Snow Days

About 3:00 p.m. on January 17, 2018, when the snow was still falling heavily. It didn’t completely stop until after midnight.

Perhaps you’ve heard by now that central North Carolina got quite a bit of snow the other day? Maybe not, because the Weather Channel puts its on-the-spot reporter in Raleigh, which received much less snow and vastly more attention from NCDOT. I live about 30 miles west of Raleigh, where as of yesterday afternoon, NCDOT had only plowed the two interstate highways that cross through my 710-square mile county. Not that I expect any better. I’ve lived here for almost three decades, and despite the exponential population growth of my county, NC government and even local TV stations still treat my home county like the proverbial red-headed stepchild; we are largely invisible, forgotten.

Because this has so long been the case, folks where I live prepare for big weather events. We know we will be on our own for at least a week, longer if the Raleigh folks also get hit — they are always top priority. Wonder Spouse and I endured a relatively brief power outage (only 8.5 hours), during which we followed our long-established protocols for coping without water (no electricity, no well), light, and heat. As the snow fell, and before the power outage, I found myself glued to the windows watching the white stuff pile up far higher than predicted by any of the weather seers. [Memo to self: If the forecast calls for light to moderate snow, assume a blizzard — and vice versa.]

Sunrise Jan. 18, the view from my living room window.

After the snow stopped, Wonder Spouse and I began trying to clear paths from doors to essential areas like the garage and the basement. We love our house, and in the summer we love the nearly 2000 square feet of wooden decks and walkways. But now that our hair is as white as the snow blanketing our landscape, we’re finding clearing those walks after big-snow events to be a tad more challenging than it once was. No gym required around here to be sure.

Sunrise this morning.

The snow is still falling in dramatic showers from the trees even this morning, so we haven’t walked around much. It’s no fun getting dumped on by a mini-avalanche. I’m hoping to walk around and get some more photos — views of something other than what I can see from my living room window. For now, these will give you some idea of what things look like.

This morning’s view of our lower deck bench. Some melting has occurred, but we have quite a way to go to get to wood.

The good news, beyond the fact that we are safe and warm, is that the slow melting of a foot of snow will definitely help a very thirsty landscape. We’ve been in moderate drought for several months. The creek was a trickle, the ground dry and dusty. A slow snow melt will put water down into the root zone, and maybe some will make it to the creek — enough to get it flowing properly again.

At dusk yesterday, four does appeared to scour seed from beneath the bird feeders. The birds had been quite thorough before them, and they didn’t linger long.

Unlike most years by now, my ornamental flowering apricots haven’t cracked open a flower bud yet. Neither has the January jasmine, or the Royal Star magnolia, all of which often are blooming by now. A warm spell is promised for the rest of the month, so I’m hoping for a dramatic grand opening of the winter bloomers — a signal that the Earth does still turn, spring really is nearly here, and my itchy gardener’s fingers will soon be able to revel in rich loam as I plant the spring vegetable garden.

Yesterday’s winds created new mini-blizzards all day as burdened trees unleashed avalanches. That continues this morning.

  1. #1 by Mara Seaforest on January 19, 2018 - 12:26 pm

    Your last photo is an award-winner. Beautiful. We have the same issues as you in our Virginia Piedmont neck of the woods. This year, though, we’ve had brutally low temperatures (and all the power/water/heat problems that go with) but only light powderings of snow. I envy your roots-deep drenching scenario. I love your view .

    • #2 by piedmontgardener on January 19, 2018 - 7:35 pm

      Thank you, Mara! I’ll make you a deal — any more snow that tries to come my way I’ll ship right up to your house. 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

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