Winter ~ Random Observations

Winter Berry

Winter in North Carolina has been strange this year.  The days have been mostly warm.  A few recent cold snaps are a reminder of the season and we even had a bit of snow.  I like snow. 

People in the south say it’s bad for your health when weather is funny like it is; one day like springtime and the next biting cold.  I didn’t believe this as a child or even in early adulthood, but the older I get, the more truth and wisdom I find in the things my parents and grandparents said.

Graveside Memorial

In Memory of Tiny

Our first snow of the season came only a day after our beloved dog, our friend and companion, passed on. 

I was glad when the snow started to fall.  I wanted the ground where the grave-site is to harden.  I wanted it safe from predators. 

I had also been wishing for snow, as I do every Winter. 

I called it Tiny’s snow.  I immediately felt a connection to his spirit.

Perhaps it was the closeness I felt that prompted me to take part in the bread-buying ritual that happens in the south when we get, “weather.”  I’m not much on shopping, but I found myself enjoying the anticipation and excitement going on at the local grocery store. 

For some reason, I wanted and even felt that I needed, an onion.  I didn’t have plans as to how I would use it, but I sure wanted one.  Plus, bread is never on the top of my list of things I need in snow.  Wood for a fire is usually a first thought.

Onions are normally abundant at the grocery store, but strangely, there were only a few onions in the bin and they were larger than the size I wanted.  I walked to the other bins.  A woman was rapidly filling her bag with the smaller ones.  I felt sure she intended on taking every single onion.

“Pardon me,” I said politely as I approached the bin.  The woman was friendly.

“What is it with onions?” she remarked with curiosity.  “There’s only a few left.  Everyone is buying onions.”

Her remark made me sure that I needed an onion.

“Happy is said to be the family which can eat onions together. They are, for the time being, separate, from the world, and have a harmony of aspiration.”
Charles Dudley Warner, ‘My Summer in a Garden’ (1871)

“Well, more weather is on the way,” my mother called to report several days after the first snow.  She’s my personal Weatherwoman.

“Sometimes,” she continued, “They (weather reporters) know about as much as we do.  I remember when they said we might get five or six inches and we got (she always emphasizes the  inches), twenty-four!”

 

I knew what she was going to say next, which comforted me in a way.

She started talking about the time she and my late grandmother, along with my aunt and uncle, huddled together for more than a week without power. 

Twenty-four inches really is a lot of snow for the southeastern United States. 

Mother tells about the soup they warmed over a burning candle and how they all went to bed, “with the chickens,” since they didn’t have lights to turn on.

 

There’s something about the way it feels when she recalls the little things that happened that week, and she remembers them in great detail.  I feel a bond of belonging and togetherness in her story.  They needed each other and I think, they must have surely experienced their likenesses above and beyond any differences.

There was something about having one of the wanted onions that sparked in me a sense of belonging.  I wondered what other people might be cooking with their onion.

The next day my son sautéed the onion to go with eggs.  Our home was warmed by the sweet smell.

Later that evening, I heard the roar of Thunder Beings.  How odd, I thought, to hear thunder just before snow.  I called my Weatherwoman. 

“They say it’s Thundersnow,” she reported.  “It’s very rare.”

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8 responses to this post.

  1. Thank you for sharing Tiny’s resting place with us. Tiny’s snow sounds like a wonderful way to wrap yourself in the good, comfortable, loving spirit.

    Thunder snow has a very weird and eerie feel about it — perhaps that’s due to the setting the first time I heard thunder during a blizzard-like snow storm. The fastest way from a friend’s home to downtown was cutting through a lovely, old cemetery full of dignitaries, historical individuals and ordinary folks.
    As we were walking along the path, several huge boomers exploded as the snow swirled around our heads. We were both breathless and speechless for a moment or two — we didn’t know if the other person had heard the strange sound.

