Let It Snow….Part II

The Snow.

Well, we got it.  All of one inch.  You would have thought it was the Second Coming of Christ the way the weatherfolk were predicting this event.

And it’s not that snow is exactly unknown in Atlanta or Georgia.  March 1 last year we had 6 inches in a lovely day where the city streets and landscape were turned into a fairyland.

So with one week’s advance notice, the populace was set into a frenzy of milk/bread/beer/chips buying.

Though the amount of snow was just pretty…the temperatures of 16 degrees and lower, combined with strong winds caused havoc here.

Though there was no need for massive snow plowing, the black ice apparently took its toll on roads.  One county had over 300 auto accidents in one day/night.  It was slick out there and even walking down the driveway was tricky.

But the dogs loved it…or most of them.  Our 15 year old Husky, Charlie did…and snorted and pranced in the snow like a sled dog.  He’s never seen a sled, the Deep South not needing them, though we do have two red sleds just in case.

Our big mook of a shepherd/Dane looked worried and kept picking up his big feet every time he touched the cold stuff.  The golden didn’t like it much either.  Our English Field Spaniel, who is a rather odd dog, thinks he’s a cat….growled at the snow. Only the Husky gloried in his natural environment and kept barking advice from the snow, trying to get someone to play with him.

The cats were much smarter about the weather.  They meowed to go out, saw the white stuff and ran back in fast….back to their beds.

With the in and out of the dogs all day, the hauling in more and more firewood from the stack, the bitter cold (it didn’t hit 28 for a high today), well, it saps your strength.  It takes a lot of energy to stay warm.

The darker side of all of this are the tragedies across Georgia.  Our neighbor walked out his kitchen and locked himself outside.  He suffered a stroke three years ago, and the cold almost got him for good.  He was too weak to call for attention, but managed to throw some sticks of wood at the neighbor’s house.  Luckily,  this neighbor was home, which was unusual.  He thought it was a cat outside, and being a cat lover, he was concerned with the frigid weather.  He saw our neighbor and raced over there, saving his life.

People here don’t do well in the cold.  They make fires in chimneys that haven’t worked for years, they burn candles for light when the power goes off and what happens is usually full scale damage to life and property.

We have never had an extended amount of cold of this duration.  It’s not that it’s just cold, it’s unusual.  We don’t usually get 14-16 degree weather overnight and into the days, where even the sun doesn’t do much good.  And these temps have been going on for almost two weeks now.  They are going to continue well into next week.  This is apparently, already a record.

Pipes are bursting all over Atlanta, even parts of the expressway has flooded from some underground means (though they can’t yet figure out where it’s coming from)  making it very dangerous for drivers.

I love winter, but the effects of weather of this extreme takes a lot from people.  I am amazed that our one wood stove heats this house.  Of course, it doesn’t heat the closed off rooms, but the way my husband built and rebuilt this house makes  for the rest of the house heat-able. The second story is open to a large balcony and the stove pipe from the first floor runs 26 feet high.  That is a lot of pipe  exposed to the air and it does a good job of heating most of the upstairs rooms.

Our friends and neighbors are getting wise to the gas bills and still their houses are chilly.  But I think any house is chilly with these temps.  They are asking advice about installing a wood stove, but it’s not so easy, nor is it inexpensive.

We are very fortunate, or perhaps I should say I am very fortunate.  I am married to a man who can do all this sort of work and does for our house.  Five years ago he constructed a hearth of Pennsylvania flagstone, all 600 lbs. of stone.  Actually three main pieces of flagstone, with smaller bits to fill in.  The hearth is huge and solid.  But it’s not the work that most would go to.  He had to construct a floor system beneath it when he built this portion of the house to sustain such weight.  Add a 400 lb. wood stove and that’s 1000 lbs. of weight in one place.  Add the weight of those shivering around the wood stove and you get what I mean.

This is the second wood stove we have had in 25 years.  We buy our wood stoves from Lehman’s in Ohio.  They are an Amish outfit and very easy to work with.  We bought  the Consolidated Dutchwest model we had before, but I have my eye on a beautiful soapstone Irish Waterford stove.  I would have said that the winters down here can not sustain the expense of this  expensive stove, but this year might prove me wrong.

There is something  primordial  in our relationship to heat. We know without it, and a steady supply of it, we die.  Here my son would have said: “Duh, Mom.”

