Jody Webeck and Zach Paradis didn't plan to build a 17-foot-tall snowman that quickly catches the eye of anyone driving by it on County Road 82.

The idea just kind of snow-balled.

On a warm, sunny day earlier this winter, Webeck and 12-year-old Zach, the son of Webeck's fiancée, Terri Paradis, set out to make a regular-sized snowman together.

It turned out to be a big one - 11 feet tall. But Webeck and Zach decided to keep adding to it.

They set up ladders. They put snow in a five-gallon bucket and carried it up to the upper reaches of the giant snowman.

When the temperatures plummeted to less-than-ideal snowman-making conditions, they added water to the snow to make it sticky.

They used a 50-gallon garbage barrel to make a hat. Terri sewed the brim out of some sparkly black upholstery fabric. A coffee can worked as a pipe. They shaped a piece of plywood into a smile. A 23-foot-long blanket doubled as a scarf.

They completed the finishing touches last weekend. In all, they put about 30 hours into their creation, which looms at the Builtmore Estates, along County Road 82, west of Alexandria near Brophy Bay.

Passers-by have stopped and taken photos of the snowy wonder. According to family members, some have even asked, "Is it real?"

It is - at least until warmer temperatures set in.