Coping With a Spring Snowstorm, by Hollyberry

Here in Maine we had been experiencing a mild winter and heading into spring warmer temperatures than normal. The ground was bare, little plants were poking their heads up and the birds were singing. Most people took the plows off of their truck and dreams of gardening early were running through our heads.
Well, there is an old saying: Man plans and God laughs.  That came true.

On March 20th into the 21st, we received about 9-10 inches of heavy, wet snow. Then the temperatures plummeted to teens with below-zero wind chills. Okay, this is spring in Maine and these little setbacks occur. Then the rumors started ……..BIG spring storm coming for the weekend. We kept an eye on the weather reports, hoping they would be wrong, and went about preparing just in case. We spent Friday going grocery shopping and bought in extra firewood and kindling. This is one additional chore you don’t want to be spending time on in addition to snow shoveling. My husband hooked up the plow again. The 6-10 inches of snow was now 12-18. Okay, we have been through this before, no big deal.

It was forecast to start snowing between 6-7 am on Saturday, March 23rrd. Right on schedule, 6:45 am, the first flakes started. Our dear friends, John and Denise, were supposed to come for breakfast that morning and that got rescheduled so I set about doing what I always do when it snows, baking cookies.

We kept a close eye on the weather and it kept varying. Rain and sleet were supposed to occur Saturday night and we were dreading that. Rain and sleet make the snow much heavier and more difficult to move. The whole storm was supposed to wind up Sunday morning, between 3-4 am. The forecast is usually off and it stops snowing earlier than predicted but not this time! It kept snowing all day on Saturday. Beautiful, light, fluffy snow! The evergreens were magnificent looking with white, sparkling snow on their dark green boughs. The birds were working the feeder hanging in the kitchen window hard.

Our neighbor came by around 3:30 and told us that the forecast he saw said we were only going to now get 12 inches during the day and another 7 at night. So we went out and started plowing, shoveling, roof raking, and shoveling out the dog pen and generator. We have a routine and it works. It has been fine-tuned over the past 19 years. The snow was easy to remove, due to a low moisture content.

Then it started snowing hard, I mean really hard. So as we sat in the plow truck we figured most of the hard work was done and another 7 inches by morning would be no big deal. Then I happened to look over at the back of the house and noticed a large cedar tree tipped over and stuck in some spindly, weak birch trees, conveniently hanging near the power lines. Oh, this is just great! The wind was now starting to pick up in earnest and you just know that tree was coming down sometime around 2 a.m. and taking out the power lines, the generator and a corner of the house with it. This tree is also not on our property, but our neighbors only come up periodically on weekends and this needed attention now.

We assessed the situation and climbed up a small hill, no small feat in snow and carrying a chainsaw. Did I mention we aren’t young either? The tree was out of the ground by its roots. It was a big, beautiful tree in it’s prime. We could not wait to get someone with more experience to cut this down due to the storm and the immediacy of the situation. My husband cut it as high up the trunk as he safely could manage. Well the lower portion of the tree with the root ball attached fell like we expected but the heavy, top portion was hung up in the spindly birch trees. He made another cut into the hanging tree trunk and it still hung there so then he cut two of the birches and down it came in a nice safe spot, and damaged nothing! We thanked God that this went well. So much could have gone wrong. Pray before and thank God after no matter the outcome.

We went inside to change clothes and dry off for the evening. We called the neighbor to tell him we had to cut a few of his trees. He always tells us to do whatever we need to do and we keep an eye on his property for him.

Around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, I heard my husband muttering and slamming doors. What the heck?! I was sound asleep?! The dog had to pee and so much snow had fallen that the back door would not open at all. This was way more than the predicted 7 additional inches! I looked outside and was stunned. There was a lot snow! He stuck the shovel out the door and managed to clear it and get outside to shovel the dog pen. The poor dog waited patiently, hopping from leg to leg, to get outside to pee. He is such a good boy! Out he went and was fine. Now we are both awake and waiting for daylight to start the cleanup. The snow stopped around 3 am. It always helps to be able to see what you are doing. We fell asleep around 4 am again and I awoke at 5:30 and let hubby keep sleeping. Our neighbor texted us and said he could not get out his door and asked us to come shovel him out. I told him it would be a long while before we could make our way up the road but hang on, help would be on the way. He eventually climbed out a window instead and cleaned his door out. Always think outside the box!

We had an approximate total of 30 inches of snow! Thank God it was light and fluffy and no rain or sleet fell but it will settle and get heavy. Now for the hard part. It took approximately 3.5 hours to plow the driveway and garage area. I needed to rake the roof in back of the house that gets no sun but it was too deep to walk behind our house. I took the roof rake and shovel and stayed against the front porch under the eave and made it the side of the house where I climbed (more like fell over) the fence and made it into the dog pen. I got the back roof raked, re shoveled the dog pen and gate and started heading for the generator. The snow was really deep back here due to drifts.

The back door was completely blocked 4 feet up with drifts and from snow emptying off metal roof. It can stay blocked til it melts. I know my Mom is reading this and thinking, “what if there is a fire? “ We still have two more unblocked doors and a fire will melt the snow so don’t fret Mom! I got the generator shoveled out and made my way back to where my husband was fine-tuning the front of the garage and the mailbox area with a shovel. The snow between the house and garage was again up to my neck due to drifts. The snow was so light and fluffy I could not walk on it, I just sank deep into it and got stuck. I could not get any leverage because it was so fluffy. This was a first! I yelled for my husband to help me be he can’t hear on a good day and with the wind howling, forget it. So I “swam” through the snow head first, doing a breaststroke, and landed onto a cleared patch in the driveway. I found Rich, we finished touching up with the shovels, and went inside.

We were soaked, exhausted, hungry, and thirsty. We checked on the neighbor up the street and he was plowed out but hadn’t raked his roof yet so we told him hang on, we will be up in a few minutes. We put on dry clothes, chomped down some cookies and water and drove up the road to his home. It took about 45 minutes to rake his roof and back home again. Now the dogs wanted to go for a walk! They had been very patient about the whole situation so we took them for a walk. We also checked on our other neighbor who has some very serious health issues, but he was fine and using a tractor and thankfully did not need our help.

After lunch, my husband passed out but the ice and snow on the peak of the roof started coming off. The noise of it sliding and the crash as it hits ground is loud! All fantasies of me taking a nap were over with that noise. My husband is deaf and can sleep through a nuclear explosion. The big dog was terrified of the sliding and crashing ice and snow. Now I have to re shovel the dog pen and the roof snow/ice is heavy! Well, thankfully the rest of the evening was uneventful. At 6:15 pm, I sat down next to my big dog who was on my bed and started reading. By 6:30 I was gone. Sound asleep.


I woke up at 5:30 am and decided to write this all down. I am mildly sore but no Advil required. There is no need for exercise equipment or a gym membership living out here. I may try to shovel out the kitchen window later on but in spite of the 11 degree temperature this morning, the snow is not solid enough to climb to the top of the pile to shovel. We have a lot of rain forecast Tuesday night through Thursday but rain doesn’t need to be shoveled!

I am seeing long-range forecasts of another round of possible snow this Saturday. NO! Please no more, it’s Resurrection Sunday this weekend, we have plans! Community breakfast at church! Friend coming for dinner! But again, “man plans and God laughs!” Our favorite ice cream stand opened up last week and I am going there tomorrow, I don’t care how cold it is!! We are leaving the plow hooked up and the snow shovels on the porch til May 1st and then will analyze the forecast. We have had a few inches of snow around Mother’s Day before. Be safe everyone and enjoy spring and your families!!