Ted’s essays

hammered by early winter blizzard

Two weeks ago I was photographing Autumn in The Bitterroot. It is typically a short season, but we do not normally, naturally get much snow until Thanksgiving – a month or so from now. The Blizzard of October 23-24, 2020 will stand out for a long time.

I can count on a number of light snowfalls my Sportsman plow will push away along with the gravel that worked its way to the surface over the summer. Not this time. Thirteen and a half inches is WAY MORE than my little plow can push anywhere.

This season started with the snowblower as my only snow management choice. It had two problems dealing with the overload. One was the gravel beating up on the primary auger. The other was that the volume was far in excess of its capacity. While the bottom half is designed to pull 8 inches or so in, the top half pushes the excess ahead as a wall of snow.

After wrestling the blower for a few hours I was able to do some surface dressing with the Polaris plow. By the time I had a path to get our cars out to the street and another from home to workshop, my hands, wrists, arms, legs, back and other assorted old-man body parts were SHOT. I am somewhere around half-way completed with blizzard management, but don’t think I will do any more for another day. This is one Sunday I will definitely treat as a day of rest.

Other excitement included two neighbors sliding into ditches. One of them was in our driveway.

The storm was not done with us. My outdoor thermometer reported MINUS 13 degrees this morning. The central heat could not quite get us over 69 in the living room or 64 in my studio – even though we asked it to. When the sun came through the windows it finally got up to comfy levels for the ladies.