When I was a kid, I could play with running water almost indefinitely.

Running outside I mean, over the local topography of dirt and stones. The idea is to guide it and shape it and send it where you want it to go, and enjoy the slow progress of the leading tendrils around the obstacles inexorably seeking less potential energy, and then the urgent following flow, probably discharged into a new local-minimum pool that needs Somewhere To Go.

Well, we have a snow problem. Which will be ameliorated, we hope, by warmer temperatures and the best part of 10cm of rain over the next couple of days. But only if we give the run-off Somewhere To Go.

In our case, there’s a storm drain at the downhill end of the block, five houses away. The water needs to go there. In between are large shoveled-up heaps of what was once fresh white snow, also the occasional hopelessly-buried automobile.

Thus we have invested some hours, with a loose confederation of neighbors, in fashioning a small snow-free spillway along the gutter to the drain to confer an escape route on the melt-off.

Of course, strategically-placed ditches are required in the snowpack to afford drainage for odd combinations of rain-lashed shovel-heaps and nearby local minima. When you connect one of these to the mainstream, there is both a rush of both chilly water and aesthetic pleasure.

I had to go out in the cold rain at midnight to admire once again the smooth melting-snow-flow extending a hundred yards from our uphill neighbors’ down to the roar of the corner drain.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Tim (Jan 07 2009, at 03:44)

Meanwhile here in southern Australia, the lakes are drying up and the fish are dying.

Send us your water! :)


From: Bob Aman (Jan 07 2009, at 06:13)

I'm kinda surprised this post didn't come with pictures. :-(


From: Lance (Jan 07 2009, at 07:01)

What, no photos?!


From: Shane Curcuru (Jan 07 2009, at 07:39)

Sweet! I'm impressed you all work together on that - most people don't bother thinking about the runoff, and some don't always bother to think about where you put the piles of snow at the edge of the yard.

I do that too sometimes, living on a moderate slope. Make sure the snowpack on either side of the driveway pile has runoff spots, and watch the swish of meltwater rush down, alternately slushing up if it's cold enough, or tearing away at the frozen snow if it's warm enough.


From: Dave Pawson (Jan 07 2009, at 08:32)

Fond memories indeed Tim! And the wet clothes that result in such play!

No photographs? I'm sure you could hack something with flash? Sound like fun... if a little cold.


From: Jay Carlson (Jan 07 2009, at 09:21)

I often wonder if people who grew up in snow-free climates are the poorer for not having this.


From: Carolyn Colborn (Jan 07 2009, at 14:18)

Ha, my first reaction to this, was, what? No photos? I see I am in the majority. Well, here at Longitude W77.6 Latitude N43.2 we have snow and rain and sleet and ice. Ugh! I am happy I can work from home on a day like today!

Besides, you pointed to the “before” photos…

Good idea for drainage. My neighbors would pool their resources to do the same in those circumstances. Thank goodness.

Happy New Year!


From: Derek K. Miller (Jan 07 2009, at 15:03)

I tried to dig out our local storm drain opening across the street, but the plow truck buried it in a monstrous heap of concrete-like snow, dirt, and ice a few days ago. I don't have the requisite equipment to chip through the metre-deep embankment to get to it.

Fortunately, water seems to be flowing around the corner and down the steep hill into other drains, so it's not building up.


From: Tony Fisk (Jan 07 2009, at 21:58)

Care to tackle the Mississippi now?

The rain near our place eschews the storm drain opposite, and spreads itself out across the intersection in a cascade of ripples.

(Photos? This might call for a video!)


From: Paul Morriss (Jan 08 2009, at 08:45)

What fun to have to do that sort of playing around with water as a grown up!


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