Wednesday night’s “thundersnow”—it started with lightning and thunder—dumped just over nine inches of fluffy but wet snow here at Meadow Glenn. The fluff was beautiful at first look Thursday, but it damaged many of our trees and shrubs.
The Japanese maple on the north side of our house was beautiful—the spaces between its reddish branches almost filled in with the white stuff.
Butterfly bushes—about four feet high before the storm—lie smashed to the ground. They bloom only on new growth, so I was planning to prune them to about one foot next month, but I fear I’ll find lots of split branches that will call for more drastic pruning than I had planned.
|Where's the food?|
After a fast breakfast of oatmeal on fresh, sliced strawberries, I put on my boots and winter work clothes and went to work.
Job 1: Brush off the feeders and refill them. As soon as I moved off, three pairs of cardinals jockeyed with juncos for breakfast. Song and white-throated sparrows soon arrived, along with chickadees and titmice. A female downy woodpecker pecked away at the block of suet.
Job 2: Snowblow the driveway. Thursday was one of those days that it’s great having a snowblower. The snow was heavy, so this Ancient Gardener could have “overdone” it quite easily.
As I leave the house to do jobs that are labor intensive, Ellen usually says, “Now don’t overdo it.” That’s not a cliché. She means it. I have overdone it in the past.
“Of course not, dear.”
The problem with overdoing it is that you often don’t know you’ve overdone it until you’ve already overdone it.
But I am getting more realistic about such things. In my 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s I thought nothing of working until I could work no more. In my 60s I began to wise up a bit, to keep track of time and, well, not to overdo it.
And in my 70s, I often spread a job over several days—a half hour today, a half hour tomorrow. Snowblowing, of course, isn’t really a job that you can spread over several days, as the snow might turn to slush and then ice. So I’ve traded my snow shovel for my snowblower, and I let the snowblower do the work. I don’t wrestle with it, don’t try to force it to do something a little bit faster. I don’t push and pull. I let the gears do the work.
Snowblowing today took about three hours. I cleared our 600-foot driveway and more in about three hours. The “more” was at the end of our driveway, where the county road crews had stacked about four feet of snow and ice.
Yes, I let the snowblower chew and spit and throw at its leisure. A neighbor used his shovel to help break it up. And then I helped that neighbor clear his driveway. And then a third neighbor needed help clearing his stack of snow and ice. Working together—with two snowblowers and one snow shovel—we got the job done in reasonable time.
This week’s “thundersnow” soon will be but a memory. Believe me, I slept well last night.