Batten down the Hatches!

We got through that Polar Vortex intact (well, I did find part of one of the downspouts just inside the edge of the woods). Then we had this lovely thaw which melted away almost all of the snow. Parts of the grass was even green for Heaven's sake...but just when we were all getting quite comfy with the new milder temps, here comes the next one. So today was about taking care of a few things.

For one thing, get the snow blower out and although it was just a little accumulation from last night, might as well make a new path through the expanse of white while it's sunny and bearable out. Then there was the business of the mailbox. Ah yes, the snow plow has nailed it a few times leaving it with a minor dent or turning it sideways. But last night the driver was surely nipping from his flask to keep warm because the mailbox was decapitated and the box was lying crumpled and twisted on the front lawn. Needless to say, we got no mail today. I'm sure the postal worker drove up, noticed there was no place to leave the mail, and kept on driving. Not only was the mailbox a bit bent and twisted, but the lovely little makeshift replacement flag I made for it a few months ago was nowhere to be found. 
All right...I remind myself that this is country living folks! One has to be handy with more than just a spatula, right? So first it was hammer and pliers trying to knock out the dents, untwist and get the door operational again. Now for the flag...last time I cut one out of an empty detergent bottle and covered it with red electrical tape but upon inspecting the recycle bin there was nothing suitable. So off to the basement where I found a thin piece of wood. Out with the handsaw, cut a strip off the end and cover it with the last of the red electrical tape. That takes care of the flag. Of course I couldn't find the right bits for the power driver so I had to kneel in the snow while I hand cranked some new screws into the bottom to attach it back on its post. I stepped back and looked at my handy work and thought I did a pretty good job. It's possible that it will be all for naught when the plow goes through again tonight during what is expected to be a major dumping of snow. But I don't want to think about that. 

I noticed last March when I first arrived that many people had what looked like giant twigs lining the driveway. I was told they are called 'tree whisps'...basically a long, thin branch with some tuft of greenery left at the top and then poked in the ground along the edge of the drive so that you can find the edge under snow. We didn't do that. We didn't think we needed to. We learned the hard way. After twice driving out and nearly ending up in the ditch the runs on either side of the end of the driveway I know I had to do something before this next snow fall. I scanned the yard for possible tree whisp candidates and landed on the cat corral. Well we don't need THAT right now. So with a bit of grunting and heaving, okay a lot, I got the four posts out of the ground. Now what to do to make them visible? A couple of old packages of sew-on reflective ribbon meant for clothing. I wrapped it around the top and after a good deal more grunting, pounding and sweating, I managed to get them planted where they could do some good. When Todd came home from work, he verified that they did the trick and were visible even in the dark.

During this endeavor I had an occasion to poke around in the old workshop looking for a sizeable hammer or mallet to pound these things in with. I opened the door and heard a tiny shreak just before noticing a red streak tearing to the back of the workshop and up the wall. Seems we have a squatter living in there. He looked at me, sized me up, determined that I didn't look too dangerous and came back down to continue shredding an old towel left in there and taking the threads up to the rafters. Seems he's building a home there and needed a little more insulation. I guess he heard about the Polar Vortex coming back and was doing his best to batten down the hatches.


At any rate, we are all set. If we get snowed in tomorrow we're good. We have food in the fridge. The generator is gassed up. The mailbox is back up and the markers will help us figure out where the driveway is under all that snow. The heat pump is going strong and the furnace is fixed and ready to go if we need to switch over. So time to settle back with my down slippers on, a cat in my lap and a hot cup of cammomile tea.

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