Saturday, November 4, 2017

The smiling snowman

This one is from last year. Winter is coming, and I was looking at pictures of the various creatures we sculpted last year. Hard to believe how many hours we spent out there, heaping up snow, and sculpting.
It's only November now, and I'd like if I said I was looking forward to wintertime. Love snow, hate cold. You can't have one without the other here in Upstate New York.

Anyway, here is one of last year's creatures. It came to be on a cloudy, bitter cold Sunday afternoon, and it was cold all right.

His 'hair' didn't want to cooperate, so Mark had to touch it up quite a bit.

This nameless creature stayed in our back yard for weeks. It was so very cold for weeks on end, he couldn't melt.

Friday, April 7, 2017

More snow fun

It's been a long winter. I am writing this on April 7 and it's snowing outside. An old man told me years ago how to predict spring. Ever since he told me that, I've been paying attention to it, and he's been right year after year, about 15 years now. According to his theory we'd have a late spring this year, and sure enough...

So how do you predict spring?

Think full moon and the tides of the sea, and how it all influences the weather. OK that wasn't too technical, but you get my drift.
Easter is on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. If Easter is late, spring is late. It's really that simple and it proves to be true year after year.

We all long for spring now, and it's time to start thinking about sunny days, sprouting seeds, and lots of work. until then, let's admire winter a bit more and reflect on its beauty.
Below are some pictures that we took this winter. oh how I want to say this "past" winter. Almost, almost..

This picture was taken during a walk around the corner from where we live. It was a lovely Sunday afternoon.

Deer by the train tracks. She wasn't too shy. This is just behind our back yard.

Another Sunday afternoon picture. Sun and snow go well together (as long as you're wearing sunglasses)

The train tracks cross the back yard way out back, and they are a good place to go snowshoeing on the weekends.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Snowbank Fun

In order to make a sculpture out of a snowbank, you have to find the right moment. Most of the time, the snow banks are rather dirty from the sand on the road. Other times, they turn into giant blocks of ice, or the snow is too cold to pack well. Last year, we didn't have any opportunity to use the snow banks to our advantage. This year, we got one ice sculpture out of it, but two years ago, we hit the snow jackpot. Fresh snow on an already nicely packed snowbank that wasn't too dirty.
This one was never given a name, so let's call him Anderson, or something..

He had a big mouth :) A few hours worth of work. Anderson lasted at least two weeks. He was made in the first half of March on a cold Sunday afternoon. Looking at it now, we had less snow than we have this year, but the snow in the banks was cleaner. Exactly how clean the snow is depends on how much sand they have to use on the road. A snow and ice combo usually requires lots of sand. If it's not biting cold and there is only snow, they don't throw sand, which is good for us.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Loki the Unknown Creature

Meet Loki the unknown snow creature. We spent some time piling up snow off and on for 2 weeks, in preparation of our sculpting day today. It's always best to pile up snow ahead of time so that it can settle. The more it settles, the easier to sculpt, as long as you don't have a warm-up followed by a cold spell, which easily turns the piles into icy nightmares. We lucked out, especially since mother nature dumped about 2 feet of snow on the pile we already had. Speaking of low hanging fruit!
Today brought far from perfect sculpting weather because the temperature was too low for the snow to pack. Mark had to go inside for a bit to warm up his feet in-between.

Total sculpting time was about 3 hours, not counting the cave we made in the back of the sculpture. The 3 hours also don't include the time it took to pile up the snow. I didn't keep track, but I know it was more than 3 hours all together.

Mark originally decided to make a cat out of that pile of snow, but it turned out different. Sometimes you just have to let a sculpture build itself and follow its lead. At some point it looked like a bird, but the end result isn't much bird-like. It also looked a bit like a frog while it was in the making, but you need some imagination to see a frog there. We'll just leave it at Loki the Unknown Creature.

The pictures below show the making of the sculpture from beginning to end. We also made a couple pictures with us in front of the snow pile, which gives you an idea about the size.

As always, you can click on the pictures to get a better view.

Let's start with the pile of snow :)

Mark, in the process of carving.

The finished product

We made an opening in the back, this is my snow shelter now :)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Lock Ness Monster

Loch Ness Monster

Click the image to see a bigger picture.

We worked on this one for a long time, somehow. First, we piled up four heaps of snow, ranging in size from real big to small. The biggest one became the head, which you can see best in the picture. The teeth were challenging, but they lasted forever. Even a month later, when the sculpture was snowed under, you could still see the teeth sticking out.
The monster has 4 body parts. With a little imagination, you can see the dragon-like monster come out of the snow-filled lake. Well, maybe with a lot of imagination. I feel that we put the piles too far apart, and the result was a cut-up monster. Even though I don't feel this was our greatest, I love the teeth. Reminds me of the original Jaws movie :)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

More Snowy Days

A snowy day is nothing unusual in the North Country. We live with it. We shovel. We stare at the growing snow banks while longing for springtime. "Spring is right around the corner" is an often heard expression. It is usually followed by "But that corner is real big, isn't it?"
March 21st is merely a date on the calendar. Most years, we see the first day of spring come and go without seeing an end to the white, fluffy stuff referred to as 'the four letter word'.

Over time, I've come to notice that people make themselves feel better about the endless winters by discussing the groundhog in the early days of February, or they sum up the advantages of winter. There are no mosquitoes, the night is never pitch-dark when there is snow on the ground, you don't have to worry about any junk in the back yard, because the snow covers it, snow is good insulation, snow is the poor man's fertilizer in the gardens, there is no mud, and most of all... it's beautiful.

If you've ever seen a snow-covered tree, you'll know exactly how beautiful it is.
Here are a couple pictures that I took last week. We had an ice storm, followed by a good amount of snow. The tree branches were hanging low in some places. Snow was sticking to everything, creating a perfect scene to be captured in a photo.

You can click on the pictures to have a better view.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Snow Angels

There is nothing easier than making angels in the snow. I'm not referring to flapping your arms and legs around while feeling the cold, wet snow on your back. I'm referring to real snow angels. They are easier than anything else. Just make the shape in a pile of snow and scoop the snow from around it. No skill required.

The only tool I use to make angels is a hand shovel. A hand shovel is the gadget you'd use to dig in the garden when you plant your young vegetable plants. Sometimes I use a snow shovel to flatten the front of a snow bank before I get started. This helps to make the 'front snow' more packed. It's important to have packed snow so that the angel doesn't fall apart while you carve it out.

The disadvantage of making angels is that they are the first ones to melt when the temperature goes above the freezing point, and they are harder to reconstruct than the bigger snow sculptures are.

Angels can also be made in forms. Pack a 5 gallon pail full with snow, pack it very densely, and turn it over, a bit like a snowcake. Then you can sculpt out the angel. I have some pictures of those, but will need to find them.

As always, you can click on the images to make them larger.
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