CLOBBERED (A report on the deep local snow of March 13-15, 2023)

It pays to always remind yourself, “It could have been worse.” We could have had our recent storm in December, and could have faced the huge snowbanks hanging around for three months before they started to wilt in the March sunshine. As it is, they are wilting already.

It has been a winter of two powers, Atlantic and Pacific, battling for meteorlogical world-domination, with the Pacific for the most part winning. What this meant for us was a kindly pattern, with the storm track heading up over the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence valley, putting us on the warm side of most storms. It also made for powerful warm sectors to the storms, surging over us from the southwest to the northeast, and also pushing the secondary developments out into the Atlantic. It seemed a great year for Atlantic gales, but they were all five hundred to a thousand miles offshore, and even the cold blasts in their wake were usually out to sea. However in February the pattern seemed to shift, and the Atlantic powers started to assert their control more.

The storm track started to have trouble heading up the Saint Lawrence valley, and the warm sectors seemed less robust, and more easily occluded or shunted east. The secondary storms were less out to sea, and blowing-up closer and closer to the so-called “benchmark” southeast of Nantucket, where they can clobber us. And finally one did.

Our big storm was preceded by a a series of weak waves that failed to either be Pacific and give us mild rains, or Atlantic and give us gales, but instead meekly passed over from west to east, only growing strong after passing us, as storms had been wont to do all winter. However, even when temperatures were above “normal” they were just cold enough to give us snow. We actually had our snowcover gone by mid February, but it grew back as a series of small storms passed. For twelve straight days we had at least a few flakes, or sleet, or freezing rain, which waged a war against the power of the sun, which was now swiftly rising higher in the sky, nearly 23 degrees higher at noon than it was in December. I have written how we raised a final igloo at our Childcare, but so bright was the March sunshine it soon was renamed, “The Bad Tooth” (because it had cavities.)

It was at this point our streak of snowy days was broken by a blast of wind from the north, as an Atlantic gale blew up close enough for us to get the cold gales behind it. There was a band of snow in northern Maine and another down towards NYC, but we were in bright March sunshine, with winds cold enough to keep the snow icy (as can be seen in the above picture.) The computer models began to crank out ominous maps showing a storm coming up the coast, and I did the only thing I could think of doing, which was to lug as much firewood indoors, and undercover onto the porch, as my old body could stand.

I was fairly grumpy about the work, because I always am grumpy when faced with the stupidity of Daylight Savings Time. I don’t care if Benjamin Franklin dreamed up the idea. It is idiotic to mess with people’s biorhythms twice a year. It’s not so bad when you get the stolen hour of sleep back in the fall, but in the spring it is downright cruel to rob people of an hour of sleep, right when they are winter-worn and also have to do their taxes. But I figured that, if there is any way to control the weather, it is not through Carbon Credits but rather either by washing your car or preparing for a storm. In my experience preparing for a storm is a good way to chase a storm out to sea. (Also raking a pile of leaves is a good way to create a big gust of wind.)

My strategy didn’t work this time, as the map swiftly showed the set up for an east coast storm. You can see the prior storm as a gale blowing up over the Atlantic, to the far right, even as an approaching weak low in the “northern branch” is in the upper left and another weak low in the “southern branch” is towards the bottom left. Earlier in the winter such lows had past to our west keeping us rainy, and that was actually my hope: That the snow would change to rain; you don’t have to shovel rain.

Monday was a gray day with everyone cranky from the missed hour of sleep, and the cars again needing headlights in the morning, and the temperatures warming above freezing as the ridge of high pressure passed over and the north winds became southerly. Every now and again enormous snowflakes would fall, very swiftly, as if they were practically rain. In the afternoon the snow did change to light rain, and I got my hopes up. Rain might destroy my igloo, but I was stiff and sore from lugging firewood, and an igloo seemed a sacrifice well worth avoiding shoveling snow. The northern low was diving southeast as the southern low reached the Carolina coast, turned northeast, and started to intensify.

Snow began to mix in with the rain as we closed up the Childcare, but was melting on pavements and not accumulating. The air was still surprisingly dry, which is not a good thing if you desire rain, because, if precipitation falls through dry air, evaporation occurs, and evaporation cools the air, and the falling flakes stay cold enough to avoid turning to rain. The actual forecast was a bit wishy-washy about where the rain-snow line would set up. I imagined the forecasters preferred looking foolish to underestimating dangers, and would forecast snow even if they thought rain was more likely, so I kept my hopes up. However, to play it safe, my wife slept at the Childcare to watch over her mother, who was staying upstairs, and also to be there without having to battle through the half foot of wet snow forecast by morning. Meanwhile I went home to keep the home-fires burning and feed the dog.

Around dark I looked out at the streetlight and saw the rain had changed completely to snow, and by 7:00 PM it was steady and starting to accumulate, but not particularly heavy. I went to bed early and when I awoke just after midnight the snow was becoming heavy and it looked like we had a couple inches. I went back to bed and then heard my son plow the drive by the house. Glancing at my clock I saw to my surprise it was only 4:00 AM, and peering outside saw we had roughly a foot already. Any hope I had for rain was dwindling, especially because, though radar showed a wall of water rushing north from the southeast, our winds remained light from the north.

I tried to get back to sleep but suddenly I heard a blast of wind and the windows rattled. I have no clue what the phenomenon was, for when I arose the winds were back to being light from the north, but the lights had blinked and various electrical devises in the house were making the various noises they make as they reboot. I pottered about making ready to lose power, filling the bathtub with water (to flush the toilet with) and filling kettles in the kitchen (to cook with) and brewing an extra pot of coffee (to get wired with.)

Slowly the windows purpled with belated daylight, and I looked out and saw we had around a foot and a half (46 cm) and that I couldn’t see 400 yards down the road. Radar showed rain in Boston, rain in NYC, but we were just over the rain-snow line, and that line was moving south, not north towards us.

Looking out the front door convinced me to stay in. Notice the untouched snow shovel.

I called my wife, and was surprised to learn six children had been dropped off. Some parents couldn’t afford to miss any work, with heating costs so high, and couldn’t work from home. In one case the parent had lost power, just down the road. My wife said she still had power but the lights were blinking a lot, and she had filled pots with water just in case. My daughter texted she had lost power. My son texted the plows couldn’t keep up with the snow even on the bigger highways, and road-crews weren’t salting or sanding because they couldn’t stop to refill, and anyway the snow was coming down so fast it just covered the sand and washed away the salt. I told my wife I’d wait a bit before shoveling out, but then my neighbor put me to shame, clambering out to shovel her roof.

I went out to snow-rake off the roof of our screen porch before it collapsed, and as I did so my dog decided to get tricky (as usual) and to get me in trouble by violating the leash law (a $25.00 fine) but the snow was so deep her feet couldn’t reach the ground. After plunging across the yard she reached a place under the trees where her feet could touch, but just then there was a loud crack from the treetops, and snow came thudding down with a noise like soft thunder. The dog decided not to be so sneaky and came back.

I went out front to shovel the front steps. The snow was so heavy and wet I quickly decided a narrow path was better than a wide one.

Then I walked down the drive. Though my son had plowed a foot away earlier, the snow was a foot deep again. I looked towards my jeep.

It occurred to me I was crazy when younger, for back then I actually liked snow.

By this time the storm’s pressure was rapidly deepening as it came up the coast, as the northern branch feature plunged southeast towards the southern branch storm. If you are against snow, you hope the northern branch will hit like a croquet ball and knock the southern feature out to sea, but instead the two features were “phasing”.

What”phasing” does is generate “bombogenesis”. .

When I was younger they used to call this “rapid cyclogenesis”. This didn’t seem exciting enough, I suppose, so the phrase became “explosive cyclogenesis”, (if the pressure at the center of a storm dropped at least 24 mb in 24 hours). Then an unknown meteorologist (who should be famous) came up with the shortened form “bombogenesis” as a joke, little aware the coined word would someday make the dictionary. In any case, bombogenesis has been happening over and over all winter, out in the middle of the Atlantic where no one noticed, but this one was noticeable.

As the storm neared and exploded the winds shifted to northeast, and the radar showed the precipitation shift to the east from the south. It actually became less heavy, though it remained heavy. Boston remained in rain, but snow began in NYC.

By evening snow made it to Boston, as the “back edge” of the snow never made it east to us, in southern New Hampshire. We just got snow, snow, snow, for over twenty-four hours.

By noon we had over two feet, an were starting our third. I had to face the music and dug out the snow in front of my Jeerp. Then I thought I’d scoop a little hole in the windshield to see through, drive out onto the road, and only then remove the rest, out where plows could remove it when it fell to the ground, and I wouldn’t have to shovel it. But as soon as I started to poke a little hole the entire mass of snow on the windshield and hood slid off in front of the car. Hopefully snow has no ears, and didn’t hear what I called it.

(Notice how, by the time I took the picture, fresh snow was already accumulating on the hood.)

I again shoveled the snow away in front of the Jeep, and removed just enough by the driver’s-side door to get in, put the vehicle in four wheel drive, and spun my way out onto the highway. The rest of the snow slid off as easily as the snow slid from the front, and I was ready to journey the half mile to the farm. The state highway was a rutted mess, and the side road was a single lane. At the Childcare the chickens were snowbound and only the tops of the playground fence protruded.(Compare fence with first picture in this post).

My wife however was levitating three feet off the ground, (thanks to dense snow and snowshoes).

The idea was that the snowshoes would pack down the snow enough for the children to walk on, but kids have never been known for obeying instructions and sticking to the path, and once off the path they could do little more than flounder. I myself tended to break through the snowshoe-packed snow every tenth step, sinking right to my crotch. This made my next step like stepping up a three-foot-tall stair. It was amazingly exhausting, just moving twenty yards. I could see the kids would have no problem taking naps. Although the lights blinked a lot, the Childcare never lost power, though the internet quit and the cellphones were starting to text very slowly. I was still able to throw the children’s drenched snowsuits into the drier.

I did a bit of work shoveling the walkway into the Childcare, which my wife had shoveled earlier, but skipped bothering with the other entrances. There is a state law all fire exits must be clear, but I wasn’t worried about any inspectors showing up.

