If you live on the east coast of the United States then chances are you experienced some part of the blizzard of 2009. The mountains of North Carolina got hit pretty hard late Friday and early Saturday morning where our immediate area got between 12" and 14" of the white stuff. It's not very often that we get hit with a storm of this magnitude but occasionally those fronts that originate south of us in the Gulf of Mexico bring the biggest snowfalls.
With so much snow on the ground I knew right away that this past weekend wasn't going to be a very productive time for woodcarving. Looking outside the window Saturday morning I did know that it was going to be all about "snow" and that any attempt to suppress it would be nothing but a futile attempt at the impossible. Therefore I proceeded to make a plan.
Of course I couldn't get in my 4 mile run today, nor was I going to peddle my bicycle on my 13 mile route so I decided to spend some time getting my workout by building a classic snowman in the yard and that's the result in the picture to the right.
The first things needed to build a good snowman are to first have some warm clothing and wool insulated snow boots & neoprene gloves are what works for me. Next I retrieved a flat head shovel for maneuvering the snow into place. Back when we were kids the thrill of building a snowman was rolling a small ball of snow into a huge ball of snow but these days the shovel will suffice the order just fine, then the final sculpting can be shaped with my hands.
This was a great workout and kept me busy for the better part of two hours. I completed the sculpture by using various sized tree limbs for the eyes, nose, mouth, arms, and buttons. Of course I also used the same materials to make a pipe but it wasn't a corncob pipe. Although you can't see it in the pictures the limbs are 4" to 6" long and are set "into" the snowman with the idea that as the snow melts they will stay attached longer but either way Frosty's life is definitely limited.
I was quite pleased with the final result and felt that my time was well used and my body most certainly got a complete workout. On Sunday the sun worked hard on Frosty and he lost a lot of "bulk" so late in the day I spent another hour packing another several hundred pounds of snow onto his body in a futile effort to extend his life.
Snowmen have been part of my life since I was a kid living in Alabama so I'm glad that I got one built last weekend because no telling how long it will be until we get another heavy snowfall. The first snowman that I can remember was the one that my brother Mike and I built along with a LOT of help from our dad back in 1964 so I was just 8 years old and my brother was 12. That's us in the picture to the right with Frosty and two smaller snowmen.
Snow ice cream was also anther treat that always came with a big snow and I recall my mother mixing snow, vanilla extract, and sugar for a great winter time treat. That was great stuff for a kid to experience and I've never forgotten it and never will. Building a snowman is a must-have experience for any child and is a great opportunity to broaden their hands-on experiences.
Building a snowman will foster a rich imagination while at the same time bring to life real-time results for their effort. Even today I still get a very gratifying sense of satisfaction after building a snowman that in all ways is equal to the satisfaction after completing a nice project in the workshop. Unfortunately the snowman will melt and die within days unless your dad had the foresight to take some pictures of it like he did of our grand snowman way back in 1964.
Living in the mountains of North Carolina I have spent almost 30 very
rewarding years working with at-risk kids in a wilderness camping program as a counselor, outdoor educator, and woodshop teacher. To learn more about what my blog is all about, just scroll down this sidebar to "About my blog..."
1. Woodcarving/Woodwork: Working wood has been a lifetime obsession for me and I enjoy sharing what I know. It is my belief that hands-on and experiential learning has a direct and profound effect on the development of a child's intellect, confidence, and character. Projects of mine (and my students) will be posted as they progress and I will occasionally include a video tutorial. All of my videos can be found here .
2. Bushcraft/Primitive Living Skills: Finding ways to live closer to the land has always fascinated me. Whether it's building a shelter, fire starting, animal tracking, or just making rustic furniture... you'll eventually see some of it here.
3. Long Distance backpacking, canoeing, & bicycling: Some of my long distance adventures include thru-hiking the 2,600 mile Pacific Crest Trail, Mexico to Canada and I solo paddled the 1,800 mile Yukon river across northwest Canada and Alaska to the Bering sea. More detailed accounts of these and many other adventures can be found here
4. Sustainable Living: I'm always looking for better ways to do more by using less. It's not so much an "environmental" thing to me as it is a quest for personal independence from material things and finding a path to more substantive living .
5. Scouting Activity: As a scoutmaster of 6 years (and currently assistant scoutmaster) I'm actively involved with the troop and "Order of the Arrow" where it is a joy to volunteer hundreds of hours each year because investing in the next generation insures a better tomorrow for everyone. In an era when most schools don't value hands-on learning, outdoor education, and the arts... scouting soars in meeting these critical experiences for boys.
6. Profiles: Behind everyone's success you can usually find a trail of some very significant mentors and teachers along the way. And sometimes you don't completely understand how someone affected your life for the better until many years later. You'll find some of those stories here.