Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Blizzard of '06/'07


Firewood half stacked

My father used to tell tales of the blizzards of his childhood in Kansas City. Like all young children I rolled my eyes sure this was a lot like the fish that got away which continued to grow upon every telling. As an adult living in the intermountain west and spending 20 years of that time as a ski instructor I have been trapped by avalanches and snowed into mountain resorts and snow blinded on the trail heading to the lodge. But all those were transient events compared to the Blizzard of '06/'07 and the winter that followed.

It started snowing I believe on the 29th of December. I went out and gathered up firewood from the unstacked pile just delivered. It had been a mild winter to that point and I was sure the wood I had would suffice but had gotten extra at the last minute. Snow storms in New Mexico seldom hang around but this one did. It was still snowing on New Year's Day. By then we had 6 feet of what skiers call Champagne powder if the winds had not begun. Winds pack the snow down, reform it and change the shapes of everything. I could no longer find the wood - either stacked on unstacked.

Snow sliding off the metal roof had knocked the satellite dish off the side of the house. I was cut off from the real world. Similar slides of snow off the back had made it impossible for the dogs to get off the porch once through their doggie door. I and the fur kids would go out 3 to 4 times a day and shovel snow to develop paths to where I thought the wood should be and to attempt to keep the driveway clear should a snowplow actually make it down my road. What I did not know is they were all busy with the main roads. The entire northeast part of New Mexico was snowbound. When the storm moved on state helicopters were dropping feed to stranded cattle. All the passes in and out of my valley were closed for 4 days. Continuing winds made road clearing a nightmare for state and county plows.

Once roads were clear I managed to get more wood delivered and piled I think on top of what was buried and entombed till spring. It was a long winter. A freak winter we all thought, but the next winter was almost as bad. Ergo the woodshed pictured above. And my drive to get all the two cords of wood I ordered stored snugly inside it. I may have to snowshoe to retrieve it but it will be dry and accessible.

And because the tourists residing in the vacation rental across the road think my wood is their wood I am able to lock it up. I will be very satisfied when it is all stacked neatly by noon today. What is pictured is only about half. When totally full my shed holds three cords. That and a full pantry takes some of the dread of winter away. Before the great blizzard snow never scared me.

1 comment:

  1. It doesn't paint a pretty picture. I recall your winter of 07/08 which seemed never ending. Hope this one is not going to be as bad.

    You will have real muscles by the time you have finished.

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