Thursday, January 26, 2012

An Icy Weekend

Very early Saturday morning I hopped out of bed and looked out of the window to discover that we'd had some snow silently delivered overnight. Not much but more than a dusting and enough to make a pretty winter wonderland.
I donned a jacket over my PJ's and carefully walked outside to fed the crows, scattering seed in front of the house, then rushed back indoors to make a cup of tea and snuggle back under the covers.
Kota was in heaven sitting on his fleecy hammock with warm air drifting up from the heater below and watching the crows strut and caw right under his nose thanks to the reflective film on the windows.
Later I went out to take a few photos and then rushed to the post office before it closed. I wasn't prepared for ice under the snow and lost control of Stuart at the bottom of hill. We slowly glided out into the main road but thankfully the car approaching from my left had plenty of time to slow down and swerve around me. On the way back up after my trip to Marshall it took me three attempts to get back up the hill.
I was glad to get back to the house and wondered how Brandon would get up the hill later to deliver my fire wood. But his truck had big chunky tires and he didn't slip once. We stacked the wood and then as we chatted over a beer he told me to stock up well for when the snow comes. Apparently when the last snow fell it was 4 or 5 days before anyone touched the bottom road and then it was just a bulldozer creating a one lane escape route. The army and coast guards followed after that to dig out Marshall. Brandon invited me into town for a drink later that evening to meet some of the locals but I was staying put, that icy hill was too intimidating.
On Sunday I had no intention of driving anywhere so I spent the day reading in front of the fire and just took a couple of photos of things Mum sent me.
This is the old family Monopoly set, a little battered but complete. It was nice to see the old pieces again and I always thought this was the best set ever. When I was younger I never understood why some Monopoly sets had an iron or a top hat as the game pieces. The idea of the game is to travel around the board along the streets and through the stations. How does one travel on an iron? You need proper transport for that, like our game pieces, a tank, a ship, a car, a motorbike and a train. My young literal mind sometimes had issues with the ship since there was no water for it to float on but at least it was a mode of transport. Not a silly top hat.
Mum had also found this old Art Deco style kettle which had spent years in a box and wasn't something I remembered having seen during my childhood. But I love its unique shape with the original little oil heater underneath.
I noticed Kota paying rapt attention to something outside and crept over to see what was so alluring. He didn't even acknowledge me, just stared into the trees, and as I followed his gaze I spied a beautiful red tailed hawk sitting on a branch.
I quickly grabbed my camera and clicked the shutter. Luckily I was just in time as he immediately took off and flew over the meadow.
On Monday morning a little more snow had fallen so I waited until about 9:30 to leave for work. The ground around the car was a little slushy so I hoped I'd be able to get out OK. I drove slowly down the hill and took the bends even slower but as the decline became a little steeper the brakes locked and I started picking up speed. It was terrifying not being able to stop but I reacted quickly and steered over to the side of the road that looked more snowy. I put a wheel onto the grass and Stuart stopped, thank God. But I couldn't back up and had to leave him there. The road was a sheet of ice and I had a problem just getting out of the car and standing upright. I managed to let Kit, a neighbor, know that I'd abandoned Stuart and then I plodded up through the snowy meadow back to the house. I was still clutching my coffee and as soon as I got indoors I threw a large slug of brandy into it.
Around 2pm I spotted Matt, another neighbor, walking down the hill. I rushed to join him and together we salted the lower and steeper part of the hill since that area is constantly shaded.
Abandoned Stuart. The dark areas on the road which I thought were safe were actually black ice. It looks like the road ends in the distance but that is actually where it drops down to the steeper hill shown below.
 Poor Stuart stayed on the hill until about 4pm when the UPS van came beetling up the hill. Since he'd managed OK, I walked back down again and this time managed to get Stuart back up to the house. The salt had done its work and the whole hill was now just slush. The temperatures were staying above freezing for the night so I decided to drive again, this time to pick up a piece of furniture with Jim. It wouldn't fit in Stuart but went in the back of Jim's Tahoe easily.
I'm really pleased with this $50 cabinet. It's unusual, maybe from the 70's but is in perfect condition and a perfect home for my cameras which have been in boxes since I moved to Marshall. Now I just need bookcases, a sofabed and wardrobes. One piece at a time...

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