Friday, February 12, 2010

winter's icy grip

I like winter, I really do. But could it be over soon? Please? Freeze, snow, thaw, freeze, snow, thaw. It's getting kind of old, you know? We had another bunch of snow over the past couple of day and people are slip sliding all over the place.

One interesting aspect of the continual freeze/thaw thing has been the wonderful icicles at our house

I've heard that this is a sign that your roof is poorly insulated, but I'm in denial because these are so pretty

defying the laws of gravity

I like the contrast in these two pictures...

Remember our little snowman family? Well, they also became victims of the big thaw that took place a couple of weeks ago.

Before they started melting for real, SnoDad leaned in to share a secret with SnoKid

and SnoMom got a fluffy new hairdo.

Several days later they had all been reduced to these sorry lumps. Wahhh!

Humans aren't the only ones who have it tough in winter. When the ground is completely covered in snow, birds can have a hard time finding food. So make sure you put out some nice snacks for your feathered friends.

Blackbirds looove apples and nuts. Chickadees will do anything for sunflower seeds.

I tried making my own suet cakes this year with vegetable fat, oatmeal, chopped nuts, mixed bird seed, raisins and cranberries. The birds don't seem to be all that enthused but have slowly been eating them, mostly out of desperation, I think. Oh well.

The streets have been icy, very icy. There have been small snowplows out and about clearing the roads as best they can, but our cul de sac never gets plowed. Well, hardly ever. Some time in January a guy with a plow came in, pushed all the snow to one side and left us with our own little mountain right where people used to park. How convenient. I have no idea if a neighbour hired him or if he was sent by the city, but really, this thing has frozen into a 5 foot tall chunk of ice and will probably be there until May.

Since you're obligated in Germany to make sure no one slips on or around your property, we've been pretty busy. If you own your own home, you have to keep your walkway and the sidewalk in front of your house free of ice and snow as best you can. If there's no sidewalk, it's a one metre strip of the street that must be cleared and kept clear from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. on weekends. No excuses. If you're sick or on holiday, you have to ask someone else to do it for you. If the mailman or the paper boy wipes out, it's ALL your fault. If you rent, snow clearing duties will be spelled out in your rental contract or your landlord may choose to do the job him/herself.

Well, I've done my duty for today. Time to build a new snowman!

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At February 12, 2010 1:12 p.m., Anonymous tqe | Adam said...

I so sympathize -- I cannot recall a longer, colder, and snowier winter. It's annoying.

At February 12, 2010 2:16 p.m., Anonymous Maribeth said...

And we have almost NO SNOW! We need it. The ski areas need it.
But, I am ready for spring!

At February 12, 2010 3:07 p.m., Blogger Lilian said...

Gorgeous icicles and lovely photos, Christina, thanks for sharing!!

I love the snowman talking to the snowkid! And the photo of the "warm" lamp and the icicle was gorgeous! We've got some icicles too, but they're hard to photograph (cannot be photographed from a window, it has to be from outside, downstairs).

At February 12, 2010 4:06 p.m., Blogger Tinsie said...

I love snow! I wish we'd get as much as this :-)

At February 12, 2010 4:40 p.m., Blogger Thimbleanna said...

Awwww, poor little snowpeople! Dad snowman sure does look cute talking to little snowman though. And thanks for the reminder -- I've been all warm and cozy reading blogs, and completely forgot that I need to shovel the sidewalk outside!

At February 12, 2010 4:41 p.m., Blogger Rositta said...

I haven't seen a single icicle this year on my gutters, not a one. In fact we have seen hardly any snow this winter. Maybe you could send some of it to Vancouver, I hear their a little short of the stuff right now, LOL...ciao

At February 13, 2010 3:42 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

guess it isn't just DC. we just broke a 125+ year old record for snowiest winter. craziness!

ps - keeping your walkways cleared is the law here as well but as far as i can tell, not enforced. bugs me frankly that we kill ourselves keeping things shoveled (through 35+ inches of snow in 5 days, thank you very much) and others do not. boo!

At February 13, 2010 4:25 a.m., Blogger Expat Traveler said...

I'm sure you wish you were here with us! But really, we have been spoiled this winter. Still I'd rather be back in Europe!

At February 13, 2010 11:47 a.m., Blogger In Actual Fact said...

7a.m. to 8p.m. and lie-ins at weekends?
You'd never get away with that kind of slapdash, lackadaisical attitutude in Swabia.
I'm not going to say anything about the width of the path you cleared either - as long as it meets the Streupflichtsatzung of your local Gemeinde, that's okay, I suppose.
Only bitter when remembering: "Die Gehwege sind für den Fußgängerverkehr in einer Breite von Schnee und Eis freizuhalten und bei Glätte zu streuen, die den örtlichen Erfordernissen der öffentlichen Sicherheit und Ordnung entspricht, soweit möglich mindestens in einer Breite von 1,50 m."
Oh how I miss it. Also, did you know that in London, it's only *if* one clears the path in front of the house that one becomes liable for any accidents on it. Fantastic!

At February 13, 2010 12:22 p.m., Blogger PapaScott said...

We were foresighted enough to buy a house on a cobblestone street with no sidewalk in a village with no winter services (eingeschränkte Winterdienst). We keep a path chipped out for the postlady, but that's all we need to do.

So maybe it was bad karma that caused me to slip and fall on someone else's ice, busting my shoulder...

At February 13, 2010 3:06 p.m., Anonymous Lisa said...

I loved this post. I feel so validated. :) Since I wrote about the great driveway fiasco my landlord has come out once again and tried to discourage me from clearing the sidewalk. He doesn't clear it himself either. Makes me wonder what will happen if someone gets hurt out there when it's his turn and he hasn't done it.

That aside, are we taking bets on how long it'll take that ice hill to melt? Put me in for 3rd week of April.

At February 14, 2010 11:24 a.m., Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

I'm enjoying the little bit of snow we have in the Basel area, but luckily, we did get our fix last week in Austria :-)

At February 14, 2010 5:32 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

We've had more snow this winter here in Holland than in their last few years put together, Christina...but the same thing could be said for even Atlanta, according to my daughter. So it's been a humdinger all over, I see. Well, hang in there because as surely as it snows again, it WILL thaw for the last time and for good...till next year! I love it.

At February 14, 2010 7:41 p.m., Anonymous Renate said...

And here in Seattle, we have been breaking all kinds of records with the high temperatures. I noticed yesterday that my lilac bush in the backyard is budding out. Just hope we don't get a serious frost now or we'll lose it. Crazy weather all around. My brother, who lives in Delmenhorst (next to Bremen), says they have never seen so much snow ever. He was scheduled for a hip replacement in Hamburg last week and had to take the train because the driving was too dangerous. Crazy!

At May 27, 2010 10:27 a.m., Blogger Betty said...

Snowmom was hot! Much better figure than me.

At July 31, 2010 4:11 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so WRONG! You didn't clear the walkway correctly. Someone should report you to the authorities.


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