Sunday, November 21, 2010

Winter arrives in the Sierra Nevada

We've gotten our first major storm of the season in the last two days.  So far, about 18 inches has fallen and it is still snowing. We live in the eastern Sierra Nevada at 8500 feet and winter can get pretty serious!  This is a pretty early storm, though and I had to scramble to put gardening tools and other things away before it arrived.  Otherwise they could be buried until spring.

 Here's our house.  The big wall is for avalanche protection.  We have a canyon above us that avalanches infrequently (last time in 1987), but the county decided to require new buildings to have protection and this is ours. We are the only people in our little town that have had to adhere to these requirements so far. 

Usually the first warning of a big storm is the arrival of hundreds of rosy finches.  They live up in the high country and only come down lower when the snow covers up all their food.  We've had bird watchers come from all over to see them.  I participated in a bird count one year and it just happened to be on the day they arrived.  I could tell that the Audubon Society did not believe my numbers!
 They haven't shown up so far but I expect them soon.  They stay all winter and then one day in the spring, they take off to go back to the high country. 

The snow is very light and powdery so we won't be going out on the sled just yet.  It needs to be consolidated enough to hold a snow hook.  And it has snowed on all the dirt roads we usually cart on so for now the dogs will have to be happy playing in the snow in the dog yard.


  1. Nice blog Sheryl! I've never seen a house with an avalanche wall before; wow!

  2. Brrrrrrrrrr...! Actually, it looks lovely. We have had snow on & off for the last few days-nowhere NEAR 18 inches, though!