Paradise ponders... I spent most of the day yesterday plowing our friend and neighbor Tim D.'s driveway, then ours, and shoveling snow from our sidewalk. Tim's needed a part that didn't arrive until yesterday afternoon, and he had guests coming – so he was worried about his driveway. He shoveled and I plowed, and within an hour or so his driveway was clear and he was smiling again.
After I finished there, I drove the tractor back home and plowed our driveway. It sounds very easy, said in one sentence like that, but it was anything but easy! My little tractor was seriously challenged by the combination of 18" of sopping wet snow (very heavy!) and a layer of wet ice over about 50% of our driveway's pavement. It's easy to see why the ice is there when you see the pattern: anywhere an evergreen's shadow shades the driveway, there's ice. We've got a dozen or so blue spruce, green spruce, and pines shading great big patches of the driveway. The only way I could successfully get the snow off the wet ice was to back up, get a running start, and use the tractor's momentum to “bonk” the snow a few feet further toward the edge of the pavement. About 90% of the plowing time was spent on the 50% or so of icy driveway :)
When I finally got the plowing done, it was time to get that same 18" of wet snow off our walkway to the front door. In addition, there was nearly 3' of snow on the porch itself, where it had fallen off our roof. That snow was heavy, and by the time I finished that short little walkway my arms were quite tired. Still, I find the job very satisfying, because just a couple years ago I'd have been unable to do it all in one go. I'm considerably stronger now, and especially I have more endurance, just from working around our place. It feels good to not be a complete physical wimp :)
Debbie baked about a bazillion cookies yesterday, for gifts and any other visitors we might have. She also baked an orange cake for us to take over to our neighbors today. We've been invited for dinner and singing, with Maria, Nick, and their seven (!!!) kids. It will be interesting for us to see what their Christmas Eve is like.
Today I shoveled our walkway again, and re-salted it. Wind-blown powdery snow had covered it in during the night. The wind has died down now, so I figured it might not be a waste to re-shovel it. Our suet feeder had (finally!) been completely eaten, so I ran down to our local store (Ridley's) and tried to get some more suet. Once again they were out, so I got some lard and peanut butter, mixed up a yucky looking batch of bird treat, stuffed it in feeder, and put it outside. As I write this, the suet-eaters haven't yet discovered that the feeder has been refilled. The dogs helped me clean the mixing bowl and spoons. They were beside themselves with dogly joy :)
When I was checking out at Ridley's, I had a fun little experience. The clerk is a woman I know from many visits there. She saw the items I was buying (lard, peanut butter, and buttermilk), looked at me, and asked (with a funny look on her face) what on earth I was going to do with those ingredients. Behind me in line was a young woman, perhaps 25, who appeared to be interested in the answer as well. When I said I was going to mix the lard and peanut butter, she made such a disgusted face that the clerk and I both broke out laughing. When I continued and said that it was for our birds, she was only slightly less disgusted. Then I explained that the buttermilk was for our old dog (Mo'i), who loves the stuff – and I'm pretty sure the young woman thought I had gone completely around the bend. The clerk, though, is another dog person, and she understood completely. Mo'i loved his buttermilk treat :)