February 05, 2014 - You're never too old to build a snow fort – just ask Oxford brothers Lewis and Greg Marshall.
Oxford brothers Greg (left) and Lewis Marshall in their snow castle.
Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
Lewis and Greg, a senior and sophomore, respectively, at Oxford High School, took advantage of this winter's never-ending supply of snow to build a castle in their front yard.
"Pretty much every year, we always make something cool," Lewis said. "In the past, we've made two igloos that we connected to each other or we've made castles to fight each other (in snowball wars)."
It took the brothers five hours to build their latest snow structure.
Greg explained the walls were built by rolling snowballs in a single direction until they formed disc shapes.
Implements such as shovels and a homemade sword were used to carve away the excess snow until the desired shape was achieved.
"We pack the snow and smooth it down at the same time. That makes it look smooth all the way around," said Lewis, who's an Eagle Scout.
Not all snow is good for building structures like this.
Greg said when it gets too cold, the snow is powdery and therefore too dry to stick together.
"If it's too cold, there's not enough liquid water left in the snow (to make it good for packing)," Lewis explained. "As it starts to warm up, it gets better."
The beginning and end of a snowfall usually produce the best building material because "that's when the temperatures are changing a lot," according to Lewis.
Lewis and Greg each offered their own advice to fellow snow-fort builders.
"Make sure the bases are strong and that it's thick enough," Lewis said. "Use the right type of snow. No powder snow or ice because it will just fall apart."
"And don't knock it over," Greg added.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.