Saturday, December 04, 2010

My first Igloo

All in hats, ready to play in the snow.
Saturday morning, the day before our official Thanksgiving feast, we pulled back the current to a waterfall of snow. It was 9 am, way too early for actually moving out of bed that cold winter morning, but when we finally did grudgingly get out from underneath the warmth of our covers, there was at least two inches sticking to the ground.  The first snow of the season is magical.  The white dust miraculously turns anything into a scene from a fairy princess story.   When it snows, that first snow, I throw off my "I hate winter" scrooge into the dumpster for a day, and I pull on my "life is an adventure" attitude.  We went door to door, trying to find people to pelt with snowballs.  Only one poor sucker opened their door to have a cold white ball thrown at her un-jacketed chest.

Our other friends had already begun to build an igloo.
"An igloo!?" I asked, "I've never built an igloo."
It was honestly the first time I kinda wished we had grown up somewhere colder.  I still hate the cold, but snow, fresh, soft, lickable snow is a source of endless activities for as long as one can stand the cold. I built my first snowman in college far away from my home town.  It was really the first snow I had seen since I was two years old.  I had never been skiing or sledding or for that matter, built an igloo.
How does one build an igloo?  Well, first you start by rolling really big snowballs.  I even had to be taught how to roll a proper snowball, as my first attempt tragically died.  I couldn't keep it together.  You have to start with a smallish-medium snowball and roll it over nice snow.  My mistake was starting too large.  Baby steps, always with the baby steps!  But boy oh boy, rolling snowballs is quite the workout.  And although they look as light as a cloud, snowballs, actually weigh much more than they let on.  I felt like a heavyweight champion carrying my frosty prize to throw on top of the ever growing wall of ice.

Then you build up the walls.  We built ours a little high.  I'm not really sure what igloo standards consist of, but our expert igloo foreman informed us that this was indeed a TALL igloo.  When building up the walls, snowballs can't stand on their own, they need support, so snow has to be packed in between the crevices like mortar and bricks.  I kind of felt like a snow construction worker as I patted away at my snowy brick wall.

The roof is the trickiest part because obviously you don't want it to fall in on you and somehow gravity has to be tricked.  Gradually the wall is curved, with extremely determined packing. This is continued  until the roof is closed.

The whole process took over three hours.  Saturday is considered the sabbath to SDA folks, so after church, many of the families were playing in the snow.  We had considerable help from a few adults, but mostly children.  Their attention weened and waned however as children's attentions tend to wiggle and squirm with their body so their help was quite sporadic.  I was glad of the help though, as I can't imagine how long it would have taken us without it.
Lots of helpers

 the building of the walls

What a Haus

adding a snowball to the wall

You can shovel snow even in heels!

making a snowball

working hard!

It takes more work when one hand is in a cast, but this kid was a snowball pro!

I'm a haus too!

building the front arch, no roof yet

closing in the roof

the official snowball guard of the igloo.  He didn't do a great job guarding the igloo tho, as it was knocked down three days later.

evening out the roof

This makes me think of that famous picture except with a few minor differences.

looking in the igloo

making snow angles, mine wasn't very good tho

Abigail was an expert


The igloo construction workers

After making an igloo, we decided to go sledding.  I don't suggest using a shovel as a sled however.

I borrowed a kids sled, and man did I go FAST!!


SherilinR said...

i grew up in snowy new york state & spent many, many hours playing in the snow with my sock feet stuffed into bread bags & then stuffed into my grandpa's big wool socks before getting stuffed into boots 2 sizes too big. such happy memories of building forts & being allowed to throw things at people!
your igloo looks awesome. that's very high, especially considering you didn't have all that much snow to use! nice work!

Daisy said...

Love love the pics!! And wow - you make snow sound fun and pretty!! I guess I need a major attitude adjustment. I HATE snow. Seriously - hate it. :( But then again - I've never made an igloo or even a good snowman. I think you've inspired me!!! :)