A Long Winter?
Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 08:15AM
Janet Szabo

"What was that about seven big snows?" Almanzo asked. Pa told him. The Indian meant that every seventh winter was a hard winter and that at the end of three times seven years came the hardest winter of all. He had come to tell the white men that this coming winter was a twenty-first winter, that there would be seven months of blizzards.

I love that passage from the Laura Ingalls Wilder book The Long Winter. It's been on my mind more than usual this year because it looks to be a winter of big snow, and it just happens to be one of the "seven" years. The winter of 1996-97 (14 years ago) is legend around these parts. It began snowing at our house on October 15 and the last of the snow didn't melt until May 31. So much snow slid off the roof of our garage that the dogs were able to climb up the piles of snow and walk around up there. I was pregnant with DD#2 and I remember what a grind it was to try to get around. 

Already we have more snow at our house than we got during all of last winter, and it's only December 1. I took this picture in a representative area of the yard today:

That's 20" folks. If we get 20" a month for the next three months we'll have over 10' of snow in the yard. It's possible.

I shoveled a bigger path from the back door to the chicken coop and then around to the compost bin. 


The chickens do not seem to be overly affected by the snow, although they are now stuck in their coop 24/7. I go out every morning at 6 a.m. and flip the light on. Chickens need a certain amount of daylight to keep laying eggs. It seems to be working; I get anywhere from 8-12 eggs every day. Everyone else around here who has chickens says that theirs all stop laying in the winter. Although I poked fun at the husband for building the Hyatt Regency of chicken coops, I do see the wisdom of pampering the clucks. Happy chickens lay eggs. Unhappy chickens do not. 

I tried to run the snowblower this afternoon so I could get rid of last night's deposit of 3" of snow in the driveway. Unfortunately, the temps are just this side of freezing and the snow is heavy, wet, and clumpy. I might as well try to snowblow marshmallow creme. We're looking in to getting a snowplow attachment for the forklift. The thing will probably pay for itself in short order. Certainly we could help the county road department keep our road clear, because they don't seem to believe that it is their job. Up until about three years ago the county road department did a fabulous job of keeping the roads clear. Then the supervisor retired; his replacement only sends the plows out when he absolutely has to, and it seems to be mostly to determine which plow operator can take out the most mailboxes.  

I finished DD#1's afghan on Thanksgiving day, and moved on to a much smaller project—something with lace and cables. I'm trying to decide how I want to prioritize my knitting projects for 2011. I won't have a newsletter deadline hanging over my head, so I will need some kind of system to keep me motivated to get things done. Suggestions? 

Article originally appeared on Big Sky Knitting Designs, LLC (http://www.bigskyknitting.com/).
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