I guess the saving grace for us is that even if we had stayed put in Northern Virginia, this winter would have been just as brutal. The difference is that out here on the mountain we are miles and miles away from everything and anything.
The locals around here have told me on several occasions that February is the month where, if there was going to be any snow, we would get it then. They just didn't tell me it would be all at once.
To be fair the people around here were just as surprised as we were by the amount of snow we received over a 36 hour period of time. Most reckoning by various individuals puts it somewhere around two feet more or less. And that doesn't take into account the strong winds that created very large drifts and quickly filled in already shoveled walks and driveways.
In essence we experienced two back to back snowstorms separated by about twelve hours of relative calm, relative being the operative word here. The temperature warmed up enough to create some rain and sleet in between storms, resulting in the first 12 inches compressing down a bit to 8 or 9 inches before Part Two started up. This helped knock snow and ice off of the trees and power lines, which went a long way towards preventing power outages in our neck of the woods.
The image below was taken from our circular driveway looking down the private gravel road we live at the end of Storm One
This next picture (below) is of a portion of our home and the two out buildings off to the right after the first storm.
Our closest neighbors, about an eight of a mile down the road, are an elderly couple and he had just finished a round of radiation treatment. Needless to say he is in poor shape and needed some help. Before the storm started I spent some time down there helping him prepare his generator, put some stuff away and cover his wood pile with a large tarp. After the initial storm had passed Mrs. Cog and I headed back down there to shovel them out.
Here you see the paths we shoveled leading back to his water wood stove boiler to the left and to his generator shed behind the house to the right.
Below Mrs. Cog is just finishing our neighbor's front walkway that leads to his car and the water wood stove boiler.
We went back a few hours later after dusk and shoveled out their driveway because we saw that a second storm, or radar "blob" as Mrs. Cog described it, was coming. As it turned out we were glad we did because the second storm dropped a true 12-14 inches on top of what was already there. If we had not taken care of the driveway and pathways then it would have been very difficult to deal with twice the snow later on.
The image at the very top of this page was shot at the height of the storm the next day. 25 to 30 mile an hour winds created near white out conditions for the entire storm. Near the end of the second storm I had to get outside and shovel my way out to the water wood stove boiler to load it back up with wood. I found at least a foot of additional snow and two or more foot deep snow drifts.
And below Mrs. Cog snapped a shot of the front of the homestead after the second storm while she was working on freeing the cars from captivity.
A great shot (below) by Mrs. Cog of the cars buried in snow after the second storm.
The day after the second storm dawned bright and blue, a truly glorious day. Below is an image taken of the front yard and the private road leading back down the hill. Compare this one with the one further above after the first storm.
The next image is of Mrs. Cog and the child unit hacking a path out to the cars.....again. This was getting real old. Overnight winds had buried much of the path cut yesterday.
While I was opening back up the walkway to the water wood stove boiler and the garage, Mrs. Cog and the child unit worked the front walkway. The sky was such a brilliant blue that morning. Truly magnificent.
We live at the end of a private dirt road off a dirt road off of a back road in the middle of nowhere. Below is an image of the Cul-de-sac just at the end of our property. The three people who live on this private road year round have contracted with a local farmer to plow our private road with his large John Deere farm tractor with a plow attachment.
Twice yesterday during the height of the storm he came chugging up the road clearing the way. Considering what he was dealing with he did a great job making the road passable for four wheel drive vehicles, especially considering the blowing snow all night.
After cleaning up our own walkways and making our way out to the cars, but not clearing them completely, we decided to head back down to the neighbors to dig them out again. Here you can see Mrs. Cog on the left and the child unit on the right heading down the semi plowed private dirt road we live on. Snow drifts filled in the road a bit, but it was still passable with a four wheel drive.
Halfway to our neighbors I turned around and took a shot of the road leading back to our place. You can see the snow drifts on the right hand side below.
I got to work digging out the neighbor's wood that I had covered two days earlier. It was slow going, but the results were so much better than they would have been if the wood had not been covered. Then I widened the pathway from the house to the wood stove boiler so that our elderly neighbor could make his way safely to the stove.
Mrs. Cog, with help from the child unit, cleared nearly the entire driveway. Amazing.
Nice clean walkway by Mrs. Cog and daughter....with a little help from me.
Just as we were breaking through the really heavy packed snow at the end of our neighbor's driveway the Calvary showed up in the form of the third resident of our private road. He comes with a Deere backhoe and bucket loader and he made short work of the heavy snow. We were all pretty tired so it was real nice to step back and let the heavy equipment do its job.
The Calvary then offered to help dig us out as well, so we headed back up the road while he worked at clearing some of the snow drifts between him and our place.
Below is another shot of the road back to our place from our elderly neighbors property line.
While the backhoe made its way up the road we worked on digging out the backsides of the vehicles, then backing them up 5 feet in order to give the bucket loader room to remove the packed snow in front of the vehicles. The Deere made quick work of removing that heavy snow.
With both vehicles now cleared from the circular driveway the Deere could go to work without worrying about hitting anything important.
Mrs. Cog took this shot (below) from our front porch of the Deere working the circular driveway. I was very grateful that our neighbor showed up when he did. We were all exhausted and he saved us a half day's work. Thank you neighbor.
The final image below shows what a great job he did with his John Deere. Bravo!