Yesterday was another fun February day in the wilds of northern suburbia: four inches of snow, followed by ice pellets, followed by sleet, followed by light rain turned torrential. Two nights ago it was nine below, with wind chills I don't even want to talk about. By yesterday afternoon, the temperature was in the low fifties. A sixty-degree swing like that is enough to give anybody whiplash: we went from blizzard to monsoon in under forty-eight hours.
If you're like me, unsettled weather unsettles you. But one good thing about yesterday's crazy weather is that it changed up my outdoor activities. By the time the weather had progressed to a drizzle, I decided it was time to get moving. I put on my trusty Canadian sou'wester (nothing better for keeping the rain from running down the back of your neck) and started scraping slush off the driveway and the walks.
Not having checked the weather forecast, I was worried about the slush turning to ice, making my sloped driveway into something like a bobsled run. As the day wore on, and the drizzle turned into a downpour, the driveway started to look more like a spillway. And my front yard, which had been buried under four inches of powder just the day before, turned into a waterlogged stretch of sod. Let's just say this wasn't a positive transformation. Suddenly, all the snowplow damage down at the front edge of my lawn, which I don't usually confront until April or so, was unpleasantly visible. (No curb and gutter here in the wilds of northern suburbia, so sometimes the snowplow mangles the lawn.)
It would be easy to find yesterday's oddly warm weather depressing. After all, what I think of a "mud season" (usually mid April) is right up there with November as one of the unloveliest times of the year. But this premature taste of mud season was also an opportunity. Although most of the ground is still frozen, yesterday was warm and wet enough that the thin layer of sod down by the road was thawed and pliable. The reason I usually have to wait until April to tidy up down by the road is that everything stays frozen until then. Yesterday was an unusual and unseasonable chance to make repairs early.
I don't think I've ever started a day shoveling and ended it with sod repair, but yesterday was very strange. An hour or so before dark, with the temperature still well above freezing, I broke out a hoe and my trusty dirt tamper (also great on gravel and asphalt) and headed out to the road. My dirt tamper is a hefty one, so just carrying it down to the road is a project, and repairing the length of our frontage is a not insignificant job. But afterward it looked great. Very satisfying.