December 03, 2002

No Lion In Winter

If this winter is like the past three since we moved here to Goose Creek, there is no need either to dread or to anticipate eagerly the coming of the first predicted snow storm of the season tomorrow night and Thursday. The huge mass of blue that is creeping east on the radar screen, moving ever closer to our part of southwest Virginia, will at the last hour divide north and south of us... blowing up into the southern tier of West Virginia counties, and down below us following the Blue Ridge counties of Patrick and Franklin. Or, it will come as predicted and change to freezing rain on top of maybe an inch of snow and sleet. That's been the pattern now for years.

I was in the town library today and ran across an old Floyd County history; it showed pictures of school buses buried to their tops in the snows of the 1960's. Even when we lived farther west in the state back in the 70's, we had some doozies. We don't have much in the way of winter any more, and consequently, some of our songbirds no longer migrate, and tick populations wiggle merrily through even the coldest months to drop down our collars on warm days in December, February.

Notwithstanding the unreliable record of the weatherpersons, the Floyd townsfolk were in a veritable lather today about the impending storm. Most were talking about how they simply must get to Farmer's Grocery and get extra milk and bread. It is widely known that the human metabolism requires additional rations of just these two staples during snow storms. This certainly cannot be based on any real necessity to hoard, as our-inch-of-sleet hardly keeps even the little old ladies homebound for more than a half a loaf of bread and a quart of milk.

Time to take stock, for real, of our winter-readiness. Blankets, candy bars, change of clothes, flashlight, scrapers, and de-icer for the cars. Oh, yes, and the emergency pee bottle for Fred's truck. My old buddy Dennis used to stock his winter travel kit with a wide-mouth Snapple bottle for this purpose. (I chided him that this was nothing more than a form of bragging, and told him I could bring him an empty bottle of Texas Pete from home as it would probably do him just fine.) Better throw some firewood in the back of the truck tomorrow for ballast to hold the tires down into the snow, should the weather guys actually slip up and get this one right.

We bought a generator just before Y2K as we were moving in: us out here at the edge of civilization moving in just at the end of the world as we knew it! As it turns out, we have been without power only part of one day in three years. I have tried to keep the thing cranked every once in a while, but have never put it through a dry run of a real energy emergency. We have 300 gallons of LP to power the kitchen stove and two built-in gas lights on the walls and a couple of cords of firewood under cover just outside the back door. Two crank radios will keep us connected to the 'real world'. All this plus a wall full of books and a big warm dog.

I guess we have just about everything we need to stay warm and contented during our typical winter storm. Even so, on the way home today, I stopped by Farmer's and fought the crowd to pick up a couple gallons of milk and some dinner rolls. You know, you can't have too much milk and bread around when the weatherman is calling for snow.

Posted by fred1st at December 3, 2002 06:33 AM

Had the Weather Channel existed in Lewis and Clark's day, would they ever have ventured west?

Posted by: Deb at December 3, 2002 10:53 AM

Had the Weather Channel existed in Lewis and Clark's day, would they ever have ventured west?

Posted by: Deb at December 3, 2002 10:53 AM

Extra milk, certainly, is needed in a snowstorm. How else would one make snowcream? And Sweetened Condensed Milk as well.

Posted by: Huw Raphael at December 3, 2002 01:01 PM

Oh, snowcream! I had forgotten. I can smell the Carnations now, I can see the can with the two triangular openings made by the 'churchkey' can opener. Dang, I'm old.

Posted by: fredf at December 3, 2002 04:56 PM

Something feels different this year, Fred. Four years ago, when I moved into neighboring Montgomery County, I bought a low duty snow blower based on the reputation of previous winters. If I sold it today, I could push it as "like new" with no twangs of damaged integrity. Last year I used it only once. This year I'm not even gassing it up until I can "see the whites of their eyes"--or at least more than two white inches on my drive. So, with a total lack of preparation, I feel a serious dumping is just around the corner. I WILL be singled out, and my neighbors this side of the Blue Ridge will get dumped on, or not.

Posted by: Con at December 3, 2002 04:59 PM

MMM. I'd use a church key in the lack of a can opener - but sweetened condensed milk pours easier out of a topless can. Unless yer one of those folks who uses evaporated milk rather than sweetened condensed...

SO... it's snowing?

Posted by: Huw Raphael at December 4, 2002 10:10 AM

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