March 8, 2008: A Play at the Pocket Sandwich Theatre
March 2-5, 2008: A Visit to Ruckman Haus
Return to Index for 2008

March 6, 2008
(in Van Alstyne)


As we were driving back from Prudence's, we were listening to the weather reports that Wednesday afternoon. Although the weather had been good at Prudence's, and although it was nice driving back, the prospects for Thursday weren't good at all. Texas is susceptible to "blue northers," quick changes in weather caused by fast-moving cold fronts coming from the northwest, and one was anticipated sometime Thursday. Discretion being the better part of valor, Fred went on home Wednesday night, just in case.


The Snow Falls

On Thursday morning, I awoke to overcast skies and steadily dropping temperatures. By the time I went to the gym just after lunch, we had already had a flurry or two, but in Dallas that is about all it was. Not so north of the city, though. The local news spoke of heavier flurries in Richardson and Plano, and even heavier snow north of that. By the time I had a chance to call Fred that afternoon, it had been snowing heavily in Van Alstyne for over an hour, apparently. I did not reach Fred right away, because he was out in the snow taking the pictures that I've put on this album page.

I wish Dallas had gotten the snow, but we didn't. And, although I did not take the pictures on this page, and although I was not even in Van Alstyne to see the snow, and even though it only lasted until the next day (when 50-degree temperatures melted it all away), I wanted to put some of the pictures Fred took in this photo album. Snowfalls in North Texas are not very common, and so I think that a page devoted to the "Blizzard of '08" is appropriate.

First, we should record the conditions while the snow was falling. Fred told me later it was heavy and wet (the temperatures were just barely below freezing) and came down hard. The pictures I've selected for inclusion here will show that, I think. There are thumbnails for these pictures below; to view the full-size images, just click on the thumbnails:


After the Fall

The snowfall, Fred told me, ended in mid-afternoon, and the next pictures he took were all of the thick, wet snow now covering just about everything. I'm going to break up this series of pictures to show first his house, then the rest of his property and then some special pictures of a flock of visitors waiting out the snowfall.

Before we look at those pictures, though, let's take a look at the one movie that Fred took after the snowfall. This movie, about two minutes long, will show you very well how everthing looked after the snow stopped falling. Although the movie is a bit jerky in spots, I think you will enjoy it, and you can watch it using the player at left.


The Snow on Fred's House

Once the snow stopped falling, Fred took his camera out and walked around his house and property taking pictures. Let's see how his house looked after the snowfall. Fred started out by Kepler Road, and his first view was of his house from the road. The driveway is pretty much invisible, and the snow has, apprently, come up to the second step on his porch, which would make it three or four inches deep. Walking around the north side of the house, we can see that the snow has covered the Virginia Creeper that covers that side of the house. The creeper has not leafed out yet, so the bare branches look a little sparse, but the snow has stuck to them nevertheless.

Fred walked further around the house, and presently, from the pasture, could look back at the house from the northeast. All his little shrubs are covered with snow, and you can see quite clearly how the heavy, wet snow has adhered to the north side of all the branches of the trees and shrubs. Fred continued to walk out to the middle of his upper terrace (the high ground behind the house and above the pasture) to a point where he could get a view of the house from the east. The yard light adds a nice effect in the late afternoon.

Finally, Fred walked around to the south side of his house where he could see all the snow on the greenhouse that wraps around the south and east sides of his garage. From this view, it looks as if the snowfall was even heavier than it actually was.


A Walk Around the Property

Now let's follow Fred as he walks around the rest of his property taking pictures. We begin up at the house, with a view looking south along the east side of the house, past the greenhouse to the garden. Fred turned and walked east along the terrace, where his little water feature and lily pond are. From this point, he could look across the terrace and down to the pasture.

As Fred continued down towards the edge of the terrace and the beginning of the pasture, he came to the post light down near the small bois d'arc tree. From here, he used his zoom lens to look from the post light, all the way across the pasture and down to the pond in a really amazing shot. Nearby are some of the crepe myrtle trees that he planted, and all of them were really beautiful with the snow on their branches. Before Fred left the terrace area, he turned to look towards the southwest where he could see along the southeast corner of his house and all the way up to the gazebo nestled under a blanket of white.

Fred walked all the way across the pasture and down to the pond, where he took a great many pictures of the pond, the dock and the trees around it. I think the best of all of these views is this one of the pond framed by his large bois d'arc tree. Fred took a lot of really good pictures of the pond and the snow on the dock; it will probably be a long time before he has a chance to take such pictures again. Standing under the tree, Fred simply turned and got another excellent view of his house, looking west across the snow-covered pasture.

Fred walked back up across the pasture to the northwest, arriving at a point northeast of the house among the large juniper trees that occupy that section of the pasture, and from here he could get another great view of his house through the junipers. I was really impressed with Fred's pictures, particularly since Dallas got nothing like he did.


Some Visitors Waiting Out the Snowfall

The last pictures I want to include here are a series that Fred took of some Cedar Waxwings that had taken refuge in his pear tree up on the terrace. At right is a close-up view of some of the birds, and you can see the little red touches on their feathers. Here is a bunch of the Cedar Waxwings in the pear tree, and here is a closer view of more of them nestled among the snow-covered branches.

March 8, 2008: A Play at the Pocket Sandwich Theatre
March 2-5, 2008: A Visit to Ruckman Haus
Return to Index for 2008