Monday, 23 April 2012

Elephant No. 204: Snow Elephant


It's not often that we get a lot of snow as late in the year as this, so I decided to finally try making a snow elephant. The snow was heavy and wet, so it's ideal for making snow figures—unlike the day I made a snowball mural, when it was only good for fluffy snowballs.

I went out early, as it was already switching from rain to snow by 8:00 a.m. In fact, by the time I was finishing this some 20 minutes later, it was raining steadily, and the snow I was trying to pack with my hands was turning to icy slush.

I started by gathering a pile of snow from the top of the cars and various other places in and around my driveway and back yard.

I thought I should make the legs first, so I made four small columns that were roughly the same shape and size.

I made a body next and put it on top of the columns. The first body I made was too small, so I made a bigger one, but it was already getting hard to make the new snow stick. One thing I discovered was that slushy snow packs quickly into a ball of ice, making it virtually impossible to add more snow. Guess I didn't spend enough time making snowmen as a child, or I might have known this.

I made a head next. It turned out that making a head without moulding a trunk and ears at the same time is pointless. I removed the head and quickly reshaped it with a trunk and smallish ears. At this point, I was soaked to the skin and the snow was being most uncooperative, so I didn't really have a chance to make ears as big as I would have liked, or a trunk as long as I would have liked.

I stuck the head on the elephant, and added some more snow around the neck to make it stay in place. To finish up, I added a pinch of snow for a tail, and scraped parts of the elephant with the side of my hand to give it some shape.

By the time I'd done this much, the elephant's legs were already starting to melt and puddle, so this was about the best I could do with the limited snow I had and the limited amount of time I had. But he's kind of cute for all that.

No one wants to see snow around here in late April, but I figure if life hands you snow, make a snow elephant.

Elephant Lore of the Day
It really is true that an elephant never forgets. Neither, apparently, does an entire herd.

In November 1984, 60 elephants burst out of the jungle and flattened the village of Tanah Jawa in North Sumatra. Not wanting this to happen again, the entire village pulled up stakes and moved several miles away.

Two months later, an elephant army—with many of the same elephants—showed up and flattened the new village as well. It was assumed that the villagers had upset the herd in some way, but no one was ever quite sure what they had done to make so many elephants so mad.

Family group of Asian elephants.

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