“Wyrd biõ ful ãræd.”

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Everything stops.

This storm has not been a joke.  It's not one of those where you enjoy looking at the snow through the windows.

Tuesday morning it started snowing up here and it didn't stop. It snowed all night. Temperatures fell down to 2 degrees above on my porch.

There's almost a foot of snow around my place.  Nothing is moving, and there's no sound because the snow deadens sound.  I went down to the road on foot today.  Just animal tracks, no signs of humans at all.  No tire tracks on the old forest service road, no tire tracks on the county road.  No sign of the county doing anything about snow removal or cindering, or anything.  Even with four wheel drive, it would be hard to get into town and without it I think it would be impossible.

Before the snow started, temperatures dropped in a very short period of time. The wind came up and it was blowing very hard.  That's usually a sure sign of a snow storm this time of year and I gather from the scanner that people waited until the last minute to go rushing into town for food , batteries,  and other supplies.  I wonder why they do that?  Anyone who watches the weather knows when these things are coming. I will say the Atlanta weather people consistently underestimate the effect on the mountains. It's as if they don't understand that the higher up you go in elevation, the colder it's going to be and the more snow there will be.  Even so, there have been storms here they missed completely. They'll tell you the storm will pass by your area, and then it hits you squarely.  Waiting to buy your necessities until hours before it hits is so stupid that there must be other reasons. I wonder if people are trying to avoid spending their money until they are certain they have no choice? That would make sense to me, it's a delicate balancing act.



Here's another dead give away a storm is coming.  If the wind is coming from the West,  there are no clouds in the sky,  and sunrise gives you a deepening blue sky, you had better watch out.  I don't know any witty little rhymes about it but for our location it's true.

Apparently Atlanta got it good.  I hear people were abandoning their cars on the freeway and just walking off.  Officialdom came through as usual, in the face of overwhelming evidence it was going to be a bad storm they made the schools open and government employees had to come in. As a result, lots of kids got stuck at the schools and spent the night there. God help those teachers.  Since it sometimes seems that no one lives in Atlanta but government employees,  those hordes got stuck in traffic on the freeway and had nowhere to go.

I'm snowbound here. I put the Jeep down at the foot of the mountain, but the old forest service road is ice and not navigable.  Even if I got out to the hard surface road, it's just sheet ice.  A layer of snow, with a layer of frozen rain on top of it, with another layer of snow on top of that.

I'm comfortable, I just can't go anywhere, nor can anyone get in here.  If I go out to feed the dogs, and fall on the ice, that's the end of me.  No "first alert button" and "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up" in a whiny tone here.

I have been cooking giant stock pots full of rice for the outside animals.  I put canned dog food, dry dog food, canned cat food, dry cat food,  Crisco, bacon fat, and everything else that comes to hand in the rice. In this weather, I think perhaps hot food is essential.  They seem to like it a lot better than just food out of cans or bags.





34 comments:

  1. Bah after all those idiots that go hiking right before a storm hits and get air lifted out I am sure they would spare a helicopter for you if you fell down and broke a hip Harry. Of course you would have to get a hold of someone I guess.

    It's warmed up here quite a bit. Only just now got below 30 degrees and was prolly pushing 40 this afternoon.

    Was wondering where ya had been.

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    1. I think it was over at planning and foresight I read where his father in law fell down, and lay there for four days until anyone missed him. That's what worries me. I can carry my cell phone, but it doesn't work up here on the mountain. I could carry a portable on my land line, but if I'm very far from the main house it won't work. So if I go out there at night to run some water, or check on the dogs, or whatever and I fall and get hurt, in 9 degree weather like it is right now, the jig is up. I wouldn't be able to get in touch with anyone and if my wife called and I didn't answer, she would just figure I was out doing something for at least a day or two.

      I've been worn down to a nub. This cold is just sucking the life out of me when I have to go out and do the chores. I wondered if the two cats that went out into the meadow and just died were feeling that. So I have been cooking up big pots of rice with lots of other things in there to make it taste good. I seem to remember that warm food helps mammals survive cold.

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    2. The rice is for the animals, not me!

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  2. I would guess finding a tire distributor down there who sells studded tires or snow chains is a bit difficult? I hope you can get your mail in a few days..I sent ya somethin'!

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    1. I made it to the mail box today. No tires tracks. She has a four door Jeep Wrangler but the roads are just ice and I don't blame her for not coming. Or for putting the mail aside and bringing it tomorrow, or whatever she did. Our mail lady is pretty nice.

      I'll be looking forward to the mail.

      Nobody sells studded tires or snow chains here for the same reason we don't have any cinders or salt now that this storm has hit us. It's such a rare event that people say "well, I'll just throw some wood in the back of the truck" to save some money.

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  3. Hang on....I'm on my way. Unlock the gate. 32 here now, kinda warm.

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    1. Can't lock the gate. The lock is frozen solid. The cross bar is stuck on the cliff face. Of course, I don't need a gate right now, all I saw today were animal tracks down there.

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  4. I see the stars and bars are blowing hard. Look at it this way, it's practice because when that day comes, there will be a lot of panic and you have your experience and calmness to get you through any situation. Just imagine the panic in Atlanta. We all worry, but we are confident you will always be ok. Stay warm friend.

