Category Archives: THOUGHTS ON SNOW

It is a large part of our life up here for 6-7 months each year. So, let’s “look at snow.”

Looking Back, Looking Ahead … But, Not Too Far: Blizzard Ahead

Hi Friends:

What a difference a year makes! Up here in the North Country, so much of how we gauge a year’s events is weather-related. How much snow, how much rain, how cold, how hot. How much oil, or pellets we used last year verses this year. We seem to never be far from an extreme … good or bad.

Most writers seize the time between Christmas and New Year’s to reflect back on the past year, with an eye on what they are hoping for in the next. Whatever plans I, or we, may have had, as we approach the “New Year’s Weekend,” changed dramatically, with the mention of one word … and, of course, it’s weather-related.

The word is “Blizzard.”

Last year (2015), we had a milder Winter, or at least it seemed, until later in the season. I remember painting during November, and doing concrete work in early to mid-December. The temperature has to be at least 40, minimum, to set concrete properly, and I was working on concrete around December 15. This year … well … different. Here’s an excerpt from a letter I wrote to my Dad, the week before Christmas:
“Well, it’s below zero here, and about half a foot of snow on the ground. Our high temperature today was around 5 degrees, and when I got home from School, it was right at zero. A big storm is coming tomorrow, Saturday. Last night, it was around -15 degrees, and the wind chill was somewhere between 35-40 below zero. At least we don’t need to go up Mount Washington to “feel the chill” and those winds. Still one week to go before “Winter.”

The weather in Northern New Hampshire is, in one way, the same as anywhere else I’ve lived:
You wish the Springs and Autumns were longer. And, regardless of how many Winters you’ve been through, when Winter hits … we always seem to be caught off guard, surprised. Like we’ve never been through Winter before, and we’re just not ready. Up here, there is a time, each year, late-Autumn, when you just, simply, put everything else aside … and, “get ready.” Being people, of course, we wait until the last minute … the day before “the storm.” For me, this means things like putting weight in the back of the truck. I have the front of the pick-up truck bed, against the cab, lined with 5 gallon buckets of sand. Behind them, between the wheel-wells, I have 2 heavy-duty 4 x 4 pallets. Between the pallets and the tailgate, I line the bed with concrete blocks. Heavy, I know, but necessary up here. I’ve had the truck bed “weighted down” for a month now, and I’ve needed it since the first day. We’ve had a lot of ice up here, and I mean a lot. This is due to, yes, warmer temperatures (usually it just snows, and that’s it), but after a “warmer day” with rain, it’s back to normal at night, with freezing temperatures. A lot of ice this year.

One thing for sure in the North Country: Every year is different.

Hey … on Tuesday, it was sunny and over 40 degrees. What does this usually mean?
Storm’s coming.

We’ve lived here for 10 years now, and I can’t remember but, maybe once, the word “Blizzard” mentioned in the forecast, and I think it was something like “Blizzard-Like.”

Well … can’t say that anymore.
Just like I learned to never, again, say, “It’s too cold to snow,” or the old, “Yeah, with small snowflakes like that, it won’t lay much.”

For a couple of days now, heading right out of the Christmas weekend, the forecast for later in the week was, for the first time in my memory, just the one word:
“Blizzard.”
The storm starts today, which, relatively speaking, should be a “piece of cake:”
32°HI
Periods of snow, accumulating 2-4 inches

No Problem! But, it’s not today that’s the problem … let’s look at tonight’s forecast, and notice the first word:
29°LO
RealFeel® 5°
Blizzard, accumulating an additional foot; heavy wet snow may bring down trees and power lines
NW 29 mph
Gusts: 50 mph

Notice the sustained wind speed is 29 MPH … but, notice the gusts of 50 MPH. Yeah, the low will be 29 … but … of course … it will feel like 5 …

Of course, I looked up the definition of the word “Blizzard,” from merriam-webster.com:
“a long severe snowstorm; an intensely strong cold wind filled with fine snow; an overwhelming rush or deluge; a large amount of something that comes suddenly.”
Then, I looked up the history of the word:
“The earliest recorded appearance of the word blizzard meaning “a severe snowstorm” was in the April 23, 1870 issue of a newspaper published in Estherville, Iowa. Blizzard shows up again during the following years in several newspapers in Iowa and neighboring states, and by 1888, when a snowstorm paralyzed the Eastern seaboard, the word was well-known nationally. The ultimate origin of the word is still unclear.”

By the way, a “good day” up here is a day in which you don’t have to snow-blow the driveway. If you can get several of these days together … it is a “special occasion.” A few short years ago, I remember a big snow storm before the end of October. I think that was the year we broke the all-time record for snowfall …
The Winters here are long, and always seem like they’re never going to end. You seem to just go from one storm to the next, always preparing for “the next one.”
But, this coming storm seems different. So, yesterday, like so many others, I, too, put aside all plans I had (including writing), to get ready for the storm … the Blizzard. Make sure the snow-blower was all gassed up, etc.

