Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Snow Drop

It's snowing.
Spring is here.
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 or so 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.

21 comments:

  1. Evil -- Pure Evil . . . . .

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hah! Have you seen any of the videos of Atlantic Canada this winter where teenage boys are jumping off their roofs - in shorts only - into snow drifts? For some reason that came to mind ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder if the thrill is the same . . .

      Delete
  3. I hope you were careful not to shovel the snow off the roof and onto the driveway...you'd be doing double duty then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. And no, I didn't figure that out until the first couple of shovelfuls landed there. Sigh.

      Delete
  4. Exactly what I would have done.
    And in your defense, you did ask about safety first!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I swear I was thinking that would be so much fun to jump into!...but pushing is always better! On another note or two. I was at the Dr's office when I watched that video OMG! I was bawling that was the sweetest thing I've ever seen! I also want to say thanks for you kind words on Pam's blog! I feel the same way about you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the video! I just thought of you. Suffering yourself and still taking care of everyone else! You're my hero!

      Delete
  6. I'm thinking of all the college kids who jumped off porches into last winter's snow drifts, to the great dismay of a mayor or two.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yikes. Those mayors are probably happy I didn't live nearby . . .

      Delete
  7. You pushed him?? Wow. That's really funny. I hope he took it well and didn't get mad at you.
    I can't imagine shovelling snow, it's something I've only ever heard about or seen on TV.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember laughter following the scream. I also remember getting quickly of the roof before payback could be enacted . . .

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  8. I was thinking the exact same thing as Rena - so much fun to jump into! Or get pushed....

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  9. I can't imagine that much snow - we never have any and I've never seen snow in my 50+ years! BTW if you are interested... I have nominated your Blog for the Liebster Award, if you would like to accept it the instructions are here: http://crestingthehill.blogspot.com.au/2015/05/liebster-love.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Come for a visit, Leanne! We have a shovel with your name on it! :)
      P.S. Thank you so much for the award! I am absolutely thrilled you thought of me. I have received it in the past, so will decline this time. You are so sweet! Thanks again!

      Delete
  10. I think I've only had to shovel snow off the roof once in my life, and that was in the spring of '67 when we got six feet of it. I like living in the Chinook Belt although I'm not fussy about the relentless wind. But it's still better than the alternative.

    But we still get freak snow storms here. Last November we had one that dropped 8 inches of wet stuff on us. It was enough to collapse the roof of the Therapeutic Riding Association's arena (still awaiting reconstruction) down the road from us. Let's face it, I wish I could be a snowbird and spend my winters down in AZ.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mmmm . . . Arizona for the winter . . .

      Delete
  11. We share the same weather patterns Diane! I have seen those remarkable shifts in temperature here too! Great post - but I a happy to forgo the opportunity to jump into a snow drift, since it means not having to shovel our roof!

    ReplyDelete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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