Sunday, December 14, 2008

Many moons--and now this

Yesterday we woke and opened the curtains just in time to see the December full moon slowly sinking behind the low trees on the west side of the bay. The tilt of the earth in winter gives us a view of the setting moon that we don’t have any other time of the year. In summer it rises behind the cabin, above the tall trees, stays for a brief glimpse, and then eases out of view while it’s still high in the sky.

It’s rare in winter to have a clear morning sky, so I think I can safely say that until yesterday I’ve never seen the setting moon over these waters.

Which is why, even though no number registered on the thermometer—it read zero—I threw my jacket on over my nightgown (the nightgown that goes to my kneesies), jammed my bare feet into my Crocs, grabbed my camera, and raced out onto the deck in order to catch the last of that moon sinking behind the trees. Just so you could see it along with me.

That was yesterday. Today the temps went up to 36 degrees and everything began to melt. Which was fine with me—love the fluffy white stuff, but that gray, soupy junk not so much—but then we heard that by tomorrow the digits were dipping to singles again. That meant that the ton of snow on our roof would likely compact and freeze into two tons of ice.

So out came the greatest invention known to Northern Man—or Woman. The snow rake. The snow rake has no moving parts, no fancy screen, no chips, no pixels, no memory, no earthly way to program it—but all by itself, it does the best job anyone has ever seen of pulling tons of heavy snow off of snow-clad roofs.

Well, wait—it doesn’t do it all by itself. It takes some manual labor to get it to do its thing. Sometimes a whole LOT of manual labor. But the point is, it does it without balking, without stalling, without coaxing or coercing. It’s simply a slightly curved metal rectangle attached to a v-e-r-y long pole. You position that rectangle at the top of the roof and drag it down until the snow falls off the edge and onto the ground. That’s it.

When the snow from the roof falls to the ground, it’s where it should be. But when it falls onto the deck, it’s only the first step in the snow removal process. That’s where I come in.

Step number 2 requires that someone take that heavy mound of snow and somehow shove it off the edge of the deck and onto the aforesaid ground. Because Northern Man is busy with the roof rake, Northern Woman (me) must take up the snow shovel and figure out a way to get the now cement-like mound of snow off of the deck without killing her knees or breaking her back.

I’m here to tell you, it can be done. Here’s how: A little at a time. I grab a little at the edge and push. Grab a little at the edge again and push. I do this until I get to where the mound gains height and then I have to rethink this thing. I chop a chunk, grab a little and push. Then I repeat until the mound is gone.

All the while I’m working, I hear that damned snow rake scraping across the roof on the other side. The snow feels and sounds like an avalanche hitting the deck, and I think to myself that this whole process might be absolutely fascinating if I wasn’t the one who had to go over there and start shoving again.

NEWS FLASH: We heard tonight that there’s been a change in the weather. The predicted arctic blast is taking its time getting here. High temps will be 33 degrees tomorrow. That means most of that snow on the roof would probably have melted on its own by the time the REAL cold got here.

Oh, that Mother Nature. She's a piece of work, isn't she?


  1. Snow rake will only reach about 1/4 of way up on my roof, even with extension,... so we do that then hire the roof shoveled. Oh yes,.. the deck job is the same here too,... chip away a block of packed snow at a time and shove it off the edge of the deck. Deck floor is about 6' to ground,... some springs the pile of snow to melt is even with the floor! The moon was lovely!

  2. Roof raking...what a chore! Love the blue color in the moon pics.

  3. Cedar, yes, you get WAY more snow than we do! This has been an unusual year for us. We don't ordinarily get this much snow until January. I hope it's not a preview of things to come.

    Denise, Thank God for the roof rake. Otherwise, we would be stomping around up there, shoveling snow onto the deck, where I would still have to work at getting it off!

  4. The moon shots were fantastic! Really set the mood! I have to get one of those snow rakes - I imagine I'll have to be the one to shovel off the deck. Ugh!

  5. Hi, I've been tagged by Corin and now am tagging you for 7 "weird or random" things about yourself. See my post for today... As i said, not necessarily weird, but definitely random!" Have fun with it!

  6. Okay, Cedar, I've taken your challenge. See my latest post. I'll be tagging some others, and I'll add them to my post when I do.
    Happy Holidays!