Snow depth is deceiving

It is surprising how the accumulation of snow is deceiving. Through to Christmas, we had very little snow on the ground. And even through to the last week of January, the depth of the snow was not huge.
The deer regularly waltzed through the yard and often bedded down either under the spruce tree or nestled close to the white birch.
They continued to come into the yard right up through the cold snap. The mother and two year-old fawns could bed down and, with their noses tucked in, would lie below the top of the snow.
The snow was deep enough so the winds would blow over the top of them.
I watched as the snow accumulated on the roof of my family room. Then after the last storm and drifting snow, the whirling roof vent became totally buried.
The winds have sculptured the snow in drifts I have never seen before and the snow along the walkway on the Victoria Avenue side of the house has become mid-thigh depth.
On Sunday, I tackled the snow on the family room roof–hoping it was not as deep as that of my walkway. Alas, it didn’t take long to discover that removing enough snow to just step onto the roof was going to be an issue. The snow was packed almost as hard as ice.
I chipped away at it until I had a safe place to stand, then began the onerous task of widening the area so I could use a scoop.
Eskimos have a word that describes snow that is hard enough (and strong enough) to carve blocks to make igloos. I suspect the compacted snow on my roof could have been described by that word.
Cleaning the roof required determining where the edges of the roof were. On some parts, the snow drifts moved far over the edge held together by magical bonds. You could shear off that snow with a single slice of the shovel and gravity did the rest.
Block by block of snow was removed and dumped over the edge, building up piles on all three sides that grew in size to more than four feet in height. As I moved up the roof, and finally got next to the stilled vent, the snow became almost 36 inches deep.
The blocks became smaller as the snow scoop nestled under them and they all were directed over the edge. Closer to the main part of the house, the drifting snow had reached up above the window sills. It was a first to see snow that high on the roof.
The burying of the roof vent had given me an indication of the snow depth. But seeing how high the snow had piled up at the windows gave me pause.
I have taken snow from that roof for almost 40 years. But this year it had grown deeper than ever.
The deer haven’t walked through or bedded down in the yard for almost a week. Maybe that is a clearer indication the snow has become deep enough to discourage movement.

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