My son had passed through with his plow, crashing through the huge walls the town plows had raised across the parking lot entrance and exit and plowing a single lane so people could pick up their kids, but there was already another half foot of snow, and a town plow had raised a smaller wall across the entrance and exit. So I hopped in my Jeep and did the easy thing, which was to drive around and around in four-wheel-drive, breaking through the town plow walls, and packing a single lane in the parking lot. It worked. Bedraggled looking parents came by to get their kids, exclaiming about how awful the roads were. Many were going home to houses with no power, as the snow was so heavy it was taking down trees.

My wife decided to spend a second night at the Childcare. I was glad I had stacked wood inside, and got the upstairs wood fire stocked up and running on low, just in case they lost power over night. Then I headed home, as I wanted to see things on the internet.

The back road was deeply packed and like a washboard (not that many know what a washboard once was.) As I drove I was amazed by the industry and resiliency of many, who were out with snow-blowers and had their driveways clearer than the highways. Also just about every vehicle on the road was a pickup truck with a plow, as construction workers made some off-season bucks plowing drives. They’d get paid three times during this storm, as they plowed after each foot of snow. I noticed many men had little front-end-loaders they were using on their drives; almost like toys, such loaders seem to becoming as common as rider-lawnmowers, among men in the construction industry.

All of this got me musing about how dependent we are on fossil-fuels. My mind drifted back sixty years, when, after a storm, most shoveled. I can remember the first snowblowers appearing, clanking and awkward, in our wealthy town, and how scornful my father was of “sissies” who used them. Though he himself was crippled by polio, he had a sort of John-Henry-vs.-The-Steam-Engine attitude, and insisted we boys display our brawn and prowess by shoveling our fairly long driveway by hand. I wasn’t much help, being small, and my eldest brother never seemed interested in that sort of prowess, (preferring piano prowess), but my next-oldest brother was amazing, shoveling like a tornado, and liked to have the driveway done before all neighbors. We were helped by the fact it was paved with the blackest of all blacktops and faced south, but often it was clear and dry while the road was still snow-covered.

Before I was born New Englanders actually preferred to keep the roads snow-covered, as people moved about in horse-drawn sledges and sleighs. (I actually rode down the road our Childcare is on in a sleigh, in December of 1968). One lane of the state highway was not sanded for children in sleds on Town Hill, as recently as 1960, and back then the road department had a “roller” gathering cobwebs in a garage, which once had been drawn by horses to pack down the snow on streets.

I suppose we could go back to those ways, but it would make sense to prepare for it beforehand. We currently have no “rollers” nor sleighs, and would be in a bit of a pickle if Fraudulent Biden got his way, and we had no fossil fuels. Nor was it always easy during those old time winters. People used to be snowbound for days, and, during the winter of 1717, for weeks.

Arriving home, I took the dog out for a floundering walk, and then settled by the fire to check out the internet, which was working at home. Besides checking out some interesting articles on the winter of 1717, I kept an eye on the radar. The center of the storm had stalled, and described a loop-de-loop just north of Cape Cod. Some dry air was sucked in, but we remained in a snow band in southern New Hampshire, with an expanding “dry slot” remaining just to our west. It grew purple and then black outside, but I kept looking out the window towards the streetlight, and the snow kept flying. At 7:00 it passed twenty-four hours of snow. When I turned in at 10:00 it was still snowing…

and when I awoke in the wee hours the snow was lighter, but radar showed we were in the final band, just barely poking into southern New Hampshire from the south, as “dry slots” expanded all around us.

I awoke to brilliant sunshine at daybreak. The snow had ceased at around 2:00 AM, which meant we received 31 hours of snow, and the “official” town total was 36 inches (though I don’t know who the official was.) My own guess would be a little less, because the snow slumped under its own weight. In any case, it was over thirty inches, and the deepest one-storm-total I’ve witnessed in my seventy years.

The final four inches had been far more fluffy than the earlier snow, especially the first foot, which was like heavy wet cement as you shoveled. I skipped as much as I could, so I could hurry over to the Childcare. The schools were closed but again we were open and again a handful of children arrived despite the conditions.

The first thing I noticed was that our igloo had been wonderfully repaired. “The Bad Tooth” had been to the dentist. (Boy in background is on snowshoes.)

The second thing I noticed was that our “snow shedder” roof had solved one problem, but created another. The problem it solved was that it shed three feet of snow, so I didn’t need to shovel the roof. The problem it created was that it dumped the snow in front of the vent for the propane furnace, and the furnace shuts off when the vent is blocked. Some shoveling cannot be avoided, but I did as little as possible. (Vent is just beyond lower corner of nearest window.)

The isobars tightened as the storm moved off, and winds picked up. Bands of clouds rolled in from the north, and from time to time the brilliant sunshine would give way to whirling flurries of snow, and the sun would then come bursting out again and the air was filled with glittering. The sun was so high that the salted pavements swiftly melted, helped by the fact the mild winter has created no semi-permafrost beneath the pavement. (Other winters I’ve seen the ground frozen four feet down, especially under pavements, where there is no insulating blanket of snow.)

At this point the long-range-forecast produced another storm around a week in the future, with another three feet of snow possible. It seemed unlikely to me, but having just studied the winter of 1717 I knew such a duo of storms was indeed possible. But that winter began to become severe in February, during a mild winter just cold enough to have many snows, while our current storm seemed much later and more like the Blizzard of 1888, which occurred on March 17 after a mild winter with little snow, and wasn’t followed by a second storm. (1888 only produced two inches of slush down in Boston, but over four feet of snow in NYC.) In any case, no one was in the mood to sit back and hope the March sunshine melted the snow, with the ominous forecast.

My neighbor across the street was especially concerned because his house was built right against the street in the mid 1800’s, when “rollers” packed down the snow and people passed in sleighs. Now plows shove snow aside right against his house. To accidentally make matters worse, last summer he added a snow-shedder roof which dumps snow into the street, which the plows didn’t appreciate. Soon they would be widening the streets with “wing plows”, which, by pushing the shed snow off the street, very well might push his house right off its foundation. Therefore he borrowed a friend’s mini-front-end-loader and hustled to remove the snow piled against his house.

This highlights a subtle war that occurs between homeowners and town or state plows. Homeowners push snow out of their drives into the street, and the plows push the snow back into their driveways.

This conflict used to be handled fairly well, as homeowners would shove the snow across the street and off the street on the far side, and the operators of the wing-plows had a sort of dexterous touch to the plows, and would slightly raise them as they passed a drive, leaving at least the center of the drive open and the snow to the sides. However, a shortage of drivers abruptly occurred, as some of our best town drivers passed away, retired, or were hired away by the state (which paid better wages and was desperate for drivers). Suddenly we had young drivers who were unskilled, and snow at a depth rarely seen. A lot of mailboxes got knocked down, and even roadside stonewalls got shifted.

Clean-up was still occurring the second day after the storm. The long-range forecast still held the second huge storm, and people remained unwilling to trust the brilliant March sunshine and balmy temperatures. A huge front-end-loader appeared to shift snow from around the stop sign by my house, fearing another storm would cause the sign to completely vanish, despite the beaming March sunshine.

The schools had reopened on the second day after the storm, despite the fact the side roads still needed work, and this meant our Childcare had to handle “the bus kids”, who are children who only stay in the morning until the school bus comes. I had to make sure the entrance was passable. It was, but the exit was dangerous because the snowbanks were so high you couldn’t see if traffic was coming. You just had to gamble, shooting out into the street and hoping people stopped. My wife decided that was no good, and texted everyone that for the next few days our exit would be the entrance and the entrance would be the exit. This made everything clear as mud, for some still had no internet and received no text and employed the old arrangement, but we managed to get through the morning without a single head-on collision.

I got to thinking about the subjectivity of the word “passable”, especially when teachers are involved. (I probably should steer away from this subject, due to a hostility I still bear, even after a half century, towards a male teacher back in Junior High, who said a very pretty girl’s writing was “passable” and mine was not. Perhaps that was when I first learned about subjectivity. The girl’s writing may have been “cuter”, but so is a five-year-old’s. Anyway, as a bitter, thirteen-year-old boy craving recognition, I suspected the thirty-year-old man wasn’t looking at the flirtatious thirteen-year-old girl’s writing at all.)

In any case, teacher’s find roads “passable” when the alternative is unpleasant, and “impassable” when the alternative is pleasant. For example, the school plans for five “snow days” a winter. That means a teacher can miss up to five days without having to make them up. The days are paid for. But from the sixth day on, the missed day must be added to the end of the school year, to make up for missed time. No one (sane) wants to go to school in the summer. Consequently the effects of missing the first five days are pleasant, but after that are unpleasant. The result is that school was cancelled for three inches of snow in December, but we had school despite three feet of snow in March.

When you think of it, even twenty feet of snow is passable, when something as agreeable as skiing is involved. Here is an example from the Sierra Nevada:

This subjectivity evolves over the course of a lifetime into the wise saying, “It’s amazing what you can do when you have to.” When a ship was de-masted back in the 1400’s they couldn’t use cell-phones and a GPS and sit about waiting for the Coast Guard to show up in a helicopter, but had to use broken lengths of spar and a temporary sail (called a “jory”) to rig a makeshift sail, in order to stay alive and get back to shore. This created the phrase “jury rigging”.

“Jury rigging” is different from “Jerry rigging.” In the late 1700’s and early 1800’s a sloppy and/or lazy worker was given the disparaging title, “a Jerry”, (I don’t know who the original Jerry was, and apologize to all other Jeremiah’s), and therefore a badly built structure was called, “Jerry built.” Therefore the difference is that “jury rigging” involves necessity, and a display of ingenuity, and often saves lives. For example, the quick-fix that saved the lives of the astronauts on Apollo Thirteen was definitely jury rigging. The failed o-ring that caused the space shuttle Challenger’s explosion was likely due to Jerry rigging.

Bureaucrats in heated offices like to sit back and devise a slew of codes, rules, and regulation all intended to prevent any structure from ever being “Jerry Built,” but tend to get carried away, which gives us the OSHA horse:

In other words, the difference between jury rigged and Jerry rigged is often a matter of where you are sitting. People in warm offices see the world differently from people in the midst of blizzards.