What I thought would be a 10 minute job turned into 4 hours. I started the snow-blower (or, “cranked” as I still say it), and pulled it out to the front of the garage, to put gas in. As I tested the augers (the spinning blades), I noticed that the right-side blades weren’t turning, weren’t spinning. Never mind what I said. A rock had wedged itself between the blade and the frame, and had torn off the “shear pin,” which is the bolt which fastens the blades (augers) to the axle. Yes, there are made to break, to prevent damage. Easy enough, I just crow-barred the rock out, and consulted the manual to check on how to replace the shear pin. I’d had this happen before, but couldn’t remember what to do. Simple … just drive the shaft of the old pin out, and replace it. Ever tried to find a center-punch, when you don’t remember where you put it? Never mind what I said. By the way, it was freezing cold, and getting dark. Anyway, I bent a couple of nails trying to knock it out, but to no avail. It just wouldn’t come out. Never mind what I said. The only choice I had was to try to drill through the bolt, to get it to budge. I broke 3 drill bits (never mind what I said), and finally got it to come out, removing it from behind the blades. By the way, it was freezing, dark, and, working with small parts, I had to remove my gloves. Boy! Those blades are sharp! Ouch! You got it … never mind what I said …
I put the new bolt in (I had gotten extra pins last time), and just needed to get an 11 MM wrench to hold the back nut, as I tightened the top nut. You guessed it: Lined up the MM wrenches … so nice … 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14 … Want to guess which wrench was missing? Never mind what I said. I was finally able to use a pair of pliers, and tightened it as best I could. Perfect! So, as I’m trying out the new shear pin, making sure the blades would spin … keep in mind, you have to use the lever on the handle to turn the blades, and you can’t see the blades from there, and the blades stop spinning by the time you run to the front of the machine … Smart me … I use a bungee cord to wrap around the handle, to keep the blades turning while I inspect them. Guess what? The bungee cord broke … never mind what I said …

Anyway, we are as ready as we can be.
Thank God, and I mean this, for having a garage, and for having a snow-blower. And, thanks for the hardware store, which was open this morning. And, thanks for my new titanium drill bits, for my brand new center punch … and, for my brand new 11mm wrench (the last one they had.)

Even with a storm, and even a blizzard coming, we have so much to be thankful for. So much.
I always make it a point to pray for the men on the garbage and recycle trucks. How tough their job is, and it’s always about the weather. I also am thankful for the mailman, and how tough their jobs are. We take so much for granted.

As I was taking Carol to work today, we were, of course, talking about the Blizzard, just ahead. She said what I was thinking, but put it in a way only she can:
“The only blizzard I want to see is at Dairy Queen.”
Well, the closest one is about 30 miles away … and, it’s closed for the Winter.

Blessings to you, and your family.
Now, and always,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

 

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Winter Clearance and “Tulips in the Snow”

It’s hard to believe the difference less than a month makes in the landscape. I’m going to share some pictures I took less than a month ago …

Today is May 4th, the birds are all singing, the grass is visible, the temperature is in the low 80’s, and I just felt a warm breeze … a warm breeze …

It’s hard not to get “giddy” this time of year. After a long, hard Winter, which fell on much of the country, we can finally, finally say that Spring has arrived. The groundhog was, of course, right again: He came out of his den on February 2nd … did not see his shadow (it was cloudy that day-not unusual for early February) … and, there would be 6 weeks elapse before Spring … a quick check of the calendar proves that Spring does come 6 weeks later …

Which begs the question, “How many of us would be so glad to have only 6 more weeks of Winter after the first week of February?” This year seemed to be especially brutal for so much of the United States. But, Spring has arrived.

I wanted to write something about Winter finally being gone, but needed to wait until all of the snow was gone from the yard. We had our last snow about 2 weeks ago, and the temperatures have slowly, slowly been going up-at night! As I look at the 10-day forecast, only tomorrow night is predicted to be in the 30’s. You have to understand how big that is. Today is Monday, and we finally shut the pellet stove down this past Saturday. When that happens, Winter is officially over. I wait to shut the heat down until we don’t have any night coming up in the 30’s. Tomorrow night is a surprise, but on Saturday, for the first time in several months, there wasn’t an overnight low in the 30’s predicted, and we would see 70’s on some days in the near future. That’s the signal we wait for … and, so, after about 8 tons of pellets (that’s 16,000 pounds of pellets), we “shut ‘er down.” Spring has officially arrived.

It is still hard to not stop on the way upstairs from the garage, upon arriving home, to not reach for a bag of pellets. After all, since November, every time I’ve climbed those stairs, I’ve grabbed a bag of pellets to carry with me. It seems odd to not have to stop, drop everything, and tend to the stove before I do anything else in the house … Which brings to mind this:

“Even good takes time to get used to.”
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

I have, for some time now, wanted to have a “final Winter post,’ and put my “left-over” Snow poems in to share. Looks like that will wait until next year. No pellet stove … no heat at all going … that takes some getting used to.

Today is May 4th, and the last of the snow has now melted. I mean, literally, today, as we still had a small amount of snow/ice in the yard yesterday. I worked out in the yard on Friday night, the first time in months, and, as I walked around the yard, I felt like a prisoner which had just been released. I’m serious. That’s how I felt. In a way, we are “kept prisoner” by the snow and cold and snow and cold of our Winters, just like many of you. Being able to walk around, outside, without tall boots and layers and layers and layers of clothing … it was, like, being released out into the world … a world you haven’t been able to “walk around in” for several months … At least I don’t make it dramatic …

We are able to park the vehicles outside. This makes it official. No more nights with frost.
Today … we used our clothesline … we actually have clothes outside … and, they will dry. Not just that … but, we dried towels on the line!!! You just have “to be here” to understand how big that is.

