Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


When we moved to the Keweenaw, we fully anticipated being snowbound now and again. After all, we do get about 260" of snow each winter. What we didn't anticipate was being "slushbound." Slushbound? Yes, slushbound - as in unable to leave our home due to slush. To be fair, we can leave our home. Our legs are still working. We just can't navigate our driveway, and nothing is within walking distance. Since our driveway is very long (emphasis on the "very") and we live in the middle of nowhere, we are effectively slushbound. Don't worry about us, though. We have plenty of provisions - always do. Plus, a snow machine (aka snowmobile) is always an option if Mr. Cut Off runs out of milk! 

OK, now you're having trouble understanding WHY we can't navigate our driveway just because of a little slush. Let me try to explain. If you remember, I've told you before how it's necessary to build a thick mat/layer of snow on the stone driveway in order to plow it effectively. The mat enables the plow to skim easily across the surface. Mr. Cut Off works diligently on grooming that mat when the snow first begins to fall each season. He's truly a perfectionist about it. 

Now, let's cut to the weird weather we've been having since January 13th. No snow and temps above freezing. That's what I said. . . no snow and temps above freezing. Weird? Uh, yeah. Like. . . this doesn't happen up here in January. What has happened to that nice mat of snow on the driveway? Has it disappeared? Are you back down to stone? No such luck. It's just a deep, deep slushy mess! How deep? Like deep enough for your vehicles to sink into and get really, really stuck kind of mess. That's what happened this week. We barely made it out of the driveway on Sunday morning on the way to church and had to park in our turn-around area near the road when we returned. That's right; we trekked it on foot all the way back to the house. Mr. Cut Off had to go to town on Monday morning, and he was determined to get the vehicle back up the driveway and into the garage when he came back. Well, determination isn't always enough. Right again - stuck - good and stuck - down by our barn. Thankfully, Mr. Cut Off already has a good relationship with our shovels, so he was eventually able to get the Traverse out and parked nearby on the side of the barn. And, no, we can't use our 4WD plow truck. That's even heavier than the Traverse. That would get super duper stuck. The driveway has deteriorated even more since Monday, so we're definitely slushbound!

The snowmobile trails have taken a big hit, too, and that's never good news for our local businesses. Thus, we're all doing the "snow dance" up here - hoping for more snow and colder temps. It seems to be working, as there's good news in the forecast - hopefully starting tonight. Still, it will take a while for the driveway to be in decent shape again. We're hoping to be able to leave for church on Sunday. 

So, are we miserable? Hating every moment of every day? Feeling totally trapped? Nah, we're homebodies anyway. There's nothing we need. We have nowhere to go and plenty to do to keep us occupied. We both admitted that it's actually kind of fun! Yeah, we're weird like that. 

How much snow are we losing? Here's an illustration. We put a snowstick in our yard this winter - hoping to measure how much snow we would get. After the snow began to fall, we realized that it was probably in the worst possible place for an accurate measurement, as the wind blows the snow right past it during many storms. That means (1) we can't use it to accurately measure how much snow has fallen on any given day, and (2) the snow depth it shows in that area is much less than in most other areas of our property. (We'll move it next year for a more accurate measurement.) It does, however, show us the snow depth at that particular spot and how fast it's condensing/compacting/melting, etc. Note the depths and dates on the following 4 photos - beginning with January 12th - the day before our last snowfall. 




There you have it - a measly 21" today - and that 21" isn't looking quite as pristine and clean as it normally should. We'll look forward to more of this slushy mess in April when it actually means the end of winter. For now, though, we're happy that colder temps (to firm up the slush mat) and more beautiful white powder are supposed to be on the way!

All is well in the Keweenaw.


  1. Here in lower SW Michigan we have mud. Lots of mud. This had definitely been a crazy winter!

    1. You can keep the mud; we'll keep the slush. The driveway is actually beginning to firm up with today's cooler temps, and no snow loss overnight registered on our snowstick!

  2. I can relate! The EXACT same thing happened to me last weekend for the exact same reason! Hoping for a cold spell!


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