It also seems to me that people become overly dependent on rescue, and lose touch with self resiliency when bureaucrats become too helpful. Often, after a hurricane or tornado down south, people simply stretch a huge, blue tarp over their roofless home, and then sit back and wait for help. Bureaucrats arrive with lots of forms to fill out, and then vanish back into offices to determine who qualifies for what and to what degree. Then they reemerge with more forms to fill out, including forms to hand to the people who fix roofs, to attempt to avoid paying the vultures who arrive and promise to fix roofs, but who take the money and run. Months and sometimes years pass, and the houses still have blue tarp roofs, but fortunately the weather is much warmer down south, and only a few nights each winter do people suffer, and occasionally die of pneumonia. The rest of the time the survivors live under blue tarp roofs which were originally jury built but now qualify as Jerry built. Then…

Then a church group gets involved. I have friends and relatives who “go on vacation ” by joining such groups for a week each winter. They coordinate with churches in the south, and arrive with trucks full of supplies and tools, have a prayer meeting, and get to work. As far as I know there is a minimum of form-filling. There is a job to be done and they just do it. There are communal meals, and a men’s dorm and a woman’s dorm (usually at local churches) and often local people join in during the meals, the work, and the evening prayers. I’ve known a couple people who only went down “to see the damage” but who returned praising the high spirits and moods of optimism and kindness they had witnessed, and who went again on following years. The most amazing thing described is how swiftly homes were repaired, even when they had been flooded to the ceiling of the first floor and all the sodden wallboard had to be removed. Many workers had no skill, but were willing to do what they were told, but there were enough skilled carpenters, electricians and plumbers to “do things by code” even without a bureaucrat present. Often the original structure hadn’t “been built to code”, and some jury rigging was necessary to improve upon the Jerry rigged structure, but what was most noticeable, especially to the local people, was the efficiency; in a few weeks several church groups had arrived and left, each having a wonderful time, and an entire neighborhood had been fixed up. More was done in less than a month than the government had managed to get done, despite the government having far more time and money. In some cases it had been years and the homes were still roofed in blue tarps, until a bunch of goodhearted bumpkins arrived.

They didn’t have to help their neighbors, but had become aware of what is within the old saying, “You never know what you can do until you have to.” People have hidden capacities within. A fat man may not think he can run, until he faces an escaped tiger.

My father verged on taking this attitude to the extreme, as he had been crippled by polio, yet came back from a hopeless-seeming situation largely by the sheer force of his will. He had little patience with me as a boy, when I whined, “I can’t.” Where my mother had the mercy of a nurse, he had the mercy of a drill sergeant, and wanted the work done. He wanted the driveway shoveled even if you only had a tablespoon.

This resulted in my developing a split personality. On one hand I was very good at escapism; at eluding the drill sergeant, while on the other hand I was good at facing the music when escape was no longer possible. And my escapism did land me in crazy predicaments more responsible people seldom find themselves in, for example being in a small sailboat in a storm at sea with the engine gone and the halyards snapped and no radio. You can run away from reality only so far before reality catches up. Sleeping in my car was another consequence of my escapism called “poetry”, and taught me a lot about facing the music (or perhaps facing the poetry).

People confronted by poverty know there is such a place as “rock bottom”, and are far more willing to break laws than bureaucrats in warm offices who like to sit about and make the laws. The same is true for any small businessman, and one endearing thing President Trump did was to point out there were more rules and regulations than any person could ever hope to read, and that in some cases the rules countermanded each other, and he set about abolishing many. However the simple fact of the matter is that people do not need a politician to override stupid rules. When pressed by necessity, such as a blizzard, people simply do it. They do not worry overmuch if it is jury rigging or Jerry rigging, they just do it.

Besides saying, “It is amazing what a man can do when he has to,” people say, “When the going gets tough the tough get going” and “It’s the job you never start that never gets done” and any number of other sayings which boil down to a reality bureaucrats don’t much like to hear: “Life goes on without bureaucrats.”

In a sense the recent storm was a trial run, a test case. People got to test their limits, and see their weaknesses exposed. For example, as I drove to the Childcare the second morning I noticed long line of cars at the gas station. It was people needing gasoline for their home generators, and the word on the street was that the gas station was running out of gas. This demonstrated how many have taken steps to exist without power coming from outside, but also exposed a weakness in their plans; IE: They may run out of gas.

As I arrived at the Childcare I faced the fact my body ached and that in some ways I myself, at age seventy, have run out of gas. Also it is harder to hire help. When I was young families with six kids were common, but now they are rare. Also, when I was young there was nothing a kid felt was worth watching on TV in the afternoon (unless you were a kid who liked mushy soap operas) but now there are all sorts of video games and shows to distract youth from going outside. (However when the power goes out and batteries fail perhaps things change.)

But I am lucky because I have my crowd of “bus kids” waiting for the school bus. It’s amazing how much work they can do, in just fifteen minutes, but when you think of it, four boys frenetic for fifteen minutes adds up to a single “man-hour”. And they work far faster than I can. To be honest, I think nine-year-olds work harder than many teenagers, (for short periods of time). As the bus arrives they troop off happily, each with a five dollar bill for a half an hour’s work, and no bureaucrat has arrived to tell me whether or not I have broken a child-labor-law, and whether the fire escape doorway is clean enough. (Notice in the background the snow has already settled a foot, and the rails on the fence are reappearing. Also notice the cleared doorway below the window’s lower right corner.)

In any case, it is still possible to remove snow without fossil fuels, but the fact of the matter is that fossil fuels often make the job faster and easier. I suppose one could even say fossil fuels, and the toy front-end-loaders men can now buy, to some degree replace the fact families used to have six kids who could shovel snow by hand. However solar power can’t do that.

Solar power works, for the sun will eventually melt the snow, but life will be far harder if Fraudulent Biden gets his way and fossil fuels become unavailable. This article involves my small town up in the hills, and amounts to a sort of test case, but the Blizzard of 1888 involved four feet of snow down in the big city of NYC, and the winter of 1717 involved five feet of snow for a month all around and even within Boston. (Drifts covered the tops of single story cottages, and their location was shown by a hole in the snow with smoke coming out, where the chimney was.)

When I amused myself by looking back at 1717 I came across other hard winters in those early days, which old-timers of that time argued about, (the arguments involving which was worst). There was one in the mid sixteen hundreds and another roughly thirty years later that involved over twenty “falls of snow” and various “ferries” that don’t exist any more (because we have bridges) being frozen solid for extended periods of time. For example, we now drive from Boston to Charlestown over a landfill which boats pass through using locks, but back then Boston was just a peninsula, the Back Bay was still a bay, and the only way to Charlestown required a ferry. To have the ferry freeze involved salt water, or at least brackish water, freezing, creating sea-ice far south of the Arctic Circle, (which of course got me interested).

In some ways this is all just trivia, but I can’t help but notice that, among the mild winters, there are some winters of legendary cold. The winter of 1698-1699 isn’t known so much for the depth of the snow, as for the lack of thaw and rain. The snow that fell never melted. The rather poor records of that time state they had “thirty snowfalls”, which may be a record, and certainly was a pain in the butt for the people.

One thing that is interesting is that the people involved were not used to such winters. They were newcomers, and snow over a foot deep is seldom a problem in the southerly sections of England they came from. However the transplants swiftly utilized some Native American ways of surviving deep snows, one of which was to use snowshoes.

Having utterly exhausted myself walking through deep snow to feed my goat during our recent storm, I concur that this is a brilliant invention. I also think it demonstrates that, while the Native Americans and Europeans spent half their time, a full seventy-five years out of their first hundred-fifty, trying to commit genocide against each other, between 1620 and 1770, they also had a sneaking admiration of each other and stole each other’s ideas. (Pity they had to be sneaky about what could have been done in the broad daylight of peace.)

Pity that we now live in a time when Fraudulent Biden must sneak his ideas past all the checks and balances of a vibrant republic, and avoid the health of wholesome debate, initiating “lock downs”. In terms of the China Virus, to ask for a second opinion from doctors was not allowed. And the same was (and is) true concerning Global Warming, and the decree we must abandon fossil fuels. A second opinion is not allowed, and a two party system is banned. It is pitiful. Why? Because such autocrats have the my-way-or-the-highway attitude of a cyclops, and the pity of a cyclops is that it can never even dream of the depth-perception people with schizophrenic eyeballs take for granted.

Schizophrenic? Well, you have to comprehend it took deep snow to force Puritans to do what they otherwise wouldn’t. People who had a love of their own ways might say “I will never act like those other people do”, but deep snow made them hypocrites, because they did act like those other people, and wore snowshoes. And is not such hypocrisy a sort of schizophrenia?

I remember my parents talking with my grandparents about something they called “the pendulum”. Things would go from one extreme to another extreme, and then back again. It could involve things as inconsequential as the length of women’s dresses. Or it could involve more serious stuff. But the idea was that neither side was stable. You couldn’t freeze the pendulum to the far right or far left. Something in human nature always wanted to see the other side, and was swayed the other way.

One attribute of any autocrat is that they want to freeze the pendulum. They want to have the power to outlaw any opinion other than their own. If you get bored by their banal braying, they want to censor your alternative opinion. If you are a child bored by the blackboard, and your eyes drift to clouds out the window, they clash shut the blinds. They demand they, and they alone, are the center of attention. They alone are worthy of worship. They deem themselves God.

However something in human nature wants to see the other side, and is swayed the other way. The despot hates this. It is for this reason communists encourage “the revolution”, but detest “the counterrevolution”. They encourage a dismissal of sane honesty in order to get power (“The ends justify the means”) and resent sane honesty once they have seized power, (“Might makes right”.) However they defy a law as simple as the law of gravity, when they attempt to freeze the pendulum to the far left. Honesty tugs, pulls, drags, and makes all their effort an exercise in futility.

The despot is like a person who rushes about attempting to stamp out fires he sees leaping up from the carpet, who is unaware the fires are due to the fact the ceiling above his head is ablaze, and showering sparks.

