How would you like to live on an ice rink?

You just try walking on this.

Haven’t you always wanted to live on an ice rink?

You haven’t?

Would you like to try it–just for a day or so?

If your answer is an unequivocal “yes”, please move to the North  Woods.  Preferably on some country back road, away from the liberally salted or sanded main highways.

Put on your ice skates and enjoy winter!

Spreading ashes on the most-traveled paths helps one to walk.

OK, dear reader, you can perhaps intuit that I am being a wee bit sarcastic.

It is not very fun living on an ice rink.

It is even kind of dangerous.

You have to walk ever-so-slowly toward your car.  You have to pray the car tires don’t spin on the ice leaving you stranded in your own driveway.  You have to pray that little-old-lady taxpayers don’t come with their checks for $452 on a bright sunny day such as today and fall whilst attempting to clutch a receipt while toddling back to their cars.

As some of you know, I am a part-time township tax collector and sinner.  (I am only quoting the Bible about the sinner part, although I do sin daily by checking my email too much and sometimes being irreverent and sometimes eating a half bag of almonds at one sitting.)

After collecting taxes for more than a quarter of a century (gasp!) I know by heart which taxpayers will be showing up to pay their taxes in person.  Ninety-nine percent of all taxpayers stuff their check (angrily, happily, with resignation, in despair, or sweetly with a nice note for their township treasurer) in an envelope and mail it.  One percent come visiting.

I am scared for the one percent who will come sliding in the driveway before tax deadline next Tuesday.

Therefore, for the sake of visiting taxpayers (and for ourselves, of course) we opted to thinly spread ashes from the wood stove over the slippery ice.  It works.  You can’t wear your shoes inside due to ash residue, but you may find a navigable path through the treacherous “rink”.

Or you can buy ice grippers and attach them to your shoes and boots.

You may be wondering what Phenomenon of Nature caused the ice rink.  I shall tell you.  Even though I was in Nicaragua when the ice reached epic slipperiness.

First, we had nine inches of snow.  Then, a week later, another nine inches of snow fell from the heavens.  All the local driveways were then plowed, compressing the new-fallen snow to make drive-able.

The fickle 2012 winter then decided to warm up to 30-40 degrees.  (-1 to 4.4 Celsius.)  The snow melted, followed by rapidly freezing overnight temperatures.


Show of hands, please?

You’re right.  The exact equation to create a driveway ice rink.

I must also add that this is not a pleasant driveway ice rink, such as the ice rinks where you don skates and merrily circle around and around laughing cheerfully before drinking hot chocolate.

This ice rink is filled with divets and holes, choppy surfaces and impassable slopes.

Besides maneuvering on ashes, how can one walk?

With ice grippers, of course.  You buy them at your local North Woods store, and secure them onto your shoes or boots.  It is not an easy feat. (Pun intended.)  You then can not walk on your grippers in the house, and you will ruin your wooden front porch if you attempt to walk on them.

Nonetheless, grippers are helpful, especially if you have bad knees like one member of our household.

I prefer to find the crunchy areas of snow in the driveway, hidden in between the ice sheaths.

It is a slow walk to the car.

Don’t even dream of prancing to the mailbox.  Stop your car out by the mailbox and drive the mail in.

Snow bank at twilight. I suppose you think this snow looks soft and harmless? Think again! It's hard as a rock.

I know you’re wondering about the snow, as well.

Yes, it’s hard as a rock, too.  Slippery as the ice rink.

Impossible to make snowmen.  Impossible to shovel.

If you attempt to walk on it–keep crutches nearby.

You can do three things.

1) Pray for a heavy wet snow that melts into and covers the ice.  (A thin dusting will only cover the snow and make it much more treacherous.)

2)  Stay inside.  Venture outside only in an emergency.

3)  Find a sled and head to the nearest hill.  Speed down like the thrill-seeker you really are.  (I, of course, will not be doing this.  The last time I joined another woman on a sled at a ski hill she chided me for dragging my hands, attempting to slow down the sled.  As I sat sniffling from her scolding in the back of the sled, praying for safety, convinced of certain death, our sled overturned and she broke her wrist.  Last sled ride I ever enjoyed…)

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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60 Responses to How would you like to live on an ice rink?

