One of the major differences between North Carolina and my previous home state of Michigan is the incidences of freezing rain/ice storms during the winter months. My memory of Michigan is that the sky clouded over in late October and you didn’t see the sun again until almost May. Then it would get cold and the snow would snow on top of snow and everything eventually looked gray and unappetizing—not your “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” kind of picture at all.
Not that winter was all bad—when I was a kid I earned a lot of money shoveling snow on those days when it dumped a bunch and we didn’t have to go to school. We’d walk around the neighborhood and knock on doors and sometimes we wouldn’t get home until late in the afternoon. I never thought about it this way before, but I bet my mother was glad to see us pick up the shovel and head out—you know how kids can get when school is out there is nothing to do.
By my late twenties and early thirties, I had also discovered all the many recreational types of things you could do during the long Michigan winters. Since there were lots of state parks, cross-country skiing became one of my favorite things to do with my not yet wife Sandi. We still talk about those days. Instead of letting her teach me how, I bought a couple of books and read up on the sport and since I was a purist the skis I purchased were very Nordic and wooden and were the kind that needed different kinds of wax applied to them depending on the type of snow you would be skiing in. Sandi’s were fiberglass and had little ridges on the bottom and worked in all types of snow and actually worked better than mine most of the time. But that is the way life was back then—I would like to think that I have changed for the better.
We have been in North Carolina since 1978 and have seen our share of ice storms and freezing rain. Back in the day, whenever we had freezing rain, the power would go off for an indefinite period of time and so I bought lots of kerosene lamps and we always kept water in jugs handy. There were many times I would fire up the old Coleman stove just outside the door in order to heat some water for coffee or soup. Ah…those were the days my friend!
The first seven years in NC we had a wood cook stove as well as a wood heater and when the power went off nothing much really changed—life went on as almost usual.
But we don’t lose our electricity much anymore. Our power comes from Blue Ridge Electric and all during the spring, summer and fall months you can see trucks all around the county cutting the tree limbs that could potentially fall on the power lines during one of our freezing rain periods. They have done a good job and I am typing this story while everything around me (outside that is) is covered in up to 3/8ths of an inch of ice from the freezing rain we had last night. The temperature is hovering around the 34 degree mark and my driveway is a 30 degree pitch of solid ice.
I may make it into work after a while. I have only heard one vehicle leave the neighborhood since I have been up and I will probably throw some ice melt on the driveway in a bit to help it along.
Since I can’t get out and about to show you what things look like, I took a picture of my bird feeders out of my kitchen window. At least you will get an idea of what it’s like outside on this first of February in the mountains of North Carolina.
I am going to feed the fire and get another cup of coffee. Enjoy your day wherever you may be riding.