Friday, January 09, 2009

Getting Ready For Snow

I grew up in New York City, where an impending snowstorm meant that we had to . . . do very little. I suppose my dad got out his galoshes, those floppy black things he wore over his dress shoes to make the one-block trek to the subway station. And I know if the snow was deep enough he'd take pictures—quickly, before the soot fell on it. But in the city we didn't have weather-related chores. In fact, I didn't have chores at all, unless you count bed-making (and that only rarely).

But like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, I'm not in New York City anymore. Tomorrow we're expecting 10" of snow, and that means today I will:

Set up the birds with lots of seed and suet.
Bring in firewood.
Feed Mickey, the barn cat, and change his litter. (Mickey is an indoor barn cat.)
Bring in more firewood.
Turn my car around, so it's facing the road, and cover the windshield.
Bring in the big bags of dog and cat food from the car.
Pile some firewood on the porch for good measure.
Secure the tarp covering the remaining firewood.

Although I'd like to bring Christmas boxes from the barn to the house so I can dismantle the tree, etc., one trip to the barn is enough. Rain fell on our last snowfall, saturating it. The result is 3" of pure ice covering the entire property. Even the cleats strapped on my boots are no match for this stuff. Extra wary of falling after my knee injury two years ago, I make my way around outside cautiously, and do as little of it as possible.

Around here, the newscasters joke that everyone must love French toast, because whenever a storm approaches the supermarkets fill with people buying eggs, milk, and bread. I do feel secure with a fridge full of soymilk, and a reasonable number of eggs. And it helps to be well stocked with paper products, from toilet paper to printer paper. Plus I make sure I have plenty of pet food and bird seed.

It's silly, really, because just about all of us will be out and about within a day or two of the storm. In fact, I'm supposed to return to work on Monday. But those white flakes turn us all into hunter-gatherers, if only for a day.

About halfway into my pre-storm to-do list I might think fondly on my days in a city apartment, where a blizzard might inspire my mom to do some baking—and give me the bowl of chocolate frosting to lick. But if I'm smart I'll remember that we parked our car on the street, where the city snowplows turned parked cars into igloos. Life, as I've often told my children, is a series of trade-offs.


crystal said...

Great photo - I've never seen a cardinal in real life.

Today it's sunny here and in the 50s :)

Susan said...

Oh, yeah? Well, it's sunny here, too, for now. And we've got cardinals. :-)

Helen said...

Great photo, and great post. I find it so endearing that you have an indoor barn cat.

Sabine said...


Mali said...

So exotic for me. From the red cardinal (thanks to crystal for telling me what it is) to the idea of that much snow, talk of snowplows etc.

Susan said...

As the woman said after a date with the snake charmer, "A little exotica goes a long way."

Adam Byrn "Adamus" Tritt said...

I was in New York today, my wife and I, walking walking walking. Snowing and snowing and we loved every minute of it.

My son calls me and asks if he needs to water the trees. They were new to our yard, it has not rained in a week or so and it is in the eighties.

I drove in snow for the second time in my life. The first and second times were in 2000 when I lived in North Carolina.

Until I read this, though, it had not occurred to me the folk in NYC didn't actually have to do much when it snowed. Although I did notice Chinatown did not get plowed. Could not tell the sidewalk from the street. Funny that.

Anonymous said...

Cardinals in snow are beautiful. So how much snow did you get? I don't blame you for not wanting to walk to the barn more than once.

Indigo Bunting said...

Lovely photo, lovely post. I love your list and rituals.

It's snowing here, now.

Susan said...

Adam, I'm glad you didn't find driving in snow overly exciting. I had a snow accident early in my driving career (in Queens, where it wouldn't have happened except for my poor technique), and I've had near-misses since through no fault of my own. Just impossible (and impassable) road conditions.

Thanks, all!!