Thursday, March 30, 2017

Roof Shed

Roof shed is not a storage building on top of the lodge, but what happens after a big snowfall.  It usually takes a few days for the snow to slowly creep downhill before calving off like a glacier throws off icebergs. 

The upper roof holds the snow longer because it's colder upstairs.

We also get some nice icicles form as the snow melts.

It's a nice framing effect from our bedroom window upstairs.

The snow that sheds off the roof is hard to clear--it's compacted, heavy, sticky, and often has large chunks of ice in it.

Chunk by chuck, the snow sheds off (and it's really heavy and nasty stuff to clear).

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Losing power and running water (again)!

Every winter, we encounter cold, clear conditions that cause ice to form on our hydro intake grate.  This reduces or blocks the flow of water, causing us to lose electrical power and running water to the house.  After our big snowstorm in early March, the temperatures plunged down to 10 degrees and even though I had checked the intake that day, by midnight the water had stopped running in the house and we were getting low voltage alarms.

This photo is of our hydro dam from an earlier episode of intake grate ice this winter.

Here is Jen at the same spot after the last snowstorm.

Luckily, Jen and I had broken a snowshoe trail up to the intake after the snowstorm in anticipation of having to make a midnight run to clear ice.  There are a couple challenging spots to navigate, including this steep hill we climb with the help of a rope.

Getting to the intake grate involves climbing on ice and snow covered rocks in the creek.

The black hydro line runs out of the creek to the left of the photo.

Here's the big picture of Sadie Creek in full winter mode.  The water to the right is running over the top of the dam.

Stepping out on top of the dam to check the intake grate.

This is the intake blocked by ice formed by supercooled water under the surface of the water.  When the water hits the intake grate, it immediately turns into ice.

I clear the ice by using a long bar to scrape the ice off the intake. 

Here's the intake with ice almost cleared.

Getting down the snow and ice covered rocks is usually harder than getting up.

Getting ready to get the snowshoes back on for the trip down the hill.

After several sessions of clearing the intake with a heavy steel bar, I made up a lighter weight scraper.

Sadie Creek is almost completely iced over after a week in the deep freeze.

Frozen waterlines to the lodge mean carrying water in 5-gallon buckets.

I fill them from the water that exhausts from the hydro shed.

Pulling the heavy buckets out of the water.

There is still some soft snow around, so I'm using snowshoes to keep from going too deep in the snow.
Bringing the buckets back to the lodge.

It's warmer in the sun (up to 20 degrees!)!

All the water we'll need for several days!

Friday, March 10, 2017

March Snowstorm

There has not been much snow in the bay for the last couple years.  When Jen and I started spending our winters here about 15 years ago, we'd average 12 to 15 feet of snow a year.  Our biggest year was 2007 when we had 37 feet.  In late February this year, we were at about six feet of snow for the winter and spring seemed to be here--most of the snow was already gone.  Then on the night of February 27th, it started snowing and didn't stop for four days--we ended up with 4 1/2 feet of snow!
The boardwalk and deck were bare before the storm started.

The sky brightened for a while between snow squalls.

The snow was sticky enough to stick to our mid-winter solstice tree on the deck.

The sun even came out for a while.

For some reason, the windspeed quit working on our weather station.

The area behind the lodge is tough to snowblow because of all the snow shedding off the roof.

It was nice seeing snow on our village white and the tree when we went to bed the second night of the storm.

The next morning we woke to an additional 22" of snow!

Morning on the second day of the storm!

Clearing a path to the weather station.

The snow was so wet and sticky, the augers on the snowblower immediately clogged with snow.  We ended up clearing all two feet of wet heavy snow by hand--a great workout!

You can see how sticky the snow is as it comes off of Jen's shovel!

Clearing the boardwalk by hand.

Working our way towards the dock.

Almost There!!!  We ended up taking two days to clear the wet heavy snow from the dock by hand.

Getting ready to shovel off Prime Time.

The last day of the storm brought lower temperatures making the snow dry enough for the snowblower.

Clearing the deck.

It was a relief not to be shoveling this by hand!

Did I mention the area behind the lodge is tough to clear because of all the snow shedding off the roof?

Clearing the snow off the roof of the laundry room.

Did I mention we were very happy to have the use of the snowblower back?

The crew cabins behind the lodge got their share of snow even through the trees.

The day after the storm, the sun came out and the temperature dropped down to 10 degrees overnight.  That caused our waterline to freeze temporarily shutting the lights out and shutting running water down for a week so far.  More on that in a separate post.

Colder temperatures made the snow much easier to clear with the snowblower.  It took us two more days to finish clearing all the snow.

Clearing the boarwalk through the woods up to the cabin on the point.

The snow caused some limbs to hang down over the boardwalk. 

Breaking into the open.

Where'd the open go?

Later afternoon sun on Prime Time when we finally got all the snow cleared.