A little patch of snow

It seems like everywhere you go, except maybe Los Angeles and Florida, people joke about the weather by saying things like “If you don’t like the weather, just wait ten minutes. Ha ha!”

Well, today it felt more like “If you don’t like the weather, just drive ten miles!” At home it snowed for a couple hours in the morning. And it was coming down in buckets. Well, technically I guess you measure rainfall in buckets, and not snowfall, but the point is, it was really coming down. We gained five inches or so in about two hours. Impressive.

A little trepidatious about the weather, I got in the car and headed north, where I was planning to play some board games with friends. I needn’t have worried, because by the time I arrived in Bigfork (maybe 10 miles), it was sunny with blue skies and dry roads. I don’t think there had been any snow at all there. I eventually arrived at my friend’s house, another 15 miles or so north, and we played games while the sun shone merrily outside.

But then the snow hit, and it was coming down in buckets at his house. We wrapped up our games and I headed out, windshield wipers flying in the face of a torrent of flakes. The roads were snowy and slick. By the time I arrived at the highway, it wasn’t snowing and the roads were just wet. And by the time I approached our house at the end of my trip, it was sunny with dry roads.

Along the road, I snapped this cool photo that sort of illustrates what I’m talking about. The skies were blue, the sun was shining, but over that one spot in the distance– likely Wildhorse Island– the snow was dumping. Crazy.

Ashes and dust

“I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.”

Jack London

Still a lad

Zaque sent me a little birthday poem just now:

Happy birthday Dad!
You’re the best one I’ve ever had
You make masterpieces on your drawing pad
You’re good at math cuz you can add
You’re way older, but you’re still a lad
There’s only a few times you’ve ever been mad
(But that’s because I did something bad)
And you are pretty rad
And rarely wear plaid
I’ll still beat you in games, but don’t be sad
Because even if we’re 11-0…
I still love you dad.

Ten tons

The snow just keeps falling, and our driveway just keeps getting more buried. In an effort to help the plow crew get up the driveway so they can turn around and go back down to clear it, Pepper and I spent a couple hours this morning shoveling two tracks all the way down to the road. My phone camera didn’t do a very good job showing the tracks, because the light was flat (still snowing) and there just isn’t much contrast. But here’s what it looked like:

After we finished, I felt like doing a bit of math. My shovel has a blade that’s 30 inches across. The driveway is just shy of half a mile long, from garage to mailbox. And the snow was, on average, a little over a foot deep. Multiplying that out, I shoveled around 6,500 cubic feet of snow. Pepper’s shovel is a bit more narrow, giving her a little over 5,000.

How much did that weigh? Of course snow has varying densities, depending on how wet it is, so I used the numbers for “fresh snow” which is basically powder. The estimated weight of 6,500 cubic feet of powdery snow is around 20,000 pounds. That’s ten tons. On the low end. Pepper hauled at least eight tons.

Now, of course, I’m wondering if it was even worth the effort, because so much snow has fallen since this morning that the tracks are filling back in. Luckily we’re warm, safe, and have food, so we’ll just hunker down and enjoy being homebound for a few more days.

The snow is deep, the driveway’s steep

The snow fell all day yesterday and into today, and here we are with nearly two feet in places. It’s pretty, isn’t it?

Well, all that pretty is on our driveway too. And a little while ago we got a call from the snow plowing crew… they can’t get up the hill to plow it. They have 4×4 trucks with chains, and they’re having no luck. And if they can’t make it, you can sure bet we won’t be able to make it.

So here we are, literally trapped at our house. We might be able to make it down (driving really slowly) but we’re not crazy about parking the car at the bottom of the driveway in sub-zero temperatures for a few days, and then hoofing it a half-mile back up the hill to the house.

Ahh, Montana winters!


Today it was zero degrees outside. Actually it was a little less than that in the morning, but when I happened to glance out the window at the lake, it was zero. There was a bright sun overhead and a ghostly mist rising from the water.

Pepper and I left a little while later to head to town, and I managed to get a better view from an overlook along the highway.

Pretty cool! The lake has looked like this for the past week or so, as the temperatures have plummeted but all the water has remained above freezing. It’s fun to watch the moisture float across the gentle waves…

Blue and white

I think we have the most snow we’ve seen since moving to Montana… there’s well over a foot on the ground, all sparkling powder sitting atop a crusty packed layer. Today was a beautiful blue-sky day, so I walked around the house and snapped a few photos.

A dearth of emails

I’ve always loved email, ever since that day in college when I learned it was possible to send messages around the world… for free! That was back in 1990. As I was cleaning up my mail client today, I noticed that in my “Sent 2020” folder I had just shy of 2,000 outbound messages. That works out to a little over 5 emails per day, on average, for the last year.

That might seem like a lot to some people, but it’s nothing compared to my heyday, back in 2012 when I sent an astounding 19,150 emails… that’s an average of more than 52 per day.

I’m a math nerd, so for fun I decided to graph my email history. Here’s the full chart, dating back more than twenty years. (Yes, I actually have all of my sent messages for all of those years.)

Retirement definitely slowed down my email pace. I still think email is a fantastic form of communication, although I feel like I’m a dying breed. All the kids are texting these days…

View from the tub

With over a foot of snow on the ground and the temperature hovering around 20 degrees, it seemed like a perfect time to hit the hot tub. We enjoyed a nice soak while we watched the sun set over the lake.