Home Vashon Living Vashon Snow: After the Storm(s)

Vashon Snow: After the Storm(s)

Vashon Snow: After the Storm(s)

Like much of the country this winter, the Pacific Northwest succumbed mightily to the whims of wild weather. Our February, the coldest on record, left islanders grousing about temperatures Midwesterners would scoff at. But for us, freezing weather is as much an anomaly as a Seattle corner without a coffee shop.

The mile-high meringue on our baked-Alaska winter came in the form of unprecedented snowfall, which led to school closures, fallen trees, compromised structures, and power outages. The good news is warmer weather is on its way next week, the daffodils and crocus are blooming, and I’ll get by with a little help (make that a lot of help) from my friends as I’m finally at an age and/or state where accepting help is fine with me (such an adult approach). Plans are in the works to dismantle and reconstruct the greenhouse for starters. I’ll keep you posted.

Hope is a snow-capped crocus.

So here’s to a spring without downed trees, flattened greenhouses or collapsed coops. And may these photos be dispatched as faded memories quickly making way for the promise of sunshine and soulful renewal.

What grows up, must come down. One of the century-old black locust trees dropped some large limbs, but missed my fountain.
About 140′ of chicken run netting came down, as well as coop side awnings.

The snow’s weight bent the steel supports in my greenhouse like pipe cleaners.
Much like having a beached whale carcass behind the barn…
While the branch hit the house, we (the insurance adjuster and I ) could not find any damage to the roof (for now). The lilac tree and camellia didn’t fare so well.
The fuzzy kiwi went from arbor vine to ground cover.

Oh a side note, snow storms and power outages can certainly bring us together, and on occasion yield a mighty-fine recipe. This hot buttered rum mix (and tasty elixir) was served to me one very chilly morning by my friend Margo, who received it from her 87-year old neighbor who had rescued Margo and son from their unheated cottage. That’s my kind of neighbor! And let me just say, this recipe makes you hope there’s a power outage.

Miss Margo and friend Tom opted for the the adult bourbon edition. Yes, substitutions allowed and encouraged. 😉

The snow has melted and we are free to move about the island to see old friends and meet new ones.

Things are getting back to normal, well, normal for Vashon. Here’s to warmer, sunnier days.


  1. Good Morning, Tom!

    Living near the ocean provides one with interesting weather occasions, mhm.
    I’m living inland, but my greenhouse could have been a sibling to your beached something…

    But each spring brings so much joy, that all unease and adversity is been lightly forgotten, ain’t it? 🙂
    Much love

  2. you lucked out on the tree not causing damage. we didn’t have enough winter here this year to do anything except the normal mess left from fall. we were almost 80 yesterday and it’s going to snow tomorrow. this is not normal!

    • So true Joyce, it could have been a lost worse. Funny thing was, I had that tree trimmed last summer to remove the branches arching over the house. This was the only branch we couldn’t reach safely.

  3. Oh, my goodness, you really got battered! Of course, for us Montrealers, we’re left scratching our heads as to how a plastic greenhouse was supposed to last through a winter. I know, I know! Very sorry to see all the destruction, Tom, and hope you have a whole gang of helpful neighbours and friends to make things right again! As for the hot buttered rum, seems to me like a whole lot of work. Couldn’t you just get a good bottle of spiced rum and add a touch of ginger beer? 🙂

    • Sandra, so true, it is an odd design for expecting any sort of frozen precipitation to sit idly by and not try to bring down the whole structure. This time I’ll build in additional supports for good measure, and put an old wood stove in there to fire up when snow is in the forecast. As for the buttered rum mix, you do have a point; no doubt I didn’t think of that because I was sitting on a warm chair staring at the harbor being waited on hand and foot when I first tried it. 😉

  4. Oh my, Tom… I was enjoying your word play describing the unseasonable winter we left coasters endured all packed into the month of February (I was photographing daffodils in January). We had lots of records broken as well north of the 49th Parallel. But then I scrolled down to the images of all the damage on your picturesque property. I am so sorry you have faced so much damage. It will take time, but one project at a time will get you there eventually. Next week’s record high temperatures will lift the spirits. I guess I should stop grousing about the one 35 year old 10 foot high Rhodo I lost this winter.

    • Thanks Mike, no, I say grouse away. It’s tough to lose a beloved plant to snow damage. Once I get my chainsaw working, find my safety gear and find interest, I’ll tackle the downed trees, limb by limb.

  5. Are you a woodworker, Tom? (Have you ever thought you might like to learn to be one?) My property has a couple of ancient maples (the first one I had to cut down, we counted over 200 rings) and sometimes I set aside chunks of wood from them–I have some pretty spalted pieces aging, and other longer pieces I’m hoping to fashion wooden spoons from. I’m 100% a total beginner but my mantra is, if I can do it, literally anyone else can, too!

    • Anne, I love the idea. In high school woodshop, I was a pretty mean lathe operator, well, when not injuring myself. I may have to investigate further. I have plenty of wood strewn about, so my supply of material is secured. Cheers!

  6. Yes! That is just how the winter on the Island felt. And now we all have Margo’s neighbor’s Hot Buttered Rum recipe. Thank you.

  7. Hello Tom and Buddy,

    I live in an area that also has friends and neighbours that would be coming out to help when nature has it’s own way with our possessions. We are so fortunate, what an asset to have such wonderful, amazing and resilent humans and creatures around us.

    If the Furry Gang and myself were near; we too, would be there to help with the repairs and clean-up.( Of course sipping away as work together.)

    • V, you and your furry gang would be welcome to join any work party or otherwise. Thanks for thinking of us and sending you kind thoughts. My drill is charging, tools are lined up, and my friends are onboard to help. Ah, God love ’em!

  8. I’m so sad to see the mess that the winter has brought to you home. This to shall pass . Spring is coming. Best Wishes.

  9. Hopefully that is the end of the nasty winter weather.

    The beautiful spring is just around the corner. Please say Hello to Buddy for me!


  10. Oh Tom!! It’s so hard to see nature tear down the beauty you’ve created with your love, hard work, creativity, and stewardship of the land. I know you will get all the help you need and your farm and garden will be better than ever! Thank you for all the good cheer you give us with your blog. Onward and upward!

    • Thank you Pam, and I believe you are right. I’m getting my second wind for repair-and-improve-orama, plus I’ve greased the wheels for my work party; pie will be served. Take care and thanks for the support.

  11. Tom… just give us a date and time … or maybe a couple… for a piece of pie we will exchange a day and consider ourselves lucky!! We have tools and a truck and can certainly spare the weekend. Xoxo
    Tom and Chris

    • Thanks Chris, we dismantled it this weekend, but there’s always the reconstruction, once I order a new structure. Thanks for the offer, you two are gems.

  12. Hi Tom
    This year the first year Raintree nursery sell Cosmic Crisp Apple to consumer specially to Washington growers only. It is superior quality of Apple which you might interesting with. Hopefully you will like it.


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