Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Monday, May 28, 2012

Shovel This! - or - Now that it's Spring, let's talk about Winter!


A normal Northern Alberta winter.

In Southern Alberta, in winter, we get snow.
I’m sure that doesn’t come as a surprise to many of you.
The only problem is that it never stays.
Usually within days of falling, Southern Alberta snow melts away under the warm breath of a powerful Chinook.
True story.
Thus, throughout winter, it snows.
Then melts.
Then snows.
Then . . . you get the picture.
I’m sure Southern Alberta is the only place on earth that can go from -40C (-40F) to +20C (+68F) in the course of three hours.
It is a bit disconcerting at times . . .
In college, I dated a boy from Red Deer.
Okay yes, technically, that is only about five hours drive north of where I was raised.
But a world removed in weather patterns.
In Red Deer, in winter, it snows.
And stays.
And snows some more.
And stays.
I learned about this on a visit to his family one long weekend in February.
Picture going from brown grass and snow only in the ditches, to snow piled four and five feet deep.
There was even snow on top of the fence posts.
Imagine that!
For the first day, I simply stared.
So this is what winter is supposed to be like!
It was . . . beautiful!
But all of that snow causes . . . difficulties.
The sheer weight of it piled on roofs threatens the structural integrity of the homes.
Don’t I sound like an engineer?
I’m quoting, by the way.
Snow piled high on roofs must be removed.
No Chinooks to do the dirty work for you.
People have to climb up and actually . . . shovel.
At first, it was an odd sight.
People standing on their roofs, shoveling snow.
But, after a day or two, I got used to it.
Then it was my turn.
To shovel, that is.
My boy friend’s grandmother’s house was one of those piled high with heavy white stuff.
It positively groaned under the weight of it.
It needed relief.
We volunteered.
Well, actually, he volunteered.
And I simply nodded and smiled.
I found myself standing atop what looked like a large, white muffin.
Did I mention that there was a lot of snow?
Somewhere beneath us was his grandmother’s single story home.
We set to work.
The actual removal of the snow didn’t take long.
The house wasn’t that large.
As we alternately scraped and shoved, our collection of snow on the ground grew deeper.
And deeper.
We were nearing the end of our task.
I slid a large shovelful over the edge and peered down at the huge drift that had collected beneath me.
My boyfriend joined me.
I looked at him. “Do you think you would get hurt if you fell off the roof and into that?” I asked, pointing.
He frowned, thoughtfully. “No, I . . .”
That was a far as I let him get.
 “Aaaaah!” Poof!
He was right.


14 comments:

  1. And he learned something important about you that day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. And it's important to note that he didn't marry you either. He left that to some other poor unsuspecting guy . . .

    Anonymous Unsuspecting Husband-Figure

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ah yes, the all-important 'shoveling of the shingles'...

    Really, being able to jump off the roof afterwards is its own reward!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, When you're expecting it . . . Bwhahahahaha!

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Ummmm . . . once. Oddly enough I wasn't invited back . . .

      Delete
  5. We definitely had a brown winter down here this year; I wasn't fussy about the wind though. I only had to clear the snow off the vehicles once and there was another time when I simply cleared a place to see out and let the drive to work do the rest...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah the Southern Alberta wind. How I DO NOT miss thee . . .

      Delete
  6. Oh Diane, you are funny, lol.... I always enjoy your blog and usually get a good laugh:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Launna! If I can make someone laugh, my job is finished. :)

      Delete
  7. It is so much easier to "talk" about winter when the spring and summer sun is here! ;) Diane you always tell such great stories! Once again, thank you for sharing them with all of us at NOBH!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Heidi! I love winter! When it's spring outside.

      Delete

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