Da Vhistling, drifting snow

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telephone poles coming home.jpg
The View Coming Home -- more winter

We're into our 3rd winter on the prairie. Right now the winds are howling, school is already delayed two hours tomorrow, and I struggled around the farm with Mike doing "chores" earlier- using him for a windbreak. If you know Mike, he's not much of a windbreak!

Winter recap

Winter #1-- Shock and Awe. There was a curious novelty of screaming blizzards, blowing curtains (when the windows were closed), and facing the elements on the wide open, sparsely populated prairie.

Winter #2-- Long long winter. Last winter was nothing if not long. Really long. It is a blur of really long winter. It dully soaked into my psyche that out here on the prairie there is a thin veil between our well being and that blizzard blowing out there -- again-- keeping me awake-- again.

Winter #3-- This winter. This is a good winter. A few new windows help. I put the boys down for their afternoon nap today and said "hey look! the 'curtains' aren't blowing." Maybe its using the snowshoes-- more fun in the snow. Maybe its because I'm getting a lot more sleep- kinda hibernating- or the security that comes with that family set of -15 below rated sleeping bags. Or possibly reading Laura Ingell's "Long Winter" in which they nearly starve to death in the winter of 1881 just a few miles west of here. I, on the other hand and 130 years later, had a homemade shrimp and nettle pizza tonight for dinner in a howling blizzard on that same prairie.

Each night around here we take a few moments of stillness (no easy feat with a pair of monkey boys) and give thanks aloud. On a night like tonight there is a lot to be thankful for-- just in contrast to the Long Winter. We are warm, have lights, food, and family safe together.

Now if only the shingles weren't rattling off the roof above my bed.

9 Comments

I just have to put this here because I don't recall being in such an event. Issued at 7:00 pm tonight. Big Stone Co. roads are closed.

Local Area Emergency
Big Stone County (Minnesota)

MNC011-160400-
URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
LOCAL AREA EMERGENCY
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY ABERDEEN SOUTH DAKOTA
RELAYED BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ABERDEEN SD
659 PM CST MON FEB 15 2010
THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS TRANSMITTED AT THE REQUEST OF BIG STONE
COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT. NO TRAVEL ADVISED IN BIG STONE COUNTY
MINNESOTA.
US HIGHWAY 12 IS CLOSED FROM ORTONVILLE TO HIGHWAY 59 IN SWIFT
COUNTY. STATE HIGHWAY 28 IS CLOSED FROM BROWNS VALLEY TO MORRIS.
ALL SECONDARY ROADS IN BIG STONE COUNTY ARE CLOSED AS THEY ARE
IMPASSIBLE.

Uff Da!!! You may be snowbound for awhile!?? Guess you have enough stores in your basement to tide you over. I do recall the days on the farm...winds not quite as wild as you have..but, yes, I recall that realization about the thin veil. Still gives me a chill! Take care...stay safe! Love to you all! Carolyn

Yes- we have enough potatoes, beets, and squash to last a month.

But as of tonight we are out of milk and butter. And we drink about 5-6 gallons a week- so there's some grumbling.

Oh, boy...Please stay safe and warm, heard them mention the winds in Ortonville earlier this evening, but did not hear the latest weather report, I plan to get plowed out in the morning and then check out the car to see if the CLUNK sound in the back right rear is from the shocks or if the muffler/tailpipe is making the noise. It's been a memorable day! Stay well and love to all.
Love, Mom

Obviously, you need a family milk cow! :) Just imagine all the milk and butter you would have then! Don't worry about having to go out in the middle of the blizzard to do the milking. Didn't Pa Ingalls make a tunnel through the snow between his house and the barn?

Not sure if you've ever read "Mrs. Beatty's Sketches" from the 1958 Big Stone County History book (published in conjunction with Minnesota's Centennial) about that same winter of 1881. I believe her family homesteaded in Malta Township. Bridget Connolly's great book references the same winter. Great stuff about perseverance and making do. I've never thought of Mike as a windbreak either, but I believe he has built-in GPS. I won't say anything about the cow at this time.

You're definitely not making any kind of attempt to talk me into moving back to MN are you? I remember those blizzards (and the blowing curtains) all too well and as you well know...I DESPISE being cold. But I also remember loving blizzards as a kid because it meant I could stay home and play all day! Of course, as a kid, I didn't really understand the danger of blizzards! I do remember one particular blizzard that came out of nowhere, and had my poor boyfriend shoveling snow with Mike & Steve to try to get us out of the ditch...while NOT wearing the long underwear that he wanted to wear, but I told him he wouldn't need. Then of course, the fond memories of spending the night with strangers, eating hotdogs for Christmas Eve dinner...and I'm sure Steve has special fond memories of cuckoo clocks going off all night long! What an adventure that was!! If I remember correctly, you seemed to really enjoy that whole experience!!

Did you happen to see the price increases on the fruit & veggies grown in Florida? they expect them to climb a least 500%. Makes you a little bit warmer just knowing your basement is stocked- right?ES

Evan,

Yes- the basement is stocked with last years pickle relish- but I think we would still get scurvey (sp?) without the oranges and grapefruit.

Dale and Joanne- the whole cow subject is VERY VERY touchy around here. Could lead to loud words and table thumping!

We're plowed out- but Mike said to me privately (hahaha I'm putting it on the blog) that he'll be and I quote "suicidal" if we get the predicted amount of snow in March.

But the days are longer. We wake up at 14 below zero and up to 20 degrees above during the day. The sun is warming us. I can tell.

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This page contains a single entry by Kathryn Draeger published on February 14, 2010 9:51 PM.

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