Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How NOT to Make an Igloo

Yesterday, I mentioned that I got a great deal of playing work done.

Part of the beauty of the upper Midwest is that the ground gets blanketed with snow.  The especially cool thing about snow, aside being fun, is that the air doesn't seem nearly as cold when it covers the ground, due, no doubt, to its reflecting quality.

This means tons of play time!

After packing layer upon layer of snow gear onto my daughter and myself, we headed out into the snow covered backyard.  Snow suits, thick gloves, scarves, boots, coats, hats, and hoods covered both of our bodies, on top of the fact that our normal clothing was already three layers thick. We both deeply resembled Randy (Ralphie's brother) from A Christmas Story.
"I can't put my arms down!"
First, I noticed that the driveway needed to be shoveled, even though it was still snowing.  If you let it get too deep, after all, shoveling later will be a huge pain in the butt. Some people would consider this a setback in their quest for fun, but not me.  I after all, could use all the snow that was covering the driveway!  I had...

2 snow brick molds: one green, one purple

Snow brick makers!!!

What does a woman that dreams of building a house with her own two hands do when faced with an extraordinarily thick blanket of snow?  That's right!  She goes out there and actually attempts to build one!

Notice that I used the word attempts...

I elected to make an igloo.  Igloos are a brilliant example of sustainable design.  Excess heat is released through a small opening at the top, yet enough of it is kept inside that temperatures are considerably warmer.  The dome structure ensures that heat bounces off the walls and, therefore, doesn't collect in a single area, therefore avoiding collapse.

Like I said... Brilliant!

My father had made one back when I was very small, and it was not only structurally sound, but also designed well enough that it outlasted the rest of the snow on the ground that winter.  I wanted to replicate that awesomeness.  Just one problem.

I'm not my father.

I don't have the same background.  Or experience.  I don't have the same muscle strength.

I should've started small.

Instead, I elected to truly make a nice sized home.  The base of my igloo was a little under six feet in diameter.  It was going to be awesome!

Only... six feet is a little big for a first attempt.  Six feet meant that any mistakes I made would be harder to fix.  A six foot igloo also meant a lot of time was necessary... and the sun sets at around 4:30.


I worked on building my igloo, while at the same time playing with my daughter.  I'd work on pounding snow into the snow brick maker molds, I'd put a snow brick into place, then I'd get into a car created with snow so that I could drive my daughter to an airport so that we could get into a plane that, of course, was also made out of snow.

Or I'd help build a snow man.  Occasionally, we'd make snow angels.  Sometimes we'd have short snowball fights.

You're beginning to see how little time I spent building!  By sunset, I ended up with only this much complete:

Base looks more like a rounded square than a circle.  It's three bricks high.

Rather than call this the beginning of an igloo, I decided to call this a walled patio, since the height of the walls was just below my knees.

You'll also notice a glaring mistake.

Look at how thin those walls are.  Had I been able to get it much higher, it would have collapsed.  There's no way something so thin could hold the weight of a roof!  The walls should have been two, or even three, feet wide.

I may have been dreaming of an igloo, but I really can't complain.  I have a very sturdy walled in area that will hold far longer than the surrounding snow!  Plus...

Tracks are in the thin snow of the structure's interior.  Some grass pokes out.

Since the structure was open to the elements, it felt welcoming to the residents of my yard.  The tracks in the photo above were left by a rabbit that politely came in through the doorway, then left the same way.  I found them the next morning.

So, while I didn't succeed in building an igloo, I did succeed in having a great time with my daughter while increasing my knowledge base.  I'd say this was a win!

Well... except for the aching muscles.  It may be that I played just a little too hard.


There's no such thing as playing too hard!

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