The east coast has just been through one of its periodic winter storms. If you live along North Carolina's coast, you eventually learn that many of these storms get re-energized in our waters before they make their trek up the coast.
I often wonder how we survived all the years we lived on the farm without the Weather Channel. We obviously had some weather forecasts, but I think they were pretty basic. Mostly we waited to see what the weather would deliver and sometimes it brought a really severe storm. When you live on a farm, you take what the weather brings and do your best to get what needs to be done finished in a timely fashion.
Many people are surprised to learn that Canada actually has snow belts. Those places where the snow seems to be present for an inordinately large part of the year a rare in North Carolina, but not in New Brunswick. After three years in Nova Scotia which tends more to rain, snow, rain and back to snow, we moved to Tay Creek, New Brunswick about twenty miles north of Fredericton. Tay Creek was just far enough north and higher in altitude than Fredericton to be one of those snow belts. The picture in the post shows one of the barns that I built in what could be considered an average winter snow in Tay Creek.
Our first year there I kept track of the snow. We got around twenty-three feet of snow that year. It was not the snowiest year that we saw but it was in the top few. There was no closing schools for snow but they did close a couple of times when the temperatures got down to minus 40.
The March 6, 2013 storm that brushed Washington, DC, brought mostly what the Weather Channel folks are found of calling "heart attack" snow which is heavy and wet. The picture that I got of the Northern Virginia storm was impressive but it just did not look like Canadian snow which rarely melts when it first hits the roads unless it falls in late April or early May. In Canada we worried most about heavy and wet snows collapsing roofs on homes and buildings.
I will admit to enjoying snow storms from the comfort of our coastal home. I have been a weather junkie for a long time but I have also shoveled more than my fair share of snow over the years. One of the toughest storms that I remember was actually one that caught us at our home in the Virginia mountains on December 19, 2009. The snow was deep and mixed with some sleet. These pictures will give you an idea of how difficult it was to clear. It would have been good snow for making igloos.
When I first moved to Canada after graduating from college, snow was an exciting challenge. I was born in North Carolina and a good blizzard was something of a thrill. We had the equipment to handle it on the farm so while it was a challenge, it was one we knew how to handle.
There is something cozy about being snowed in if you have heat, water, and don't have to carve a mile long road out to your cattle so they can be fed.
My wife keeps trying to reconcile the beach and water loving 2013 version of me with that 1974 version which loved the challenge of snow. Some things just will never be adequately explained.
Still I have made an effort at explaining how someone who graduated from Harvard after studying history ended up building a big cattle operation in New Brunswick far from the warm salt water of North Carolina.
Our new book, "A Taste for the Wild, Canada's Maritimes," has just been published on Amazon's Kindle store. It is good study in how snow and more likely farming can build character in someone whose family never strayed very far from the soil. It is also a deal at only $2.99. If you have never tried an e-book, this is a good one to try. It is not tremendously long and has 59 images to break up the text.
The book can be read on just about any electronic device using free Kindle software or software for your browser. Links to the software and the book can be found here at this site.