  1. Like looking at the snow….living in all that, not so sure…

  2. Fountainpen says:

    I could see no pictures today, but used my imagination…..dangerous
    on all of that slippery stuff!!!! No pictures came through.


    • Kathy says:

      Gosh, don’t you hate the days when the computer freezes and no pics come through? (But then again, our imagination-muscles improve…) Looks like the other commenters all got the pics. Hope yours come through later.

  3. Reggie says:

    Goodness, Kathy, that DOES look slippery! And no doubt very painful to land on your backside on. And now I know what *grippers* look like… I had envisaged something like barbed wire wrapped around your boots, but this looks much more high-tech. 😉

    Wa-a-a-a-lk ca-a-a-a-reful-l-l-y to the car, dear Kathy and Barry.

    • Kathy says:

      Yep, they’re mighty high-tech, Reggie. **grin** I was happy to show you the snow outside through Skype the other day, although I am still giggling at your comment about how it really WAS true that we had snow! I just sprinkled some more ashes outside because the first taxpayer is coming.

      • Reggie says:

        i know, It was just such a strange thought to me, that you really ARE in a cabin in the woods, surrounded by ice and snow! In some odd way, seeing you and your home ‘live’ on Skype made it all so much more real. Giggling…

  4. You are talking to a rink rat when I was growing up and playing hockey. I’d just put on skates. 🙂 You be careful and maybe you might want to invest in ice climbing spikes for your boots.

    • Kathy says:

      Ha~~that’s funny~~I should have known a rink rat like you would come running when you saw this headline! Ice climbing spikes sound good right now.

  5. I skating across one very shortly with dread! I am patiently waiting for that moment when I slip and bruise my hip 😉

  6. lisaspiral says:

    I’ve fallen in my driveway all to many times. It’s no fun. Scary too. I’ve sprained ankles and damaged my knees and my sister broke her ankle a few years ago. I carry my cellphone out to the mailbox on ice rink days just in case I need to call the paramedics. But then, I have cell service at the end of my driveway. You’d think us “little old ladies” would have more sense than to be out walking on days like that.

    • Kathy says:

      Lisa, I hesitated when I wrote “little old ladies” because I’m sure some people consider me a little old lady, too. I am sorry about your sprains and knee-damage and your sister’s ankle. How awful! How lucky to have cell phone service. We don’t have any in our neck of the woods… Guess what! I think I am going to be daring and attempt to reach the mailbox today, anyway. What a fine adventure–as long as it doesn’t end in the emergency room!

  7. Elisa's Spot says:

    oh winter update
    we woke to white again this morning
    grasses barely covered
    glittering ice, sparkling grains
    this makes the word to describe bright blue sky, glittering blue sky, though it is just plain
    I am glad to be, so far, missing out on the baked on sheets of ice. Yes, I call them baked on. shrugs

  8. Heather says:

    I think you’ve nailed the frustration and danger of being surrounded by ice. Too bad you don’t enjoy flying downhill; I think you know where I stand on that currently 😉
    Here’s hoping we see some of that useful snow this weekend!

    • Kathy says:

      Oh Ms. Heather, I do so admire your downhill flying joy! My son adores it, too. He’s a bit younger than you…well, come to think of it, he’s going to be 30 on his next birthday. He loves downhill skiing, although he’s out in California now. I think he gets a season’s pass for a mountain near LA. I hope you get some snow, although no ice. 🙂

  9. Carol says:

    Ice is bad bad bad. Lovely to look at, not to walk on. We little old ladies, and those of us who are not so little even, must use great caution to avoid breaking the only hips we have.

    • Kathy says:

      gosh you are so right, Carol. It has been so challenging for Barry to walk on his knees. If he fell right now, it could be so bad for him, especially. Of course, it might hurry along the artificial knees, though. It’s certainly nerve-wracking.