    We might have thunder snow today — two storm fronts meeting (again!) and the possibility of 2 feet of snow! We’ve been living in mostly urban settings, but I still prepare for storms like I did when we lived in the country. But, I can’t say I’ve ever really had a hankering for onions, lol. After Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy, besides the usual things that grocery stores run out, you couldn’t find a bottle of ketchup anywhere!

    Thanks for sharing some family “lore.” My mother had a whole list of sayings to cover the weather she learned living in a small farming community.

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    • Hi Phylor! I understand you are in for a big and possibly pretty bad storm. I hope you don’t lose power this time. Maybe it will be the soft snow that is so pretty. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

      I didn’t think the Thundersnow was eerie. I enjoy Thunder, as long as I am home when it happens. I never like being away from home in a storm, particularly without my dog(s). (One day, I might get another dog, but for now, having Ruthie is just fine). I do think she would enjoy a mate. I know she misses Tiny. I sure do.

      I imagine it would be pretty eerie too if I found myself in a cemetery at night in Thundersnow!!! Ha!

      My sleep has been off lately, and so I’m up at such an early hour. It is very quiet, which I like, but am going to try to get more sleep. I get to visit with my mother today, so that will be nice. I also get a new haircut and that will be nice too! I’ve let it go and it grew and grew and grew! For some reason, when I go through life changing events, like Tiny’s passing, I don’t get my hair cut. I wait and when I do cut it, I guess, I feel a change and it helps me move on. I’ve always done this, even though it has been a subconscious act for the most part. As I get older, I see the pattern.

      Wishing you safety and warmth my friend. Thank you for reading my blog post. I love your comments Phy.

      Your friend,
      With love and hugs,
      Michelle xoxoxo.

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      • I hope you had a good day with haircuts and your mother.
        My mother who was a hair dresser used to cut my hair. I didn’t get it cut “professionally” until 1992! I decided, after mom was ill, that I wouldn’t get my hair cut until everything had been resolved. So, I had really long hair (for me) in need of a haircut — which I had in November 2011. Once a year or so, but not too short, or bangs (I hate getting hair in my eyes!).
        I think hair cuts/non-hair cuts and life changing events do go together. It’s a symbol of change, and a resolution to move forward.
        We didn’t lose power during the storm, and no big branches fell on our roof (so far) even though the wind was strong.
        Very pretty on Sat. — shoveled and enjoyed the snowy back yard.
        Raining today, Mon, so the snow is disappearing. Even with the snow, there are a lot less birds at our feeders this winter. We participate in Project Feeder Watch — count birds two consecutive days per week from November to April — and record your count #s. I should see if everyone’s bird count is down.
        Take good care — share your hair cut with us!

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      • Hi Phylor,

        Well, first, am not sure I’ll share my haircut, lol, although, I do like it. I look a bit “gaunt” as my doc said last time he saw me.

        I was late arriving, as usual to most all my appointments lately, so he could only trim it up. Still took a couple inches off the ends though and, I do feel like it is a different ‘time’ so to speak.

        Once, I had to go five years without a haircut and not by choice. My hairdresser told me to always be leery of men who didn’t like for women to cut their hair, and I learned, he was so right on, at least for me. If a man said he only liked long hair, then that was the last he saw of me 🙂

        Plus, for years, I had the best of the best when it came to getting a hair cut. He was a professional, who worked in a men’s Barber shop. He traveled to NYC to show people how to cut hair. People begged him for weddings, and funerals. He was amazing, but he finally retired. Now, his son cuts my hair in the same shop. He is also very good. I never did like styling my hair much, but I love a good cut. They went to Barber college, which is a lot different than a styling school.

        I was very tired, but I did enjoy my visit with Mother, my son and one of my sisters. We ate at a small county cafe with a museum and an art gallery. What an interesting place.

        Thanks for your comment Phy. I hope you are doing okay, and wish you a good day.

        Lots of love,
        Michelle.

