Winter Prep Woes

The perfect place and beverage to share some casual conversation.

If we were having a beer, you would be worried.

“Look at you boys, right on time today. Beer for you, what about you? Bourbon? Wine?”

“Make mine a seltzer today Cheryl.”



“Yes, seltzer. I have to finish getting my garage clean; I should probably stay sober.”

“Why didn’t you call? We could have waited an hour? Oh, and yes to that beer, Cheryl.”

“I’m not sure an hour would do the trick, I have a lot left to do.”

“Do you actually think you’re going to go home from here and do any of it?”

“One Yuengling, and one seltzer. I put it in a snifter so you could pretend. Refills are on the house.”

“Thanks Cheryl, but he’s right. I’m kidding myself about cleaning that garage tonight. I’ll have a glass of Meiomi.”

“OK, but the free refills were only for the seltzer…just sayin.”

“Understood. So, how about you my young friend? Did you get your garage clean?”

“I should be ready to shove some cars in there by tomorrow night. A little late, but I also had to rearrange the shed.”

“You mean snow blower pointed out? Did you get that puppy tuned-up?”

“I did. Remember, I took it in for a tune-up in August. It’s at the door and ready to roll.”

“Yes, I remember now. The D-I-Y project where all you did was deliver and pick-up the machine.”

“Knowing your limits is half the battle.”

“Keep that in mind now that you’ve switched to wine. Here’s your Meiomi. You guys want food?”

“Well, since I’m not going to be working tonight, I think a pizza might be nice.”

“I’d be willing to split a pie with you.”

“If I’m paying, I’m ordering spinach, garlic and sliced tomatoes.”

“Then I’d be willing to have a small pie of my own – sausage, green peppers and onions.”

“Two smalls. I’ll get that order right in.”

“You know, I think if you order a separate pie, we should split the bill.”

“Yeah… I don’t think it works like that.”

“You sure?”

“Well, it doesn’t work that way when I pay.”

“OK. I just thought… Did you get your snow stakes in?”

“Yes. I put those in during the week. I wanted to make sure I had enough.”

“Did your yard grow?”

“No, but I need to mark the driveway for the plow guy.”

“I thought you did your own driveway.”

“I do, but I have a guy who does it if I’m traveling. Last year, I forgot to mark the driveway, and he left about three feet for me.”

“Then get those stakes in. Does he also do the sidewalk?”

“He does.”

“Does he do a path for Maddie?”

“No, and he doesn’t build Mt. Maddie.”

“I wouldn’t think Maddie would have approved of this guy.”

“I’m sure she doesn’t, but my wife does.”

“Happy wife, happy life.”


“Do you stake out the entire pattern, I remember it being pretty complicated.”

“I mark small plants and shrubs, anything I don’t want to hit with the blower. The pattern isn’t really complicated.”

“I seem to remember a lot of laps.”

“The paths have to wider than the snow blower. Two passes are required.”

“You could back up and move over a bit.”

“I don’t like reverse.”

“It’s not like you’re parking a truck at the mall, what’s wrong with reverse?”

“It’s slow, and it’s unproductive. I like to keep the auger engaged.”

“I would think you would be all about optimizing the pattern.”

“I’ve tweaked it over time.”

“Let’s see it again.”

“Here, but when did you become an expert in logistics?”

“I tend to see things that others often miss. For example, what about this mess?”

“Get that thing away from my phone! What is that? A pencil?”

“Yes, a pencil. Don’t say it like it’s a dirty word. Cheryl, can you hand me a napkin?”

“Sure, but the pizzas won’t be up for a few more minutes.”

“I need to illustrate something.”

“Oh, that’s funny. He’s the geekiest person in this bar, and you’re going to draw on a napkin with a pencil.”

“Cheryl, please, don’t give him the napkin. You’re enabling him.”

“I’m with him on this Dan. I have a stylus, I can’t draw on the screen.”


“Here’s your napkin. Your pizzas will be up in five minutes. You boys want another round.”

“I need another round now, Yuengling.”

“Me too Cheryl. And, I’ll take another splash of this seltzer.”

“Is it the seltzer or the snifter?”

“It’s the snifter. I like holding it, just like this pencil.”