In any case I currently find myself in the shoes of the petite bourgeois, who are despised by the communist mindset because the petite bourgeois are capable of thinking for themselves and therefore are “counterrevolutionary”, because they do not need a “collective” telling them what to do. Not that I intend to overthrow the government, but when you state Truth matters, you may accidentally be threatening liars. And when some say “the ends justify the means” they are just justifying their lies. You then may become a threat to them, simply by stating the Truth. And, with that as my springboard, forgive me as I embark upon a bit of a rant.

The Truth is not a thing held by a mortal, and especially not by a mortal as full of flaws as I am, but Truth does have the power to crush liars. For the simple fact of the matter is that Truth’s mercy puts leaders in the powerful position they hold in the first place. What God gives God can take away. After all, from the start the odds are very stacked against such a lone person ruling a million. They are outnumbered. As Napoleon put it, “Religion is to keep the poor from killing the rich.”

However, what is to keep the rich from killing the poor? Hitler killed how many Germans? Stalin killed how many Russians? Mao killed how many Chinese? Pol Pot killed how many Cambodians? And how many Americans might Fraudulent Biden deem it acceptable to kill?

Acceptable? Well, there are some who say that the current population of earth is “unsustainable”, and needs to be reduced to a half billion. This logic makes the genocide of roughly seven billion people acceptable. It is a “reasonable” thing to do, though such a genocide must include Americans. If you have no heart, such logic makes perfect sense, (providing you are of the half billion who escape the genocide).

I am not of those who would escape such a genocide, and therefore I look around and wonder if we Americans are like Europeans, and are willing to be led like sheep to slaughter. Are we like the six million Jews and one million Roma led to gas chambers by Hitler? Are we like the Russian Kulak, of whom Solzhenitsyn said six million were killed by Stalin’s purges?

I think not. Europeans are superior to Americans, in terms of their fidelity to leaders, but Americans are superior to Europeans, in terms of their love of individual liberty. (I imagine souls are born in the place that most suits their needs, or “Karma”.) However the result of this difference is that which works in Europe may backfire in America.

Is this just wishful thinking on my part? That is what I stand about looking for: I seek evidence Americans will push back against despotism. Or will they meekly comply to all lock-downs?

One thing I have noted the past three years is that people were not all that law-abiding during the China-virus lock-downs. At first, when they imagined they were making sacrifices for a good cause, they were willing and eager to listen to bureaucrats. However, when the cure started to look worse than what it was supposedly curing, people started to devise ways “around the law”.

In a sense the lock-downs were like a blizzard, and people became aware “you never know what you can do until you have to.”

I could go on at length about how people “got around the law,” (often using the law to get around the law, because bureaucrats have made so many contrary laws one could legally sell turnips as catfish, if one used laws slyly). (Glance through Silvergate’s, “Three Felonies a Day”.) But such a discussion likely would be a very long sidetrack, and should involve a separate post. Let it suffice to say the response of the American people was in some ways troubling to the radical left. First, the economy was not harmed as much as expected, and second, people were not as enraged as expected.

I surmise the radical element in “the swamp” expected trouble when they rigged the election, and then also brazenly shoved the falsified results through congress, for they erected barricades of razor wire. Why? Then they attempted to inflame the passions of the protestors and to at least generate the appearances of an insurrection. Why? Lastly they tried to make what involved no arms and very little violence look like a rebellion, when it was largely peaceful and largely in compliance with the law. They seemed to think if they used the word “insurrection” often enough they could make a lie be reality, but the effort failed miserably. The media failed to fool most, and became somewhat comical in their resemblance to what little children call “backwards-day”. With burning buildings in the background, the media called events involving Antifa rioters “peaceful protests”, and with smiling protestors peacefully milling about in the background the media called the January 6 protests “an insurrection”. It was too much; it overtaxed even the credulity of the credulous.

The American people have been exposed from an early age to the clever blandishments of Madison Avenue via non-stop commercials on TV, and have been forced to become callused to (or develop antibodies against) such sales pitches, and the leftist media was not as clever as Madison Avenue. In fact they were downright clumsy. Then the simple fact the American people did not respond as expected made the media a strange mixture of overly-confident and afraid. They went from clumsy to clumsier.

Perhaps some think the failure of Americans to rise in wrathful violence is a sign the people have lost their courage. Some on the radical left are perhaps encouraged, and think, “This takeover is going to be even easier than we dreamed possible”. However I imagine the silence may be like the silence of teammates seeing a member of their own team make an error. The faces of Americans, watching their politicians and their media, are like the faces of the Chicago players in the Norman Rockwell painting, “The Dugout”.

Such a concept involves the idea we are all on the same team. This may be a new idea to some leftists. For all their talk of “inclusion” they are big on exclusion, on “cancelling”. The idea we are “one nation indivisible” is a bit of a shock to them. Yet many look upon even leftists as fellow Americans, and as teammates. The ideas Jesus Christ put forward about loving your neighbors and loving even your enemies hits leftists like a ton of bricks, when they face faces that are not filled with hate, but rather wince with disappointment. They are the faces of teammates that hoped you’d do better.

But what the heck, even Babe Ruth struck out. In fact he struck out a lot. He struck out more often than he hit home runs. He struck out 1330 times, yet is purported to have stated, “Never let your fear of striking out get in your way.” It seems an example of the idea that greatness is founded upon failures. Failures help us to fine-tune our swing, if we swing for the fences. The pendulum swings back and forth, between strike outs and home runs, between hot-streaks and slumps. As teammates, we should support each other regardless of whether we are winning or losing. If you grieve, we grieve. If you rejoice, we rejoice. (Any mention of “cancelling” in such philosophy?) We all seek a greater good which is good for you and good for the team. If you get sent back to the minor leagues, it is not to humiliate or destroy you, but to further your development. And it also helps the team.

This philosophy is a bit hard for some leftists to hear, especially as they have had their chance in the big leagues and now face being sent back to the minors. However there is no getting around the fact they have struck out constantly without hitting any home runs. They require further development. And the pained expressions of their teammates should tell them as much.

With that I will end my rant, and return to the details of our recovery from the massive snowstorm we experienced.

The long-range forecast was still showing a second massive storm, with a further three feet of snow, only six days away, so we were acting accordingly. I had my Childcare drive clear of snow, and was ready to receive the three children who dismount from a school-bus at noon (as our town only has half-day kindergarten). However three minutes before the bus was expected to arrive a town plow flew by with its wing plow down, and blocked the drive with a three foot tall wall of snow.

I was busy elsewhere. The notch you see in the wall of snow was made by my wife, for the bus driver was unwilling to even open the door unless some way was made for the three children to get over the pile and into the drive. So my wife rushed out and stomped and tromped a path.

I arrived shortly after that, and, after muttering some things about young plow drivers, had to quickly clear the wall to make ready for a parent arriving at 2:00 and also the “Special Needs” school bus, which would be entering the drive at 2:30 to deliver a lone child.

Only a few years ago I would have attacked that wall of snow with a shovel, but I’ve run out of gas at age seventy. I just can’t work that hard any more. So what I did was put my Jeep into four-wheel-drive and crashed through the pile, and then backed up, and repeated this process over and over until the Jeep’s wheels had packed down the wall into a sort of flattened berm at the entrance. Then I drove around and repeated the process at the exit. Who needs physical strength when you have fossil fuels?

Feeling a bit smug I went into the Childcare and sat back to enjoy a bowl of soup and the deep, sweet silence which descends at “nap time”, which is suppose to end at 2:30 but tends to start to end earlier. I dress the early risers in snow suits and send them outside, so they won’t wake the others. I was in the middle of this process when I heard the sound of a plow scraping down the street, and glancing out the window saw the young town-plower use his wing plow to build a second, smaller version of the wall across our entrance. That was approximately at 2:29, and before I could think of appropriate swears the Special Needs bus came around the corner and attempted to plow its way through the pile into the drive.


I had never noticed this before about the Special Need buses, but they are sort of the antithesis of a Jeep. I think some sort of government subsidies are involved, invented by a well-meaning bureaucrat who desired to invent a vehicle resembling the OSHA horse. For example, the wheels on the Special Needs bus were tiny, about half as big as the wheels on my Jeep. They looked like they belonged on a golf cart. Likely this had some “green” benefit; perhaps better gas mileage in summer weather; but currently such wheels were a fast way to get stuck in snow. The little bus whined its tires and rocked forward and back, but was stuck.

I heaved a sigh, shouldered a snow shovel, and trudged out to dig the bus out. At age seventy I know the routine. First you have to remove the snow packed under the vehicle’s frame, which keeps the wheels from touching the ground. This involves some especially awkward shoveling, reaching hard-to-reach places, and over the past half century I’ve learned to detest such bent-over and twisted contortions of the body, while digging. It is detestable even when you are young and limber, and at age seventy it is especially detestable because I knew the situation was easily avoidable, if old Harry had been operating the wing-plow instead of the young whippersnapper.

As I thought about this injustice I was working myself into a tizzy, just thinking how detestable it was, but, where a fury once helped me work harder and faster, it now just gets me out of breath, so I have to pause and lean on my shovel. As I did so I looked up and saw a bus load of faces all smiling at me.

I had never noticed this before, but sometimes Special Needs students seem far happier than everyone else. Maybe their joy is a bit demented, but they sure were on a different page than the one my grumpy self-pity was on. As they watched me work they were all laughing and waving.

I was struck by a sudden urge to give them all the middle finger; to dissolve into rage and shriek strange things: “I can be demented too, y’know. I got my own Special Needs!” However such behavior does not behoove the director of a Childcare, so I abstained, and instead I waggled my fingers at the happy children, and smiled as they all waggled delighted fingers back. My middle finger did not step out of line. Then my fingers clenched the handle and I went back to shoveling.

I instructed the young-lady bus driver to try to back up and shoveled in front of the spinning tire, and then to drive forward and shoveled behind, and felt a ray of hope. The tire made a raspy noise, as if it was starting make contact with sand, and the vehicle rocked further and further backwards and forwards, until abruptly the bus lifted out of its predicament as if it was as easy as pie and it had been thinking of doing so all along, but just wanted to make me feel important by pretending to be stuck.

