after the blizzard

our house the day after the blizzard

the morning after

As per the news yesterday, I worked from home today. That actually meant I got less time outside that I would have otherwise, since I missed 20 miles of cycling... but I didn't spend the whole day slaving in front of the computer. In the morning I shoveled out the chickens' run and put down some new straw so they could emerge from their henhouse for the first time in 40 hours or so. Then in the afternoon Harvey, Zion and I headed out for some non-blizzardy snow fun!

Zion and Harvey atop a giant pile of snow in front of our porch

how far can they see from up there?

There's lots of snow to have fun in. Remember my big snowman?

my big snowman, buried one ball deep in snow

looking smaller

Naturally, we made a snow cave or two. The snow is so light and fluffy the excavating was a snap.

Zion and Harvey smiling in a snow cave

"can we live in here?"

In fact, it's so light and fluffy I had some concern about the whole thing collapsing and trapping the boys; certainly when I tried to climb any of the piles I sank right in up to my waist. Even the plowed up piles can't support my weight at all, which is pretty remarkable: I don't know when I've ever experienced such light, dry snow before. Leah commented on how white it is with hardly any moisture; no blue in it at all.

To the kids that just means that their snow fights involved only fistfulls of powder.

Harvey and Zion having a snow fight with friends atop the tree house platform

not snowBALLS, exactly...

And to Rascal it means that he can't walk anywhere without sinking in up to his stomach. When he gets really excited he can bound around the yard, but mostly he wants to stick to the paths others have made before him. Not that that's too much of a hardship: with the sunny day the kids made lots of paths, and tomorrow will doubtless see lots more!

Rascal standing in a trodden path in the backyard

a traveller of the narrow way


the snow day of all snow days

Harvey, Zion, and Rascal out in the yard in deep snow, with lots more falling

braving the blizzard

On Saturday we dived into experiencing the first snow storm of the season like it might be the last. It turns out it wasn't. Heralded by increasingly alarming warnings starting Sunday morning, a genuine blizzard started last night and is still going strong, with, oh, a couple feet of snow on the ground already.

Obviously the world has been pretty much brought to a standstill; no work for anybody today, and I already know I'll be working from home tomorrow as well. That didn't stop us from going outside, though! I needed to give the chickens food and water, but the boys just wanted to experience the wildness. It's very cold. Zion lasted about 15 minutes, and we loved watching Rascal leap and bound in fluffy snow up to his shoulders. After Zion went in Harvey and I did some shoveling; when we made it out to the street we found about 8 inches of snow on it, and 3 or 4 on the main road. Walking into the wind was very unpleasant, but we're tough.

Harvey in snowsuit hood and muffler in heavy snow


Besides braving the elements we're also keeping busy inside: there's bread rising, squash in the oven, and lots of tea in our bellies. The boys, at peace for the moment, are building a zoo for their stuffed animals. We may survive this storm yet!

Update at half-past four:

It keeps snowing. When I walked Rascal late morning the undrifted snow was well above his belly; when I tried to get him to go into the woods he said, "the snow is too deep here: let's go somewhere else!" Alas, he wasn't able to find a anywhere with less than six inches of snow—besides the middle of the main roads, and I was really nervous walking there because the visibility was very poor indeed. Not that there was much—any—traffic, but I didn't want to get knocked out by a snowplow!

After our leftover pizza lunch there was a bit of a lull and Harvey and I went out to play and shovel. Even after our first small effort this morning the piles beside the front walk were tall enough to demand snow-fort making, and they quickly got a lot taller, but even piled up the snow was much too soft to bore out. We did make a tiny tunnel in the edge of the plow debris, and Harvey made it through once before it collapsed.

Harvey emerging from a low snow tunnel

low bridge

Zion came out for about five minutes, and did his part.

Zion shoveling in the driveway with the snow-covered car behind him

looking helpful

Just afterwards they tried to climb the snow collected in the lee of the car, which turned out to be very soft—so soft that instead of supporting Harvey, who was first, it collapsed and sent him plunging face-first into the pile, kind of like an ostrich. We went in after that, and I made us all hot chocolate. Mama did the second round of shoveling while we did some school; now the boys are playing with the big legos while Lijah naps (and are being very considerately quiet!).

Harvey and Zion playing with legos in their room

apres snow lego

Is it bedtime yet?

Further update at nine o'clock:

As Leah wrote elsewhere, "It looks like we made it to supper time! Though in all fairness, that's what I tell myself every day at this time, not just the days when snow is falling." I actually didn't think it was that bad, but I was doing the easy part. But regardless, nobody got hurt, the kitchen ended the day cleaner than it started it, and the rest of the house might be clean again someday! It was a long time to be inside: Lijah never left the house all day, Zion was out for a total of 20 minutes, and Harvey maybe 40. Leah and I each got to take a walk and do some shoveling, which may have been lifesaving (the kids' lives, not our own).

