Reality of winter: We’re never prepared

Reality of winter: We're never prepared By Bob Karolevitz The first snowfall of the season is sort of like the first robin of spring.

We watch the flakes swirl down as we stand by the window in a cozy room. It's a picture-postcard scene to see cardinals by the bird-feeder and to view another phenomenon of nature covering the still verdant ground with a blanket of white.

And then reality sets in!

All of a sudden we remember what we DIDN'T do to prepare for winter.

"Where are the snow shovels?" I asked Phyllis, wondering if my arthritis will permit me to scoop away the drifts like I always did. I'd hate for my septuagenarian wife to get stuck with the job.

That reminded me that I hadn't brought in the wood for our Norwegian stove in the kitchen. We probably have to use the baseboard electric unit to take the chill off the room until I get around to bringing in the boxes of cut two-by-fours and old barn siding I'd stored in the shed.

Of course that meant more shoveling to clear a path to the little building we share with the bats. I never knew they could produce so much guano.

Fortunately I had hooked up the power to the chicken waterer and it kept the ice off ok. I had also installed the electric tank heater so Phyllis's horses could get a drink. Trouble is, it was old and corroded so it didn't work.

I was going to the hardware store to get a new one, but I didn't get around to it.

Thank goodness the hay was delivered before this storm came up, and Phyllis got several barrels filled with ground grain for her equine pets. But that required more shoveling so we could make it to the barn.

Oh yes, I was going to bring more straw for the chicken nests and some for Maggie, our dog, to sleep on � but I forgot. I didn't get the snowfence up either.

I should get another pair of boots, by the way; and my gloves have seen better days, too. As for my long johns, they are in a drawer upstairs. I'll put them on now and they'll probably stay on until April.

Actually, I don't wear them to bed, and I have several pair so they get laundered regularly.

Our four-wheel-drive pickup in the garage gives us a sense of security, but I wonder how it will do in the drift down by the mailbox.

We hadn't put our survival kit in the trunk of the Taurus yet, but there's plenty of time for that. We have matches and candles, a couple Granola bars, a GI shovel, blankets, warm clothing, a flashlight that works, and several items which I hope we'll never have to use.

The jumper cables will go in too � along with the instruction sheet to tell me which connection to hook up first. I admit it: I'm a mechanical idiot and I need all the help I can get.

Last year I got stuck a couple of times when I high-centered our car in some drifts which were deeper than I thought. Optimistically I won't do that again, and I'll enjoy the snow more. Incidentally, it took a tractor to pull me out.

All of these things came back to me AFTER we had relished those first few flakes. We'll have a January thaw, I keep telling Phyllis; and, the way time is flying it'll be springtime before we know it.

Oh, there goes the phone. I suppose it'll be friends or relatives in Arizona telling us what the temperature is down there.

© Robert F. Karolevitz

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