Saturday, January 22, 2005


It is snowing today in large parts of the U.S.. Snow is lovely stuff, especially if you have proper snow tires for your car and someone else to shovel the driveway. Then you can concentrate on enjoying snow.

I like to put on my cross-country skis and go and harass the neighborhood. One year I got a group of drunks running after me, but of course I was on skis so they never had a chance. Skating is fun, too, if there is a frozen lake nearby, though you want to let someone else go first to test how hard the ice is. Or you need to learn the rules about how to drag yourself back onto hard ice. An icepick is a good implement for this, or a long rope tied to a tree on the shore before you venture out.

You can also give all your rugs a wonderful cleaning by putting them on freshly fallen snow with the good side down. After ten minutes or so, you can gently beat the back of the rug. When you pick it up you will find, to your great astonishment, a horribly black rugshaped patch on the snow. Or at least I do. This works even with hand-made oriental rugs, and it saves you lots of money in cleaning fees.

And then you can make snow lanterns. I have already given instructions for these on the Eschaton threads and maybe even here last year, but they are so beautiful that the instructions are worth repeating. They only work if the snow balls up, though.

Make about nine snowballs and arrange them in a circle (outside!) so that the balls touch each other. Make the second layer above the first with seven snowballs so that they make a slightly smaller circle, then use five snowballs and so on. The idea is to make a pyramid out of snow. Before you close it off with one snowball on top, insert a lit candle, one of the sturdy fat ones preferably. When it gets dark you have this magical little lantern by your doorway. Better still, make a row of them along your front path.

Then you can run into the house and have a large hot drink with a very clear conscience!