Still Digging Out

If you're not from around here, a quick reminder on the state of the winter here in eastern Massachusetts:

1. It has snowed at least a foot every weekend for the last four weekends in a row. It is supposed to snow again this coming weekend, but could mix with sleet and rain.

2. Though it fluctuates daily, this February is the coldest or second-coldest on record. 

3. We're up to about 96 inches of snow in Boston and 111 inches in Lowell on the year. We got another couple inches here last night, so those stats are already out of date.

Even casual readers of this blog know that Newburyport is a terribly windy place, but this week the Arctic blasts have done us a favor (for a change) and uncovered some of our greenhouse tunnels:


We haven't yet dug them out, but plan to before this weekend's storm. If we do end up with rain on top of the snow, they'll be frozen shut until May. Since I'm hungry for some leek soup, I'm hoping there's a sweet spot of opportunity to clear the still-fluufy snow while it's cold, then take advantage of above-freezing temps to dig up some leeks. We shall see.


Of more immediate importance was getting snow off of the roofs of the outbuildings. We hadn't bothered up until now, since the roofs are steeply pitched and the snow is light and fluffy, though there's a good four or five feet of it in spots. But with rain a possibility, Kirk had to move as much as possible ASAP, or else it would act like a sponge and soak up all that rain, getting very heavy in the process. You can see in the photo above Kirk using our decade-old and very tired snowblower to re-open the path that was filled in when he cleared off the roof to the chicken coop.


Just another day in the neighborhood: Kirk isn't the only person we saw up on a roof with a shovel today. Luckily it was almost 30 whole degrees out this morning, which felt positively balmy. The sun was even out for a couple hours, which encouraged actual melting (though by the time I took this photo the clouds were rolling in and, sure enough, it snowed a little more this afternoon).


Like all good New England homeowners, we have one of those long-handled roof rake thingies. I think it's a pain in the ass to use it on a good day, and Kirk said it was incredibly awkward now because the handle kept banging into the snowpack on the ground behind him, forcing him to do some absurd contortionist shit to get this job done. The garage ended up being only partially cleared (as far as the rake could reach), but even that will take a lot of weight off.

Although according to the calendar I should have started some cabbage and broccoli seeds this week, I didn't. It's hard to feel like a late start will matter much: will there be anywhere to plant them in another eight weeks anyway? Still, it was nice to see some proof of the brief but real period of melting we had today when the sun came out:


We can see our smallest apple tree again, so that's something. I have no idea when we'll get to prune it this year, but at least I know where it is.

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