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    1. Some guy on the news tonight said that he was out on the freeway when all those cars got stalled in the snow, and people were just getting out and leaving their vehicles on the freeway. He said it looked like The Walking Dead. Which I still haven't watched, even though my brother sent me the DVD for the first season. I get it out, but I put it back.

      I'll be fine. I'm warm in the house, the outbuildings are good. Rob's suggestion about putting pipe insulation on the exposed pipes under the pump cover fixed the freezing problem the shop and apartment had. So in a way this has been a good experience, but it's wearing me out.

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    2. Don't hesitate to ask us just south for supplies, i'll grab Duke and Stephen, we will get there.

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    3. South Carolina Extremist offered to come help out, too. It's good to have cronies.

      I was thinking about robbing a liquor store over on the other side of the mountains to finance a gun purchase, but maybe with all of us... a bank?
      ;-)

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  5. I figured you had your hands full up there with this storm. I'm actually surprised that you have utility lines for power and cable to be posting tonight.

    We got 3 to 4 inches of "no accumulation" here where I live. I'll be glad for the 50 plus degree weather they are promising this weekend along with the rain to wash all this salt away that's on the roads.

    I'm glad it isn't any worse there with you than it already is. Stay warm.

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    1. It's just eerie. It's as if there was nobody left alive out there. I haven't seen a sign of life, or heard a human noise, since the storm came. They have closed the road that leads out to my place, and that's part of the reason.

      We weren't supposed to get anything like this amount of snow. They said it would hit Atlanta and South Georgia but that the mountains would get missed. That turned out to be a total miscalculation. I won't be going anywhere until that warmer, wetter weather you spoke of gets here this weekend.

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  6. Sounds like you are getting hit. Still no snow in Nebraska. We really need some! The farmers are going to have trouble growing things this year. Watch food prices go up more than they already have. We've gotten negative temps, wind, but no snow.

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    1. Nebraska. That's a cold, cold place I hear. There's drought all over the plains states and the west. We had a bad one some years back but now we are actually getting more wet weather than usual. I was fussing about too much rain last summer.

      Food is already higher here. But Walmart lowered it's price on a loaf of French bread from $1.68 to $1.00, like it used to be years ago. I wonder how long that will last?

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  7. Harry,


    (captaincrunch)


    The storms in Georgia are the reason I have extra fuel with fuel stabilizer, generator and other gear on standby.

    Im may not be in a perfect position, but I am not a zombie either.

    I would like to get a real parka this summer with some artic pants to go with it and keep it bagged in the truck with my other gear (bug out bag) in case I have a situation in cold weather. Our winter is almost over in South Texas so I will have learned more lessons for the next winter.
    Now South Texas did have a major ice storm in early April in the early 1980's, but the odds of that happening again are slim.

    Tomorrow I gotta go to a Pep Boys auto parts for a couple of small items, I will get some road flares while Im there for both trucks. I got other gear, just forgot about the road flares.

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    1. Harry

      (captaincrunch)

      I want to get the parka in the summer when they got on sale. I don't like panic buying. Get stuff when its out of season and cheap.

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    2. CC, you probably already know this, but Sportsmans Guide and Major Surplus carry good military surplus at decent prices. I might be buying some serious cold weather gear myself, I've been thumbing through the catalogs. Jeans and cotton khakis don't get it in this weather.

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    3. Harry,

      (captaincrunch)

      Yeah' thanks for the heads up. I have ordered from sportsman guide before.
      I did not mention this because I was kinda burned out from work, but the old battery died in the truck when I was in the walmart parking lot. It was 35 degrees outside and the wind was blowing.
      Of course I had no jumper cables. I gave the old beat up pair away to a close friend. I did have $20.00 left and went inside walmart and got a pair of jumpers.
      I asked six people before one volunteered to jump my truck. It was an older man in a camo jacket and who drove a Ford Diesel. It took 30 seconds to crank the battery.

      Thank God for the Camo wearing rednecks........

      I got a new battery from Interstate battery and got in it and everything works find now.

      Lesson one...have foul weather gear
      lesson two.....keep jumper cables in truck
      lesson three....change out old batteries before they crap out
      lesson four.....If you got car problems, bypass Yuppies (unless one man's up and volunteers) ask a redneck.

      My pitiful excuse was I just bought this truck in September so and the battery was only a year and half old, but a bargain basement Napa battery that are prone to failure. I thought I would squeeze a few more months out of it.

      The best batteries are Optima and Interstate. Toyota batteries are made by Interstate and you can get those at the Toyota dealer.

      The Interstate battery for my truck was about $100.00. The same Optima battery was $150.00. Those Optima's are used in off road racing four by fours, race cars, etc. I think they are the best, but for my use, the Interstate is very effective.

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    4. I hate it that you asked for help and people refused. I don't know how things have gotten to that. It's how it is, though. I'm glad a decent person came along.