A small Specially Needed child got out and went waltzing into the Childcare, and then I had to get the bus out of there, through the wall of snow at the exit. I looked at the berm and, after stroking my chin sagely, decided against any further work. Instead I instructed the young lady to wait until I saw the road was clear, and when I gestured to gun the engine and leave the lot at top speed. It may have taken a few years off the bus’s green warranty, but it worked. They went piling out into the road, jouncing over the snow pile and then driving off with everyone happily (and a bit wildly) waving backwards at me. And for days afterward every time I passed that Special Needs bus, the driver would wildly wave at me, as if we were the best of long-time friends.

But for the moment I was bushed. “I’m getting too old for this,” I muttered to myself, but the snow was of another opinion.

The brilliant March sunshine turned the berms at the entrance and exit slushy by the end of the day, and the Moms driving their big SUV’s made deep ruts in the berm, which other Moms in their little sedans avoided, by straddling the ruts. Overnight the slush froze as hard as iron, and then, first thing in the morning, an especially air-headed Mom drove her little sedan right into the deep SUV ruts, where her wheels didn’t even touch the ground.

I had come creaking into work groaning about how stiff and sore I was, and collapsed at my desk to start going through a year’s worth of receipts and begin doing my taxes. I took a deep breath and prepared my mind to focus, which was when I got word the car was stuck. I was less than happy, even though it was a good excuse to avoid doing taxes.

It was the exact same situation the Special Needs bus was in, only rather than snow it was slush frozen as hard as iron. I limped to a shed, dragged out a grub hoe, and began to listlessly peck away at the ice, all my muscles protesting the abuse. And just then a superhero arrived.

It was a man who has been my neighbor since 1968. Back then he came up to my knees. He’s roughly sixty now, but still has his strength. He stopped his truck, stomped over, took my grub hoe from me, and began whaling away, prying big slabs of ice from the pavement and casting them aside. Then he backed his truck up close to the little car, so he had something to brace against as he pushed, and with a tremendous heave removed the sedan from the ruts. Then, with a friendly nod, he headed off. Then the young mother drove off, leaving me to reflect in the sunshine. I mused that there is a difference between age sixty and age seventy, and it is all downhill.

I glanced at my cellphone, and just then something amazing happened. Three feet of snow melted in five seconds. Of course I am not referring to the snow all around me, but the snow in the five-day-forecast. The dreaded second storm had up and vanished, “in the most recent run of the computer models” (which is what weathermen say nowadays, rather than “botched forecast.”) In fact the forecast was for nothing but sunny days and mild temperatures.

I looked around, noticing how different the snow looked, now that rather than threatening to grow deeper it was instead bidding adieu. What was this odd feeling I felt? Nostalgia for the nuisance? Yes, though it seemed impossible. At age seventy you can wonder if you’ll ever see snow again, and it makes you a bit wistful.

Glancing out over the playground I could already see the fence reemerging, and the igloo, which we had prepped for “the second storm”, was looking ragged. It would not long withstand the March sunshine.

And indeed that is exactly what happened. It collapsed three days later, and eight days later was a white shadow of its former self.

Not that, even with the snow vanishing, there are not plenty of signs of our great storm. Besides the plow damage to the fence in the background of the above picture, which I’ll have to fix, I know I’ll be huffing and puffing with a chainsaw a lot, cleaning up all the tree damage the heavy snow caused.

It is amazing how swiftly the snow shrinks in late March and early April, but it makes sense. Even in the ice ages the ice would melt and pour in torrents off the giant glaciers, for in April the sun gets as high and as hot as it is in August. Not that we can’t get tricked and be shocked by snow in May, but that is a fluke. Usually you move from shoveling snow to spading the pea patch so swiftly it makes your head spin. I’m not sure I’m up to it, at age seventy, and am looking about for recruits, for at my age what I should be doing is wearing suspenders, so I can hook my thumbs in them before pontificating sagely.

What would I pontificate sagely about? Well, you’ve read pages and pages, so you know. But I have one more thing to add.

As Americans regard their media and politicians like the Chicago players regarding their unseen teammate in Rockwell’s “The Dugout”, it suggests a certain awareness we have, and sense of humor we have, about the imperfections of others, and of ourselves. We know we are not perfect. At it’s worst, this means we are not entirely worthy of trust. So what can we trust?

On American’s soon-to-be-worthless money it says, “In God We Trust”. Ironic. Poor old widows worked long and hard as teachers for pensions, but Fraudulent Biden wants to find a way around paying the pensions, and the way (if successful) will be hyperinflation. People will get their pensions, but a thousand dollars will buy but a slice of bread. People will feel like fools for having trusted money, but American money states who alone deserves the trust.

“In God We Trust”. Many radical leftists laugh at that. Like Sennacherib before the walls of Jerusalem, they point out how many cried out to God, in whatever form they worshiped, and it never helped them. Sennacherib’s armies just smashed them. And some leftists imagine seven billion will be eradicated, in the name of population control, and God won’t raise a finger. But maybe such leftists are in for a surprise, just as Sennacherib got surprised.

The past winter surprised both sides of the Atlantic, as it was milder than expected, most of the time. People who could have been hurt very badly by high energy costs were not hurt as badly as expected. I sense some mercy in that, unless you are a particularly nasty person who wants people “to be taught a lesson” by suffering.

Personally I feel we were taught a lesson by the mild winter. We had a single shot of extreme cold, down to twenty below, and a single record-setting snowfall of over three feet. Also, at the start, we had extreme flooding. That is enough teaching, in my book. We saw our weaknesses exposed. We saw what we should do before next winter comes back to do it again. We also saw where we could help others, and where we need to ask others for help. But the strange question to ask is this: “Who was the teacher?”

The answer to that question makes leftists shudder. They argue against the answer, but fear it all the same.

“In God We Trust.”


It has been a battle to even build a snowman this winter, with strong thawing so frequent. The children at our Childcare love an igloo, but often they have melted away even before the walls were halfway up. We did complete one in January, but it collapsed in a cold rain and soon was just the white letter “O” on the brown lawn. The one above is our most recent effort, over six feet tall and called “The Leaning Tower of Igloo”. It is also “The Last Igloo”, for two reasons. One reason is that it is March, and the sun is higher and stronger. Though we still have more than a month before pussy willows begin to bud, the snow shrinks so swiftly at times it is hardly worth shoveling it. The second reason is that I’m getting a bit old for such effort.

Not that a man is ever too old for a snow fort. I don’t doubt some stuffy bankers think they are beyond such childish sport, but that is because they never test their resolve. They stick to their daily duty and never dare leave the sidewalks and scoop a handful of sticky snow. If they did they’d realize they were like an alcoholic sipping just a single sip of whisky. Once they started they could not stop.

Nor is it that snow brings out the child in a man. In fact it is the other way around. Snow brings out the man in a child. There is something deeply civilized about the urge to build. After all, what is the dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome but Michelangelo’s glorified igloo.

Of course, I am no Michelangelo. Maybe I could be, if I had so many working for me, but I had to move the slushy snow, and my back stiffened up so I couldn’t flex as well, which is why the two sides don’t match.

Nature seemed to approve, as a retrograde gale up in Labrador brought us subfreezing gales and turned the slush to rock, and crusted the snow so the kids could run over the snow without sinking. Rather than melting my igloo nature preserved it. And the kids seemed to approve of the igloo as well.

Not that it will last. But the maple syrup other old men are tapping from trees will not last either. Some things are not made to last, but rather to be enjoyed, and hopefully this sonnet is such a thing.

The trees have sprouted buckets, and also tubes
Of modern plastic, as maple weather
Freezes the thaw each night, and frugal rubes
Get rich off sap. With skin like old leather
They concoct ambrosia, and city people 
Escape concrete to inhale fragrant steam
And to worship, without any steeple,
A lifestyle so long lost it's like a dream.

At daybreak a big man can walk upon
A crust on snow that was practically slush
The day before, breathing puffs in the still dawn,
But I don't inspect buckets in that blush.
As winter birds sing spring songs, what I do
Isn't work; it's the play of my last igloo.


I thought that if we saw brown outs this winter they would be the sort that afflict an over-stressed electrical grid, due to Fraudulent Biden’s weird war against the middle class and fossil fuels. Instead it was a far more pleasant brown out, brought on by the melting of nearly all white snow. The benign pattern (unless you operate a ski resort) had storms passing to our west, swinging warm fronts past us and placing us in a warm southwest flow. When secondaries formed on the cold front or as “skippers” on warm fronts they never bombed out until safely out to sea.

In the map above the high pressure to the right is what I call the Bermuda High (though modern sorts seem to now call it the Southeast Ridge) and it is separated from the Azores High by a mid-Atlantic trough which has seemingly stolen all our thunder so far this winter, sucking in the biggest storms and coldest air. Our arctic air tends to be in that lobe of the Bermuda High extending north of the warm front, and has a hard time coming west as a back door cold front. However the above map has an actual arctic high coming via Calgary and the Alberta Clipper route, which suggests the brown out may not be forever and we had best enjoy it.

Lydia, my last surviving goat, decided she could leave her hay-pile and heat lamp in the shed and check out the garden, for some dried corn stalks, which she for some reason relished.

Goats like to be part of a herd, and Lydia doesn’t like being the last goat, and seeks a new herd when possible at out Childcare.

We definitely had rebounded from our cold shot, and hats and mittens were discarded all over the hillside, but a glance at the long range forecast warned another shot was in the works.

The high temperature of 39 on Tuesday was for early in the day, and the forecast snow was for late in the day, so everyone planned accordingly. Personally I planned to use the last of the brown out to load the porch and woodboxes, without annoying my wife by tracking snow all over the place. But, the best laid plans of mice and men…

And just like that the brown out was over. The question was, would this inch of fluff be swiftly melted by a resurgence of southwest winds?

Judging from the long range forecast above, a brief resurgence might have been expected Wednesday, but cold seemed to be pressing. The Bermuda High, suppressed to Florida in the map below, is in a fight with high pressure either side of Hudson Bay which, rather than being blithely pushed east, is starting to dig in its heels and do some pushing, showing signs of turning into a “blocking high pressure” which prevents lows (such as the one over the Great Lakes in the map below) from cruising north, but rather squishes them southeast, often as secondary “skipper” developments along the coast (as is the case in the map below.)

