Field of Science

Blizzard of ought-eleven

A lot of snow fell last night, although nothing compared to the snow belt of my youth, but definitely the most snow this area has had for years, and the most snow that the Phactors have had to deal with since passing the 60 yr landmark. And it all has to be shoveled, not pushed or shoved, but shoveled, lifted and thrown, step by step. Two person hours of travail yielded a drive cleared from the house to the garage, and taking our civic responsibility as land holders seriously a cleared sidewalk. The bird and squirrel feeders were restocked much to the satisfaction of all the feathered or furred free-loaders. The drive from the house to the street will have to wait until later. Besides our union demands a coffee break about now. Our street is an E-W artery passing a hospital, so it gets attention early and often, but seriously there's no where to go until tomorrow anyways. Without work or gardening to keep us occupied, the Phactors will turn to their only other activity, cooking. The heavy snow cover will insulate lots of plants as the bottom drops out on the temperature tonight (-7F, -22C) in the inevitable Arctic blast that always follows such storms. Now for some coffee.


sarcozona said...

Sometimes my only time to eat is walking between meetings. But my pb&j froze while I was trying to eat it today! I'm afraid I was seriously cranky at the next meeting, but I was so cold and hungry that I don't really feel sorry.

Anonymous said...

Heretofore silent PhytoPhan checking in from Maine, last stop for the blizzard before it goes offshore to my daughter in Canada. Just got a call from my plow driver who said that he can't handle this, sorry, good luck and goodbye. (I live a mile from the road, whooee.) But you know that all us old timers call snow the farmers friend - free fertilizer thanks to its nitrogen content. True or folklore?

The Phytophactor said...

Yes, all the good old boys used to say snow was a poor man's fertilizer. So does snow contain nitrogen? Yes, as does most forms of precipitation, and in fact lightening can transform atmospheric nitrogen to a form plants can use. But such forms of nitrogen are also very soluble, so they run off easily and the slow melting of snow might leave more in place. The figure that people used to throw around was snow could deposit 2-12 lbs of nitrogen per acre. Here in the windy midwest a cover of snow also greatly reduces loss of topsoil by wind. See you in the spring.