I am wearing shorts (this may be TMI, but, remember, this is an “event” up here). For the last 3 days, I’ve been able to wear a t-shirt outside-without layers and layers and layers … Today, for the first time in so many months … I am barefoot, and walking outside … Again, you just have to “be here” to understand how big that is …

It was one month ago, yes, it was Easter weekend, and we traveled through the snow … to visit the Tropics … I mean, leave “the ‘notches” and travel South … to Connecticut … As predicted, it was a snowstorm here (remember, it was only early, early April), and, as we drove out of Franconia Notch … the sky opened up … the sun was out … and, each mile we traveled diminished the amount of snow on the roadsides … We still had between 1-2 feet of snow in the yard at this time, and the snow was piled up, still, close to the roof of the garage … but, as we traveled south, visions of sunshine danced in our heads, and, with each stop along the way, more and more layers came off …

Connecticut, as a whole, got more snow than we did this Winter. This doesn’t mean we didn’t get any, just that they got a lot, lot of snow. It was one of the coldest, most severe Winters on record there, and in a lot of other places. The whole Spring growing season was thrown off, even in Connecticut. At Easter, we usually see flowers up, many blooming, etc. But, this year, this was not the case. While the snow was gone, the effects of the long, long Winter were evident in the lack of new growth.

We were given, as a gift (and an encouragement), a pot of tulips … in bloom … Good ‘ol grocery store! We returned home from the Tropics of Connecticut with a tank full of anti-freeze, and a flower pot full of tulips! So, in early April, as we arrived home to even more snow, and more snow and cold to come … at least we had flowers in bloom …Granted, this is the only way you get flowers in bloom up here in early April … but, we’ll take them! I could not resist the temptation to take pictures, and they turned out pretty good … almost have a surreal look to them.

I placed the flower pot out on the railing of our front deck, and snapped a couple of pictures. This was less than a month ago, and you can see the snow-covered spruce trees behind, and the road covered with snow. And, it was cold! But, up here, in early April, we’ll take flowers any way we can get them … even imported from the Tropics!!!

I am reminded of the verse in Genesis (one of my Mom’s favorite verses) where God promises that as long as the earth remains, there will be seasons …

I am reminded how symbolic this “Winter into Spring” transformation is … how, because of the “new birth,” old things “are passed away, and all things become new.”

I also think of this: How just a couple of days, even a few precious moments, wipes away several months, even years, of frustration.

So, maybe our Spring arrives late … but, boy! Do we appreciate its arrival!
I’m thinking … Which do we anticipate more … appreciate more?
The end of Winter? Or, the arrival of Spring?
I’d say both.
Thank God for the promise of Springtime.
It’s here!
So are His promises.

Here’s the photos:

“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” ( Genesis 8:22).

“While the earth remaineth … cold and heat, and summer and winter … shall not cease”
( Genesis 8:22).

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

“old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

 

62 Degrees and Sunny: What Does This Mean?

I have written often of how “different” the weather is up here in the Great North Woods of New Hampshire. I still get that “I just can’t believe it” insinuations when I am trying to describe our weather to friends across the ‘states (especially Southern) and the Globe.

Mark Twain said about the weather in New England, “If you don’t like the weather, give it ten minutes. It’ll change.” Mark Twain was right, you know. Of course, I try to use a Mark Twain quote whenever I can, especially after visiting his home in Hartford (I actually hosted a series of meetings there), and saw his beautiful billiard table … in the room where he did so much of his writing, scattering the pages across the table … Proving that to be a great American writer … you need a billiard table … Carol is close to accepting this, and I don’t miss an opportunity to use this example …

Anyway, Mark Twain was as right about his thoughts on the weather in New England, as he was about his choice of furnishings…

On Thursday morning (and Wednesday), it was 12 degrees up here. This morning … Friday morning … this Good Friday before Easter Sunday … it was 50 degrees … I’m sorry, but, when I saw the temperature this morning, the first thought I had was, “You know what that means. A snow storm is coming.”

Well, when I got home from School this afternoon … I was late because I had to pick up some wood heat pellets for our pellet shove … After using 7 (seven) tons of pellets so far … we ran out of our supply, so we are doing the annual “12 bags at a time until June thing” … it was 62 degrees on the front porch. And … And … And … It was sunny!!!
Guess what that means?
I bet Mark Twain was a great pool player…

That’s right … let’s look at the forecast for this, what is considered to be the first real weekend of Spring:
This is a real “copy and paste” from the Weather Channel’s Online Forecast:

TONIGHT
37°
Rain/Snow Late
100%
Partly cloudy skies this evening will give way to cloudy skies with a mixture of rain and
snow developing overnight. Low 37F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precip 100%.

How about tomorrow, Saturday, April 4 … I mean … after the sun comes up:

SATURDAY
38°
Rain/Snow
100% 1-3 in
SATURDAY
Cloudy with rain and snow in the morning. Snow showers in the afternoon. Morning high of
38F with temps falling to near freezing. Winds NW at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of precip 100%.
1 to 3 inches of snow expected.

OK … just one more peek ahead … How about Saturday night: I mean, the NCAAs are on… I mean … the Masters start the practice rounds on Monday … I think baseball season (remember that?) starts on Sunday….

