Last night, I bundled the dachshunds up in their warm winter flannels and shooed all three dogs (Abby doesn’t need bundling since she comes with her own toasty winter coat) outside for one last potty break before bedtime. I bundled myself up too, since it was below 30F and snowing. There are times when I sure do envy Abby her luxurious outerwear.
For a quick potty break in cold weather, I often just don a jacket and wait on the porch in my slippers while the dogs do their thing. If it’s snowing or raining, they usually make quick work of it and scurry right back to the house. Two exceptions; if allowed, little Rhonda will follow her nose for as long as I will allow her to, cold or no cold. If she catches a good scent, snow simply provides an added challenge – the wonderful smells she can’t resist are now buried under inches (or more) of fluffy white stuff. What fun to dig them out!
The other exception is when Abby wanders out of range of my voice … something that is becoming unfortunately more common with our 13-year-old senior citizen. It doesn’t take much these days; if Abby gets 30’ or so away from the porch, she not only can’t hear me but doesn’t see clearly enough to see me waving my arms at her either. Sigh. When this happens, I’d better have a coat and boots on, since there is no option but to go out and gently direct her back to the house. Or stand on the porch freezing my toes off while I wait for her to eventually wander back to the house on her own. I never let her out of sight, so she is perfectly safe, but it’s sure frustrating not to be able to chivvy her along with a simple, “Hurry up Abby! Let’s go!” on a cold night.
OK, let’s get back to last night. I took the dogs out at about 10:30 pm, and the sight that met my eyes was magical. The porch lights glowed into the dark, gleaming off snow falling in large, lazy flakes as they floating through the black sky. Tree branches sparkled white in the artificial light. The weather had been rainy earlier in the day, but as the sun lowered the temps did as well, forming a light layer of ice on every wet surface as rain changed quickly to snow. It wasn’t long before a light, fluffy covering adhered to each branch, bush and twig like flocking on a Christmas tree. Even the pasture fence had been flocked.
Lovely as the sight was, my mind switched gears the second I stepped off the porch steps and into the snow.
Crunch. Squeak. Crunch. Squeak. OH, I know that sound! Anyone who has lived in “snow country” will instantly recognize the sound of squeaky snow and know what it means. Snowball fights and snow men! It’s the perfect consistency for packing and throwing. Not that I’m probably going to partake in either activity (although it may have been a good thing that Jerry hadn’t come outside with me), but oh, the memories. 😊
I shepherded the dogs back into the house, full of thoughts of winters back in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the 80’s and 90’s, where squeaky snow was the next best thing to squeaky cheese (if you aren’t familiar with squeaky cheese, I pity you). My son, Dan, was a dead aim with a snowball, as were his friends, and I had plenty of snow on my face and down the back of my snow suit to prove it back then. To my credit, I was a pretty darn good shot with a snowball myself. We were ‘blessed’ with a lot more snow back in the UP, so probably ended up with ‘squeaky snow’ more often than we do here in Alaska. Those were good ole days.
I went to bed with a smile on my face, knowing I’d wake up today to a winter wonderland and I wasn’t wrong. My first view outdoors was from my upstairs window. This was as beautifully framed as a painting as I headed down the hall towards the stairs.
Once outside, whichever way I looked, it was just as pretty. To my left, the oriental cherry tree in the front yard stood out in fluffy white relief to the forefront of an equally frosted birch tree. To my right, the entire tree line was etched in thick snow.
The snow on the ground isn’t very deep yet, which the dogs fully appreciate, but the switch from rain yesterday to snow overnight really has it sticking tight to every surface. The lighting was not great for photos, with the sky a pale gray-white against the white landscape and the sun barely breaking through. Still, I love days like this. With no breeze to break the quiet or shiver the snow off the branches, it’s as if time itself is standing still. Soon enough, the air will begin to stir again and snow will release its tenuous grip on the branches and shrubs, falling to the ground and leaving the trees once again bare and naked against the sky. For now, though, it’s a winter wonderland and I’m going to take a walk.
The light, fluffy quality of the snow meant it wasn’t a “wet snow”, allowing the dogs to have a good romp in it without the horror (well, in Baxter’s mind anyway) of being wet. You’ll note that Baxter is wearing a light sweater against the chill and damp. It’s a very reasonable 30F, but geez, a bit of snow could fall off a branch onto his shiny black self. Oh my. Wink, wink. I refrained from starting a snowball fight (it was tempting, but hey … they are handicapped in not being able to return fire), but gave the pups extra time outside to investigate the new ‘look’ of the yard and driveway. It’s amazing the difference a day can make.
After tromping up and down the driveway and around Jerry’s shop building, with me enjoying the view, Rhonda checking out every possible hiding place and snow drift for mouse or rabbit holes and Abby contentedly ambling along in our wake, I felt we’d had enough of the great outdoors for now. Besides, I was getting chilled and Baxter had bailed on us long ago. I could see his red-coated self, sitting on the nice, dry front porch, waiting impatiently for us to return and let him in the house. Baxter is NOT a snow dog.
It’s the first day of December and we have squeaky snow! What better way to start out the month? Enjoy!