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  2. PS, loved that photo too just One Red Berry…. XXX

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  3. Loved that you had snow, and felt that connection with Tiny Michelle.. Yes strange weather, We have had some snow and then a milder spell and then more snow… we are forecast to receive more snow Sunday…
    So how have you been? So glad to see another post… and I have had a few days off work I return Sunday.. just in time to do battle with the snow again lol.. we had around 5 inches the other week and then it turned to rain and vanished over night.. The ground and fields are so wet though and rivers and small lakes full to bursting again.. Many places had floods.. Glad I live on high ground..

    We have been and got our supplies of seed potatoes and seeds today for the allotments Michelle, and have put down on paper a plan as to where we are planting this year as we rotate the crops.
    I got red onions and shallots which are a small onion we use in stews and pickle…

    Here is a great British Onion soup recipe … Here’s the Link

    http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4843/british-onion-soup

    Wishing you and your Son a peaceful and relaxing weekend.. and I could almost smell those onions your Son cooked wafting my way….

    Love and Hugs my dear Friend… Love Sue xox

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    • Hi Sue! Well, It sounds like you are getting your fill of snow, and maybe a bit more than you would like or need. I read where the UK was going to get Thundersnow, so I had expected you may have mentioned that, but perhaps it didn’t happen where you live.

      It is lovely that you are preparing to plant! I wish I could say the same. I have never moved yet, so hoping that I’ll be able to continue volunteering at the botanical gardens since we grow so much food there.

      I’ve been hanging out with sweet Ruthie. She has never been alone, in seven years, which is her entire life minus seven months, which is how old she was when I adopted her. I’ve asked them if I could bring her with me when I come to volunteer, but so far, no answer. I wish she had a vest to wear that would allow her inside places. She is a medical companion animal, but that’s different than a service dog. It is pretty hard, I think, to get a dog fully trained as a service animal.

      We do have a place not too far where we can rent a lot for gardening. It’s fenced in to protect it from deer (as they eat just about everything a person can imagine planting). Plus, other folks come ’round to tend their lot, so I imagine it would be nice to get involved. There is also a community farm, but nothing is very close to where I live. I hope this year brings me a new place to live. I am so very tired of where I live. It is far too shady and in Summer, we have mold issues.

      I hope the weather settles down and the ground dries out some. I wish you a wonderful gardening season!

      Thanks for reading my blog post. I couldn’t settle on one subject, but wanted to write, so I went ahead and posted. I also like the photo with the one red berry 🙂

      I’ve discovered that Winter photography isn’t nearly as exciting for me as the other seasons. For example, have you ever tried photographing birds? Well, they never ever stay still long enough for a good shot. People say they put their camera outside on a tripod and use a remote to take the photo. That reminds me of deer hunters who huddle up in their camouflaged sheds in the woods, waiting on deer. It really isn’t inviting, so I stopped trying and simply watch them feed from my window. They are beautiful.

      We have a Woodpecker that is very large with a red head. We also have a very big fat Robin! The Robin lives (or at least spends it’s days) in a Holly tree. It eats the berries and poops on my porch. Once, the Woodpecker perched on the tree, and that big Robin used it’s breast to knock the W’pecker out of that tree.

      Spring is surely on the way. The Groundhog didn’t see it’s shadow, so I guess we will have an early Spring. We’ve had so many warm days. My son has bronchitis and is taking antibiotics. I hope he is well very soon!

      Thanks for the recipe! I do like onion soup.

      Lots of love and hugs,
      Michelle xoxoxo.

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      • I do hope that you can get to take Ruthie with you Michelle, Dogs are being recognised more and more for the great companionship work they do and healing.. Many Hospices now allow dogs in to allow patients to touch and get benefits from their calm healing presence.

        Yes the weather has been a problem but no Thunder snow although I see where USA has had lots of bad snow..

        Looking forward to the spring and yes next week will see us busy digging in and muck spreading if the frost keeps off the ground enough to allow us to dig..

        I hope your Son is soon feeling better from his Bronchitis, the anti-biotics should help..

        I have my granddaughter today so just popped on while she fell asleep for a short while..
        Take care and Sending Big Hugs to you my friend
        xxx Sue xxx

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