Friday’s Weekend Column
Almost Spring?

by James Glaser
February 4, 2005

Well maybe not spring, but the annual January thaw is here. Yes I do know it is February, but sometimes that January thaw is a little late. I was looking out my north kitchen window and all I could see was about three feet of snow hanging off the eve of the roof and so I went out and gave it a push with a shovel and everything on that side of the house came sliding down at one time. I had a pile of snow about three feet high on my walkway that I had to move. The past three days have been sunny and above freezing and people around here are almost giddy about the weather.

On Monday I had to walk over to the little building I have across the road and get a sculpture out for a group show in Grand Rapids. I haven't been to that building all winter and I could see I would have to shovel off the deck in front of the door it get in. It was a good thing I had that shovel, as I used it like a staff to walk over there. There is a big pile of snow along the road that the plow had been adding to every time it snowed and it was as hard as a rock. I climbed up on top of that and started down the other side toward the building. Well as soon as I got past the hard pile, I sunk down to mid thigh and it was a real hassle walking over to the building.

I cleared off the deck, picked up the sculpture and headed back in my same tracks trying not to fall over. I was huffing and puffing by the time I got to the road and then it was easy walking into the house where I could warm up my piece so that I could give it a new wax job. I went back out and looked over at the little building and there was my snow shovel in the pile next to the deck. Well I was not about to take that walk again and decided I needed a new shovel anyway and left that one over there.

Every place you go now people have big smiles on their faces. It is like we all survived the -40 some below zero and we now know we will make it through another winter. On the 1st, when the ground hog didn't see its shadow or when it did, (I can never remember what it is supposed to do) we were told we were going to have another six weeks of winter, well that didn't sound bad at all.

We would all be very happy if winter only lasted till the middle of March. March is snow month and the snow level is already to the top of my picket fence now. We could easily get another 20 inches. When the deer are walking now, their bellies are dragging in the snow. April can be just as bad and sometimes the ice doesn't go off the lake until the first or second week of May.

But all it takes is a few days like we are having now and everything seems alright. I had been thinking of getting a snow rake for my roof as I had seen other people doing theirs. I built this place and I know it can take all the snow that will stay up there, but when you see other people doing their roof, you start thinking that maybe you should do yours now. This year we had a combination of snow and rain at the beginning of the winter, so the snow stayed up on the roof and the ice kept the wind from blowing the snow off. I have a steep pitch to the roof, so when we had a real warm-up this week, everything started sliding down, but the layers of ice kept it all intact until it slide all the way off.

On Tuesday, Pete McKenzie came out to get my 1957 International pickup so he could paint it. He said he would be here at 8:15 and we could shovel the thing out of the snow bank. I was out there early and started moving snow, and then I thought, I bet he won't get here till 9, hoping I had everything cleared away. I went back in and made coffee and Pete got here about 9:30. The truck looked like a block of snow and there was about two inches of ice all over it. I got the door open and tried starting it. The battery was too low to turn over the motor, so we pulled it out on the road and jumped it and it started right up.

I let the thing run for a long time as the defroster only put out cold air for quiet awhile. After it got going, it warmed right up fine. It has a good heater and goes through the snow real good. I am having it painted the original gold and cream color. I think there are a few chrome pieces I will have redone. It needs new glass on the driver's door and I have new rubber to go around the windshield and rear window. I also have new window channels so the roll up windows don't rattle and new door rubber.

I have been debating if I should stick any more money into this truck or not. It is like my going fishing truck, but now it might become my parade truck or Sunday go to church truck. It is a fun truck to drive and with the new paint and body work, it will be a real nice looking truck.... for a "cornbinder."

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