Cyclonic Blizzard of Historic Proportions HFS!!!

If the snow hadn’t been falling so fast and relentlessly, it would have thawed the moment it hit the ground. But it fell fast and we ended up with nearly a foot (20 cm) of heavy, wet snow. Farmers in the San Luis Valley will not have go look outside for hay and pay exorbitant prices, that’s one of the good things about this. The dogs and I took a walk that afternoon, 3/12 with the sky all silver and trying to be blue, Sandhill cranes calling above the fast-moving fog, emerging, stopping me in my tracks to watch them.

The snow was still several inches deep and wet yesterday as Bear and I headed out in shimmering, blinding bright cloud reflected light across the golf course to the big empty. The tracks of a young fox — a kit — enchanted my dog and nothing enchanted me. Even the silvery light hurt my eyes. I’d been fighting a migraine for two days. I think it might have gone its own way over night, but it’s too soon to tell


Meanwhile, up north, the storm — of which our heavy, wet rapid dump was the initiating tail — is winding up what might have been the biggest blizzard in history. More than 1000 flights were canceled at Denver International Airport. Hundreds of cars (and the people in them) were stuck on the Interstate highway between Denver and Colorado Springs. (Didn’t they believe the weather forecast AT ALL??? Maybe they didn’t know what the word “blizzard” means?) and were rescued through the concerted efforts of school bus drivers, high way patrol, local cops and a snowplow.

The party isn’t over. Here’s the highway conditions map for this morning.

Red lines are closed highways and roads. Various shades of blue represent various shades of snow. Purple is high wind. The little red bubbles with the dash are warnings.


It’s been a snowy, snowy winter here in the Great American West, though a sunny, quiet morning here in the domain of Martha, Dusty and Bear. More melt, more thaw, more mud.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/rdp-thursday-thaw/

Sweet, Snowy Morning

In good news, I woke up to a snowy morning. Yeah, yeah, it was predicted but I have come to look at weather predictions as mere speculation. It isn’t much, and it won’t last, but it sure is beautiful, muffling the world and softening the edges.

The sun is breaking through the fog. In real language, these two inches of snow mean moisture in the fields. It brings a gentle drink of water to the flowers who are probably jonesing to come up and show their little colorful heads.

I’ve finally accepted it. The changing of the seasons is just one of the few things in the universe that is NOT in my control. ( ha ha ) I’m grateful for this snowy token of nature’s goodwill.

In other news — TONS of snow have fallen on the Colorado mountains this winter. While most of the snow this winter has fallen in MY mountains (the San Juans), in the last few days the sexy parts of the state have gotten a lot of snow. Here’s a video of the main east/west freeway in the state with an avalanche pouring down on it and stupid people driving into it. Enjoy!

Skied Again

Some people don’t consider Cross Country skiing, also known as Nordic skiing, to be skiing. That’s OK with me. I’ve seen guys strap skins on their down hill skis, climb up a mountain, take off the skins and ski down, and I mean a big mountain. That was 30+ years ago and now the two sports have moved closer together. I know that from the skis I just bought. Like downhill skis, they are “cut in” on the sides and they are comparatively short. They are different, as I’m learning from taking them out, twice now. I can tell from the few little knolls I’ve skied down that they would really like more hills than my golf course offers, but I had to tell them, “Guys, listen. I don’t really remember how to turn.”

“Sure you do,” they said, “just keep at it.”

They’re probably right.

Maybe what I should worry about is having conversations with my skis.

I had the golf-course to myself. Someone was there this morning — the skater guy, I think, from the tracks. In the meantime — night before last — we had a sweet fluff of light snow. It was followed by a warm temps (40 F/4C) yesterday and a bitter wind, bitter enough to make slanted icicles as the day cooled and the melted snow on the roof-lines froze.

I knew this morning I wanted to get out there, but I waited to see what was going to happen with the temperature. If it got to freezing — or a little above, I would go. I knew there would be a crust of ice under drifts, and in shady spots, it was kind of icy, but, overall, I’ve skied on much worse.

I fell — that’s the best thing that happened. I found out that I can get up from a fall and how I would do it. There are a couple of positions I’m not supposed to get myself into, and one of them could be the result of getting up from a fall. It was wonderful to know I can get up.

It was a dazzling blue-sky day. Not many animal tracks and no sign of “my” deer, so I didn’t feel so guilty about having walked the dogs at the high school before going out to “our” place.

Deep Snow

The snow is deep here in Heaven and it’s GREAT. I didn’t buy skis, my new snow shoes have shark’s teeth on the bottom and they scare me. But we remain undaunted and yesterday we headed out to the golf course to smell things and look for tracks.

