“Wyrd biõ ful ãræd.”

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The depths of winter


One of the nicest things about winter in the Blue Ridge mountains is the quiet.  The population reaches it's lowest density in February because the weather is harsh, and many of the tourist attractions are either closed or difficult to reach.

At night, you can hear a long way in the mountains. The cold air and the acoustic effects of the mountains themselves transmit sound a considerable distance.  Even so,  I can stand out on the porch for thirty minutes and hear absolutely nothing except the wind.  Sometimes, when it snows, you can hear the snow falling on the trees.  People don't believe me when I say that but it's absolutely true. It's just that the vast majority of individuals never find themselves in a place where it's so quiet. You have to get where there aren't any people, because people invariably mean light and noise pollution, if nothing worse.







I got through the last big storm here with minimal damage. A few shakes off the roof, and a few branches and limbs down.  Most of it I have already repaired or cleaned up.  If the weather service radio is right, we can expect light snow tonight, then more and heavier snow on Sunday night. I may make a run to town tomorrow for a few things.  This winter, I have not been leaving the house much. It used to be my practice to go into town for lunch ever so often in winter time, but I haven't done that this winter.  I tend to just stay up here and not fool with the trouble of driving down the mountain, then into town, then coming back up here. There have been more trees down across the trail than usual, because rain followed by wet snow has been more frequent. I can never been sure, when I start down the mountain, that I won't have to get out and clear the trail of a blow down in order to get out. That rather quells my ardor for starting out in the first place.




I opened a can of coffee today that went into storage on 12 November 2012.  It was one of those with the aluminum foil seal instead of a metal top on the can.  Perfectly fresh, as far as I can tell.  I keep the number ten cans for storage once they are empty.  The plastic lids start tearing after a while if you open them frequently, but you can buy new number ten can plastic lids from Emergency Essentials for pennies. I know I've said this ad nauseam but I never throw away anything that can be useful on down the road. In The Witch of Hebron there's a scene where one character throws a bottle and shatters it, scandalizing his companion because "that was a perfectly good bottle!"  The characters in the book are living in post collapse times when no one can make glass or bottles. I feel the same way about useful things, they can be replaced on a whim now, but who is to say how long that will go on?

It's still early morning yet, but the rest of my day will be pretty routine.  Take out water to the frozen water tubs the animals rely on.  Feed the animals. Read a little, and catch the weather and news on tv. Then a nap in the early afternoon.  It's a hard life, but someone has to live it.


40 comments:

  1. We got pummeled here in Maine on Tuesday with 33 inches. 12 more expected for Friday and as much on Monday. Running out of space to put the stuff.
    Michael

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We expect snow tonight, then again Sunday and Monday. But the conditions do not even begin to approximate what you are dealing with. It's a good thing you are used to it and properly equipped. Temperatures like you had, with that amount of snow, would completely paralyze us here in the mountains. There was a storm like that here in 1987. Nothing could move. People froze to death in their trailers, mostly old people who lived at the end of "possum trails" back into the mountains, and couldn't get out when the power failed. In the end, the National Guard had to bring M113 tracked armored personnel carriers up here to try to reach people. Thank God there's only been one storm that bad in all that time here.

      Delete
  2. I saw an item on our tv last night about ferrets - on a programme called Qi. It appears that if they are not spayed, and if the female (Jill) does not mate within a year, she will die from too high a level of oestrogen. The male (hob) does not suffer the same fate...

    Also, if you can catch a programme called Earthrise on Al Jazzera try and watch - they have some fascinating items.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In America, ferrets have to be spayed or neutered before being sold to the public. I did not know that the Jill's could die otherwise, because the law here was instituted for a bizarre reason. There are wild ferrets, called "the black faced ferret" in the Dakotas. A senator decided that domestic ferrets might escape, interbreed with the black faced ferrets,and wipe them out. But that's impossible, as a domestic ferret can't survive in the wild. That's why, when some unintelligent or uncaring person dumps ferrets off in a park or along the road, there's a huge effort to find them before they die of starvation .Not long ago, two ferrets were abandoned in a park near Chicago. A "ferret person" spotted them, and it took more than three days of searching by upwards of 400 volunteers before they were found and rescued. Both were in bad shape, one had severe medical issues, which is probably why they were abandoned. But they were taken in by a local rescue and received medical treatment. I understand they have "forever" homes now. Most stories like that don't end so happily.

