I have fond memories of the Blizzard of ’66. No school for three days and afterwards so much snow and so little time. We hollowed out tunnels to slide from the top to the bottom. You can see the drifts in Fredonia were up to the roofs in many areas. The tiny figures at the peak are my sister and me.
I'm positive the topic of everyone's day is "blizzard." It's been on my mind. I admit, though, I love a good blizzard; however, it bothers me that it's so light out. You can't escape the light. The day begins at 6 a.m. and ends around 10 p.m. There's something unnatural about all the carefully sculpted snowdrifts and the light. At night, the beautiful full Pink Moon reflects brightly into our bedroom. There's too much light for snow. It should be spring.
My plants know it. They want out. But, my greenhouse is a bit leaky. It was built from found objects beginning with our old houseboat. We repurposed old windows from the Mandan Beanery, and added a free greenhouse furnace from my daughter's garage sale treks, a potting table, bin and tools from the Wheelers when they moved to a smaller house, and a compost bin from my friend Jess Toman. That's just naming a few of the folks who have assisted us in building up our farm.
My husband did the bulk of the work with the help of various volunteers, as covering a 96 by 120-foot-high tunnel cannot be accomplished with two old folks on ladders.
It's April, and like we always do, we filled the propane tank. The seedlings have developed strong roots and healthy leaves this time of year and beg to go outdoors. The recent snow would be fine, but between the wind and the cold, I cannot lose my livelihood to a window blowing out or the furnace pilot light blowing out.
There are drifts as high as the deer fence over my garlic. I can hear it screaming to be uncovered to take advantage of the sun and additional moisture. Alas, that's not going to happen for some time if the weather reports are accurate.
Since I'm not driving to town to work anymore, I thought I would get ahead of the game and plant some Chinese cabbage and my favorite "trout romaine" lettuce. It's in the high tunnel and has a row cover plus some plastic over the top, but I fear it had not enough time to establish a root system before the 0-degrees nighttime lows.
Sigh – "This is the way."
The traits of a farmer most certainly include being an optimist with outstanding patience and plenty of faith. Mostly it's like gambling. You place your bets on specific crops and play the odds against Mother Nature every year. Usually, the rewards are not where you thought they would be.
Snow rewards, although, were the much-needed moisture and grandma time. The children made it out for Easter dinner despite the white-out conditions at 5 a.m. Sunday. After dinner and Easter candy, we dressed in our snow pants and mittens and headed outdoors. It was only my son and three grandchildren. After a bit, my son went back indoors and there I was with the three youngsters. With only one sled to share, there was time to make snow angels, build a snow tower and throw snowballs at the hole where a beaver had decided to make his home in our irrigation ditch.
That's a story for another time.
It was the best Easter encouraging my grandchildren to live a little in the great outdoors by venturing a bit too close to the not-frozen ice to retrieve the sled whipped by the wind into the ditch. Oliver decided I needed help and ran to the house searching for a rescue team because grandma was in the water. If it had been one of them, I would have been banned from grandma-hood forever, sometimes too adventurous for today's parents. Grandma was rescued, the sled was saved, and so was the day. The "Best Easter Day" ever.
Sue B. Balcom
Writing, or maybe talking, comes naturally to me and under the guidance of a great newspaper editor I have acquired skills that led me to author four books.