SAT NIGHT
18°
A few clouds. Flurries or snow showers possible late. Low 18F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph.

Hey-Great! I was wondering when the high winds would start!

Anyway … just to get that “so, we don’t have it as bad as a lot of other people” feeling, I decided to check on the weather in Minneapolis, MN … that should get me to feeling better …
“Mostly sunny and 56 degrees” tomorrow …

OK … one more … Guess what? We will be traveling to Connecticut and then Rhode Island tomorrow, so we won’t be here!!! Yes … this is always dependent upon if we can actually
make it out of here …

Allow me to mention an Easter Sunday a few years ago, when we went the same route, down to Connecticut… When we left on Saturday morning … it was snowing here … but, not too bad … as we got through one of the “notches” enroute to the Interstate, we ran into a full-scale blizzard … the visibility was near zero … the roads weren’t plowed, and, this is for real … we didn’t know if we’d be able to make it through the snow … it was a terrible situation to be caught in …
As we left Franconia Notch, heading South, the sun seemed to just “come out.” To appear.
The farther South, the less snow … By the time we reached Massachusetts, there was hardly any snow on the sides of the road at all.

That Sunday, Easter Sunday, we were at a family gathering … a cookout … around the backyard pool. It was in the Mid-70’s, and everyone was wearing shorts, or something similar to go into the pool swimming. I swear I remember someone starting up the lawn mower and, taking their shirt off because of the heat, to finish mowing the lawn. Keep in mind, this was only 245 miles south of here … We came through a blizzard just hours before … it really was like being in the tropics! Except all we had to wear was
flannel and heavy coats…

So, when I joke around about how “different” the weather is up here in the North Country, I guess I’m really not joking … nor am I complaining … that’s just the way it is…

And, I can tell you this for certain: There may be spots with better weather … But, I don’t think they enjoy days like today as much as we did. We really do appreciate the good weather.

I’ll close with this: I was loading the bags of pellets in the truck, when I, very jokingly, said, “It’s too hot!” The man helping me told me that, believe it or not … a customer, today, already complained about how warm it was…

So, I’ll close for me, believe it or not, our pellet stove (our heat) has been off since about 12:45 today, and it’s still off … I need to clean the pellet stove before the next Storm … in a few hours…

Not to worry … We are leaving for Connecticut in the morning. I just checked, and in Hartford, CT, where Mark Twain’s billiard table is located (I bet he loved that billiard table!), the weather is supposed to be 50 degrees and sunny … even better on Sunday in
Rhode Island…

… If we can make it out of here…
Blessings,
R.V.R.

Spring: Day 1/Icicles 101

It was Friday … yesterday … and … it was the First Day of Spring 2015!!!

The day dawned like any other … it was below zero … and … the customary/standard “Weekend Snow Storm” was in the forecast …
For the last couple of years, I have shared pictures depicting what it is like up in the Great North Woods of New Hampshire during the Winter … and, especially what it looks like, up here … as the rest of the country celebrates Spring …

I spent the last few days working on a new character … a comedy featuring our weather up here compared to the rest of the country. I thought it was really funny, and, had set up the cameras to do the video … worked on the script and camera angles … However … I decided against it … I felt like it may have been taken as making fun of New Hampshire, and casting the wrong “light” on those who live up here in the Great North Woods … It was pretty funny stuff, but I thought the idea of portraying “if you think you’ve got it bad … you should be here” may be taken the wrong way, as a negative about living up here.

The fact is, it is beautiful up here, and the fact that we get good weather on so rare occasions makes us really appreciate the good weather we do get. We really do look forward to the change of seasons … especially the “Spring to Summer.” I have traveled, and lived, in many different parts of the United States, and there is one thing they all share in common: They wish the Winters were shorter, and the rest of the seasons were longer. So, we share that common bond with everyone. Plus, I’ve never lived anywhere that people were happy with the weather all the time. Too hot! Too cold! Too rainy! And, how about that humidity? I really do understand why weather is always a topic of discussion, regardless of where you live. I must also say that there are many people I’ve met who … let’s face it … aren’t happy anywhere … And, won’t be. God has placed people all over the country, all over the globe, really … and, as long as you are “in the right place,” that’s all that matters … not the weather.

It’s true: You can be miserable anywhere!

That is not a segue into this paragraph! But, it’s time to share a few pictures from our first day of Spring, 2015! I guess the reason I do this is for our friends all over the globe who find it so hard to believe what our weather is really like … That we are “making this stuff up,” etc. Well, it really was below zero the first morning of Spring, a snow storm is really expected, and … this is something else I get “I can’t believe it’s” about: We haven’t missed any time from school this year because of the weather …Not a “snow day,” not a “delayed entry,” or anything … Well … there’s always the hope for the next Monday morning … And … I’m not making this up … our “Frost Line” is at 7 1/2 Feet …
For our friends all over, it’s really not a big deal, because “that’s what it is.” I remember hearing Loretta Lynn talking about how poor she was, when she was growing up … She didn’t know she was poor … she thought everyone lived like they did, and that everyone only had redeye gravy and biscuits for supper … So, that’s the way it is here … I must say that the hardest part of our weather is the fact that we have access to the knowledge of “how it is” everywhere else …

While this was reported to be the second-coldest February on record (for example), I also saw a report from the Weather Channel that this was the warmest Winter on record … around the world … Maybe not over here … but, that just shows that it’s always just a matter of perspective …

Here are some photos for you, taken at home, the First Day of Spring, 2015:

Our back steps: Looks like we'll have to find another way up.

