Monday, February 23, 2009

Snow art

Or perhaps, the art of snow removal.

Notice how nature arranged the snow in a swirling pattern with my rear view mirror in the center. It is beautiful, but is means that the snow has been blowing hard and is going to be heavy to move.

Who knew back-breaking work could be considered and art form? I am beginning to think so.

I have some friends who asked me to do some snow removal for them while they're poolside in a warm place sipping drinks with little umbrellas in them. I hate them today. Just sayin'.

So I have been keeping an eye on the weather and saw that we were going to get a foot or more of heavy wet snow today. So yesterday I went to take a look at their place. There was some snow in the yard, and a large berm at the end of the driveway thanks to the town plow, but that was not what concerned me the most.

Here's the view when we first got there:

Not bad. Some snow in the driveway, some steps to clear, not bad at all. But then I saw these two things:

SO what? you might say. Well, icicles are dangerous things. They mean that there is ice behind them (I know, it's a shocker). Well, that ice backs up at the roof's edge and LIFTS THE ROOF SHINGLES when it expands (water expands when it freezes, remember) and leaks in and wrecks ceilings and walls.

From the way the house is situated, not much sun gets to the roof, certainly not enough to melt away the snow naturally, so there was probably a foot of snow up there. a cubic foot of snow (12 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches deep) weighs approximately 20 pounds. More if it's heavy. Today we're still getting pummeled with a storm that has already dropped close to a foot of very wet, heavy snow. Knowing that it was coming, and knowing what it would do to those ice dams, I made the executive decision to get as much of that snow weight off the roof as we could and to see if we could get rid of that ice before more joined it.

I climbed up there with shovels and a snow scoop pushing thing and a bucket of salt and some ice dam melting pucks and set to work. And work it was! Heavy, heavy stuff up there! Wow. Ice frozen to the moss on the roof! I had to be very careful how I cleared it. Some was left, but that's OK, it was the weight and the ice dams that concerned me, not the aesthetics. I called in reinforcements in the person of my friend and ace helper A, who climbed up and cleared what I had started. Here's a picture of the icicle at the crotch of the porch and kitchen/dining room roof:

And here's one of her spreading ice melt stuff on the dam at the eave along the living room wall.

You can't see them, but there are some little white hockey-puck looking things lined up along that ice dam just uphill of the edge. They are designed to melt heavy ice like what is here, and I hope that they are doing their job under today's new batch of snow. They're pretty amazing things, so I have hope that they're working. Chemistry is wicked cool. If I can get the ice dams gone, we can avoid some real damage to the house. Getting rid of the built up snow was essential - today's accumulation could have done further damage to the roof. Talk about bullets dodged. No shit.

I have no idea if this next part will work. If you see a map, notice the little white cross-hairs in a circle sort of to the right. That's Mount Desert Island. That's where I am. Weather here in New England tends to move in a north-by-easterly direction. That means that there is a nasty-looking pocket of snow still headed our way. I refuse to leave the house until I am pretty sure it's mostly over.

Zoom Map Click:
Zoom In Zoom Out Pan Map (Full Zoom Out)

I have just put caramel sticky buns in the oven. I am headed for the shower while they bake. After the shower and breakfast, there really will be very little stalling left for me to do and I will have to head out into this crap. Think warm thoughts on my behalf.


CaroleMcDonnell said...

Great pictures! Honestly, though, I hate the cold. Why is it snow looks so wonderful but is just heck to live with?>

msladydeborah said...

I know how you are feeling about snow since I reside in Ohio. The great thing about Columbus is the fact that a lot of storms often bypass us. But we have had quite a lot on the ground this year.

Hang in there, spring will be on the way soon.

dolphyngyrl said...

I hope you stayed good and warm today!

Wishful thinking?

laughingatchaos said...

You. You are a good person. I can't believe you climbed up there and shoveled off the roof. Wow.
Would you believe it's going to be almost 70 here tomorrow? We're either going to get hit hard in March and April or we're going to have one hell of a bad fire season this summer.