“Message received!”

We’re expecting our first significant snow later today. The gallery includes some of the prep work to-date and, of course Maddie’s ultimate goal. Also, if you can’t find Slow Joe Crow, watch the video.


  1. As a fellow New Englander, I have lots to say about this post. :-) Yes, winter clean up sure does involve work and several trips to the recycling center. We have a brush pile and leaf bins as well, and they have been busy. I took down one holiday decoration that I wouldn’t be able to get to if the snow builds up, and I have to drag another one inside the garage to assess because it is in the way of shoveling. And, I love hearing about Mt. Maddie because we spent years making a hill like that for our grands to sled on when they were little. Makes me smile. Hope she has a fun weekend with the snow. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Judy. I knew you would understand. Maddie seems to sense a change in the weather. Right now, she’s snuggled in next to me on the couch.

      Our outside decorations have been reduced to lighting a single small shrub. I worry more about taking them down in January than putting them up.

      Have a great weekend. If it turns white, it will be pretty.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Maddie looks very happy on Mt. Maddie! We have an Australian Shepard mix (translation: psychotic!). Her name is Murphy. Murphy has 3 legs (shoulda named her Tripod) but she would be all over, around and under Maddie’s mountain. I bet Sammy and Sally will be burying nuts there!!

    Love the shots of the wayward leaves. I also like the shadows on the garage, but if I were there I would be high tailing it into your home for safety!

    Have fun with your now readily accessible snowblower!! Sounds like you’ll be making good use of it this weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Murphy sounds like a handful. Maddie has some neurological problems, but we’re learning how to help her cope.

      The shadows can be scary. Sammy has buried nuts in several places that won’t be accessible if I have to use the snow blower. I’m sure he won’t starve.


    • Thanks Marian. The original purpose was to keep the snow away from the house and prevent filling one path while clearing another. 25 years ago, our Irish Setter claimed the pile (Mt Mitzi) and the rest, as they say…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We have a dusting of the beautiful white stuff this morning, Dan, and even that little bit makes me happy. The Chicago area really doesn’t get much snow compared to where we lived on the east side of Cleveland, the start of a snow belt that ends (badly) in Buffalo, NY. :-) Good job on the clean-up and I hope you get enough snow to enjoy (though Maddie’s definition and yours may be very different here) and not cause problems.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Janet. Do you guys get ice? My friend in Chicago seems to mention ice frequently.

      I’ve driven from Pittsburg, through Erie to Albany many times and that is some serious snow.


      • It doesn’t seem like we get an inordinate amount of ice, Dan, but maybe after Cleveland, it doesn’t seem bad. Yes, that snow belt can be serious and Buffalo gets the worst of it. It’s a good thing they built the Cleveland airport on the west side!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Maddie is so darn cute. She looks so content on her spot. We got snow in the Panhandle last night! Not much, but it was on our neighbor’s roof and the roof of our cars. That concludes winter in Florida.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We finally got enough snow to cover the ground last night…as it should be if the highs are only going to be in the 20’s. Yes, it’s cold here. Don’t have to worry about a snow blower, but I have long underwear and wool socks at the ready.

    I don’t understand all of your arrows, but I truly appreciate your artistic napkin abilities.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So…what you’re saying is Maddie LIKES cold underparts? 🙊
    Ok your diagram made my head hurt. It’s Saturday and the most critical thinking I do on Saturday us how I am goung to cook our breakfast eggs. 😂Ummmm I think we got part of your snowstorm. Thankfulky it’s already beginjing to thaw. But oh so pretty. Love the lef photos! Stylus. Hmphh. It’s good for hunt and peck but anyone who truly draws with one is a real magician in my book. Lol. Im sure it’s just my own level of talent. Stay warm!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on Ancien Hippie and commented:
    One of these days we (me and my boss) are going to take a flight over and have a beer (or more) with you. Besides my boss wants to go to the CT Trolley Museum (he is a member). Worst case, we will fly to New York and take Metro North out to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Dan – that white stuff is on high ground here … I’m not at all sure what happens when ours come … I guess I’ll learn. Dogs are amazing – they love the white stuff … and being queen of the castle is important – hope all goes well but enjoy the beer when the time comes – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  9. First stickin-snow came this mornin :D Not much of it, but I love it so. We’ve had a few snows that melted at the ground, so this makes me happy.
    I like the garage shadow photo, and of course, Mt Maddie.
    I also miss pretty sunsets when the trees are full. Strangely, today, I noticed a whole new building had been built behind the trees. I called my family over, “Have you ever seen that?” Nope, none of us had. Must surely be new. It’s blue and has a bright red door, so now I have to figure out how best to (not) trespass to shoot that red door.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That;s funny about the building. When I took my brush to the dump, I noticed a huge new building next to the dump. I think maybe aliens beamed it down and built it over night.