The San Juan Nordic Club has groomed beautiful trails and, as it was Sunday, people were using them. It was wonderful to see — and it made me envious. Anyone who was outside yesterday really WANTS to be outside. Dusty made two new friends — a friendly neighbor opened his arms and let Dusty run to him, and one of the skiers — a really amazing ski-skater — stopped and asked if he could meet my dogs. They were all about it.

The tracks for cross-country skiing are really nice — there is a wide one for the skaters, lines for the people like me who just glide, and then a packed part to the right of all this for walkers. In snow over a foot deep it’s nice to have something a little more solid under foot. I love that they do that. It’s kind and respectful and protects their ski tracks from the kinds of postholes idiots like me drop into the snow with every step.

So far this winter I have fallen three times and gotten up three times, twice in deep snow. That was one of my biggest fears thinking of winter sports. Every time it was nothing. “I fell, so what,” not even that much thought or dread went through my mind. When you think of being mobile, you don’t think of falling, but it’s part of the equation. Anyone who moves around risks being attacked unaware by inanimate objects that are out to get them. It’s vital to be able to recover from a fall without fear. Just pick yourself up, brush yourself off and start all over again. Yesterday we walked a mile and a half through this deep snow. It was hard work, but fun. Dusty was suffering by bedtime, though.

But I’m getting skis. This is insane.

P.S. The photo is from three days ago. We’ve had more snow since then. 🙂

Resolution and Wonder

I always thought the Buddha was kind of precious saying, “desire creates suffering” but damn. He was right. After four days of very frigid weather, today the temperature warmed up to the 20s (-3C), and Bear and I finally got to take a long snowy walk. What a walk!

My desire for more money and X-country skis and (yeah, maybe, this, too, YOUTH), all that had made me unhappy, vanished in what I saw and learned.

Walking in 8 inches of snow isn’t easy, but it’s fun. We headed across the golf course out to the big empty. Wildlife don’t know the difference between the two, so, besides the snow (which Bear and I love) there were all these smells, “ordurves”, urine sprays, scent markings on the bottom of trees, and TRACKS. Humans have ONE gift on the hunt and that’s height. Bear has, for a dog, very good vision, but I’m taller. Still she gets to experience a lot of things I don’t. I think I’m glad.

And then I saw “my” deer. The two does, running across the empty alfalfa field. They stopped when they saw me. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw something running, more like floating, on the snow. I knew who that was. It was “my” fox. I haven’t seen him in two years. HE was why my deer were running.

My fox a couple years ago in the snow and mist


The does leapt over the fence. The fox ran in another direction, not liking seeing me and Bear. You never know with that guy. Sometimes he’s curious, sometimes he’s not. The deer stopped running and walked a few yards toward me. We looked at each other. I let them know I was very happy to see them again (did they understand?). I wondered where the buck, the other doe and the yearling were, but I couldn’t ask. After we acknowledged each other, they went into the willows to browse.

On my way back I saw two x-country skiers trying out the newly groomed trails. One was a really good skate-skier. The other was a guy struggling. It’s a sport you have be pretty stoical to enjoy when you’re just starting out. You have to like the possibilities because it’s a little awkward to learn. I hated it the first time I tried it in the Wind River Range of Wyoming. It was hell. But, a few years later at Devil’s Thumb Ranch near Winter Park, I took lessons and it turned out to be one of three sports I’ve tried in which I had a natural ability. It’s so nice to get a break like that.

I waved at they skier. He came over to say “Hi,” and I asked him if he were having a good time. He just said, “Well, it’s a nice day.” Colorado speak for, “Hell no.”

I just smiled and said, “Keep enjoying yourself.”

“Oh yeah,” he said and struggled off.

Unlike him, I was having a good time, and it occurred to me that I’d rather walk through the snow with Bear than X-country ski. I thought of all the places we could walk in the back country, and I realized that my new winter sport is…

1/10 the cost of X-country skis and MORE versatile for going into the snow with my big white dog. I don’t need new boots. I have poles and it’s something I’ve never really done. An adventure.

The Most Amazing Photo (of Dogs I Love)

All the Dogs that Look Like Lily T. Wolf ❤

From “Here’s Where the Arctic’s Wildlife Will Make Its Last Stand,” National Geographic, January 2018 PHOTOGRAPH BY PAUL NICKLEN

Lily T. Wolf in her first and only REAL snow storm, March 2015


Walking in the snow with a dog who loves snow is a kind of transcendental thing, particularly if you love snow, too. Only a couple times in the lives of my Siberian huskies was I able to share that with them, and Lily was the ONLY one who got to experience real nordic cold and a legit snowstorm. Otherwise, if it snowed in the mountains where I lived in California, a rare event but it happened, we were OUT in it as soon as it was possible.

Now I don’t have a Siberian husky, but I have Polar Bear Yeti T. Dog. She and I took our first REAL winter walk of the year this afternoon. It was a balmy 17 F (- 8 C). We took off across the golf course (who’s surprised?) and out into the big empty.

