Sunday, February 10, 2013
When Snowstorms were just Snowstorms
All the recent news about snowstorms, blizzards, and Nor'Easters got me thinking about snowstorms of long ago on the family farm and how they survived. After all, there were no 24-hour news outlets; no weather channels sending out alerts and updates and warnings to stay off the roads or informing the public that airports and train terminals were closed or what pin-pointed time one could expect a surge in snowfall or when high wind velocities would blow through or if ice was expected to cover anything and everything. No news casters were sent out with a camera crew to capture the storm before, during, and after it struck. No Anderson Cooper-types or young women reporters with perfect make-up and designer snow gear were hunkered down in my grandfather's pasture measuring the snow drifts or standing by the creek bed documenting the snow ripping across the backfields for all the world to see. And if there had been-no one would have cared because everyone back then was getting ready. Even if they'd had a radio; even if they had a TV or access to a blog, they didn't need someone telling them what to do.They knew what they had to do.
While there was wood to be brought in from the shed and stacked, there was no mad dash to the grocery store-if there had been a grocery store-because the farm was self-sufficient with a root cellar and lots of canned vegetables. Eggs and milk were fresh as were meats and poultry. There were no gyms back then unless you considered the barn to be its equal as bales of hay and sacks of grain and milk cans had to be lifted and snow had to be shoveled and animals cared for and ice had to be sawed and hauled from the river to the barn for storage in sawdust-all carried out without the use of cell phones or ipads or electronic lifts or snowblowers. Work was work and it was hard and never-ending. That's probably why so many of those who came before us and endured 'storms of the century' lived to a good old age. They really worked. They didn't sit at computers. They didn't eat processed foods.
And after the storm moved on, kids would go out and play-turning snowdrifts into forts and castles and tunnels to crawl through and hide in. They'd slide down or roll down or run down the mighty white mountains. Snow would be collected and when they'd go back inside to warm up in front of the woodstove, real maple syrup would be poured over the freshly fallen,-non-polluted snow-and enjoyed! Seems to me the faster we go nowadays-the more we lose!