The S-Word

Weather reports yesterday said that sometime overnight there was a chance of snow. Since we had yesterday off we went toolin’ around in the Karl. We drove up to Sedro-Woolley and, at my dumbass insistence, came back down via the South Skagit Highway. That road itself was fine – discounting the mild horror of driving along the Skagit while the river was dead level with the road. It was wide and latte-brown and churning with huge pieces of unidentifiable debris. The creeks were high, too, and the river was backing up into culverts and pushing under the road into the swamps on the south side of the highway, turning the normally still black water into swirling gravy. We were lucky there wasn’t much traffic because we had to swerve into oncoming traffic more than once to avoid getting hit by the dozens of little waterfalls that were running at such high pressure that they were overshooting the ditch and emptying onto the road. When we turned onto the Concrete Sauk Valley Road I thought our troubles were over (despite spotting a nasty whirlpool forming in the bend of the river).

But I had forgotten to take elevation into account, and I had been so hypnotized by the river teetering on the edge of flood stage that I hadn’t looked up and noticed the snow level rushing down to meet us. And then, BAM! White stuff everywhere. Thicker and thicker until we got to Darrington proper and it was snowing good and hard and there was at least two inches already on the ground. Rockies-raised Matt and Swedish-made Karl drove on like nothing was amiss.

By the time we got to Skaglund it was all gone, like a bad dream. At home it seemed downright balmy compared to when we had gotten out at the Darrington ranger station to wipe snow off the headlights and drain off all the coffee we’d had with our magnificent lunchtime feast at the Iron Skillet. We dutifully started a fire but went to bed thinking that the forecasters had been mistaken and there was no way we were going to get any snow.

And then I woke to the sound of someone doing brodies.

Aw, hell . . . it snowed.


Karl huddles under his cover of hemlocks, laughing at me.


Our road, with Matt’s tire tracks and those of the brodie bro who woke us.


Das Haus.


The back yard. The chickens are all standing in the the three square feet of dry space under their coop with their feathers fluffed out, glaring at me like this is my doing.


Just under 4.5″ deep. I tried to find a more impressive reading but the batteries in the camera gave out and the snow found the hole in my Wellie.

It looks like 6 inches but my trusty ruler says it’s 4.5 at the deepest spots. There’s still about one flake per minute struggling to Earth, but the forecast (and the thermometer in the woodshed) both say its about to stop trying. Matt is off logging and just called in from Sultan to report that the roads – even the back roads – are completely dry. You’d never know it from where I’m sitting!

— Amanda


(One of) my strange collection(s)

It has come to my attention that I haven’t posted about my latest weird collection. Like Nino Quincampoix in the movie Amélie (who collected recordings of strange laughs, pictures of footprints in wet cement, and, of course, discarded photo booth photos), I enjoy collecting odd things: vintage paint-by-number paintings (landscapes only); snapshots of places I have been, taken decades before I was born; and pictures of my beloved Volvo, Karl, with other 240-series Volvos. Matt observed one day, when he was being held hostage by me and Karl en route to a Thai restaurant, that my primary objective upon entering a parking lot is not to find a parking spot. It is to find another Karl for Karl to make friends with. If there are no Karls I will park pretty much anywhere. (Saying, always, without fail, “Mah legs ain’t broke.”)

I now present, for your amusement, a portion of my collection of Karl-and-friends photos.

Karl (on right) and a sedan friend at Safeway.

Karl and a friend at the IGA.

Karl and a friend at Jo-Ann.

Karl and a friend (who looked like he’d been to Oz and back) at WinCo.

Karl and the same friend from Jo-Ann, reunited at the IGA.

I also frantically wave at every passing 240-series I happen to see, but most of the drivers are confused by my reaction. It hasn’t stopped me, though.

— Amanda