I didn’t expect to see the deer. They really are gone. One of the property owners north of the golf course is now shooting at geese and if I were one of my deer (highly intelligent deer, by the way) I wouldn’t hang around. On our return, the scent in the air was a mixture of gunpowder and piñon. Bear did not like the smell, but the sound of the shots didn’t seem to bother her.

I’d forgotten the exquisite pleasure of walking in the cold on a still, sunny day with the best companion I could ever ask for. It was really perfect.

Bear and me looking toward the place where “our” deer should be, Bear leaning against my legs to keep me safe from danger. ❤

The Bear Report

Snow is in the forecast but here in Heaven, between two rain shadows, it’s always iffy. We will be VERY happy if it arrives because then my dog’s camouflage will work.

Meanwhile she’s waiting patiently. Long walks help combat the yearning.

“The deer are over there, Martha.”

And toys…

Bear in the morning with her new toy.
In the evening after a long walk, with her new toy.

We had a long walk yesterday with lots of amazing smells mostly of the two dogs and their people who were out in the wildlife refuge when we arrived. Bear walked in every patch of snow that still remained from whenever that was a long time ago that snow fell. The one big patch under the cottonwood trees gave her a place to roll around.

That’s pretty much the Bear report for this part of the world. I imagine later on today we’ll go try to find what little bits of it still remain in cold north hollows and maybe see how our deer are faring.

First Snow — Report

 

Knowing perfectly well that March or April could arrive and I could, by then, be thoroughly sick of this stuff (doubtful but possible) here are some photos of our first snow of the winter. Last year we had ONE good snow storm on October 9 and that was it. Drought, no snow pack in the mountains, bad news for both of the “industries” in my valley — farming and tourism.

This year the local ski area, Wolf Creek, was the first in Colorado to open on weekends — two weeks ago with a foot of snow. Since then they’ve had (now) two more storms so it has to be pretty decent up there.

As for my big white dog and I? I was so excited at the prospect of snow I could hardly sleep. Lucky for Bear, she had no idea — or every idea through her nose that it was happening. It was wonderful to wake up to the miracle of a world transformed and quieted by snow.

 

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Not a lot of danger on the golf course today…but something smells good.

 

We were out by 8:00 to catch the snow before the day warmed up, and the snow stopped falling.

I love the feeling of cold air on my face and the vision of trees covered in hoarfrost and snow. I knew it would fade fast, and I didn’t want to miss it.

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Some of the trees still have leaves. I guess they just aren’t ready to move on. Snow on still golden branches of aspen trees is very lovely.

 

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Snow on Narrow-leafed Cottonwood

 

After about an hour, we came home and shoveled the sidewalk. The snow was like concrete at that point as the temperature had reached 32 (0 C). I shoveled my walk and my nextdoor neighbor’s because they’re out of town. There was no real need. I knew it was going to melt before night, but I like to shovel. My neighbor came across the street and helped me finish up and we visited for a while.

Bear and I just got back from the second walk. She checked her messages and then we went back to the golf course to see if we could find any tracks. Elk, I think, much to Bear’s delight, and pee on the side of a cottonwood.

There’s a lot of drama in my world during the hours from dusk to daylight, but I don’t interfere with it. I like seeing animls, but I think, even more, I like it when animals are free from me looking at them. I love the accidental meetings, though, during what I call “human” hours. We’re both surprised at the sight of each other. No sightings today.

My dog is tired, I’m tired, but we’re both very, very happy. We’ve waited a long time for this and it’s absolutely wonderful to be able to walk through the deep snow without even thinking about it. I’m looking forward to the coming months and maybe the chance to Cross-country Ski.

Halloween Snow

There were a lot of years when I was a kid when it snowed on Halloween. It’s kind of a tradition. Bear’s happy. I’m happy. I’m about to put on my boots and take Bear for a ramble and then come home and shovel walks. I know there’s a chance (slight) that by March I’ll be sick of snow, but right now, I’m very happy. The world is costumed in moisture and white silence. The happy snowplow came by (comforting sound and sight) and all is right with the world.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/10/31/rdp-wednesday-costume/

Conversation with PBYT.Dog

“Martha?”
“Yes, Bear.”
“When will it snow?”
“About the time you have my yard completely dug up, I think.”
“What?”
“I meant to say no one knows.”
“Last year we’d already had a blizzard.”
“I know, but it was the only real snow we had. I think that sucks.”
“We went out in it.”
“Of course we did because we’re idiots like that.”
“I love snow.”
“I love it too, Bear. It will come, sooner or later, but we live between two mountain ranges. They catch most of the storms. It’s just how it is.”
“Why don’t we move?”

~~~

PBYT.Dog = Polar Bear Yeti T. Dog

 

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/10/18/rdp-thursday-blizzard/