We visited family in Phoenix for the holidays. The weather in Arizona has been exceptionally beautiful the entire fall. That is, until last week. A nasty storm blew through and brought the temperatures in Phoenix from the 70's down to the 40's. Even in the Valley of the Sun, temps dropped below freezing. Up here at our mountain home (at 7000 feet) I hear the temps got as low as -18. When we arrived home, it was 36 degrees in the house!
The mountains got hit with a bunch of snow while we were gone. We'd heard forecasts of 2-3 feet. With below freezing highs in the days following the storm, we expected the highway to be a sheet of packed snow on Monday when we drove home. We were pleased to find the roads perfectly clear and almost perfectly dry. The forecast overestimated the snowfall and we only got 8-10". The clear roads were great! When we got to our shared private road, however, it was a different story. No snow plows venture down our road but we were very happy to see a set of tire tracks to follow. We were in the van, which is not four-wheel-drive, and would certainly have gotten stuck without those tracks to follow. We got to our turn and - hooray! - the tracks turned, too. Our next door neighbor had been up. We share our Driveway Road with them and his tracks made it possible for us to get all the way to the end of the Driveway Road. We spun a few times but The Fisherman kept us moving and out of the deep snow. All we had left to manage was the final turn and the stretch of our Driveway. We weren't certain we could do it, having no more tracks to follow, but we made it. Whew! We were SO glad for those tire tracks (thanks, John and Maggie!) because we may have had to park out at The Big Road and WALK the 1/2+ mile home...carrying all our junk and making several trips.
We had a bunch of snow on our porch, all the way across, so we know it was windy up here. I crunched through the snow on the porch and around our stack of firewood to fill the bird feeder. The next morning I swept the four inches of snow off and this is what remained.
Because I've learned about this particular phenomenon, I usually try to sweep before I walk on the snow. This time, though, there was just too much of it for the time of day we got home. After all our unloading, I just didn't want to sweep. With the house at only 36 degrees, I probably should have; it would have warmed me up. I'm wondering how long we'll have my snowy footprints on the porch.
We've kept the fires burning to stave off the cold. We don't stoke the wood stove at night though. We used to put a giant log in and close the damper down some, letting it burn slowly all night. But we found that the house was cold in the morning anyway, so we quit wasting the wood.
Here's what the inside thermometer read this morning:
That's a little colder than I'd like it in the morning!
And the windows looked like this:
Yes, that's INSIDE.
And it's no wonder when the outside thermometer was saying this:
With temps like this, we won't be seeing our snow melting much. I haven't taken any photos of this latest snow yet, but I'll leave you with some photos I took on December 23rd. It had rained during the day on the 22nd and by morning we had about 4 inches of wet snow that was melting fast in the warm clear skies.
I love snowy fences
And snow covered branches
The sun was warming things up so fast that I took a photo of this scene with snow covering the entire fence, checked my lighting, and looked up to watch a patch of snow fall off.
This is our clothes line encased in heavy wet snow that was falling off as I snapped photos.
Here's the clothes line again,stretching in front of the tall Ponderosa Pines.
Looking back at the house (a little over-exposed).