      I watch Al Jazzera though I detest them at the same time. They are just apologists for Islamic extremists and they love to denigrate America. But I do watch, because they have the best international news coverage, and because they DO have some good shows. I have not seen Earthrise but I will check it out. I don't believe in cutting off my nose to spite my face, and I'll watch good programming no matter what the source. I even watch CNN, but that's a dark secret which I will deny if challenged on it! ;-)

      Delete
    2. Yeah - I pick and choose what I watch on AJ and CNN. I find the propaganda exhausting and draining of my energy. Everything in moderation - especially when it comes to propaganda. For sanity sake.

      Delete
  3. I do not live in the forest anymore, but on a side hill with farming all over the valley below. This time of year there is very little farming activity, so it is marvelously quiet. So quiet that some times the only noise I hear is the refrigerator cycling on and off. This will sound far out there, but on the very quiet days like this, I can tell when a vehicle has started down our driveway. I do not hear it as much as I feel the pressure change as it comes closer to the house pushing air in front of it, if you will. IA few more seconds pass and then I hear it.l So yes, I do believe you can hear snow falling! We are far more complex creatures than it first appears. Or dementia is setting in and no one has the heart to tell me. :))
    Strelsi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I doubt it's dementia, as you are juggling so many things out there and managing them all. So no worries there! It's a lot easier to feel at ease and "safe" when there is no din of human noises constantly assailing your ears.

      I feel the same way about lights at night. I don't use white light floods for a variety of reasons but one of those reasons is it ruins the night sky.

      Delete
  4. We are down to around 5% snow cover, mostly in the shaded areas. very winding today so it feels colder then it has the last week. I wish we had more snow here after all its is winter in MN.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You may get your wish, Rob. I hear there is another storm coming across the country from west to east here shortly.

      Delete
  5. Windy and Chilly here too. I can stand the chill, but add the wind, and it gives me a headache. But thankful to not be way up north, those poor folks.

    We like the silence of the country as well, we do have neighbors, but never hear them. it is nice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have a good location where you are, and if the people near by are nice people who don't impose on you with racket or other annoyances, then they really aren't a negative aspect. I know having neighbors is good sometimes, as in an emergency. The wind is blowing here today, fairly hard, and it's supposed to pick up after dark.

      Delete
    2. you do need to be acquainted with all neighbors for a variety of reasons, to suss them out if for no other reason. there can be emergencies and you want to know who to call on for help or to whom to give help.
      'gary in bama' recently found unsuspected places near him on google earth. and he has lived there 30 years. good to be informed.

      Delete
  6. Harry,

    The last two days here felt like summer rolling in. Temperatures raised to the high 70's. This morning we're surprised with 30+ degree change. Temperatures will be dropping in to the 20's in the morning with the potential of snow over the weekend.

    I've heard that snow you're talking about hitting the tree's as it comes down. The noise of the snow hitting the tree limbs is relaxing. My favorite part of the snow falling on the tree is it glistens as long as it's not disturbed.



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Snow coming down on a quiet night, without a lot of wind, is very peaceful. I like to listen to the whispering sound it makes, something you can only hear in the complete absence of other distractions. One of the nice things about living in the country. Years ago my wife was ill and we had to stay at the Holiday Inn near a hospital in Atlanta. I would go up on the roof, and it was a completely different environment in the city. You could not see the stars because of all the lights, and you couldn't hear anything but road noises, music, and all the other hubbub of civilization. It just made an already stressful situation worse.

      Delete
    2. i notice that the 'music' is getting even less musical and louder and
      louder. it is played everywhere now and a relaxing meal cannot be had almost anywhere.
      'eat 'n' park' is an area chain and i have completely quit going there. i cannot stand it.
      was in penney's the other day and asked the cashier how she could stand it. she couldn't. said it drives her nuts all day.
      it is almost--but not quite-- worse than mexico.

      Delete
  7. I make a habit of saving the coffee cans at work for my use at home. The store various small items. The no rust feature makes them pretty good slow watering cans - just poke a small hole w/ nail at corner, for a slow dribbling water. Soil is slowly watered and it seems to cut down on weeding. The vast majority are plastic, but the Carnation Creamer cans are threaded for more surer sealing, as well as being larger containers. Even have a few metal coffee containers - some of those have been made into DIY cooking pots.