It's hard to see how much snow there really is in the pictures above. Just wait until I take some more tomorrow! While we've certainly had more snow on the ground before, I don't know that I've ever seen as much fall in one day. The piles on each side of the front walk are over Harvey's head, never mind the ones around the driveway. I can't imagine where people who own parking lots are putting all the snow, and maybe they can't either: pretty much everything is cancelled again tomorrow as they figure it out. Hopefully we can spend a little more of the day outside!


Burns day

We attended a lovely party this evening to celebrate Burns day, as in Robert Burns the Scottish poet. At this stage in life it's nice to be invited out to a party at all. Even better to attend one which features both a live bagpiper and a communal recitation of poetry! In addition to hearing the works of Burns and other famous poets, we were treated to several poems that party-goers had written themselves. This was lovely and made me think I wish I heard personal poetry more often. Why don't we frequently sit around in groups and hear each other's poems? Mightn't it open us up to a relational world imbued with wonder and vulnerability?

Unfortunately there's not much space in my mind for poetry right now. Nor in my life for that matter; taking more than two minutes to write fewer words than a status update seems ridiculous at this point in time. Especially with night-time quiet so scarce. Indeed, were I to compose a verse these days it would sound something like this:

I have no time for poetry
a baby shares a bed with me
and steals the nectar from my flower
eight times a night. Yes, every hour.

And so short blog posts are the thing, at least for now. Still, if anyone is interested in a poetry night, I'll be happy to host. I'd even be willing to cook a haggis.


first snowy day

snow falling in our yard

morning snow

We finally got some noticeable snow around here, and the boys were desperately eager to go out in it as soon as they could.

Zion on his back making a snow angel, with snow falling on his face

snow angel

Snow angels have been on Zion's mind lately; he clearly wasn't satisfied by his ice angel and took the first available opportunity to make the real thing happen. It's wonderful to see him finally really enjoying the snow; I guess the problem before was just not being three. This winter he's wholeheartedly in favor: after putting in a couple snow angels he crawled around the ground for the next half-hour being a dog and eating snow.

Rascal running towards the camera in the snow

he gets excited too

The real dog ran considerably faster than puppy Zion—he also missed the snow overt the last month and a half. And Harvey climbed the ladder to the maple tree to eat the snow up there—maybe it tastes more rich and rare 15 feet above ground level. We also tried some flat-ground sledding, with me pulling the boys on the runner sled and flinging them forward. The snow was pretty sticky, but after we waxed the runners things ran well enough.

some food

steamy warm

When we got as wet as we could get we went inside and I made an appropriate snowy-day lunch: grilled cheese, tomato soup, and pickles. And hot chocolate, of course; and this time the whipped cream worked.

Later I took Rascal for a walk, and on my way home I was ashamed to notice that ours was just about the only house on the street without at least one gigantic snowman. Never mind that the boys wanted to finish the board game they were playing with Mama, I had to defend our honor. They came out a little later, in time to help me just the tiniest bit, play with their friend from next door, and get in on the commemorative photo.

Harvey, Zion, and their friend pose with my big snowman

big snowman, little kids

Then inside again for supper; for desert we had maple syrup poured over a bowlful of snow. What more could we ask for?


A late-night conversation between me and my brain

Me: I'm kind of worried about the baby's sleep patterns. Can you serve up some wisdom from my past experience in parenting?

Brain: Here are five things that happened to you in high school that were shameful! I will now commence playback in vivid detail.

Me: That hardly seems pertinent. I just wanted to remember what my first two children slept like at ten months.

Brain: How about something from the vault? Here's a shameful situation that you never even knew you remembered!

Me: This also has nothing to do with sleep.

Brain: Oh boy! You sure didn't stand up to that hairdresser in 1999! She totally permed your hair instead of straightened it.

Me: Not only is that memory completely unrelated to the situation at hand, but now I feel vaguely angry and embarrassed as well as sleep deprived.

Brain: You should cut yourself to let the feelings out.

Me: You're batshit crazy, you know that.

In related news Elijah is waking up every hour to nurse, which is something like eight times a night. I don't want to say that it feels like I'm being sexually assaulted, because that would mean I'm engaging instead of dismissing the crazy monster who lives inside of my brain just waiting to make such unsavory allusions. But it sure feels like something. I've started sleeping in a bra so that no one can accidentally touch my other nipple. This is not enough protection, so I ordered some spanx online in the hopes that this will shield the rest of my skin from tiny hands. If I start sleeping in spanx we may have reached peak sensory integration failure. On the other hand... WICKED HOT!