Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dealing With Bleecker Snow

I know this is a weird topic in July, but it's something I've been thinking about a lot lately.  There's not much else to think about when you're trapped on a loveseat with your left foot propped up on a pillow and you have no TV or radio.  Thank Gawd for Al Gore's internets.

It snows pretty good in upstate New York, and the snows on the mountain can be significant.  A few years ago, when we were living off the mountain, Pam and I came up here to check on Judi and Earl's house.  We had to wade through snow up to our waists to get to the place.  Well, up to my waist.  Pam's was a bit higher.

We drove to their house for Christmas once.  There was over a foot of snow on the road and not a plow in sight.  Plowing the mountain is a low priority, I guess.

Now here's the kicker.  We always thought that we could go back to Drift Away for the winter and cruise around in Florida.   But now, we have a buyer for the boat.   He's trying to get financing at his credit union.  If it goes through, we have a problem.  Where do we live?

We thought we'd have the foundation in by now.  Well, we don't.  We don't even have a set of finalized plans for the house.  We had hoped to have the foundation done by August and we'd be working at making it temporarily liveable over the winter.

So what does this have to do with Bleecker snow?   Well, the rental cabin we're in would be very difficult to live in over the winter.  The only source of heat is a woodstove, and the well pump is in an unheated shed attached to the house.  We wouldn't be able to leave the house for more than a few hours at a time for fear of the wood fire going out and pipes freezing.  But perhaps the worst would be the driveway.  It's fairly long, and it's steep.  There's a parking area up by the road that we could use, but we'd have to shovel or snowblow a very long path to get to it.

And then there's the snowbanks.  A one foot snowfall can result in a four foot chunk of ice and slush snowbank.  If you've never tried to shovel through one, let me tell you, it ain't easy.

I have Bessie the Tractor which has a back blade and can deal with some of it, but not a serious heavy wet snow.

If we were at our property, I could simply borrow Earl's 4x4 with plow.  It's not registered, but our driveways are only a hundred feet apart.  I wouldn't drive it all the way to our rental place which is a mile away.  I could also use the backhoe's front bucket, which would make a quick job out of any snowbank of any height, but not if we're in the rental cabin.

So why are we running behind?  Part of the problem is finalizing the cabin design.   It's 95% done.

I like it.  It represents our cruise.  The back looks like a typical Cape Cod, while the front resembles the small two porch houses we liked down south.  There's only one small window on the Cape Cod side because that faces north.

Pam wants post and beam and John the Architect says the quickest and least expensive way to get that designed is to go to a post and beam builder to have them do it.  Once the frame is designed, John can finish the basement design and we're almost done.   We need a state certified engineer to design our septic system, who Pam has contacted, and then it's off to the Bleecker code enforcement officer.  He happens to live in the house by the end of our driveway, which is convenient.

In foot news, I went to see my PA yesterday.  She was concerned about the swelling and redness of my foot.  She ordered more xrays and different antibiotics, ordered me to stay off it, keep it elevated above my heart, and to soak it in epsom salts three times a day, and I have to see her again this morning.  Puncture wounds can be serious because they're prone to infection (sepsis).

But the good news is that nothing is broken.  It must have been just a really bad sprain because all the pain is gone.  Every cloud has a silver lining.


  1. Or, is the saying every silver lining has a dark cloud? ;)


  2. Buy a trailer maybe, and sell it after you're done with it?

    Tom Carter

    1. I've thought of that, Tom. Maybe even a travel trailer because we could keep it and use it even after the house is done. Pam and I are used to living in a small space, living on our boat for three years. But the trailer would have to be pretty much sited where the house would go to use the well and leach field.

  3. Y'all's time aboard Driftaway was what prompted me to suggest that, Dave. I don't suppose a mobile home mover would be able to deliver a 50-60 footer too easily (unless your summer suddenly turns dry) but a smallish mobile home (or FEMA trailer) might be doable, with provisions made for a ditch for the septic hose and another for well water, plus a temporary drop for power. All of which would make use of stuff you have to do anyway. Plus sleeping on site would give you ready access to the build, as well as onsite security for building materials, etc. Just think: from Marina Trash to Trailer Trash!

    Good luck with the foot, BTW.

  4. I have some random thoughts. will deliver snow tires mounted on rims to your door for around $900 for the set. Not exactly free, but it would take a "good" snow car (the Kia, obviously) and make it a "great" one. I've seen the driveway at your rental place... a big snowblower might be in order as well. I love our Craftsman snowblower but I think it would tap out given a big snowfall on THAT driveway.

    I wonder how a couple of those oil-filled electric heaters would do for times when you aren't around to feed the stove, just to maintain minimum temperature?

    A travel trailer or RV isn't such a bad idea if you're looking to vacate the rental before the snow falls. You could either keep it and enjoy it after the house is built, or sell it and recoup some of your investment. Seems like every day would be an exercise in frustration though, what with three big dogs, two cats and a partridge in a pear tree all vying for space.

    Could still pick up an insulated shipping container, make a container home, and then you'd have an instant "guest house/man cave" when the main house is built.

    Buddy of mine has a vacation home in TN, it's pretty much just a large shed but has kitchen/bathroom/ I think even laundry. You could do a larger version of a tumbleweed home fairly fast and at least you could heat it with an electric baseboard or two without going totally broke over the winter. I dunno, just brainstorming...