Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Winter of 2011

Here in New Mexico as well as most of North America, we have had some very cold weather this Winter. Before the new year, we had very little snow and temperatures were mild, but the storm that hit us on February 1st was huge.

Winter Photos by my daughter, Amanda

The land is so beautiful after a snow.  I am lucky because I work at home and do not have to commute.

The weekend before the Big Snow Storm, we bought a cord of good, dry wood.  I had gotten about half a cord of wood from a wood-seller on the Turquoise Trail in Cedar Crest but it was green and the fire just smouldered and clogged my stove-pipe cap.  Wood sellers with their filled pick-up trucks parked in Tijeras and Cedar Crest are usually reliable.  But some unreputable sellers who are trying to make a quick buck illegally cut wood and sell it immediately.  The unseasoned wood doesn't burn well, doesn't warm your house and it clogs your wood stove and stove pipes very quickly.

I climbed onto the roof the last day of January and cleaned the cap and the upper portion of the pipe. Then we settled in for the forecasted "Monster Storm".

It snowed all day February 1st. On February 2 (ironically Groundhog Day celebrated for a critter's ability to predict the length of Winter), the temperature at my home reached 12 degrees (F) below zero and my hot water pipe at the water heater froze.  Moriarty, a town about 45 minutes east of my home, reached 34 degrees (F) below zero, the coldest in the USA that day. This has been the coldest weather in 40 years here in New Mexico. We haven't had a lot of snow except for the 6 inches we got the first week of February.  Albuquerque got about 4 inches of snow and the temperature dropped to below zero.  The city just came to a stop.  Water pipes were breaking all over the city and cars crashed on the ice. The major highways like I-25 north and south and I-40 east and west closed.  The worst that happened was a huge natural gas outage in New Mexico affecting more than 32,000 residents. More than 16,000 residents still do not have gas as of today:

We don't use natural gas or propane.  We have an all-electric house on a "time-of-use" meter to help us manage our electricity usage by using non-peak hours for our high electricity demands.  We installed the wood stove last summer to help reduce our heating bills and to be our back-up source of heat in an electrical outage.

My house in Sandia Park is at 6900 ft. elevation

After shoveling my neighbor's driveway, we went sledding.
Photo by Alma Quillian
The Sandia Mountains with their highest peaks at over 10,600 ft. received about 14-18 inches.  I helped my neighbor, Alma, shovel her driveway.  Then we used plastic sleds to enjoy a few runs. 

My driveway a week after the storm. 
I couldn't get out of the driveway with my Camry because of the snow. 
Luckily we have a 4 WD vehicle.

My oldest daughter, Amanda, and I went snowshoeing in the Sandia Mountains.  I don't ski anymore since I broke my leg skiing at Angel Fire in December, 2000. We have a ski resort about 6 miles from our house on the Sandia Crest highway for snowboarding and skiing.  There are many cross country skiing and snowshoeing trails here, too. In January each year, Friends of the Sandia Mountains sponsors the Sandia Snow Shoe Race.  I didn't do the Snow Shoe Race this year, but I did volunteer to get Sponsers for this year's race and I helped at the registration table.

Blue crisp skies along the Tree Spring Trail
Photo by Amanda

Making a Snow Angel in the snow
View of Albuquerque from Sandia Crest

The Sandia Crest Scenic Byway

Sandia Mountains
Photo by Amanda

Amanda snowshoeing in the Sandia Mountains

Today, as dawn breaks, a new storm is on it's way


  1. I am sure you've had your fill of it on the East Coast! Keep warm, Paul, and stay safe. Make some beautiful winter vibes!

  2. Yes! That was quite the storm! We had -27F here. Thankfully we prepared and didn't have frozen pipes, but hauling hot water up the hill to the barn for the llamas, goats and horse gets old fast. They are pretty spoiled, though :)

    That's terrible that someone sold you green wood in the middle of winter. Shame on them!

    Your photos were great! It's been years since we've cross country skied and rode snow mobiles up in Red River, but we were just talking the other day about getting some snow shoes, because we love hiking in the snow. I think it was too cold last week, though.
    You guys are tougher than us. haha!

    Tijeras, NM