Our “historic” Massachusetts snow report

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We haven’t been here at the blog much – we’re still in the B bus all the time, but now that the girls are in middle school, our use of social media has changed dramatically. While I still love the WordPress platform, blogs are actually becoming sort of old school. I’m experimenting with Twitter (@theotherpamela and @pamelaJCHS), and GHB and LHB are very active Instagrammers. Also, they are operating in a comprehensive online Google-world that is fully integrated with their school curriculum and assignments. But once in a while it’s nice to use the blog format to post a bunch of pictures or tell a particular story.

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This month, the story is EPIC SNOW.  The kind of snow that is commonplace in Canada and parts of the Midwest, but that, over a short span of weeks, is literally paralyzing the high-density metro region in which we live. I loved it when my favorite local weather guy blogged about the snow stats and history, and took us back to the journals of Cotton Mather, to find so much snow falling on Boston in so little time!

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looking outside during the beginning of the first blizzard, January 24

I have worked at Harvard for over 20 years and this past week was the first time ever in that time that the university was closed/classes cancelled for two days in a row. Our beloved “T” system has been laid low. Travel and parking bans and many many days of missed school.  My commute time is more than doubled, with traffic into and out of Cambridge forced to inch and crawl along the narrowed streets.

Claustrophobic driving: can you find the parking meter?

Claustrophobic driving: can you find the parking meter?

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Sidewalk in front of the house, looking towards crosswalk

 

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a screen shot from my Instagram on Wednesday

Everyone constantly comparing notes about the state of their driveways, ice dams on their roofs, and salt snakes.  We’ve been taking lots of photos, and thought we’d share some as we hunker down for what is, I think, the 4th major storm in 3 weeks, set to begin this afternoon. We’ve been outside every day trying to hack away at the frozen drifts to widen our driveway access enough to keep using it even if/when we get more snow.

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GHB out with the shovel

Good news for today is that the sun is shining this morning and the girls will spend a couple of hours outdoors on a snowshoe walk with the girl scouts, before we get snowbound again.

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In between storms, at the beginning of the week I had to go to Washington, DC for work. I took some pictures of our epic snow from the air, as we made the approach to Logan. It was dramatic how heavy the blanket of snow looked from the air, erasing all color from the landscape so that the photos look black and white even though they’re not.

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Oh, it’s also Valentine’s Day – happy heart day!!

– PHB

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snapshots from maine

We haven’t blogged much this year, but our annual weekend at Ferry Beach near Saco, Maine is a favorite subject for photos and blog posts.

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We went from a super soggy Saturday of rain and fog, to a spectacularly sunny Sunday for walking the beach.

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Here are some favorite shots from our walks around Ferry Beach camp and Camp Ellis.

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There were some fun indoor things to do during the really rainy parts of the weekend, including LHB and friends leading a yoga session and both the girls appearing in the Goodwill Fashion Show portion of the traditional Talent/No Talent Show.

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Namaste. And happy autumn!

– PHB

frozen february

TOO MUCH SNOW!! The house is growing icebergs. Well, today it was finally warm enough to start melting some of the ice, but this month has been a challenge, with snow on top of snow, and too many days below freezing for us to get outdoors very much.

A strangely attired penguin did appear in the yard today to brighten things up.

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And the girls have been very successful selling lots of Girl Scout cookies, especially to hungry homebound commuters.

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It’s been a pretty quiet February staycation. Sleepovers, ice skating, tubing @ Nashoba, cookie booths, and SNOW.

– PHB

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winter coat

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Everyone’s talking about the cold. We’ve had some snow this winter but the weather headline is the freezing temps. After a temporary thaw and some rain, we are headed back into the deep freeze tonight. I took this photo of the creek at Whipple Hill yesterday.

It’s not the super extreme school-canceling Midwestern freeze, but it’s bitter and sharp, especially without pretty blankets of snow. What’s left is actually pretty gray. The girls and I have really noticed how hoary and ancient the B bus is looking, in its winter coat of salty grime.