This weather has realigned my priorities. I am home all day and know that I am only warm by my efforts, my labors.  Though the wood pile is only yards from the back porch, I have insisted on stacking the split logs the width of the porch and at least 4 feet high.  I can look out the back door and see the wood.  It represents wealth…riches beyond barter to me.  I get more satisfaction knowing that warmth and comfort is just a few feet away.  It’s more than that: it’s life.

Lady Nyo

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8 Responses to “Let It Snow….Part II”

  1. Berowne Says:

    > the populace was set into a frenzy of milk/bread/beer/chips buying

    What’s the milk and bread for? 🙂

    Like

  2. Margie Says:

    What a beautiful picture of the snow! I’m not sorry it didn’t make it up here! LOL! We do have the cold however; and just last night a house a few blocks away caught fire due to a space heater. Fortunately everyone got out, but what a mess. Even in our fairly new house, well insulated, the heat does not hold overnight and we rely on the fireplace in the morning to chase the chill. We have a forecast for next Thursday and Friday of temps near 50. Heat wave!

    Stay warm, cuz!

    Like

  3. ladynyo Says:

    for the elderly to gum????

    LOL!

    Like

  4. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Margie!

    You haven’t missed anything without the snow…it was beautiful..and is still hanging around. The roads were a mess….this black ice, and the frozen snow. In the shade, the roads are treacherous.

    Thanks for reading and your comment, Margie. Keep warm….and safe.

    Like

  5. Malcolm Says:

    It is indeed a beautiful picture of the hardships of winter, even for those well equipped to cope with it. I loved the details abou your dogs and cats. The husky barking at the snow; the cats returning to their warm beds.
    Here we are expecting 100 degree days, as part of our normal summer. The contrast is incredible. As for ‘global warming’ surely it becaomes hard to believe in it?

    Like

  6. ladynyo Says:

    I can’t understand it , myself Malcolm.

    I don’t think we ….our puny selves….are really putting the difference on global warming. Well, perhaps pollution does some of this….I just don’t know anymore. How can we account for tsumanis? Bursting volcanoes?

    Either we have too much the ego as humanity, or something else. Now this doesn’t mean we don’t have responsibility for what we do. I live in a city and a culture where dumping tires, garbage, furniture on a road side is common. Some cultures are just users and not at all concerned with the environment around them. They are ‘victims’ in their mentality and the common rules of decency don’t apply to them.

    We are supposed to be in an ice age. Right now….people in the South are not equipped or prepared to deal with these temps. Two weeks of temps in the teens at night and only ‘warming’ up to the 20’s…not even to freezing level. It takes a toll on people down here because they don’t prepare and they don’t know some of the common sense things to keep safe.

    I have seen some really stupid and inhumane behavior and I am thinking right now it’s just an issue of ‘thinning the herd’. People don’t learn.

    Winter is not something to mess around with. You have to insulate your pipes. You have to fix your furnace. You have to have the right clothes. You have to consider the comfort and safety of animals you have.

    It’s not even 8am right now and the temp is 22 degrees. That’s cold, and continued temps like this are hard on bodies.

    I just talked to Nick in Canberra…yes, the temps there are totally deranged. The complete opposite.

    Three days ago it snowed …only an inch…and because of the temps….it’s still firm on the ground and streets and roadways. I think this winter has proven to be unusual already, just for the cold temps in the beginning of January. I hope we get more snow, though….a good excuse for a very down day. Reading time!

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  7. Mero Says:

    Just about the most to the point and informed tips I came across about this topic. Sure glad that I stumbled on that article by chance. I’ll probably be signing up for the rss feed so as I’m able to obtain the most recent updates. Enjoy all the stuff here.

    Like

  8. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Mero! Welcome.

    This last winter was a very rough one….unbearable and rare low temps for quite a while.
    Rereading that blog entry, I was reminded of my dear Husky, Charlie. Charlie went to sleep …permanently in this September. He was just worn out. Old age, and 15-16 is a great age for a Husky in the Deep South.

    But he was a wonderful and sweet dog. I still miss him, but in the end…it was better that he go to sleep.
    He was so beautiful….

    Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. Rss feed? Well, that would be good and hopefully you will find more things of interest to you on this blog. I love new readers!!

    Cheers!

    Lady Nyo

    Like

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