Saturday, February 26, 2011

New Era

Have you ever had the experience where, for example, you bring a raincoat, but it never rains?

That has been my experience after purchasing and installing (with much assistance from my neighbor Mark G, without whom I don't know how I'd survive!) an agressive set of tire chains on our plow truck. (The photo doesn't really do justice to the "teeth" on these things -- great for traction and for chopping up the solid snow and ice that can make a driveway treacherous!) With all the snow we have had this winter, it has been quite a struggle out here in backwoods Richmond! Alison and I are like homesteaders up here on our hill, digging out our woodpiles, shoveling our roof, and plowing our 800-foot-long driveway. And, although I do love all the snow (and hope for more), it had gotten the better of me; on a couple occasions I got the old plow truck stuck.

No more. I put those chains on and waited for more snow, but it never came. Until yesterday. A good 10-12 inches covered the driveway, and I was ready at 5AM today. I plowed that driveway so it's nice and wide. I pushed snow uphill and then backed the pickup into position for the next storm around the turn in the drive and to the top of the hill. Readers, be the first to know: it's a new era in snow removal in Richmond.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Backyard Ski Adventure

With the latest storm, backcountry ski season is definitely here. For today's adventure, I didn't venture far. I didn't drive and I didn't need to catch a ride. Where did I go, you wonder? I hit the ol' backyard!

Our house is situated in a nook surrounded by hills on three sides. And these hills are steep! The problem is that there is alot of fallen timber behind us, but I always figured if we got enough snow, there could be some quality turns back there.

Verdict: I was right!

Oscar and I went down the driveway and skinned our way up the "Peninsula" -- a small outcrop of a hill that juts out from the main geographic feature (and forms one side of the three surrounding the house). There was so much snow -- more, I think than in some of the higher Green Mountains (or maybe it was because I was breaking trail in this spot for the first time all season). At the ridge, we traversed a ways -- picking our way through fallen trees -- until we came to the line above our house.

The whole way, Oscar had to bound like a deer to get through the snow. And although he put more tracks in the snow than me, he made one thing clear: this dog loves the downhills! (For more on his downhill antics, click on the top photo. Yes, that's him airborne at the bottom of the pitch!) Anyway, for my part, I loved the whole adventure -- the up, the down, the views of the neighborhood, the views of our home, and especially starting and ending right here.

Photos: Left: Oscar breaking trail. Right: ski tracks.