Saturday, as 19 inches of snow blew into Hampstead, Keith and Mike Schoenberger had the same idea: Let's build an igloo.
"We looked outside and saw all that snow. Then we discussed it a bit," said Mike Schoenberger. He and his brother Keith enticed Mike's son Mike Jr., and nephew Rich Schoenberger to zip up their parkas and head outdoors.
Behind their house on North Woods Trail a dune of snow had erased the Robert's Field Playground.
The four, and Mike and Keith's father, John Schoenberger, began packing snow into blocks. Large rubber recycling tubs came in handy. They made blocks that measured about 14-by-16-by-10 inches.
Neighbor David Wahl saw the igloo going up and went out to lend a hand. Four hours later, he'd packed his last snow. The circle of blocks was above shoulder level.
"He said he needed to warm up," said the elder Mike the next day. "We haven't seen him since."
"Not too many people build igloos in this area, particularly during a snowstorm," said Keith Schoenberger as he picked up his bricklayer's trowel and sliced through a block of snow. The group worked from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and finished the igloo Sunday.
Building with blocks fascinates the Schoenbergers. One summer father and son mortared bricks into the sky, crafting a chimney for their house. They'd built domed ovens at a steel mill, too, said Mike.
Building Klondike-style was new. And it was just for fun.
Sunday, with a 6-foot step-ladder propping the arches that crisscrossed the dome, they were puzzling out the roof with help from neighborhood boys Christopher and Michael Galczynski, and Johnny Danza.
Block after block, Mike eyeballed and trimmed blocks for the dome. He heaved each two-foot snow cube over the rim.
Standing inside, snow against his earflaps, John Schoenberger steadied each block on his shoulder as Mike, on the ladder, packed the cracks.
Filling the open dome was a test of will, of skill against snow that could suddenly crumble. Dome blocks are wedge-shaped, explained Keith, "So when we pull the supports out, they will all nest into place."
Each quadrant took five to seven wedges of packed snow.
The finished ice house is 36 feet in circumference and about six feet high. The walls are two feet thick. An arched tunnel 18 inches wide leads inside. Like a four-man cabin tent done up in snow, it's an igloo right from the pages of Chilly Bear cartoons.
What used to be a Friday quilting bee has lots of needleworkers excited. Snydersburg resident Nancy Ogletree, who quilts at the Carroll County Farm Museum, is spokeswoman for a small group of quilters who have met for some time, round-robin style, in each other's homes.
Lately, they've attracted needle artists of all kinds.
"We have counted cross-stitch, needlepoint, canvas work, knitting and crochet," Mrs. Ogletree said. "The ladies are all needle-arty."
Their group doesn't have a name, she says, but "we're thinking about it."
The quilters currently come from Upperco, Boring, Hampstead, Manchester, Westminster and Mount Airy. Thirteen ladies have joined the group. With bag lunches and sewing projects, usually about five will arrive to work and talk from 10 a.m. until around 2 p.m., said Mrs. Ogletree, "because some women have to meet the school bus."
They've been invited to meet at the Carroll County Farm Museum. Starting April 16, the ladies will probably meet in the large craft shop that's linked to the museum by a catwalk.
"It's a drawing point for school group tours," said Mrs. Ogletree, who has been quilting at the museum on a regular basis. "The ladies who have just joined us say this is a wonderful fellowship. They have a lot of fun."
As one lady put it, she said, " 'we're not cliquish.' "
Next week the group will van pool to the Lancaster, Pa., Quilter's Heritage Quilt Show, scheduled March 25-28 28 at the Sheraton Inn on Pennsylvania Route 30.
"People know about it," says Mrs. Ogletree. "You just have to go and experience it. You walk for hours looking at all these wonderful, beautiful quilts. There's anything and everything you wanted to know about quilting."
The show has "usually over 1,000 invitational and focal theme exhibits, a fashion show, a juried show, and $10,000 in prizes, and quilt vendors fill three rooms," she said.
To join the local sewing group, or for more information about the Lancaster quilt show, call Mrs. Ogletree at 239-6503.