      We have only had a few minor dustings before this. Everything looks pretty and Maddie is a happy pup.


    • I’ve been out a couple of times with the pup. She’s having a blast. I’m hoping to see the bare branches outlined in white tomorrow morning. I think that’s my favorite part.


  10. We don’t have to put up snow stakes as we snowblow the whole thing ourselves. The killer is the wall of snow at the bottom of the driveway from the town plows. New blower to crank up in a few hours. The 22 year-old one was passed on to someone in need in Fitchburg. That feels good!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Just out of curiosity, do you sometimes feel a loneliness when you are the first one at work and are walking through the lobby? When I look at the photo of the Christmas tree and the wreath, yet no one is around, I can imagine that type of feeling running through me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not really. I’ve been the first to arrive for almost 30 years. Turning the lights on is part of my routine. There is a woman I work with who also arrives early, some days, she has the whole place lit up before I get there. It does feel better walking into a place that looks alive, but I really enjoy the quiet time before the bulk of my coworkers arrive. Sitting across from the kitchen might be a factor.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh those winter preps. Know all about them! We are prepared here and there is a warning we will be getting snow this afternoon. We have about 2 inches, if that when about 2-3 FEET were predicted. Huh. Never knowing what to expect we however are ready. LOVE the idea of Maddie’s own mountain! I believe that was the illustration if I’m not mistaken. Just stay warm, Dan. If it comes down significantly here I may get the gumption up to go out to take some pretty pics. At least it’s beginning to look like Christmas. Right? LOL 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  13. pretty fun post- I will also work from top to bottom (as you did)
    love the video and the slow crow joe is playful ( i used to know a slow writing Joe blogger)
    and then lovely collage – and I am late coming here so I know that the snow has arrived and well….
    also want to say that I feel like seltzer is a gift for times we want something refreshing but want no alcohol. In fact, I have had sparkling water a lot this year. Love to add lemon or lime – but it is kinda a gift.
    the opening glass of beer – was quite inviting with the sip gone….

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you like the beer and the bar, AND Slow Joe Crow. I call every crow, Slow Joe, after the crow in Dr. Suess’ “Fox in Sox”

      I have been drinking seltzer more and more often, especially at social functions.

      The snow arrived. Not too bad, cleaned up in less than 2 hours. We might get a little more this week, but we’re ready now. Thanks, as always for dropping in. I appreciate that.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Your snow blower discussion just took me back to our earlier years in Denver…it doesn’t seem to just politely snow there….usually dumps…then melts…then dumps again. I had a long driveway and always watched in envy as my next door neighbor got out his snow plow to clear his driveway as I hand shoveled mine…I was young then, could no more do that….:) How much snow did you guys get?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Your photos – like the shadows on the garage, and the sunset through the trees – prove that there’s beauty even in the grayness of winter.
    It’s a chilly one this morning – 12C (10F). Of course it would be bone-chilling on a day I have to go downtown for a couple of meetings 😏
    Stay warm, Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the kind thoughts on a old day, Joanne. Winter gives us some photo opportunities we don’t have during the res of the year. If we’re going to live in the land of four seasons, we might as well enjoy it.

      It was 21 when I left to walk to a train station today. A brisk walk. I hope your day goes well.


  16. I think the drama of winter can yield wonderful photographs, and some of yours prove my thought. Maddie’s Hill, not so much; but the goal for the hill os other than beauty. Craig is cold, cold, cold and gray, gray, gray but no snow — the worst of all possible scenarios.

    Liked by 1 person

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