    Handy items those - but bulky to store.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's almost no limit to the uses you can find for old coffee cans. I have room for storage, although lately it has been getting a bit tight in some of my outbuildings and I am considering building another purely for storage. If I do, I am going to build a small building adjacent to it just for flammable liquid storage.

      Delete
  8. You can hear the snow fall here too. Love that. Good news on the fresh coffee!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does help recharge your batteries and keep your spirits up, listening to the snow come down.

      I keep a lot of coffee stored, because I am addicted to it and drink way too much. I'd have a hard time without it. Mainly I like the type of coffee can that has a metal lid, and I had some qualms about the foil, but the vacuum seal keeps it fresh.

      Delete
  9. There is no sound in the high desert at night. (occasionally a coyote). When snow falls it sounds like when dish suds bubbles burst.. (Not really a sound you can put your finger on). Good to know that foil seals keep coffee fresh for years. I miss the old coffee can metal tops......we would use them to cover knotholes on the side of the barn or wherever needed,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd like to live out there. I went to the Oregon high desert with my son and brother. We camped in a big gorge along the river. Lightning started a fire and we put it out with shovels. The whole trip was a great experience.

      Like you I prefer the metal lids but they are getting harder to find.

      Delete
  10. Harry - there is absolutely nothing like the sound of me waving my arms back and forth in the hottub with no wind, no light or sound pollution, just the stars, jam and me making small wave sounds with my arms....it is the most peaceful thing in the world. but then there are the times when it is snowing lightly and me and jam sit in the silence, in the hot water and catch snowflakes with our tongues. well except for our silly laughter breaking up the night when one of us says something ridiculous!!! and we say a lot of ridiculous things!

    we can hear a vehicle coming from over a mile away that's how quiet it is here. oh and even though the ocean is about 4kms as the crow flies...when the ocean is having a storm, we sit in the hottub and listen to it roar. and roar it does!

    we try not to go anywhere in the winter time. why bother? it is this time of year that we can actually rest and unwind. no jobs, no worries and no reason. much love to you and yours always, my dear friend.

    your friend,
    kymber

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have thought about getting a hot tub based on how much you and J enjoy yours. I think the cats and chickens would trash it though. I miss the ocean. You have the perfect location there.

      I haven't been getting off the mountain much but as you say there's really no need to. Like Badger in "The Wind in the Willows" I really prefer home.

      Delete
    2. Harry - our cats scratch at the sides of the hottub but don't do any damage. our hottub is called a "Softtub" and we swear by them as we had one back in the city too. we gave that to our step-dad and he still uses it and hasn't had any problems with it - they last forever as that one is now 7yrs old! our tub is portable weighing only 70lbs and makes for being able to move it around regularly (which we do often) a breeze! jam checks our chem levels (enviro chems) regularly and if there is only one or 2 people using it regularly you figure out very quickly which chems you need more of/less of. as it is only me and jam in the tub, jam has learned when to adjust the ph or alkalinity. we change our water twice a year - a very easy process. let me know if you want more info and i will send it to you.

      all i can say is that there is no better start to a day and no better

      Delete
    3. Harry - it seems my comment got cut off or something! anyway - if you want more info on the health benefits of having a hot tub - just let me know. and remember, if there was one thing that i would do for allllll of my friends, without considering expense, it would be to give them all a softtub! love you buddy!

      Delete
    4. G,day Harry and Kymber,

      We call them a Spa down here and it was the best thing I ever did getting one. Nothing better than sitting in the spa with an icy cold beer on a hot day,especially if you have just finished mowing the lawns. Funny thing is even if it is a stinking hot day you need the water temp to be at least 35degrees C or else you feel cold!
      Hope you are surviving the snow ok, we just had a month's worth of rain in 2 days so things are a bit damp.

      Delete
    5. Hey, good to hear from you. I was thinking about you basking in the warm Australian sun shine the other day while the wind was hammering the house and the sleet was beating on the windows.

      The only people I know who have hot tubs are Canadian and Australians! I guess America really isn't at the top of the food chain anymore. ;-)

      You folks can use the rain, I know. Outback Tania was talking about having rain in her part of Australia as well, so I know it must have been a pretty good front moving through.

      Keep me posted on things down under.

