Freshly shovelled free of a four-inch blanket of sticky dense snow, this is what our rink looks like tonight. When we left for Calgary last week, there were still big leaks in the liner that were draining most of the flooding we'd done, leaving many places with just a thin and brittle crust of ice over a layer of air. While we were gone, it snowed and then rained. I came home expecting the worst, but Chuck had shovelled the snow off before the rain, and unexpectedly the rain and warm weather had actually improved the rink. The slushy mess of unevenness had melted and experienced the magical levelling effect of gravity, then refrozen with some improvement in the crusting effect. It had snowed again, and I didn't get out to shovel the rink off for a couple of days. When I did, I was pleasantly surprised -- there was the better part of a rink underneath!
There's been more snow and warm-ish weather, and there is still some leaking, so I'm hesitant to do a major flooding just yet. But with the kids' help I packed snow and slush into the crust-over-hole spots and seem to be making gradual progress plugging things. About 50% of the rink is smooth and skate-able right now. Not that we'd skate yet, because the holes and slush-pockets are all over the place, and there are significant areas at the far end and the left side that are not ice at all but just the plastic liner. But I am hopeful. The weather looks balmy, around or just below the freezing point, for the next few days but it looks like there should be a cold snap arriving in about 5 days. That's when we may finally get a good solid flood done. We shall see!