snow!

December 31, 2017

Do you love the snow? Or maybe you’re the type that gets filled with dread when those first flakes start coming down. I think it all depends on the circumstances…will I need to be on the roads or can I just stay home and appreciate the beauty. Better yet, is there a good place to go sledding nearby?! And don’t forget about snowball fights.

Our first real snowfall of the year came yesterday. I use the term “real” loosely, as it amounted to only 1 inch or so. Not enough to make a great snowman, but enough to make the landscape look pretty.

Snow in the woody landscape

It came at the best time too – on a Friday evening. That way, we can just sit in our warm home through the weekend and look at it, but no need to be out on the roads. Although by Saturday morning, the roads were pretty clear given the small accumulation.

In the book Cultivating Delight: A Natural History of My Garden, Diane Ackerman describes snow this way:

“Depending on temperature, humidity, and wind, snow crystals can develop into stars, columns, plates, needles, asymmetrical, capped columns, hail, ice pellets, graupels, and strange combinations, such as “bullets,” which are bunches of columns topped by pyramids, or “spatial dendrites,” which are six-pointed stars (sometimes with what looks like pine trees standing upright near the tip of each point).”

Wow! That is an amazing number of shapes. Who knew??


Our driveway is gravel, and while it does have some drawbacks, the very best thing about having a gravel driveway is that we never have to shovel. In fact, we would not be able to even if shoveling were our favorite activity (blech!). It just doesn’t work on the gravel. So for those very infrequent times when we get a deep snow, we can put it in four wheel drive and just go.

There is no getting around the magical stuff which completely transforms not only what we see when we look at the outdoors but also changes the way we go about the business of living. When a big snow is forecast, there is a run on the basic food staples at the grocery store and many of us have already stocked up on wood for our fireplaces, just in case we should lose power in our homes. This doesn’t happen too frequently, but when it does it can last for hours and even days (thankfully, those occasions are rare).

Our area experienced a strong thunderstorm in November which took power out for the evening. We got a fire going in the fireplace and gathered round to stay warm. As the evening went on and the sky grew darker, we lighted what seemed to be fifteen to twenty candles around the house by which to navigate. Later, the man ventured out into the storm to pick up some takeout. Lucky for us, that area had not lost power and their business was booming. We ate dinner by candlelight and it was a most romantic evening.


Further in her book, Ms. Ackerman presents some of the many names that have been given to snow:

“The Inuits and northern Indians, famous for a vocabulary of snow, have words for fluffy snow (theh-ni-zee), smoky snow (siqoq), falling snow (anniu), snow that collects on trees (qali), wind-whipped snow (upsik), crusty melt-freeze snow (siqoqtoaq), the bowl-shaped snow at the base of trees (qamaniq), fine smooth snow (saluma roaq), rough coarse snow (natatgonaq), deep snow requiring snowshoes (det-thlok), and even the place where wind has blown the snow away (sich), among many others.”

Pine needles covered with snow


Our dog, Trixie, loves the snow walks. She is part husky and goes nuts when it snows, scampering like a puppy again. It is especially cool when we see animal tracks on our walks. While I didn’t see any on our walk the morning after the snow fell, we have spotted deer, fox, rabbit and cat tracks in the snow in years past.

Dog walks through the snow


Does it snow where you live? And if so, do you love it or not so much?
No matter the weather where you are, I hope you have a very Happy New Year!


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