Winter in July in Boston & Piles of Yech

I know the Britons may think I have a lot of cheek to post something titled “Winter in July” when you hit 30 to 36ºC earlier this month when a lot of you do not have air conditioning, but this is not a “our weather is better than your weather” sort of post.  I promise.

Last winter, my former Fair City of Boston and its surrounding area recorded a record 110.6 inches of snow.  Totals like that never get anywhere near that in the U.K.  The joke is that 1″ of snow falls, and London comes to a standstill.  Regardless, when a lot of snow hits the ground, the people who live in wintery climates understand there is a huge problem.  Where do you put it after you clear it  Compounding that, people in wintery climates also know that you don’t just pick up snow when you plow.  You pick up trash, dirt, rubble, and other scum of the earth (insert political joke here) that is on the road and the tracks.  The Boffin and I call these accumulations Piles of Yech.

Well, in Boston, one of those places is in the Seaport district where the city workers created a huge 75-ft high Pile of Yech at its peak.  Now, it is only 12-foot high, but it is ice-encased with some snow still left.  It’s July, my dear readers.  Click here, if you want to see pictures of its glory and read more about it.   What you will see is the Pile of Yech at its most extreme.  I am sure the workers had a betting pool over when the thing would actually melt.  No one won this year.

Most of the time, in day-to-day life, Piles of Yech just stand in the far reaches of parking lots or on lawns like errant kids sent to the corner.  There they are, outcast and in shame, looking forlorn.  Sometimes they appear to be steaming, if the weather conditions are right.  (To the science pedants, I know steam has nothing to do with it.)  You don’t know what is inside of them until they melted off, and then you figure out where Grandpa went now that he thawed out enough to bring home that box of donuts he was supposed to get after church.

“They’re still good!  Hard to tell with the ones with the chocolate sprinkles though.”

By Daniel Case (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Sometimes people randomly park near them for no reason.  Maybe it’s one of those “I don’t want other cars around my car” things.  Maybe there are mystical properties.  By Daniel Case (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons people don’t like them, don’t want them, and wish they would go away.
The vast majority of people don’t like them, don’t want them, and wish they would go away.  And here is this asshole in Boston who is sticking around and may even be here through next winter.  Sounds like your sister-in-law who was only supposed to stay with you for three months tops.

So, to the people of Boston, I can only wish that you enjoy the rest of your summer, that your fall is its usual gorgeous self, and that you have a calm winter.  You deserve it after last year.  And maybe your Pile of Yech can finally fade.  And your pain-in-the-ass relatives move out.

18 thoughts on “Winter in July in Boston & Piles of Yech

  1. we have so little snow that i sort of romanticise it – thank you for this dose of reality! Everything does grind to a halt here when there are a few flakes as we never have winter tyres. If we had regular snow falling each winter then we would. but then it’s never that dependable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know. The Boffin absolutely loved the snow when he first moved here. Now he considers our snow blower a Godsend and only mildly grumbles once in a while. We love winter and melt in summer, so we don’t complain like a lot of people do.


  2. A whole inch of snow to cause chaos? No, more like 5 flakes of snow and the entire population goes on a national skive. The trains out of London Paddington, seasonally, are as follows:

    Winter: too much ice on the rails.
    Spring: tracks flooded
    summer: rails too hot, speed restrictions in place (I joke not, this is currently happening)
    Autumn: leaves on the line.

    Hope the Yech melts soon. I remember being astounded by how long the Yech took to melt over here after a cold snap and 5″ of snow. A month or so to clear the B&Q car park I think.

    British snow is really rubbish. It causes chaos, lots and lots people over here do not understand how to drive in snow. Nobody is ever properly prepared for it. There is never enough of it to *do* stuff with, and usually by the time you get to play in it, it’s all turned into slush anyway.

    Bah (Brrr?) humbug.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. In this part of the UK, in the past 6 years, there has only been enough snow to do that with once. The snow usually falls at night, and when the kids wake up they go to school and it melts all day. Only one proper cold snap has meant snow stayed for around a week. Last year we had no sledgeworthy snow at all! 😦


  3. I remember one pile of yech in the Target parking lot in Minneapolis in, I think, June. It was mostly pitted and blackish by then, and it took me a while to understand that I was looking at last winter’s snow.

    The where-do-you-put-it problem’s a major one when you’re shoveling as well, because there’s only so high you can toss a shovelful of snow. That stuff’s heavy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s quite the pile of road flotsam and jetsam, Karen. Your Yech fits the pile perfectly. I have a term for the stuff when it kicks up from the winter road and hits your windshield in forever futile battle with the wipers. Beware the attack of the schmootah.

    Liked by 1 person

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