SPENCERVILLE — With about 6 inches of snow covering Allen County, someone might as well do something with it.
That was the thought of Spencerville’s Joe Settlemire and his children, Jacob, Chase and Trenton, as they embarked on their annual tradition of building a large snowman and snow fort next to their North Broadway Street home.
“It’s something my boys and I do ever year,” he said. “We build a snow fort when the first big snow comes.”
With the recent snowfall bringing wet, heavy snow, the conditions were ideal for snow building.
“It was perfect that day,” Settlemire said. “Plus, now it’s all frozen, so it won’t melt for a while.”
While for most of us, a snowman would take maybe an hour or so to build, at most. The Settlemires, along with family friend Jaden Grigsby, devoted a lot more time to this particular project — which involved both building an 8-foot-tall snowman, complete with a Spencerville “S” on the front, as well as digging out an igloo behind the snowman to serve as a fort for the kids.
“We did the snowman part one day and then hollowed it out the next day, so it took about seven hours altogether,” the elder Settlemire said. “We had to keep coming inside because it was chilly.”
Tunneling out that much heavy snow came with its share of hazards, as there was a chance the fort could have collapsed during the dig. The Settlemires, however, proved to be up to the challenge.
“We didn’t hollow out the snowman part because I didn’t want it to collapse on the boys, so we hollowed out the back part so they could tunnel through that.”
While the igloo has served as a wonderful fort for the boys, providing them with a space they can call their own, their father has since returned to the sanctity of the family’s more permanent dwelling.
“The kids hang out in there now,” he said. “I haven’t been in there since we built it. When you’re moving around and exercising, it’s warm and it’s fun, but now that I’m cold again, I’m not going in there.”
No matter how long the snowman and fort last, it has provided the Settlemire boys with happy memories, both of playing in the fort and seeing their handywork in print.
“The boys were hoping that it would get some attention,” their father said. “They would never believe that it would be in The Lima News.”
The boys, out sledding, could not be reached for comment.