Our back steps: Looks like we’ll have to find another way up.

Our Clothesline: Better double-check to make sure the dryer is working. Did I mention this is the first day of Spring?

Our Clothesline: Better double-check to make sure the dryer is working.
Did I mention this is the first day of Spring?

Our beloved

Our beloved “Wall:” My Summer-long project looks pretty “cool.”

Love that wall! This the side of the driveway-Makes me wish for

Love that wall! This is the side of the driveway-Makes me wish for “The Dunes of the Cape!”
Did I mention this was the first day of Spring?

These are young pine trees trying to come up ... they are completely covered in ice, but growing!

These are young pine trees trying to come up … they are completely covered in ice, but growing!

A better picture of the trees.

A better picture of the trees.

I always have a picture of my boot, to use for

I always have a picture of my boot, to use for “scale.” This is the other side of the driveway (opposite wall). Note that, due to consistent slow-blowing, the sun was able to “break through” to the pavement.

These boots have walked all over, from Georgia to New Hampshire. I can't wait to go barefoot all Summer! Guess I should have waited, though, to take these off.

These boots have walked all over, from Georgia to New Hampshire. I can’t wait to go barefoot all Summer! Guess I should have waited, though, to take these off.

I always have a picture of how high the snow is, relative to the roof of the garage. Look at this!

I always have a picture of how high the snow is, relative to the roof of the garage. Look at this!

Why ... It's up to the roof! I'm so glad we didn't get as much snow this year!

Why … It’s up to the roof! I’m so glad we didn’t get as much snow this year!

ou can see the back steps and the clothesline to the right: It's finally Spring!!!

You can see the back steps and the clothesline to the right: It’s finally Spring!!!

Earlier, I wrote a story about why the snow was white. Thought I'd research about icicles ... but, just couldn't get interested in the

Earlier, I wrote a story about why the snow was white. Thought I’d research about icicles … but, just couldn’t get interested in the “behind the scenes” story … But I took lots of pictures of icicles. These are baby icicles … ooohhh!!!

These are teenage icicles.

These are teenage icicles.

Here's one full-grown!

Here’s one full-grown!

Another shot for scale. This is about 8 feet long.

Another shot for scale. This is about 8 feet long.

This is the whole family!

This is the whole family!

This is the largest one so far ... hanging from the roof, over the front porch ...10 feet long. Did I mention this was the first day of Spring?

This is the largest one so far … hanging from the roof, over the front porch …10 feet long.
Did I mention this was the first day of Spring?

This is from the front porch railing ... We don't call it an icicle ... we call it a post!

This is from the front porch railing … We don’t call it an icicle … we call it a post!

At the local Library, they have a display of historical artifacts which they have all laid out, side by side. That inspired this picture. Again, to show scale. Well ... it is a nice collection!

At the local Library, they have a display of historical artifacts which they have all laid out,
side by side. That inspired this picture. Again, to show scale. Well … it is a nice collection!

This is the big one from the roof ... looks like someone may have dropped it, or it hit the ladder or something ... on the way to the display table ...

This is the big one from the roof … looks like someone may have dropped it, or it hit the ladder or something …
on the way to the display table …

Another view showing the thickness of the icicle ... And ... by the way ... the towel is from our Spring Collection!!!

Another view showing the thickness of the icicle … And … by the way … the towel is from our Spring Collection!!!

Boy! That's a nice towel!

Boy! That’s a nice towel!

Both the icicle-and the towel-really stand up nicely. Hope Carol doesn't see this!

Both the icicle-and the towel-really stand up nicely. Hope Carol doesn’t see this!

I think I hear someone yelling

I think I hear someone yelling “Has someone seen my blue towel???”

P.S. Just so you’ll know … since I started writing this post, the temperature has dropped nearly 20 degrees … and, it is snowing … hard … I wanted to take a picture for you, but it was snowing so hard, I couldn’t keep the snow off the lens … That’s ok … it is the weekend … we have that hope for Monday … and, after all … it’s finally Spring!!! To quote part of what we didn’t say … “You think the weather’s bad where you are …”
Blessings
R.V.R.

Thoughts on Snow: Part Four?

This can’t really be a Part Four … can it?

“I am not obsessed with snow … I am not obsessed with snow … I am not … obsessed with snow …”

I’m really not … in fact, we are really feeling blessed up here in the North Country of New Hampshire … Today is Friday, and I haven’t had to snow blow or plow snow for 4 days …
FOUR DAYS!!! I last got the snow blower out on Monday, to clean up from last weekends’ storm … and today is Friday!!! ‘Lest we forget, on Monday we were in the middle of a “Wind Chill Warning,” with wind chills at -40 … that’s 40 below zero … However, I waited until the sun was out, so it was only something like 30 below zero as I “enjoyed” this latest round of “I love it up here!”