      The battery wasn't your fault. No matter how hard you plan and try to foresee the future, something will happen you didn't think about. In this case, the battery wasn't old and it was a reasonable expectation that it would make it through this cold snap period. You can't blame yourself that it didn't. None of us are made of money and you have to make decisions about where to spend what you have.

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    5. Harry,

      (captaincrunch)

      Im not surprised that I had to ask so many before someone helped out. My thinking is that at the end of the day, I'm on my own. No one will help me but me.
      It was kinda been that way for Pioneers over a hundred years ago, when you nearest neighbor is 10 miles away you would have no choice but to do it yourself.

      Freedom and Independence come with the price of responsibility.

      (hey that's a good line, just made it up out of the blue)

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  8. We do the same for our animals. Any animal outside should never have to eat cold food in weather like that!

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    1. I cooked them up a good supper tonight. Rice, chicken, chicken soup, chili, and all of the ham broth from the last soup I made, as well as dog and cat food. They've all got shelter but some of the cats and chickens just aren't using it. Maybe the cold has dulled their wits. I know it has mine.

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  9. Take care. I hear that more could be headed our way next week so I hope it give you all a break. Not that I want it but we're better equipped to deal with the roads. I am so surprised that they kept schools and businesses open, not a smart idea when bad weather hits south.

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    1. It was a ridiculous idea. The politicians in Atl are saying they "didn't have enough warning." That's nonsense, we all knew this was coming, although it turned out to worse to the Northern part of the state than they projected.

      I guess I'll be able to get out this weekend, it's supposed to rain and warm up, then the same thing starts again next week. I don't like being snowed in but it's a feature of living up here on this mountain. It doesn't take a lot to make my vehicle trail impassable.

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  10. You got a lot more snow than us. We just got a couple of inches. Schools are still closed today, though, so we're hanging out at home. The roads have cleared (according to my husband) so I think we may head in to the library and then do the weekly grocery stop on the way home.

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    1. Our roads are still a mess. The weather radio is saying there is lots of black ice on the mountain roads, and to stay home if you don't have to go out on an emergency.

      I just stayed in today. Didn't feel like getting out in the cold more than I had to. One thing about the snow, the white snow on the ground lets you see a lot further into the woods than you normally can. Maybe it's the contrast. Be careful out on the road.

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  11. Wow, I'm shivering just looking at those photographs . . . chicken soup, don't skimp on the chicken fat either!

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    1. It's really cold out. I can't remember the last time I turned off the propane heating system. The snow is just laying out there, not melting on my mountain though I have heard on the scanner that they are getting the main roads cleaned up. The weather radio did say not to go out after evening because of black ice unless it was an emergency. I just hope my wife can get home tomorrow. I doubt she can get her car up here, we'll have to leave it down by the jeep on the side of the forest service road and hike back up. That's hard in the snow but it's supposed to be warmer.

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  12. G'Day Harry,

    How long does winter last over there! I was watching the news and it was showing pictures of snow in Florida, I thought it was tropical there (never saw any snow on Miami Vice). Thought you must be snowed in again when you went quiet for a while, keep as safe as you can mate, I'd better send you some Bundaberg Rum to help you get through the cold.

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    1. Strange you should mention rum. I'm not much of a drinker these days but I got a bottle of rum out of the basement and have been having a shot here and there. It seems to make me feel less worn out. Winter here usually starts in December, and the last snow is ordinarily the 2nd week of March or so. But this repeated single digit weather is just unheard of. I've been here since 1986 and I can remember some tough winters but they weren't just wave after wave of terribly freezing air. I'm still snowed in, I could walk out but what then? My Jeep is down by the forest service road, if that melts off I can get to town, but there's no sign of it yet. However, the weather radio says Saturday and Sunday will be warm and wet, before the next cold wave comes in.

      I'm ok. I have everything I need, and the power is staying on. Thank God I don't have to listen to the generator roaring . It's so quiet up here now, with the very cold air and the snow, and no people around, that thing could be heard for miles I would imagine.

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  13. Harry,

    That Georgia snowstorm really intrigues me. First off, my first thought upon seeing all those semi's and cars stalled in Atlanta was "this is an episode of the walking dead!". I half expected to see tempers flare on TV, as I have been to places on the south side of this city that I don't care to walk through again.

    ...but I am not hearing about looting and violence.

    On the contrary, what is being portrayed in the media are stories of strangers helping each other, offering food, and even some folks taking others on the highway into their homes! Remarkable...this says a lot about southern hospitality to me. This would never happen in New England. I've never lived in the South but I sure like the folks there. --Troy

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    1. Atlanta got hit hard and it was made worse by incompetence and indecision by the bureaucrats. It's too cold for people to be out looting. I remember though in the early 1990's, there was a bad snow storm and the people who were on the freeway got robbed by people coming up out of the projects and going car to car. The police were immobile and it was open season on motorists. Haven't heard of any of that this time.

      Southerners tend to be very hospitable and helpful to nice people. Seems like everybody is afraid of everybody else in the cities, and not without reason. Even out here, my wife raised hell with me for giving a couple of college kids a ride back to the park one night when they got lost and I found them on the road. They looked rough but were nice people.

      I guess you just do what you think is right and take a little risk. I'm too old to change the way I've lived now.

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