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.