Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Working in the Snow

Yes, it's Christmas Day, but as the snow started falling again, Lisa and I decided that it was likely to be the only time it was going to be dry enough, relatively speaking, to get the fallen tree branches out of the path. Working in the falling snow is a little easier than in cold rain and slush.

Lisa's Little Orange Pickup Truck, which she drove to Columbus twice this year and which survived losing two gears on the first trip and having a universal joint "explode" on the second, now sits forlornly in the snow. Lisa meant to move it back under cover before the storm hit, but now will wait until the snow clears before moving it.

Here's the old family house, which has frankly seen better days. I hope the deteriorating roof can handle this slushy snow.

This section of the building is called the "summer kitchen" and is completely derelict now and given over to raccoons. They've been coming and going via this hole in the roof -- those are raccoon tracks you see in the snow on the roof. When I shoveled the latest accumulation of snow from the main path this afternoon, I saw that the tracks came down to ground level, joined my path for a few meters, then went off in a different direction. Being soft-hearted, I dug small "raccoon ramps" where their trails join the path, making it slightly easier for them to come and go.

I've written previously about Lisa's attempts to do something to halt the further deterioration of this roof. Here's a shot of the plastic sheeting she used to cover the worst of the holes earlier this year. There's still clearly some leakage, and water is starting to get into the "video vault" where she keeps her videotape collection.

Here's a shot of some of the downed branches that partially block the path. Yes, I'm still holding Kuma Bear from the photo set taken earlier.

This sort of looks like the same shot, but it's actually on the opposite side of the tree from the previous one.

Here's an example of what we think is a cascading failure, where the top branch snapped under the weight of the accumulated snow, which caused the branch below that to fail, and so forth.

The result of the cascade was half-a-dozen fallen branches piled up near the bottom, pinned against other as-yet-unbroken branches.

After seeing to the safety of Kuma Bear, Lisa broke out the vicious-looking hand saw and started hacking away at the branches. When stuff got to the point where I could shift it, I hauled it away to one side or the other.

This is tricky work. Many of the branches were held in place by the weight of the accumulated other branches, so when you sawed one off, several others tended to shift. There was also some danger of causing branches higher up to snap and fall onto us. There were several times where we found ourselves braced to jump away as loose branches five meters above us started shifting around.

After an hour or so of this work, we managed to clear the path again, as shown here. We left the pile of branches on the far side of the tree untouched for now because it's not blocking the direct path.

The detailed work of reducing the fallen branches to either firewood or landfill (depending on size) will have to wait for better weather.

After all that work (and after I spend another half hour or so scraping another 2 cm accumulated snow from the paths and cutting a new path to Lisa's father's wood pile (something we should have done three days ago), we had a late lunch. The snow had stopped after that -- we even briefly saw blue sky -- so Lisa suggested we take a walk. We slogged over the Santiam River bridge to Lyons and looped around on one of what I think of as our "usual" walks. Most of the roads look like they've had a snowplow run over them at least once recently, and highway 226 is well-sanded now. The snow accumulation on the sidewalks is almost hard enough for walking without breaking through, although what won't last as the temperature rises later this week.

Lisa then sent me back over to her father's house with the photos she took this afternoon and to see if the latest attempt to clone a hard drive for her worked. This time it did, presumably because this time I didn't try upsizing the original 20 GB drive to fit into an 80 GB drive, but retained the original partition size and simply formatted the remaining portion of the new drive as a second partition. Maybe tomorrow we'll try installing it into one of the T30 machines and seeing if it will actually work.
Tags: lisa, mehama

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