.

Trond Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Hendrix
Hendrix's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-12-24

After a noisy thunderstorm on Sunday night June 19, I was expecting to find my gardens nicely watered in the morning.  But Mother Nature had other ideas.  On June 20 (one day before the official start of summer), I awoke to 4 inches (10cm) of wet snow that bent over my tulips, daffodils and our newly-leafed-out aspen trees.  The nighttime low was 32F (0 C.)and the high temperature yesterday reached only 48F (8.9 C.). Below are a few photos of that disheartening scene.

This morning (June 21) it was 39F (4 C.) and the snow was gone.  The tulips and daffodils straightened up.  The trees shed their snow.  What a difference a day makes in the Colorado Rockies!

Jane

Jane Hendrix
Mountain View Experimental Gardens
Peak 7-Breckenridge, Colorado USA.
Elev: 10,000 feet
Zone 4
http://www.picturetrail.com/hendrix & http://www.picturetrail.com/snowtrekker7

 

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