Wednesday, October 3, 2018

2 metric tons, at the very least

We got a lot of snow yesterday. More than foot in most parts of Calgary. Life goes on. Today was sunny and warm so it's already begun to melt. It was warm enough for me to BBQ in a T shirt after the shovelling ordeal.

Allow me a brief digression, mainly of interest to homeowners. The asphalt shingles you buy now are shite. They are a fraction of the thickness that they used to be, probably as a cost cutting measure. Or maybe the manufacturers are in cahoots with Big Insurance. They last proportionally less time protecting your home, and even less in Calgary's brutal climate for shingles. Baking heat, brass monkey balls cold, and worst of all, hail.

It used to be you put shingles on your roof and you forgot about it. In our neighbourhood it was a rarity to see shingles being replaced. Now it's happening all the time. Every time I go for a run I see someone getting shingles done. The problem with the asphalt shingles is that you'll be replacing them in 5 to 7 years. And again, and again.

More and more of our neighbours are following our lead and putting on a metal roof. They're great! Hail is a complete non-issue. If we get hail big enough to damage our roof, it's probably going to be big enough to go through the insulation in the attic, the drywall of the ceiling, the slate or hardwood flooring, the subfloor, and end up in the basement. In that case we will have other things to worry about.

The only downside of the roof, for us, is that our neighbours are weird. They have a back deck they never use, and a set of steps from it to the lawn. From there it's a couple dozen feet to the gate in the back fence to the alley, where they keep their various garbage/compost/recycling carts. Do they do that? NO! They insist on going out the side door of the garage, between our houses, through a gate into the back yard, and thence to the carts.

Except snow slides off a metal roof when it warms up. This fills the space between our houses. Fills it to the point of impassability. If we don't shovel it, we get sworn at in Cantonese. That's what happened today. A lot of it. (The sliding and shovelling, not the swearing.) Being good neighbours, and considering their shovelling service just piles it up on our side and in our basement window wells, and that it sets up like concrete if we let it sit very long, we try to shovel it right away.

We start with a beautiful sunny winter morning, with the mist rising off the snow.

Here we see a bunch of chunks of snow falling from the roof.

You can clearly see it's about a foot deep. Don't think about working in there when the snow releases.

The roses aren't sure what to think, but they'll be just fine.

The snow falls off the east side of the roof first. That gate isn't opening again till there's a really long chinook, or spring, whichever comes first. Or power tools, something like a medium sized Bobcat is about right.

That bit will slide off sooner or later,

This is what I ended up shovelling. Except more fell to fill in that clear space near the fence. All of it compacts from the fall so a shovel full is quite heavy. As you can clearly see, there is nowhere to put it. Each shovelful has to be walked out and put somewhere. Yes, the mounds on the lawn are big. Bring your kid over, they could build a warren of snow caves.

The snow is a rough triangle about 3 feet deep and 5 feet wide, and maybe 50 feet long. At an average of 12.5 pounds per cubic foot of snow, that comes to about 4700 pounds, or 2.1 metric tons, at least. I think the water content is higher than that.

I shovelled for three straight hours. I can barely feel my arms. A late lunch of steak and salad helped me feel better. And this. All 650 ml of it. Burp.


  1. Ugh. That's gross. The light in the second shot is lovely though.

  2. Not only is the light lovely, I like the "look".


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