Tuesday, January 20, 2009

S'no Big Deal

Picture one snowflake. One tiny snowflake landing on your mitten or a sparkle of cold on your outstretched tongue. One weightless atom of ice crystals drifting earthward. And then another. And another. And another. And another. And...

As I leaned with all my might into the snowy mass that was bulging the greenhouse plastic wall inward, I wondered just how many snowflakes I wrestled with. As many as dollars in the bailout? As in both bailouts? As in the National Debt?? Just how many of those little mites did it take to make a solid wall of snow that I could not budge.

And budge it had to. Son K. and I were standing in the warm kitchen discussing lunch possibilities when son B. stuck his head in the door and, in his calm understated manner, mentioned that we might lose the greenhouse if we didn't clear some snow away - better get some brooms and shovels and come out.

From the previous Frog Log, you can see that we can't stand to lose another greenhouse. The snow had surprised us with its intensity that day and as it continued to pile up, the plastic greenhouse walls were starting to feel it.
We didn't want to lose this one.

You can probably understand where shovels fit in, but brooms? Well, take your broom inside the greenhouse and use the soft end to press back against the plastic sections that are starting to sag. Start at the top, and as you release the upper section of snow, it will cascade down the curved wall, taking the rest of the snow with it. And so it goes, section after section.

In the pictures you can see two side-by-side sections, one covered with snow, the other released of its burden. You can also see son K. putting the broom method to good use.

Of course after all that snow slides down, it rests in a high pile at the side of the greenhouse. And that's the absolutely immovable object to which I applied my shoulder. Useless. I could press the mass away an inch or two, but not enough for it to fall away. As soon as I released my effort, it would just settle comfortably back into the sling of plastic that its million-flaked mass had created. Human 0, Nature 1.

So next we go outside and try to shovel those drifts away from the walls. You can see a photo of how the greenhouse looked as it was on its way to being buried in snow. Amidst the swirling snowfall we attacked those drifts with shovel, broom, and finally our hands to paw and claw at the piles that had hardened into an icy ridge. Just us against the elements with our puny tools. I was back in the Ice Age, grunting to Ork to clear the cave entrance with his club.

But what's that sound in the distance, Ork? The thunder gods? Round the corner of the greenhouse, son B. roars up on the backhoe, deftly shaving snow slices from the snowbanks that had resisted our first volleys. In a short time, the snow sits tamely in nondescript piles at the base of the greenhouse walls. Jupiter makes inspection of one side of the structure and declares it a job well done. Machines 1, Nature...well, she'll be back!


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