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Definitely looking less spiffy than on the summer road trip! But the B bus is hardy, as are we.

– PHB

all that remains

all that remains

This year’s January thaw has been quite dramatic. Just a week or so ago I posted the pics of our arctic adventure and we had well over a foot of snow on the ground. I got the flu, and New England got a crazy warm spell, with temperatures nearly reaching 60 degrees yesterday, and accompanied by torrential downpours and even some thunder.

Today was seasonably chilly, windy and sunny. The Christmas trees littering the curbs all over Arlington started to blow over and into the road. Weird, ungainly tumbleweeds. We pulled ours back away from the street to wait for the pickup (delayed by the storm, they are supposed to be picked up for chipping/mulching this week). The last patch of snow out there where the B bus lives is filthy and grimy. When most of it melted, we also found Halloween remnants: the pumpkins I meant to chop up for foraging wildlife. I actually don’t know if that’s a good idea or not (would be nice if a bunny wants a nibble, but we wouldn’t want to make a buffet for raccoons…), so I suppose it’s just as well they’re just sitting there thawing.

xmas endThe light in January feels a bit harsh at times. It’s not that I’m not refreshed by seeing a little more daylight every day. But it can shed a daunting glare on all the undone post-holiday chores. The tree is out but the Ghost of Christmas past is still haunting the house with bits and pieces and bins. I rather like not having to primp or decorate our space for anything at the moment – we’re just living in it, taking 2014 one day at a time.

– PHB

happy new year from the intrepid explorers

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Last night it was below zero in Arlington and the snow had been blowing all day. With two extra vacation days brought to us courtesy of this new year nor’easter, it was prime time for sleepovers, so we walked GHB down Summer Street and around the corner to a pal’s house. LHB and her pal sherpa’ed, and the snow was as dry and diamond bright as I have ever seen it.

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There was talk of exploring the Yukon, even though we waited for the walk signal at the intersection. It just felt that fun and adventurous.

This morning we shoveled and did some makeshift yard-sledding. It’s really still too cold (it’s 9, I think) to head over to the windy sledding hill at McLennen. Fortunately, the whole weekend still lies ahead!

Happy New Year from the frozen north.

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– PHB

apples!!!

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posted by GHB

Check out this apple blossom sky!

This is a picture of the sky over the belltower of our church in the center of town two nights ago, which was the night before Johnny Appleseed’s birthday. We were driving in the B Bus on Mass Ave coming home from a dance class and PHB snapped this awesome pic.

Did you know that this is a picture of the sun reflecting off of the ice crystals in the sky making them appear pink? It only happens in the fall because of where the earth is to where the sun is at that time of year. People call this an apple blossom sky.

Today however, as a 5th grader I got a Kindergarten Buddy at my school and we all went apple picking with our K Buddies. Everyone was allowed to take home a small bag of apples and a pumpkin and we all got to see animals and go on a hayride. There was a working tractor parked outside of the bunny hut. There were no keys in it but we could honk the horn and turn on the headlights. All the kindergarteners couldn’t get enough of honking the horn.  It got annoying after a while!

Apples are at their best in the fall and they are delicious! We plan on making apple pie and apple slump.

– GHB

january thaw

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It was over 60 degrees here yesterday!  GHB and LHB are now fretting every morning on the walk to school, about the Missing Snow.  You can overhear kids on the playground holding forth about climate change.  After about 10 days of barely-adequate, incrementally-melting-every-day snow cover, the recent warm-up spelled The End of sledding.  This morning I found what may be the last patches of snow in Arlington, hidden on the back of the hillside at McLennen Park.

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Will the B bus see any more sledding or other outdoor winter fun this year?!

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The ice in the pond turning to slush.

We are all a little sad about the lack of snow, though I suspect I am more conflicted about it than the girls.  I am happy not to be shoveling the driveway every other morning to get the B bus up our treacherous incline!  Just as I was having that thought we heard the forecast which is for snow and sleet tomorrow.  Once again we live the New England cliche about what to do if you don’t like the weather here (just wait 5 minutes, etc.).

– PHB

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