      Delete
  11. Wish I didn't have to work in the winter and could just sit in a hot tub in silence! (I envy you Kymber)...but alas, still have youngsters to feed...

    The temp. here in the Rockies has been nice, 40-45 which is a nice change for us. I'm ready for spring/summer, but not ready for garden work! --Troy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Troy - i soooo hear you about being ready for spring/summer! but like you, i just want the weather and not the work just yet - bahahahah! do you have a blog? if not, you should start one.

      Delete
    2. I think he should too. I'm always interested in anything to do with that part of the country.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I wish I had time for a blog or I surely would. Trying to juggle work, an autistic child, and prepping too. Maybe in the future? Until then, I'm content with the wisdom y'all provide here. Cheers--Troy

      Delete
    4. Troy - i was diagnosed as autistic waaay back in the early 70's...way before it was "acknowledged and understood". if you want to talk ever..you can get me at kymberzmail@gmail.com which will re-direct to my personal email. i spoke at many parents of autistic children groups throughout my 30s for the ontario children's hospital and some people told me that i presented as an adult with autism, something they had never experienced and that they hoped their children could grow up to be one. please contact me if you want to talk further. much love eh?

      Delete
    5. Note: this did not post for some reason, so I did a cut and paste from the comment long to restore it. HF. It's from Kymber.

      Harry - our cats scratch at the sides of the hottub but don't do any damage. our hottub is called a "Softtub" and we swear by them as we had one back in the city too. we gave that to our step-dad and he still uses it and hasn't had any problems with it - they last forever as that one is now 7yrs old! our tub is portable weighing only 70lbs and makes for being able to move it around regularly (which we do often) a breeze! jam checks our chem levels (enviro chems) regularly and if there is only one or 2 people using it regularly you figure out very quickly which chems you need more of/less of. as it is only me and jam in the tub, jam has learned when to adjust the ph or alkalinity. we change our water twice a year - a very easy process. let me know if you want more info and i will send it to you.

      all i can say is that there is no better start to a day and no better

      Delete
    6. Kymber, I posted this and then your comment showed up! Or I missed it in the first place. I don't know what happened.

      I think a hot tub would be nice and there's a place in town that sells them. I am going to stop by though I expect it will cost more than I can afford to spend right now. You Canadians live the good life and have all the amenities but down here it's "root hog or die hog" most of the time. ;-)

      Delete
  12. I'm new to reading your blog and enjoy it very much; like you when we lived in upstate NY for 20 some years listening to the snow fall on the trees was such a pleasant sound so peaceful and sometimes sleepy. You were saying about using #10 cans I use them to water the dogs with and in the winter I just switch them out when they are frozen up, bring the frozen ones in thaw, and reuse them at dinner time. Plastic isn't an option with my Labs they chew them up faster then I can replace them.

    Just thought I would let you know someone in the Ozark Mts. of MO. has you tuned in, now back to my weaving making rifle slings for the hunting population of these mountains they seem to carry their guns with them everywhere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mallardhen, sounds like your mountains and the people who live in them are very similar to mine. You'd do well with your sling business here in the Smoky Mountains.

      I appreciate your dropping by and look forward to hearing from you again.

      Delete
  13. I have stored coffee in the basement for years and now have to start replenishing but one call out, I see that even some brand name coffee is now starting to come out in paper cans rather than metal. The last couple of large containers I bought (and used right away). I'll start really looking and not buy that type again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have been a coffee drinker since I was 15. I became utterly addicted to it in the military. The Marine Corps of my day was completely fueled by coffee, cigarettes, alcohol and women. I'm sure they are more refined today than we were. But old habits die hard, and of the four I still have to have coffee!

      I only buy the metal cans, and when I find a good price I usually buy a case or two. Coffee is not only an absolute necessity, but it's a good barter item as well.

      Delete
  14. I usually only have 1 cup of coffee in the morning, but this weekend it's been a 2 cups of coffee each morning kind of weekend.

    It's ok I'm supposed to get some coffee in to review soon. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A two cup day is a rough one for a one cup a day drinker! I hope things are going ok.

      I will await your review with great interest. Probably you will be doing gourmet coffee, won't you? I rarely get that in my hands, though my mom sends me some once in awhile. Mostly I buy the house brand of the big box stores or the chain grocery stores when it is on sale.

      Delete