Spring Looks Different This Year

Last year on this date we recorded 80 degrees in our middle meadow. I was wearing shorts. The sugaring season was over. Our attention had turned to preparing gardens. It was all very, very weird.

Today, the first day of spring 2013, we awoke to 12 inches of new fallen snow and an overnight low of 21 degrees.

While it may seem incongruous with the first day of spring, the scene outside the door this morning was much more in line with what Vermont typically looks like this time of year. I enjoyed the excuse to set aside desk work and spend a couple of hours clearing the road.

When we first moved to the mountainside we were unprepared for the amount of snow that would cover the half-mile of road between us and the nearest town-maintained road. We thought we’d simply chain up all fours on the truck and muscle our way through it. Well, we did, although maybe not through it. Usually it was simply into it.

We became pretty accustomed to the come-along winch that year. With heavy old mooring lines and a length of chain I’d tie to the nearest stout tree and I’d start levering the winch with Marion at the wheel. We got to know those ditches well.

We were convinced about the utility of a tractor that winter (2008 – 2009). We bought “John” and thought our problems were solved. A bucket-loader is not a plow, though. Soon after the tractor arrived on the scene I was making a trip to an implement dealer for a back blade (knowing that it would also see plenty of use grading the road during the warmer months).

I managed to keep the road clear (almost) for two winters with the back blade. The problems arose when the snow depth would build and we’d run out of room to put it. (Much of our road is lined with steep banks on either side.)

Finally, a year ago, I purchased a PTO-mounted snow-blower. After those early failed experiments, we now have the tool we need for clearing Vermont’s winter white!

As would be the case, we only saw one significant snowfall after purchasing that snow-blower during the winter of 2011 – 2012. Even that one was small enough that I really didn’t need to clear the road, but I seized the opportunity to try out the new machine.

This year certainly wasn’t on par with average Vermont snowfall amounts, but we have at least maintained snow on the ground. More importantly, we haven’t seen 80 degrees yet. I like it much better like this.