“Be afraid, very afraid” was the weather forecasters message this time last week. A once in a lifetime snow storm was heading across New Zealand that would eclipse the snow flurry we had a few weeks before. Twitter was forecasting #snowmaggedon with tweeters across New Zealand comparing notes on the size of snowflakes as the promised storm made it’s way up country. For a while people were feeling short changed as sleet seemed to be dominating the atmosphere. But just to prove the Twittersphere wrong the Arctic laid a blanket of the white stuff in proportions not seen in fifty years in the Wellington region.
To keep everyone on their toes this storm came in ever increasing strength. Not content with making roads impassable it knocked out power and telecoms to thousands of houses. Ours included. Thank goodness for mobile phone technology. And woodburners, gas hobs and natural wool house insulation. The fun disappeared from this weather event pretty quickly as our perceived levels of vulnerability steadily increased.
To raise the levels of tension higher we were knee deep in snow the day before I had to be in Wellington leading a Coaching Workshop. A workshop in the planning for around 6 months with 12 paying customers flying in from across the country. Contingency plans were made but no doubt pressure was on to dig the car out and hope that the roads would be cleared in time. Things turned out fine in the end. My Wellington Boot fashion statement was quite a hit.
Once again nature taught us a lesson who is in charge of the natural world. We were safe, relatively warm and self sufficient aside from no power to pump water. It could have been a lot worse. It was nevertheless an exhausting few days.
As always there is a fun side with two bassets who just couldn’t get enough of the snow. This time it was an altogether bigger proposition to move around – this snow was the maximum for a bassets dwarf stature. But it didn’t stop them making the most of the new sniffing opportunities.
Keen to take a walk with us in the garden, it was quite a struggle.
The garden has taken a real hammering. Not just the kitchen garden but the beds around the house which have had regular snow avalanches off the roof. It’s going to be a case of cutting back the broken plants and hoping Spring will bring them alive again.
The strange thing about all this is just a km down the road it was just a light covering of snow. nothing compared to the 25-30cm we had amassed all around us.
Now the snow has cleared we can see the enormous amount of damage the snow caused to the native trees which aren’t used to having to carry such heavy weights on their branches. We are going to have to clear out heaps of fallen Manuka trees from our bush area. It will at least allow the smaller natives and ferns grab some of the new light.
I noticed walking tracks to the back of our property through the forestry have really suffered with fallen trees all over. Even Tunnel Gully Reserve is closed due to “overhead hazards”.
Even now, the snow is still lying around the house. This is where the roof dumped it’s load.
It was like looking out of an igloo with the snow frozen over the veranda roof. For all the cold and inconvenience it was a beautiful sight.
For all it’s beauty and potential for fun, there is no doubt the bassets were wishing they were a little taller.