Yes, you can feel Spring on its way … we have been in the mid-teens for a couple of days this week (that’s a high temperature), so we are almost giddy from this change of weather … tonight, it will warm up to only -10 (that’s ten degrees below zero), and tomorrow night, we will climb to … yes … climb to … look at that thermometer … tomorrow night, we will be enjoying a much needed respite from these double-digit below zero temps … tomorrow night … we are up to -4 (that’s four below zero) … it seems almost ruthless to look at Sunday, when we will get up to somewhere near 30 … (that’s 30 degrees above zero), and then, experience a low Sunday night of … and, this seems almost too good to be true … Sunday night, the low is expected to be … yes … be … 18 Degrees! Did I see that right? Yes, check again! Sunday night … the low is predicted to be … 18 Degrees … Above Zero …

Lest we forget … Sunday is the first day of March … Oh! Spring is on the way … What’s that?
The forecast for Sunday into Monday???
Not again!!!
Not the … Yes, the … Sunday into Monday Morning Storm …
But … we just had temperatures within reach of freezing … Yes … a chance we could “climb” all the way up to within sight of “Freezing,” and … what do you mean … there is still three weeks of Winter left … I’m going to check my calendar…

Oh, Man! There is three weeks of Winter left …
Oh, Man!
What do you mean that, sometimes, we don’t even see snow until March???

P.S.: This may be the first “Post Script” ever in the middle of a letter …
I just realized something …
The Groundhog comes out on February the Second … will there be six week of Winter left?
Let’s do some math here:

The big “Groundhog” event is on February 2 of every year.
Wait … let me grab a calendar …

Got it!
February 2.
It’s right here at the top of the calendar. There it is: February the second.
(By the way, the picture for February, on my calendar, features this verse from Psalms:
“The Lord hath heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer. Psalm 6:9”).
What??? You don’t have a “Scripture Calendar”?
Looks like we’ll have to re-do that series on how important it is to have Scripture posted around your home …

Back to the calendar:
Let’s do some math:
February the second is, this year on a Monday.
I won’t count that week because the idea is for “weeks in the future.”
OK … OK … I’ll count that week …
Here goes:
It’s all about “six weeks.”
We know that February the second is on a Monday.
Then:
February 9.
February 16.
February 23.
March 2.
March 9.
March 16.

Will we have six week of Winter???
Let’s look again:
March 16 … a Monday … is followed by a Friday … March 20 …

Guess what???
We are going to have six weeks of Winter!!!
Hey …. I’m not making this up … Spring comes … Exactly … in the 6th week!!!

What a revelation!
The groundhog is right!

He’s right!!!
Every Year … Every Year … Every Year …
The second day of February is sure to fall on February the second.
The first day of Spring is sure to fall on March the 20th.
Six weeks.

I thought about going back in time … to look at calendars from years past …
Then … I thought about going ahead in time … to look at calendars from years in the future …

Then … I thought … wouldn’t February the Second, and March the Twentieth … be the same distance apart … every year … yes, except for a Leap Year, I know, but … still within the Six-Week Span …

Hey!!! I’ve got an idea:
Why don’t we get another animal as a symbol, to proclaim when Fall/Autumn would arrive?
Yes … that’s it …
We could bring him (or her) out … exactly six weeks before the start of Fall/Autumn …
Man! What a great idea!!!
The idea would be … dependent upon when he saw his shadow (which, I suppose, would be based strictly upon whether it was cloudy that day or not) … this animal could tell us … with exact prognostication … just exactly … when Fall would come …

What an idea!!!
But, wait … wouldn’t it be the same distance between the two dates … every year … regardless of what recent weather was??? Wouldn’t the next season come at exactly the same day every year???

Ok, so I’ll admit that I never, ever realized … in my whole life … until now … that there was exactly 6 weeks between February the second and the first day of Spring …
But … if it took me this long to realize this … that it will always be the same distance between the two dates … what about others? Maybe they would take years and years to figure this out. In the meantime … there would be money to be made …

(I don’t know if there is any way to check what the longest P.S. in history has been, but, maybe, this may qualify …)

P.S.S. Would you believe that I sat down to write this post, wrote the title, and, when beginning to write the first sentence … everything changed … so, I’ll have to leave the slide show for the next time …

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

P.S.S.S.: (Why not go for the record?): Carol is predicting an early Spring this year.
Me? I think it will come on March 20 … But … we never know … right???

Thoughts on Snow-Part Three: A Biblical Perspective

Hi Friends:

When I first offered my “Thoughts on Snow” way back in November (after our first snowfall up in the Great North Woods), the whole idea was to answer a couple of questions, like “Is snow mentioned in the Bible?” and “Does it snow in Israel?” As is most often the case, somewhere in the middle of the first sentence … the post went in a completely different direction, and I didn’t answer either question. Then came “Thoughts on Snow-Part 2,” and I didn’t get around to either question once again … So …
How often is snow mentioned in the Bible?
Does it snow in Israel?

We start with the second question:
Keep in mind that deserts at high latitude do get snow. Israel is on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, facing into the prevailing westerly winds, and therefore the mountainous area where Bethlehem is located can get snow, just like the Sierra Nevada out in California. While it is uncommon, it does snow in this part of Palestine, sometimes three to four days a year. At an elevation of 2,400 feet, Bethlehem is in the desert … But desert means dry, not hot. Keep in mind that there are places here in the United States, parts of Colorado, for example, which are considered “high desert,” and they have snow … lots of snow. My research about Israel showed that in January of 2002, there were several inches of snow across parts of Palestine, and Bethlehem got a large snow fall in February of 2004. Again, rare, but it happens. I understand that in December of 2006 they had a heavy snowfall, and you may remember that back in 1992, pictures of the “White Christmas” in Bethlehem were published by news media worldwide,
So, while it gets cool in winter, and certain higher altitudes near Jerusalem and Bethlehem can even see snow, this is rare, and generally limited to brief periods during December and January.

