30 December 2008


When I posted "Ice Volcano" two weeks ago, we knew there was air to the surface of our pond. Since then, until today, this air hole has been buried under snow. The small hole at the bottom of a depression in the deep snow covering the pond confirms that our aerator still works.

The pond is hard to find.

Officially, we have received 59.8 inches of snow in December, but due to compacting and some melting from sunshine and rain, I was able to measure a mere 29 inches. The previous record snowfall was set in January 1950.

The gate that was buried, then clear, became buried again. But having had the foresight to open it before the latest round of snow, travel remains a possibility. It was necessary to move the garbage cans through this space, as there will be "no alley pick-up until further notice" the City of Spokane informed residents. The garbage trucks did not make it to our neighborhood last week, so we have quite a bit to haul to the front.

In the street, it is clear who must go to work, and who gets to stay home. Or, rather, it is clear which cars are worth trying to move, and which are not.

21 December 2008

The Kids

The kids got to the gate ...

and one built a snowman.

19 December 2008

Historic Storm: More Photos

My brother in Virginia asked for more photos of eastern Washington's winter storm.

At 4:00pm yesterday, it had temporary stopped snowing after coming down for more than thirty hours. With my trusty "scientific" measuring tape, I found almost 22", just under the 23" reported on the television.

We had this much snow last winter. The quantity is not significant, but how fast it fell. Last year's storm was substantial and lasted a week. As much snow fell in a day this year. Last year's storm created inconveniences, and called for mammoth snow removal efforts by city and county governments, and many private contractors. This year, the storm shut down many activities.

Our morning paper never arrived yesterday, and today's was delivered in the afternoon. The mail carrier has not been to our house since Wednesday. Many businesses have closed early, and others did not open yesterday or today.

More snow is falling, and we may get quite a bit this weekend. The snow is very dry--perfect for skiers. Because it is dry, it creates greater snow depth, but will pack down over time.

Up the street across a busy arterial, upon which there was no traffic yesterday, but plenty today, a neighbor was creating paths in the street. It may be days before the snow plows come down the residential streets. This extra time helps us move much of the snow so cars on the street don't get plowed in.

As I was typing this entry, I got the call to meet an associate in a nearby parking lot so he wouldn't need to risk my street to deliver some goods. Once I got away from the curb, I ran some other errands, and took along my camera.

Division and Buckeye at 4:30pm

A Car Parked at the Bank

Equipment for those Without Four-Wheel Drive

More from Yesterday

The Gate

X-mas Tree

Our Street

18 December 2008

Record Snowfall

The weather service recorded 17 inches of snow at Spokane International Airport in the 24 hours that ended at 4 a.m., 4 inches more than the record of 13 inches set in 1984. Records have been kept since 1881.
"Record snow fall paralyzing Spokane," Seattle Times, 18 December 2008
Records have been kept at the airport since 1881?

As I wrote yesterday, the official snowfall at the airport generally runs a few inches less than in my back yard. Some of my neighbors have convinced the local news that 23" have fallen in north Spokane. My measurements give us something close to 21" in the 24 hours from 8:00am yesterday until the same time this morning, and the snow continues to fall almost five hours later.

Meanwhile, the city of Las Vegas also is shut down with a record snowfall of a bit over 3 1/2".

The Pond

Two Benches

17 December 2008

And then it Snowed

...and it's still coming down with the bulk expected tomorrow. The TV weather guy just announced that the official seven inches at the airport set a record for this day in Spokane. It looks like more than that next to the pond in my backyard.

My wife spent ninety minutes making the less than three mile drive home from downtown, while my trip home from twenty miles north took me less than an hour, and I had a rider that needed dropped off along the way. My Jeep is a bit more snow worthy than her Scion, but I also had better roads and a lot less traffic.

One local high school reportedly told the kids to walk home because with all the neighborhood's roads closed, the buses could not get to school.

Historic storm! Unseasonable cold, followed by more than the usual amount of snow.

8:00pm update

The TV news just reported that chains are required on Spokane's South Hill. Only two arterials north and two south are currently open. I do not recall ever needing chains anywhere other than a mountain pass (except for one parking lot in an apartment complex in graduate school when the plows encased my car behind snow banks).

8:50pm update

The official weather station at the airport gives us our snowfall. They have eight inches. I always get a different measure in my backyard, and it's even deeper north of town.

5:30am update

The snow accumulation totals this morning, as reported on the television news, include 13 inches in north Spokane, and 17 inches south. Usually, more falls to the north. The television has most schools closed today, but a few to the north are running two hours late.

5:52am update

Just got the phone call from Deer Park School District--fifteen miles north of Spokane. No school there today. They were listed at two hours late twenty minutes ago.

Thursday Morning

My science of snow measurement: hold tape measure in left hand, stick into snow until the end reaches the top of the bench upon which the snow is undisturbed. Hold camera in right hand. Depress shutter several times to account for blurs due to shivering from cold.

16 December 2008

Ice Volcano

In order to maintain our koi through the winter, we have an aerator in the pond. The bubbling air assures that throughout most of the winter there will be a hole in the ice that forms on the surface. This hole helps maintain the oxygen required by the fish.

However, when the temperatures drop and reamain below 10°F for a few days, the hole in the ice may close, as it did for a few days last January. As a consequence of this year's early freeze, we have watched the hole slowly shrink since Sunday. This morning a small hole remains at the apex of an ice formation that resembles a small volcano.

02 December 2008

Note to Students and Parents

In the spring I will be offering a new class for the students at Deer Park Home Link. This post augments information in the course description.

Home Link Historians is a writing class designed for students that read history as part of their curriculum. Students will keep a journal of their reading in the form of a blog (short for web log). Instead of writing for an imagined audience, as in most writing classes, students will write for readers that will be able to leave comments.

I will use several writing prompts to offer structure and stimulate thought about issues central to the study of history. It does not matter what era, nation, culture, or special topic the student is studying: the writing prompts will be flexible.

The first prompt: What are you reading? Why are you reading it? What do you expect to learn?

The student blog will be located at Home Link Historians. It will be single blog with many authors writing under pseudonyms to protect their individual privacy.

Sample entries in Patriots and Peoples

For students and parents coming here to get a sense of how keeping a blog as a history reading journal might work, these samples might be of interest. For regular readers of this blog, this listing highlights some of my better entries over the past year.

Thinking Historically

On keeping a journal: “Spiral Notebooks

Primary Source focus: “Lee Resolution

A topical blog entry concerning a common myth: “Columbus and the Flat Earth

Another popular myth: “The Burning of the Boats

Investigating a text’s footnotes: “Depopulation: Ubelaker’s Low Estimate

Comparison of two texts on a limited subordinate topic: “Sixteenth Century Spain: Contrasting Images

Current events connection: “Booker T Washington’s White House Dinner

Now that you're already looking at my online writing, you might also find my Chess Skills blog of interest.

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