What happened was that low over the Great Lakes dissipated to a blip that barely gave us a flurry, as the coastal feature rocketed east to become a mid Atlantic Storm, which is what has happened over and over this winter, but the front it left behind was very different. It was a long warm front to the next storm, moving out of the Rocky Mountains. Formerly the Bermuda High would have whipped that front north, but now there was formidable Canadian High Pressure to the north, and even a weak cold front pressing south over New England. Battle lines were being drawn.

Yesterday provided just enough of a window to stack wood with a minimum of mess to my wife’s floors, but the blue sky grayed and by evening a silent snow was falling. By this morning I had three and a half inches of snow and sleet to shovel, and Lydia goat was nowhere to be seen. Smarter than I, she was basking under her heat lamp.

The brown out was now definitely over.


We have been spared the more brutal side of winter (so far) but there have been a couple of cold shots, brief reminders we’re not off the hook. They are like a left jab in a fist fight, quick and then gone, but you notice you are a bit dizzy.

The cold air really has had to work to reach us, as the pattern wants to divert it all out to sea. A couple of maps will demonstrate how the cold air had to back track from Baffin Bay, rather than taking the normal route down the east slopes of the Canadian Rockies from Alaska. Then cold swiftly is sloughed off to the east, and we are back into a more benign southwest flow.

The first map shows a bombing-out low in the upper right corner, in Baffin bay, delivering much of the arctic air associated with it into the Atlantic east of Labrador, but a little is leeching west into the northern lobe of a mostly moderated high (“polar” rather than “arctic”) which is following a mild storm crossing New England. Because New England is in the warm sector, and because the following high pressure is not particularly cold, the weather bureau had to be on its toes to alert people to the sneaky cold coming around the top. They did a good job, but people still got caught off guard. Sneaky cold is called “sneaky” for a reason.

My own experience was perhaps typical. At 2:30 we were still enjoying near-record warmth at 55 degrees, (12.8 Celsius), and I was enjoying walking around fifteen pounds lighter because I wasn’t wearing my heavy coat and snow pants and bulky boots. I didn’t want to bother with that stuff if I didn’t have to, and thought I might get away with it. What could go wrong? I had only two and a half hours before the last child would be picked up, and then I’d be free for the weekend.

Yes indeed, as I thought that, there was, if not an ominous drum-roll, an actual, distant roll of thunder to the north. The clash between cold and warm was creating midwinter thunder, which is always a delight to me, but not a very good sign if you expect balmy weather to continue.

I mentioned to a teen-aged intern working with me that we might want to get rain-gear and warmer clothes, and she scoffed, and I said I’d be right back. I’d left most of my winter garb at home, but did locate an enormous mad-bomber rabbit-fur hat, and a couple of huge mittens, and walked back out looking like a slender lollypop with big hands. At age 70 I don’t care what I look like as much as I care about staying warm. However the teen-aged intern did care about looks, even though the wind was starting to whip cold showers and the temperature began dropping like a rock. My head and hands stayed toasty, but the rest of me quickly got drenched and cold.

Soon sleet began mixing with the rain, but also sunbeams. A big, high rainbow arched across the purpled sky. The wind gusted so strongly it even lifted the soddened leaves, which had been flattened by snow but exposed by the thaw. Most of the kids delighted in the crazy weather, staying warm by racing about in some sort of fantasy brawl involving sticks that were lasers, and fleeing many pursuing invisible aliens. However one little toddler felt the sucky weather sucked, and wanted to be picked up and held.

Both the intern and myself could commiserate with the toddler, because we had shared her sickness, due to a thoughtless mother who had dumped the little child off when the child should have stayed home, early in the week. We had comforted the child then, both had caught the child’s cold, and then the intern stayed home a couple days as I worked at less than a hundred percent, and now we were comforting the child for the final forty minutes before her mother came to pick her up, as the wind whipped and sleet pelted and wet leaves swirled.

I gallantly unzipped my wet coat to wrap the toddler, (but actually confess it warmed me as well), and attempted to distract the child from the misery we were midst. The rainbow worked. For around three minutes. Then I sent the child in with the drenched intern to help another intern do the end-of-week cleaning indoors.

Then I turned my attention to the other children, who were not bothered a bit by the abysmal weather. As they raced about I kept myself moving. The cold isn’t so bad if you keep moving. I picked up sticks the wind had blown from trees and put them by the place we have campfires, and picked up the gloves and hats kids were leaving strewn about. As their parents pulled into the parking lot I alerted the kids it was time to go, and handed them their hats and gloves. They all looked radiant. I felt ashen gray. Sometimes the last ten minutes of a Friday is the longest. I was shuddering, and wet to the skin.

But then the final parent came, and hip-hip-hooray, I was done! I headed home and skipped my usual Friday beer, opting for a half-shot of brandy. Then I loaded both fires, and even turned up the propane heat, but I couldn’t stop shuddering. It was 28 degrees outside, (-2 Celsius) which meant it had dropped 27 degrees in three or four hours, but it was 72 inside, so why was I still shuddering? Hmmm…

When I was young my mother, a trained and “registered” nurse, had a dread of something called a “relapse”. To my great annoyance, she would make me stay in bed a full day after my temperature returned normal after a sickness, to avoid a “relapse.”

Apparently relapses were something nurses had learned about during the Spanish ‘Flu. If you hopped out of bed too fast, you could wind up back in bed for an extended stay. Or die. I found the concept somewhat mysterious. Relapses only seemed to be a danger when I felt fine and could hear my friends playing outside. On Monday mornings, when I felt awful and did not want to go to school, there was never any danger of a relapse and I got booted from bed.

However now it seemed I was experiencing a genuine relapse. I had babied myself through some ailment all week, and was on the road to recovery, but then had stood out in arctic blasts looking like a lollypop with large hands. My mother was likely rolling in her grave, if she was watching, but hopefully heaven doesn’t look backwards.

I knew I must be feverish when I had absolutely no desire for beer, and just desired bed. Basically I slept like a rock Friday night, snoozed all Saturday, shivering, (except for spells after taking a couple aspirin when I felt wonderful waves of warmth). I only arose to tend fires and use the bathroom and ingest chicken soup. (My wife later informed me the teen-aged intern spent her Saturday the same way, which made me feel a bit less like a frail, old fossil.)

Despite sleeping Friday night, and most of Saturday, I slept right through Saturday night, and now am bounding back, revived. Can’t remember when I last slept so much. And now I look at the weather maps to see what I’ve missed.

The north winds that gave us our cold shot (with temperatures to 17 [-8 Celsius] Saturday morning) are now relegated to the upper right corner of the map, up in Baffin Bay, and again are pumping the cold air down into the Atlantic to our east. And again we are in the benign southwest flow, and could again see temperatures in the fifties tomorrow.

And that’s pretty much the news from here, except for a bit of thinking I did while feverish. I likely should quit here and make this like a Lake Wobegone post where “all the children are above normal”. In fact I’ll make a break below, so readers can bail if they wish to avoid an old man’s cantankerous rambling.


My feverish thinking involved all that cold air that has been missing us, and chilling the Atlantic. I’ve noticed the water isn’t as chilled by those winds nearly as much as I expected. Not only here, but on the far side of the Pacific, civilized areas have been spared the wrath of winter as blasts of cold air have been diverted out to sea. Yet the seas show little sign of being cooled by months of blasts, except at the very edges, where the sea-ice extends outwards a bit more than usual.

You can see the extended sea-ice in Baffin Bay, or in the Sea of Okhotsk on the Pacific Side, but only spots of blue east of Japan or south of Greenland. The air doesn’t really effect the water. However the water hugely effects the air.

Joseph D’Aleo wonderfully described the amazing and explosive power warm water has when cold air moves over it in a paper he wrote. I urge the scientifically inclined to seek it out, but I’ll just nab a couple illustrations from the paper which demonstrate the power the ocean has to generate super-storms. The first illustration shows cold air like a lid on a hot ocean.

The second shows when the lid is blown off and so-called “bombogenisis” occurs.

As I lay in bed thinking it seemed, to my feverish common sense, that water should have more power than air, because air is dispersed molecules bouncing about far apart, while water is densely packed molecules close together. In terms of molecules, air is hugely outnumbered by water. When cold air tries to chill water, you have a lone cold molecule taking on ten-thousand warm molecules. But when that same warm water tries to warm cold air you have ten-thousand taking on one. Who do you suppose will win such a battle?

The water will win, unless the water is chilled to a point where it is water no more. Once sea-ice forms, the air is no longer utterly changed by the ocean. But away from sea-ice air is utterly changed. It is not only warmed, but is supercharged with the most potent of greenhouse gases, namely water vapor. In the above illustration the air is not merely warmed, but also moistened.

Though my locale has been spared this winter, I have studied what I call “fisherman maps” of the Atlantic and Pacific, watching the amazing storms few care about because they seldom effect us. Each of these storms demonstrate water having a huge effect on air, as air, to be honest, has a minuscule effect on water. While it may be true winds whip up water, it was the water’s warmth and moisture that made those winds in the first place. Water wins, in terms of power.

Such super-storms are not rare. It is actually rare to have a pacific “fisherman map” as storm-free as today’s…

…which has no storms and only two gales. But note it has three “developing storms” and two “developing gales”. Winter brews storms by sending cold air over warm water, but the power is not in the cold air but in the warmer water.

Lastly, the power sent aloft by super-storms is not merely some sort of insipid water vapor, as if water vapor was an “inert” greenhouse gas. Water vapor also holds energy, though it is “latent energy”. It is not heat-energy measured by a thermometer, nor wind-energy measured by an anemometer. Rather it is latent, and lurking, and able to perplex and confuse all who downplay water vapor, in favor of any gas which holds no latent energy. Such as?

Such as CO2, which makes up a small part of our air. Only one in 2500 molecules in our air is CO2, and all the changes to levels of CO2 people fret about do not change that “one” to “two”. (320 ppm to 420 ppm may change “one” to “one point three”, but it remains a tiny fraction of 2500).

As I lay in my sickbed I wondered who could believe one molecule in 2500 could warm an ocean when an entire arctic blast could not chill it. Instead the ocean warmed the arctic blast, and turned its bone-dry air into a super-storm drenched with moisture.

If air is so slow to change the temperature of water, and water is so quick to change the air, why would we look to one 2500th of the air as a reason the water has warmed?