First question:
The Bible talks about snow in different ways. It speaks of snow to reference a certain time of year, it talks about snow itself (as part of Winter), it is used to describe how white something like clothing and leprosy can be, and my personal favorite, snow is used to describe how clean our sins will be when they are washed clean by Christ’s blood when we confess our sins and believe in Him as our Lord and Savior.

When I began to think about this, one of the questions I had was, “What is the first mention of “snow” in the Bible?” The answer to that is dependent upon perspective:

My first response leads me to Exodus, when Moses stood before Pharaoh, and the second sign, following Moses’ rod turning into a serpent: “And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow” (Exodus 4:6).

Many Biblical Scholars believe that Job was the first book of the Bible to have been written. The book of Job contains 5 references to snow, including these:
The first is when Job compares his friends to a brook: “Which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid” (6:16); then, these references: “If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean” (9:30); “Drought and heat consume the snow waters” (24:19); “Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow?” (38:22).

The Bible is very clear on Who makes the snow: “For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth” (Job 37:6;); “He giveth snow like wool” (Psalms 147:16); “Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word” (Psalms 148:8); “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater” (Isaiah 55:10).

As an historical reference to refer to the time of year an event occurred: “And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow” (2 Samuel 23:20; 1 Chronicles 11:22); and this from Psalm 68:14: “When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was white as snow in Salmon” (a mountain near Shechem).

Proverbs uses snow in examples of wisdom: “She is not afraid of the snow for her household” (Proverbs 31:21); or lack of wisdom: “Like snow in summer and like rain in harvest, So honor is not fitting for a fool” (Proverbs 26:1). And, Jeremiah asks, “Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon?” (18:14).

In the verse from Exodus, we saw snow used to describe the effects of leprosy. There are 2 other well know examples when this happened:
To Moses’ sister, Miriam: “And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous” (Numbers 12:10).
The example of Naaman: “The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow” (2 Kings 5:27).

Snow is used to exemplify white and purity, the way we look after God cleanses us from our sins: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalms 51:7); “Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk” (Lamentations 4:7).

Of course, there are the descriptions of Jesus, where the word “snow” is used to describe both His appearance, and the color of His garments: “And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them” (Mark 9:3); “His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow” (Matthew 28:3).

The Bible uses both snow and wool to represent whiteness and purity, and we will see both words used in a recorded description of Jesus’ appearance:
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18); “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool” ( Daniel 7:9); “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire” (Revelation 1:14).

There is another important similarity between snow and wool. Both snow and wool act as insulators. The World Book Encyclopedia says: “Wool . . . insulates against both cold and heat.” And of snow, World Book notes that it, too, “serves as a good insulator. Snow helps protect plants and hibernating animals from the cold winter air.”

So, the next time you watch the snow falling from the sky, you may want to think of God’s awesome power. Or you may choose to think of the gentle protection he provides as he spreads a white blanket over his creation, much the way a loving parent might tuck a child safely into bed.

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Thoughts on Snow: Part 2

Recently, we offered some thoughts about snow … in particular, we tried to answer the question of why snow is so white. As a final “thought” on that, we learned that how a snowflake “appears” depends upon light. And, except for rare occasions, “no two snowflakes are alike.” I did think that, in God’s creation, no two people are alike … we are all different. We are all “people,” with the same basic make-up, but no two are exactly alike. Just like with snowflakes, each one is different. That is amazing, and proves, yet again, just how amazing God really is. And, intelligent. It did not escape me, that, even in a snowflake, how it “appears” depends upon light. Just like us! How we “appear” to others depends-totally and absolutely-upon how we reflect His light. We have written much about how just a little light makes so large of a difference to surroundings … Just like snow … to appear white … we must expose ourselves to the Light …

I must admit that I have spent much time recently thinking about snow. After a great, long Autumn, well, Winter finally arrived. And, everywhere I’ve ever lived, it’s always the same. No matter when it comes … no matter how many Winters we’ve been through … we are always “surprised” when it arrives. We never seem to be ready for it … even when God gives us many, many extra days of nice weather to prepare. Again, we always capitalize “Winter,” out of respect. So, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about snow. Maybe it’s been because of all these hours I’ve spent dealing with it. One day this week (I don’t really remember which day, as they all seem to look alike, with snow every day …), I was up at 5:30, and when I was out on the front porch at 5:45, I could hear snow-blowers going in the neighborhood. I joined them at 6:05 … this is AM, by the way … I was up and ready to go … after all, I hadn’t snowblown the driveway since … since … well, 9:00PM the night before …

