Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mayday! Mayday!

May 1, 2011
It all started so innocently the night before, with a stiff breeze.

A VERY stiff breeze.

The tree only a few feet from our front door. Although a blizzard had been forecast since late afternoon the day before - not much warning, to be sure - the severity caught everyone by surprise.

It was the kind of blizzard in which you could get lost between the house and the barn. 
In the morning, it was so dark. It didn't take long to figure out that every single window on the whole house had been covered with a thick layer of snow.
A while back Naughty Clancy had jumped through our front screen. As irritating as that is, it did make for some interesting snow patterns in the front entry.

After a couple hours, we were finally able to see the neighbor across the street. The thick, heavy, wet snow weighted down the pine trees terribly. Many of them broke, including a 5-foot section just to the right of this photo.
In the space of about 12 hours, all the hard work of melting snow had been undone, and our driveway was drifted in again with snow, as deeply as it had been all winter. Between the car and the cottage, you can just see the 6-foot-high trailer sticking out of the snow.
Everything had a coat of snow, including the power lines. Tina had just brought back her borrowed propane heater the day before. The Model of Efficiency became the poster child for freezing people huddled in bed to stay warm. She spent the night with us - we were already down to our emergency heat due to the carbon monoxide, remember? The outage didn't phase us a bit.

Once again, the roads became imaginary; only guesswork mapping out a course for others to follow.
Between the wind and the snow, the gargantuan pine tree in Mom and Dad's front yard looked just a teeny bit scary. It survived the storm, but we were all nervous about walking under the tipsy side for several days.

At last, a thin strip of blue sky announced the end of the blizzard, too late to save thousands of cows and new spring calves across Montana and North Dakota. Many of those that died, blundered into flooded places in the pasture, covered with a thick, deadly coat of ice and snow. With so little warning, not many could be herded into shelter.
Mom and Dad had several trees and large branches snap right off. One of them landed on the TV antenna, bending it into a perfect rainbow shape. This tree was more than a foot in diameter.

24 hours earlier, this was brown, bare grass.
Amazingly enough, the snowplows made it out toward the end. As you can see, it was pretty clear in town, but out on the prairie where the wind still howled, visibility was poor. We sure appreciate the intrepid snowplowists who go out in all kinds of weather to clear our roads.

One of the oddities of the storm was the stop sign at the main intersection in town, blown completely sideways.
Many of you have doubtless seen Pig from the comic strip "Pearls Before Swine". 
Am I the only one who sees the uncanny resemblance?
Our shed is bright, candystriper pink, at least for a little longer. We enjoyed seeing what it would have looked like in bright white.

Blizzard over, sun goes down on another day. Someday soon, the power will be back on. Welcome to May, everybody!


  1. You really just had another blizzard? it's coming up on June! Guess somebody should inform the weather of this?

  2. Yep, May 1 we were digging out from under all this, for the umpteenth time this year. NO MORE SNOW!!!

    Yesterday we hit 70, so it's possible we're done till fall.