This one goes out to all our buddies in Chicago, Aurora, Indianapolis, Lafayette, Ft. Wayne, Dayton, and all the other chilly places in the midwest that have been slogging through feet of snow all winter long. We don’t usually get much, if any, snow on the Oregon coast. Just a bone-chilling 35-degree drizzle all winter long. This week, though, was a big surprise: eight inches of snow! Needless to say, everything here is completely shut down, as no one around here even owns a snow shovel, nevermind proper municipal snow removal equipment.
We went out to enjoy the “snow day,” starting with a brisk stroll on the beach. There’s Emily above, kicking up the sand and listening to the surf all decked out in her snowboarding kit. Good thing we still had it all out, strewn about the living room and drying from last weekend’s snowboarding adventure! She didn’t wear the helmet for the beach walk, that would be downright silly. But we were sad we didn’t bring the goggles; the wind and snow were really driving!
The next morning, the sky was calm and blue and the snow looked like a pretty blanket on everything. Being midwesterners and not afraid of a little snow, we decided to venture out and see what the countryside was doing. I locked the hubs on the 4×4, we put on our gear again, and we were off. Unsurprisingly, none of the roads had been cleared. They were just packed down from adventurers, log trucks, and emergency vehicles. And the roads were easy to navigate, in part because they were completely abandoned. Businesses were closed, and people were indoors being sensible.
“Let’s check on the bees!” I thought out loud, and Emily was game. Really, I knew they’d be fine and I just wanted to see how cute the hives look with snow on the roof. At this time of year, bees cluster in the hive, thermoregulating via glucose metabolization and maintaining a core temperature of about 91 degrees. Basically, they eat honey and shiver together to keep warm, taking turns at the outside of the huddle. They can do fine in places like North Dakota, so our comparatively mild temperatures in the high 20s don’t bother them too much. The snow over the doorway might be more of a problem, if they want to take a stroll around the block when it warms up, but around here it will be gone in a day because it will start raining again. Here we see Emily, checking up on the bees. The technique is that you put your ear against the hive like a stethoscope, and thump the side with your hand. If you hear the bees grumble and buzz, then they’re fine.
We also went out to the cottage at Gravel Creek. The snow there was beautiful, so deep and white and fluffy, draped over everything. Interestingly, the solar panels and steel roof are just slippery and steep enough that the snow slides off of them! Did I ever mention that the original cottage was built from plans for a ski chalet, because the previous owners just liked the look of it? Que casualidad.
Here are some pretty pictures, for your enjoyment. They say we’re going to get another snowstorm in a few hours. Stay safe and warm, OK?