  10. Brenda Hardie says:

    Oh my that ice looks treacherous! Please be very very careful Kathy and Barry! My sister slipped and fell on the ice a couple weeks ago and is only now recovering from the soreness and bruising…thank goodness nothing was broken! I think she and I would benefit from those ice grippers!
    There’s no ice here…we’re dry as a bone again. Going to make it up to about 35 today with an abundance of bright sunshine but tomorrow will be a different story….with a high maybe at 10. Below zero tomorrow night. Guess I’ll take that over ice any day!
    Your blog today reminds me of a song…..”slip slidin away….”
    Be safe Kathy…be sure to give the adventurous little old ladies a treat if they make it out to your place! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Oh no! Another horrendous ice story…please give your sister my regards. How awful! I am very glad nothing was broken, too. Your ice-less weather sounds much more enjoyable. Singing softly with you and wondering if I have anything to give the little old ladies. Hey, maybe they’ll all be young studs who will drop by! **grin**

      • Brenda Hardie says:

        😀 big grin indeed! Now that would warrant a very juicy blog post for sure! 😀

        • Brenda Hardie says:

          Oh and thank you so much for the well wishes for my sister. She is feeling better, took her a long time as it usually does when she falls. And being as we have no ice now…it seems strange that she fell on ice, but it was at least 2-3 weeks ago now when we did have ice. Seems to me it was after a little snowstorm measuring about 6 inches that had freezing rain mixed in….covered everything in that rock hard ice. But thankfully she is recovering and all the bruises are healing and the ice is all gone!

  11. Here in northern Illinois we get it bad–you get it worse–much worse! We keep six 80-pound tubes of sand in the back of the truck to keep it from fish tailing. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t…

  12. wolfsrosebud says:

    love the last pic… we’ve been there… I salted the driveway with my snow shoes on… yes, I washed the salt off my shoes

    • Kathy says:

      That’s a good idea, wolfrosebud. Never thought of salting the driveway with snowshoes on! (Our driveway is so long it would take bags and bags of salt. However sometimes I salt the little cement in front of our house when it’s slippery.)

  13. Susan D. says:

    It IS so darn pretty to look at, but a fan of ice, I am not. Ice already knows that I’m a person who occasionally trips for no reason, while walking on flat safe surfaces, and I swear I can hear it rubbing its hands together and laughing when it sees me coming.

    For the life of me, I can’t figure out why a lot of children can RUN on the darn stuff and escape unscathed!

    Hoping that the ice will become less dangerous out there over the next couple of days. No boo-boos; no, no, no…

    • Kathy says:

      I can just hear those flat surfaces laughing at you now, Susan D! ha ha… I’ll bet I’ve scared you off the idea of coming to book club Friday night, haven’t I? Sigh… Yes, why do children do that? Do you remember being a scaredy-cat of ice when you were in your 20’s and 30’s? I can’t. I can remember falling and BOUNCING up from the ice a few years back. Bet that wouldn’t happen now.

  14. I’m such a clutz, I would fall and kill myself on that ice–even with the grippers, which when I fell would probably tear the opposing leg to shredsl

    But, gosh, the snow is beautiful–to look at, that is!


  15. Carol says:

    Kathy, I am passing the Versatile Blogger award on to you – but give it a few minutes to show up on my blog.

    • Kathy says:

      You are a wonderful blogging pal, Carol! Thank you so much! I love being a Versatile Blogger like you. 🙂 Don’t know if I will play along–unless the Spirit of the Award takes hold of my fingers and insists. If I don’t, know that it’s really appreciated.

  16. Sybil says:

    Ahhh Kathy, Got a pair of those grippers but haven’t had occasion to wear them this year. Looking out at a bare lawn and clear roads. I’m just back from a trip to Ottawa, where it was snowy and cold. My brother said he prefers the snow and sun to the Eastern Shore damp and gloom. ME ? I’ve never slipped on a nasty patch of gloom.

    • Kathy says:

      Did you have fun on your trip? Do you have post-trip letdown? No, wait a minute, you just said you don’t slip on nasty patches of gloom. Lucky you!

  17. Dana says:

    Yikes! Your driveway looks pretty treacherous. Thank goodness for those ice grippers, no? We have something similar called Yak Traks (or maybe Traxx) that help walk on snow-slash-ice. I don’t think they’re as prickly as your ice grippers, but they sure lend a girl a sense of safety on otherwise slippery ground. Stay safe, Kathy!

