Playing in the snow

Fog in the snow Dec. 17

Fog in the snow Dec. 17

The closest I get to playing with snow is generally shovelling. Or dealing with meltwater, which brings out the 8-year-old in me. We had about 25 cm of snow over the last couple of days: not too much to handle but it did pile up. I cleared the back porch, sidewalk, and parts of the driveway & lane of the most recent few centimetres, but a plastic shovel doesn’t cut ice. Then it thawed and rained. So I went out after dark with a narrow steel shovel to help the puddles drain. It was going to freeze overnight and I didn’t want large sheets of ice around us.

In the back, I cut a few channels so that the sidewalk could drain to the driveway and the driveway to the lane. In the lane I made sure that the water had free passage downhill to the storm sewer at our end. One of my self-appointed tasks in the winter is to keep that drain open, not covered with snow and ice. Digging channels in melting ice reminds me more of March than December. It’s neat to see the water start to flow over miniature ledges.

One of our young grey cats appeared from up the lane to watch. I stood aside to let him by. He strolled thoughtfully through puddles of ice water and sat down at a safe distance to watch me dig at the frozen ruts. But he kept coming over to say hi and look at me meaningfully. It was Fog, who likes to ride on my shoulder. Maybe his feet were cold? So I picked him up and went on shovelling with my own personal superintendent. He was fine until a car came by. I stood out out of the way but he went scrambling further to Make Sure. (Here’s a picture of him after the first snowfall, when the snow was still dry and fluffy)

In front of the house, I created some channels to help water drain from the sidewalks to the street. But that doesn’t really get rid of it. Our street has a relatively new “speed hump” that prevents water from draining to the nearest catchbasin, so we get huge puddles on either side of it, including a big one at the driveway from the lane to the road. There must have been four inches of water in some places. I really must ask the city to trim the ends of it. And, of course, the snow piled by snow ploughs ends up covering the basins. So I dug around at the edge of the road, trying to find a way to a storm sewer. No luck. Every year I think I’ll remember til next year exactly where they are.

As the cold deepened, the water was freezing into floating “bergy bits” of ice. I made a few more channels to drain sections of the sidewalk that hadn’t been cleared, but had been driven on, in front of a parking lot. Why am I minimizing someone else’s mess? That lets them get away with not clearing their own walk. With a last swipe at the back lane and its diminishing channels, I went in to warm up.


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