"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority ... the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Noah Webster

"There is no worse tyranny than forcing a man to pay for what he does not want just because you think it would be good for him."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snow Day

Standing on the slope behind the house looking south
From the age of five years until ten, my family lived in Muskegon County, Michigan, barely three miles from the shore of Lake Michigan.  I have forgotten many, many things about my childhood. I thank Adonai for the fact that there are so many things I can't remember, but I do remember the snow.  I remember snow three and four feet deep from regular falling, and I remember drifts up to 12 feet in places.  Once, the side of our single wide trailer on a wide open, five-acre lot had a drift of snow that started about forty feet out at two feet deep and gradually rose to cover the roof of the trailer.  Me and my little brother tunneled under that drift along the side of the trailer.  Boy, I wish I had that kind of energy and tenacity today.

"Hey, come out and play!"

I also remember getting frost bit from helping my dad thaw out the pipes to our well head when the temperature fell to about -40° F one night and we hadn't yet properly insulated the well.  It was our first year up there.  I know I was only a kid, and I remember having what fun I could from the snow, but I think by about the third year I knew I was a summertime kind of guy.  Then after spending most of the rest of my life in central or south Florida, I discovered that deep down I'm a beach bum.

I love my life here with Twyla.  I love being a farmer and growing things, and the simple life, the quietness of being nestled here in the mountains.  I make the best of the cold.  You have to take the good with the bad.  But if given the choice between snow and mask, snorkel & fins in the Gulf of Mexico or off of Key West, well, there's not much of a contest.

What's left of the broccoli and cabbage

You can see some dwellings in that first picture, but those are vacation homes that are vacant starting around labor day.  There are very few people up here during the winter.  It is very quiet up here right now.  Once in a while this morning, you could hear the wind roaring in the trees high up on the ridge.  Sometimes the snow is falling straight down and soft, and then suddenly it goes horizontal jitterbug.  I don't know if it's exclusively a Smokey Mountain thing, but I've never seen snow change character so much in such a short time.  It started this morning as a cross between sleet and snow.  It looked like tiny vermiculite that dropped straight down like rain in a total absence of wind. Then as the temperature dropped, it became fat, fluffy flakes that drifted like chicken dander in a light breeze.  Then the wind would suddenly shoot in and break it all into tiny ice crystals like fine powder.

There's a mountain ridge back there in the center, but you can't see it right now. It comes and goes with the waxing and waning of the snowfall.  I took a moment from re-stocking for the wood stove to climb the slope and take this shot.

I should have taken some "before" shots of this area of the ridge behind the house before I spent four days thinning out all the dense growth and saplings. I still have more to do before spring gets here.

I don't know why the golden comets in Ark I are the only ones who stayed down from their roosts.  Egg production is down to just less than half of normal, and they seem to be coming mostly from the comets.

Moxie is just typical of all Labs and mutts thereof. They love cold weather and snow.   She kept coming to bug me at the desk, wanting me to take her outside to frolic in the snow.  It's not good enough for me to just go let her out.  I need to be outside with her, even if I am doing something productive, like stacking wood under cover or cutting some.
All she needs to do is run in it and look back at me.

A day like today makes me realize how important it is to stay ahead of gathering, cutting and stacking the wood.  Keeping a good supply of dry kindling.  There are just some nights when I sleep on through and the fire has to be re-ignited.  The better the kindling, the easier the job.  It is supposed to keep snowing and the temperature is due to fall to about 19° F.   Wow.

I'm sitting here at my desk, finishing up this post so I can go spend some snuggle time with Twyla and watch October Sky.  My dad would have loved that movie had he lived to see it.  He worked in the coal mines of West Virginia, as did his dad.  He built a crystal radio set as a teenager and his dad called it foolishness.  He went on to work installing CRT terminals, and installing electrical cabling in the vertical assembly building for NASA at Cape Canaveral.

I look out the office window at the snow on the deck and the rail, and think to myself, "If I wake up tomorrow and there is four or five inches out there, me and a big piece of cardboard are going to fly down the  driveway and maybe beyond.  We'll see.

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