Too soon for spring fever
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February 10, 2017
Some days you just never know. I got up and started working on this column on my usual schedule. The computer screen was very blank, and staring at it for a long time didn't change things, nor did a couple of games of free cell.
Then a friend called and said part of the gang was going skiing. The sun was out, which was a treat in this strange, rainy week, so I blew everything off and went skiing.
I got a text from the people who rent one of our old farm houses saying that their front porch was missing. That seemed odd, but also something that could wait until I got home from skiing. How bad can it be? I assumed it was some auto-correct problem.
None of us are accustomed to figuring out where to ski on the day after the resort gets an inch of rain. The thinking was stay low, where it was warmer and in the sun. That was wrong. So Plan B was to pop over to the Canyons side of things, because maybe some of the Iron Mountain runs would have softened up. There is some really nice skiing there, but not that day. It was, if it's possible, even more frozen. The hunt continued. By the time we finally figured out the skiing was quite nice above the rain line, we were hungry. We were also kind of frustrated that we hadn't figured it out sooner.
None of us are accustomed to figuring out where to ski on the day after the resort gets an inch of rain.
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To eliminate any further risks of making the wrong decision, we drove over to Deer Valley and had a long, relaxing lunch on the deck at Snow Park. The chocolate cake was enough to salve both the memories of the death defying ice and the frustration of not being smart enough to move higher instead of lower in these conditions. It was all very nice.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the front porch of the house really was missing. Most of the snow had slid off the roof a long time ago, and there was just a little bit kind of stuck on the dormer roof over the front porch. It all let go, and the porch roof was barely visible in the snow. Without the front fence, it would have landed in the highway.
The house, as they say, is a real piece of work. The core of it is an 1880s homesteader log cabin that has been moved a couple of times. It's been added on to in every direction. Some of the additions are farmer-built, some were more deliberate. About the only part of the original house that had remained intact was the little dormer roof over the front porch. Not anymore.
This business of rain in February is really strange. If it's part of the Chinese global warming hoax, I thought Trump would have sent them a Tweet that was supposed to put a stop to it. But here it is, raining half-way up the mountain. There are a few other houses on the same one-lane road. We had a fair amount of discussion about whether it made sense to plow the slush, or let it sit there and freeze up. The divide was based on who drives monster trucks and who drives small cars. There is no good answer to that one.
Ultimately the decision was made to plow it, knowing there were going to be lasting ramifications. For one thing, there is now an impenetrable wall of ice along both sides of the road where it all got pushed up and compacted. That could be with us until June. It can't be moved with anything less than explosives. The other thing is the road is now perfectly smooth and polished ice. We couldn't have got it any slicker if we had put a Zamboni on it.
I had to drag my garbage cans out to the street. They feel considerably heavier now that I'm paying $36 a year more to have UDOT knock them over so the county won't empty them. But dragging them out on the ice was a real project. I think I need crampons to walk out to the mail box. Even the dog was having a hard time standing up on it.
The worst part about a sunny, 50-degree afternoon in February is it has me thinking about spring. Delightful warm temperatures, the snow melting back around the house, waist-deep mud, corn snow and the whole springtime package. It gets like this and I smell spring and begin to shovel the tractor shed open and think about the farm. That's not so bad if it happens in the middle of March. It's going to be a real shock when winter's second act starts up again.
Tom Clyde practiced law in Park City for many years. He lives on a working ranch in Woodland and has been writing this column since 1986.