    • Kathy says:

      You know, Dana, I just went digging and found a pair of Yak Trax, too (although I couldn’t remember their proper spelling after walking all the way across the room, go figure.) They do look like prickly fellas. I thank our Yak Trax are too big for most of our boots now. Guess what? I walked to the mailbox three times today! It was very exciting and I am still alive to tell about it. Also four taxpayers arrived, only one of which was a little old lady.

  18. Me – I would stay inside as much as possible (keeping the blinds open as much as possible to enjoy any sunshine that we might get)!! I hope the ice melts soon!!!

    • Kathy says:

      It is so wonderful, Holly. It snowed and covered the ice. And the snow was so heavy that it’s melting in. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend in the Lower.

  19. Claire says:

    Oh your snow looks so beautiful but the ice sounds awful. We had a hard white frost here this and so far that is winter here in Cornwall,so far. It is just grey, gre, grey.

    • Kathy says:

      Claire, I hope you are enjoying the hard white frost. It can be so beautiful. I don’t know about gray. Wishing you a bit of snow to enliven the Cornwall coast.

  20. Karma says:

    Stay safe Ms. Kathy! My sister broke her wrist years ago on an ice-covered downhill driveway. Still nothing white-colored here. Chance on Saturday.

  21. john says:

    I can see myself now walking with two of those paper handled bags from Pat’s past the Sentinel and up the Main St. hill (Front St is much steeper). I wonder how many falls before those bags split open. (Or what they will do with my groceries after they load me in the ambulance. :-0 )

    I think that old ice fisherman of yours, even with bad knees, is navigating better than most. If I were you I’d keep that tractor near the porch and use that to go to the mail box!

    • Kathy says:

      John, I can SEE you with those two paper-handled too-small bags from Pat’s. You haven’t fallen yet, thank goodness. The ambulance need not come. You’re almost home. Just a few more steps!!!

  22. Christine says:

    This is pretty much what our place looks like. Complete with the cleats on our boots. Slip sliding away….

    • Kathy says:

      Has it gotten better recently, Christine? It has here. We had 5-6 inches of snow and it’s joining with the ice in a very lovely way. I hope it’s cooperating there, as well!

  23. It looks like your winter has been similar to ours, though it sounds like you’ve endured more ice than we have. That snow does look deceptively soft! I had to drive around the region recently and about an hour north of Lake Ontario, it looks like your driveway everywhere.

    • Kathy says:

      I guess I’m glad to hear that we’re not alone, that others around the Great Lakes are slip-sliding, too. We luckily received some snow within the last day or two, and now the driveways and roads are almost–I repeat, almost–navigable. Hope you are not slip-sliding still.

  24. Colleen says:

    Yikes! No ice here, well, maybe a skim on the wind shield when it gets down to flirting-with-freezing temperatures once or twice each year. But have many memories of exactly what you describe. Hopefully all will soon be melted. Maybe the first signs of spring soon?

    • Kathy says:

      Our ice rink is nicely covered with a heavy-enough snow, so we’re having a little break here. HOWEVER, it is about to get warm again, so who knows? It’s nearly impossible to walk on the road. First signs of spring? Not for a month or more, I’m sure…

  25. Robin says:

    lol! I know it’s not REALLY funny (because we, too, have lived on an ice rink), but you made it funny. I’m with you on the speeding down a hill on a sled (or x-country skis). I drag something (hands, feet, whatever will drag) to slow myself down and get scolded for it, but have taken the stance that I’m having fun my way so I’ll drag if I want to. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Oh Robin, what a relief to know another hand-and-foot dragger! (hhmm, that sounds suspicious.) We can be a drag if we want to be. And nobody better scold us again!

  26. ....RaeDi says:

    I too am a hand and foot dragger! I have not been on a sled in too many years to count! I do not miss the ice rinks… some of my growing up years in northern MO.

    • Kathy says:

      RaeDi, sincerely glad to meet another hand and foot dragger. (Hope that doesn’t mean we’re such “drags”!) **grin** We’ve got some warmer weather coming now, so hoping it’s not back to sheer ice everywhere.

  27. Pingback: “Honey, our log truck of firewood is here.” « Lake Superior Spirit

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