Thursday, December 30, 2010

Snowy Days

Winter isn't what it used to be.

Growing up in Northern Pennsylvania, I was accustomed to snow. Tons and tons of snow. If there weren't at least six inches blanketing the ground, then we considered it to only be a "dusting". It wasn't a "storm" until we had over a foot of snow in one snowfall. And school closings? Well, that required at least two feet of snow! None of the namby-pamby closings that we get nowadays!

I'm starting to sound like an old codger now...

I remember one year when it seemed that there wasn't a day that went by that we didn't get snow. We had back-to-back nor'easters that year and each one dumped between three and four feet of snow. Our house was at the top of a small but steep hill; our barn was about fifty yards away, at the bottom of the hill. I think that my parents sledded to the barn that first morning; it was the only way to get there.

Later that day, since school was definitely closed, we all bundled up and went out to start digging. The plow my dad had used to dig us out the week before had broken, so we had to shovel everything by hand. That meant: a fifty yard path from the house to the barn, including one that led from the upstairs of the barn to the downstairs. A similar path to the car, parked at the bottom of the hill. Then, from the car to the end of the driveway? A wide enough path that the car could drive through it. From the car to the end of the driveway? At least a hundred yards, probably 150. That's alot of snow.

We were chipper about it. My parents, brother, sister, and I dug right in...only occasionally pelting each other with snow. We decided to start at the bottom of the hill and work our way toward the end of the driveway. As we shoveled, I discovered that it was easier to chop downward into the snow with my shovel. It loosened the snow and made it easier to scoop and toss. I shared this info with my family, and soon we were chopping and scooping like champions!

Rumble, rumble.

I heard a strange noise and looked up just in time to see the top eighteen inches of snow shift and slide toward me about six inches. We had inadvertently set up perfect conditions to cause an avalanche! Not a true, bury-your-family-alive sort of avalanche but an avalanche all the same.

We went back to scooping, no chopping, after that.

You know, as much as I hate shoveling the measly amounts of snow we get now...I really miss those days. I could probably blog endlessly about my winter memories of growing up on the farm...

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