Last night (Thursday), I got home from school, and immediately changed into the “snow plow” outfit, which means “layers,” and pulled on my new -40 boots … and, promptly went up on the roof to shovel snow and ice … then, I shoveled the snow from “my side” of the driveway (the spruce trees which had been holding the wet snow for the past couple of days released their bounty sometime that day), as there were 3 or 4 new inches of snow … even though we hadn’t really gotten any new snow to speak of, that day … then, I shoveled the end of the driveway, where it piles up (like a huge speed bump), from when the city snow plow goes by … If you don’t remove this long row of snow, after it freezes it really does become like a concrete speed bump …

Good thing we don’t have snow predicted for today, except for the “less than one inch” we’ll have in the forecast for the next 3 or 4 months … seemingly, every day. By the way, just so you’ll know that our weather forecasters are just like yours … when I got home from school today, I finished shoveling the rest of the snow from the front porch … no problem … I just went back out, and had to shovel again, what has fallen in the last hour or so … it’s coming down pretty good now, and we have already gotten much more than the “less than one inch” …

So, yes, I guess I have thought about “snow” a lot
the last few days …

Hey! Look! The calendar! Winter “officially” arrives a week from Sunday. I was working in a classroom today, and one of the ladies was putting on her snow boots, getting ready for recess duty. It was a fine pair of boots, rubber soles, insulated … I gave her this encouragement:
“Hey! Just think! Another 5 months and you won’t even need those!!!”

The hardest part is still the Spring … yes, the Spring. And, that’s because we have access to the national weather forecast … and, are able to see what the weather is like in the rest of the country …

As a motivational writer, I thought it was time to consider “the benefits of snow.” I really did a Google Search on subjects like “what are the benefits of snow,” and things like “is snow really a good fertilizer?” There really are benefits to snow. Plus, let’s never forget that God is fully capable to bless you … in any kind of weather … And, like a lot of things … to receive the benefits of anything, to realize the blessings included, it sometimes just depends upon our attitude …

Man!!! It is STILL coming down out there!!!!
Whoops! Sorry!

How glad I am to have heat (it was -15 just last Sunday night and our pipes froze), shelter, running water (and hot water) … I am surrounded by blessing … And-really-to have windows to look out of, and to be able to see, period …
To have warm clothing, to have so much … Sorry … had to look back outside again … I just went back out to the front deck, and there is twice as much snow as there was when I shoveled just under an hour ago … I check the weather forecast, and, while there is the standard “20% chance of precipitation,” there is no accumulation mentioned … however, I do see that we have a 60% chance of “snow showers” tomorrow, Saturday. While I am on the front deck, shoveling, I hear the neighbors come out from across the street … from their language … they seem just as surprised as I am that their truck is covered in snow … I won’t repeat what they said, but, I could tell they were surprised …

Did I mention that there really are “benefits” to snow? Well, apparently, there are:
One major benefit of a good snow cover is that snow functions as an excellent insulator of the soil. Without snow, very cold temperatures can freeze the soil deeper and deeper. This could lead to damage of root systems of trees and shrubs. The insulation effect of snow also helps protect perennials, bulbs, ground covers, and strawberry plantings from alternating freezing and thawing cycles. Without snow, milder temperatures mixed with the sun, could warm the soil surface, leading to damage from soil heaving, which can break roots and dry out plant parts. Snow also helps conserve soil moisture over the winter.

On days when the snow melts, it provides needed water. Lakes, rivers, streams and ponds benefit from snow by having their water supplies increased. When drought plagues an area, snowy winters can change the course of dry seasons. The entire ecosystem is maintained when water supplies are sufficient.

Snow is such a good insulator that some animals dig snow caves in which to hibernate. New snow is composed of a high percentage of air trapped among the accumulated snow crystals. Since the air can barely move, heat transfer is greatly reduced. Fresh, uncompacted snow typically is 90 to 95 percent trapped air. Many animals take advantage of snow’s insulating qualities, and burrow into the snow to hibernate through the winter.

Guess what? Snow reduces the insect pest population. Many damaging insects are unable to survive snow and cold.

I’ve always heard that it was good when it snowed because snow is called a “poor man’s fertilizer.” Is this true?
Aside from water, nitrogen is the only element that snow puts back into the Earth. However, lightning and rain actually emit a greater proportion of nitrogen than snow. What makes snow good for the soil is that it feeds nitrogen into the soil at a slower and more even rate (through melting) than a thunderstorm, which delivers precipitation at a more rapid rate.

So, what do you say now? Gotta love that snow!
But, I think, most importantly, we must learn to “be content in whatever state we are in.”
And, in whatever weather we are in.

To close (as I probably need to go back out and shovel), every area of the United States has its own particular weather issues … and, I know, many of those weather issues are much, much worse than snow … Period. More dangerous, and more costly. I will be completely honest: If I had to choose between some of the weather I’ve experienced, and what I see going on now throughout parts of the country … I think I’d pick the snow. We know when it’s coming (within reason), and we know when it is leaving (within reason). Regardless of where you are, and that includes here and there … God has placed you there … for a particular reason … Be grateful for where He has placed you, and go about “doing the business for which you were placed.”

And, that means, you must be ready, yes, in any season, and “in any kind of weather.”
God won’t place you where He can’t protect you.
God won’t place you where He won’t protect you.
God won’t place you where He can’t bless you.
God won’t place you where he won’t bless you.
And …
God won’t place you where you can’t bless others…
Regardless of … and, let’s face it …sometimes, because of … the weather.

Blessings to you, and your family,

Richard. Vincent. Rose.
Modern-Day Psalms