The oceans have warmed for the past sixty years, which should lead to an out-gassing of CO2, because warmer waters are less able to hold dissolved CO2. Even so, that out-gassing is a minuscule amount among greater gases that also have a minuscule effect, as air is outnumbered, in terms of molecules, compared to water. Also, if oceans are warmer, they must also be “out-gassing” more water vapor, which happens to cancel out much of CO2’s “greenhouse effect”. Yet all of this is like fretting about a flea on a stallion. The true big kahuna is the sea.

The argument that a tiny, trace gas controlled the enormity of our climate demanded, from the start, overwhelming evidence, because the idea basically sounds nutty. It was as nutty as the idea of drifting continents. You had better get your ducks in a row before you propose continents drifting about. But in the case of drifting continents scientists got their ducks in a row. In the case of Global Warming scientists just got nasty, which divorced them from science, so they were not scientists any more. Instead they just became nutty. Maybe to some degree richer, but nutty. Maybe to some degree holding prestigious positions at universities, but nutty. Perhaps holding some backroom power in government bureaucracies, but nutty.

Being somewhat nutty in my own way, perhaps I have a word of warning to rich nuts in prestigious positions of power. You can bully and bullshit all you want, but, as a “childcare professional” I must sadly inform you, you are transparent to the young. The young are not merely impressionable clay you can mold with nutty propaganda. They innately recognize a lie by the dead way it makes a heart feel. Then, because you represent a dead way, they will turn away from you, hungry for life, hungry for something that does not involve money or prestige or power, but what could that be?

Hmm…It seems I heard, through the fog of my fever, some sort of murmuring about some sort of stirrings of a “revival” someplace called Asbury…

…But of course you insist those “revivalist” folk are silly. What is not silly is to believe one molecule out of 2500 of already-thin air warms the mile-deep oceans. Or so your Nuttiness insists.

Begging your Nutiness’s pardon, but perhaps you do not know how you look, through the eyes of honest youth. You say what? CO2 is a poison gas but air by derailed trains is safe? Can you have actually said that? Need you have your nose pushed into it like a dog?

Government Definitions | Real Climate Science

I must be feverish. Get me some aspirin.


Thirty-two years ago, my wife and I ran a lunch counter and snack bar at a small local cross-country ski area, and weather like we’ve been having just about ruined us. Just about every penny we had was invested in food, and cocoa, and just about every bill possible for us to receive through the mail was unpaid. Sunshine has never filled me with such gloom, nor mild weather ever seemed so depressing. We had enough food to feed a small army, so I knew the kids would be fed, and I was young and strong and could cut firewood to keep the house warm, unless I ran out of gas for my chainsaw. I doubted the gas station would even sell me a gallon on credit. My pride was shredded. My faith was slumping.

Then we got snow, and skiers appeared in droves. And they get hungry. It then was such a wonder to me that people would pay a dollar fifty for a baked potato with a dab of sour cream that cost me about fifteen cents to make, and that they would smile and praise me for being so much more “reasonable” than other ski areas that charged three dollars for the same potato.

And we sold things much better than a baked potato. My wife’s chili could raise the dead, or at least the dead-tired skier. And people gladly paid a dollar for a single one of her cookies, which were big but not that big. We made money hand over fist. In a single day we made enough to pay off all our overdue utility bills and our rent. So, I know what it feels like to whiplash from abject poverty to well-being in twelve hours.

The thing that struck me was that I really could not take the credit for the fact that I went from feeling like a weasel to feeling like a responsible father. I did not control the snow. In fact, I was more or less a gambler, and for a while my luck was rotten, and then I hit a lucky streak. And gamblers who escape debt (and the wrath of loan sharks) through a lucky streak are notorious for speaking of “higher powers” who had mercy on them.

You can call such talk “superstition” all you want, but I have noticed that the people who do so tend to be financially secure. They are in a sense cursed, by safety. Where a businessman knows about “risk”, (which is, in a sense, a gamble), the financially secure only are involved with “safe” investments. They “never touch their capital” and “live off the interest”, until they have created a cold universe for themselves where they inure themselves from mercy. Or, they live that frosty way until some financial bubble pops, some market crashes, some thief plunders. Then they suddenly enter the world of “superstition”. Mercy only matters to those who need it.

This winter the mercy I, and others like me, needed was not snow. Rather it was a lack of snow. We did not need cold, but mildness. Why? Because the madness of “green” politics, and its foaming hatred of fossil fuels, was sending the price of staying warm through the roof. If the weather had been merciless, few could have fallen back on using firewood like I am able to do. If we had been hit by a weather pattern such as the winter of 1976-1977’s, things would have precipitated a crisis. The “power grid” would have been overwhelmed. There would have been rotating black outs and brown outs, and also the elderly on fixed incomes simply would not have been able to pay their bills. But did this happen? Not so far. Instead, there has been mercy.

Was it due to Global Warming? Not really. Global temperatures (according to UAH) last January were only a half degree warmer than they were during the ice-age-scare of the 1970’s:

If the weather patterns had taken the form of the winter of 1976-1977, it wouldn’t have mattered much if the temperatures of the frigid blasts were a half degree warmer. Misery would have been worse, in fact, due to the dunderheaded policy of “green” politicians. However, we (so far) have received mercy. The weather patterns have been benign.

Not that the pattern has been truly “zonal” and kept the cold air up at the Pole, for there have been some shots of very cold air to the south, indicative of a “meridenal” pattern, however largely these shots have been into the oceans, and largely have missed the poor people most likely to be harmed. (The poor Kurds freezing after their terrible earthquake being the exception and not the rule. They sure could use some mercy.)

As an example of how the shots miss my area, look at the “fisherman’s map” below:

What this map demonstrates is a pattern I’ve watched over and over this winter. Namely, a weak ripple passes over my neck of the woods but, when it gets out to sea, it explodes into a “DVLPG STORM”. To its north, at the very top of the map, by the west coast of Greenland, is “HEAVY FRZY SPRAY”, indicative of very cold air able to freeze the salt water which a fishing boat plunges through to the boat’s decks and rigging to such a degree the craft can capsize. That extremely cold air is sucked south behind the storm, but just far enough east of New England that we are spared all but a glancing blow.

In the above map the lobe of high pressure following the exploding storm has two sourses. The “H” over Labrador is arctic, and will largely miss us, while the “H” over Cape Hattaras is “polar” and very moderated and includes Pacific-warmed air. That is what we will be getting, in the southwest flow behind the high pressure. (Temperatures below are Fahrenheit, of course.)

Even Saturday’s temperatures are slightly “above normal” for us, so you can imagine the mercy of Wednesday’s and Thursday’s. It is destroying our Childcare’s igloo and many snowmen, but the slushy sledding continues, even without sleds, as if children were otters.

And youth can still walk on water:

In other words, due to mercy, the ordinary lives of simple people goes on. The inflation and higher energy bills haven’t ruined people in the area where I live, and it hasn’t been able to do so, at least partially, because the winter hasn’t been as cruel as it could have been. (So far.)

Now here’s the funny thing: Such mercy has no mercy on those who wanted there to be suffering. Some “green” ideologs really want people dependent on fossil fuels to “pay”. Their zeal is so ugly that they think a significant decrease in the world’s population would be a “good” thing, and not involve the ugliness of genocide. And therefore, they are likely very upset the weather has been kindly. They roll their eyes to heaven and cry out, “Have You no mercy!”

Or maybe not. I have a suspicion most are Atheists. It is sort of hard to roll your eyes to heaven when you don’t believe such beauty exists, or to ask for mercy when you believe mercy is a superstition.


After fifteen years as a “child care professional” I’ve dealt with my fair share of tantrums, and deem myself, if not an expert, then rather good at dealing with them. They, (or it), are (is) basically a person who has been pushed past their limit, and who has “lost it.” Sometimes it’s the child and not their parent.

The word “tantrum” itself is sort of interesting, for it likely is a word with multiple roots, which is to say similar-sounding words from different languages with vaguely applicable meanings were spliced together into the word we now wield.

One root is French, and means the noise made by trumpets, a fanfare, the French “trantran”, an imitative word for hunting horns, or an uproar. A second root is the German root “tand” which described vanity, especially shallow and even silly vanity. And a third root is Welsh, “tant”, which means to be stretched thin, and can be used for tempers, the strings of a musical instrument, or the tendons of our body. In fact the Latin derivation for “tantrum” may be from what gives us the word “tendon”, the verb “tendere” which means, “to stretch thin”.

In any case, all that reason went into what means losing reason, and what we locally call, “throwing a spaz.”

One reason I think I am good at handling tantrums is that I myself would be the pot calling the kettle black if I pretended I was above “losing it” from time to time. In a sense my life has been one long tantrum against a society which seems increasingly nuts. It is everyone else’s fault; their insanity makes me insane.

When I see a small child losing it I remind myself I may be in the presence of genius. Winston Churchill was said to be a hellion at school; his classmates remembered cringing and thinking, “Don’t say it, Winny; don’t say it,” but he would always say it, whatever “it” was, to the teacher, which meant, in those days of corporal punishment, he had to be caned. However part of his genius was his ability to stand up to dictators.

I would also be a hypocrite if I denied the fact that, from time to time, I myself haven’t just blown off my responsibility and played hooky, in a sense acting out a tantrum. In July of 2017 I wrote a long post called “The Forthright of July” about how all the people who promised to help me weed the garden had skipped town, and were enjoying freedom as I was a slave to the garden, and it ended with me skipping the weeding as well, and writing this sonnet:

Going to the beach on a hot July
Mid-morning with the stain of brass heat draped
On every bough and street, and in my eye
Even shadows hazed gold, nothing escaped
The heat…but I am. Like a boy
Playing hooky, the consequences fade
In the face of surging, giggling joy.

While it may be true we’ll sleep in beds unmade,
Face stern principles, grip hungover foreheads,
That’s all far away. Now we’re on our way
To the beach, and like flowering dawn sheds
The dark dreads of night, joy drives gloom away.

We’re all going to die, but boys playing hooky
Have light in their eye, and life’s their cookie.

Of course, there are consequences to playing hooky. If you don’t weed you wind up with a weedy garden; you reap what you sow. If you can’t do the time don’t do the crime. If you have your way you must pay. That is something I must communicate to the small child who is throwing a tantrum.

However one element of a tantrum is a refusal to communicate. The child is fed up with talk. They want their way and don’t care what you say.

The State of New Hampshire requires a certain amount of “adult education” for teachers, which is something I could tantrum about, but usually don’t. When I first opened my Childcare with my wife I’d already raised five children, coached boy’s teams, taught Sunday School, and volunteered as my wife ran a small town’s recreation department and swimming pool, yet some of the young women teaching “adult education” were half my age. (Now, as I approach my seventieth birthday, they’d be a third my age.)

My teachers were fresh out of college, had no children, and were brimming with bright ideas which tended to be contrary to the bright ideas which were in fashion ten years earlier. For example, the idea of “time outs” was all the rage for a while, but then suddenly were called “oppressive” and were frowned upon. Likewise “permissiveness” seems to come into fashion until it is called “spoiling”.

In actual fact one needs to use “time outs” when they work, and avoid them when they don’t work. No single approach works; one shouldn’t be swayed to one side and a single approach; one needs a full repertoire, and sometimes even that isn’t enough, and intuition must supply some new approach out of the blue. However I did attend the “adult education classes”, if only to learn what new laws I was breaking.

One law I broke involved “physical restraint”. When we first opened our childcare people were terribly worried about “abuse”. Small children are very physical, but even hugging was frightening to some, who feared sexual perversion. We all needed to be finger-printed and get background checks, before we were even allowed on the premises. (Even a farmhand who shoveled the stables on weekends when we were closed was officially supposed to be fingerprinted, though I broke that law at times.) Any sort of corporal punishment was taboo, and even to physically grab a child and snatch them from danger was seen as a last resort, (as if one had time to carefully analyze during such an emergency.) However when a child was throwing a tantrum and disturbing the rest of the children I’d grab the little sucker and cart him outside, ignoring his or her screeching and caterwauling, and also likely ignoring the latest law.

I was very gentle but very firm. Once things had reached a certain point I felt it was wrong to give in, for it was like attempting to appease a small Adolph Hitler. I reached this conclusion when we first opened our Childcare, before I had learned many of the tricks I now use to distract the child from refusing to communicate, luring them into a conversation.

This particular child had learned to throw a fit to get his way at home, and needed to learn that different behavior is required in public, where he was one of twelve small children. Like many children he liked routine, and complained when things didn’t happen in the same order, but he also didn’t like the part of the daily routine where “play time” turned into “circle time”.

“Circle time” involved singing songs and playing games which taught children a so-called “curriculum” involving learning colors, shapes, numbers, and opposites such as above-and-below. Personally I found such “curriculum” tedious and saw children learned the same things if you just used the words in other activities, but “circle time” did seem to teach a lot about having good manners and working as a team. However this little boy didn’t like putting away a toy truck and sitting in a circle. He had older brothers who taught him rude words, and looked at me with an innocent face and said, “Fuck circle time.” He had just turned three-years-old.

I knew the boy’s father would have just laughed, and might have even praised the lad, while the boy’s mother would have just rolled her eyes and walked away. However I decided to do battle, for, though I know one must chose their battles, this fellow was definitely testing a limit. Also I knew appeasement wouldn’t work. If I left him playing with his trucks and attempted to conduct circle time with the other eleven children and the other teacher, he would not play quietly in the corner, but would roar his truck through the middle of the circle. Therefore I broke several laws.

New Hampshire has a rule that states there must be an adult for every six children under five years old, but for a while the other teacher had to deal with eleven, for this small boy needed one-on-one attention. Other laws involve not hurting children, and children seem to instinctively know they deserve some sort of protection, and bellow “You’re hurting me!” even as you are being as tender as you can possibly be. “Ow! Ow! Ow! You are hurting me!” they screech as they claw, bite, kick you in the shins, and break your glasses. “Stop! You’re hurting! Aurrrrgh!” Meanwhile you remain calm, move them gently away from any walls they can bang their head against (while accusing you of banging their head against the wall), and attempt to engage them in a conversation, which of course is the one thing they don’t want to do.

They don’t want to talk. They want to get their way. The entry point to a dialog is usually an argument about who is hurting who. I very calmly say, “I am not hurting you. You are hurting yourself. Why are you doing that?” In the case of this small boy, to even ask such a question was infuriating, and made him all the more determined to get his way.

For an hour and a half I sat on the front steps on a lovey summer morning with the boy screaming. I wondered why some neighbor didn’t call the police, and also was starting to think I’d chosen the wrong battle. I wondered why the boy didn’t lose his voice. I wondered why the sky stayed blue and the sun still shone and the birds kept singing and the leaves stayed green. I began to yearn for an aspirin.

In a sense the boy had won, for he had completely avoided circle time, so I was asking him if he wanted to stop screaming and go in for snack time. However he seemed to feel if he stopped screaming he’d lose, and continued. I had assumed he’d lose at least his voice, after an hour, but he seemed inexhaustible. I continued to not give in, firm but gentle, asking quiet, repetitive questions. Then, abruptly, he grew quiet. I silently praised God, and then I asked the child, “All done?” He nodded. “Can you go inside and not scream?” He nodded again. I released my gentle grip and we stood up to go in, and as we walked inside he reached up and took my hand.

The interesting thing, to me at least, was that the boy never threw another tantrum. I imagined that in some way he had tested a limit, and met his match. Not that he didn’t complain and whine at times, but for the most part he was more cooperative than the other tykes, after our battle.

It became a lodestone for me, “Never give in to a tantrum”, however I’ve become better at avoiding such battles. And I’ve never again had one go on so long, since that summer day. (Sulking doesn’t count; sulking is not the same as a full blown tantrum.)

This Monday will be my seventieth birthday, and retirement is looming. When dealing with various tantrums the past month I’ve felt a surprising thing: I might actually miss them. Not that they are pleasant, but the communication that occurs within them is unique and interesting, once you get it going.

One law I suppose I break midst the battles of tantrums involves calling a child a “baby”. There is a fear doing so could scar the child’s psyche for the rest of their life. (What is the difference between a “scarred” and a “molded” character? I’m never entirely sure. What a drill sergeant calls “molding” nearly everyone else would call “scarring.”) Anyway, I’ve heard one way around “scarring” is to avoid saying the tantrumer is a baby, which is “labeling”, and instead to ask questions about how babies behave, as opposed to how “grown ups” behave; (five-year-olds consider themselves “grown ups”, when with three-year-olds.) I’ve broken the declines of a couple of tantrums the past month by utilizing the word “baby” in a hopefully correct way. If it was incorrect, all I can respond with is, “all is fair in love and tantrums”, and also, “if you don’t like it, fire me”.

One event involved a small girl throwing an absolute fit about having to put on snowpants when it was “too hot”. It was barely above freezing, and the snow was wet, which made snow pants all the more advisable, but she was flopping about on the floor and kicking her feet. I stroked my beard sagely and then inquired if she was behaving as a baby might behave. She glared at me and informed me her mother said she was THE baby. I then gestured at a two-year-old who was putting on her snowpants close by, and asked, “How about her?” The girl grinned and said, “No, she’s not a baby.” I nodded like Spok on the old Star Trek show and said, “Interesting. I see.” Then I had the five-year-old sit in the sun on the porch with snow pants she didn’t have to put on, unless she left the porch. After sulking a while she put them on and rushed off to play.

However I got an interesting insight from the exchange. I’ve read about how, in Victorian times, the upper classes in England, both women and men, required “dressers” in order to get into their fancy outfits. I’ve often thought what a pain (a royal pain) that would be. It would be bad enough to not know how to drive a car and to require a chauffeur, but to not know how to dress? But…I had just heard a five-year-old explain she was a baby while a two-year-old was not. Perhaps the girl was going to be the next Winston Churchill.

Then I had another exchange with a tough young boy who enjoys “rough-and-tumble” and often laughs at getting clobbered. I’ve seen him kick the shins of boys older and bigger than he is, and when he is promptly shoved and sent flying flat on his back, he laughs. It is as if he enjoys the attention so much he disregards the pain. However one time he was whining and whimpering about how his snow-pants were tucked wrongly into his boots. I had eleven other children to dress, and perhaps was frazzled, and a bit short. I said I’d get to him, but he wanted attention right NOW. So I pointed at the two-year-old, who once again was getting her snow pants on (because she takes great pride in doing things “all by her self,”) and I said, “A baby can do it.”

Apparently I’d thrown down a gauntlet, for the boy thrust out his jaw and challenged me with, “I’m not a baby! You’re the baby!” I smiled and said, “You know, you may be right. When you kids drive me crazy, maybe I do become a big baby.”

The boy’s face was split by an ear-to-ear grin, and he went outside guffawing loudly. Apparently he had forgotten all about how uncomfortable the cuffs of his snow pants were.

Another day; another tantrum dealt with.

After the tantrum, the small, tired child
Reaches a little hand up while walking
With the elder, secure that they'll be smiled
Upon. There is no need for talking.
The big hand gladly takes the little one's.
All is forgiven, and the elder's pleased
More by the gesture than by the loud drums
And cymbals of worship. All stress is eased
And the rich nothing of peace's well-being
Slants like sunbeams in the late afternoon
Of summertime: Gold more worth seeing
Than the cold kind. Do not say, "God, come soon,"
For He's already here. I, in my pride,
Have tantrumed, but He's here at my side. 


It is an old, local, gallows-humor to say, when winter becomes especially obnoxious, “Have you surrendered yet?” You hear it at the local market, when someone walks in with a sour expression, having a bad-hair-day. Oddly, the soured expression usually vanishes and a grin flashes. It is as if the one accosted feels strangely recognized, and less alone in their misery. (You figure out the psychology. I’m too tired, having had to deal with so much slush and heavy snow my expression is likely soured, and also I’m having a bad-hair-day.)

Winter has a way of coming up with some new angle, some twist you have never seen before. I suppose that is one thing that keeps the dreariness from being too dreary: One looks about with interest for a new annoyance that was never expected.

This year the wonder is a strange lack of wind which has allowed the snow to build up on the boughs of trees to levels I haven’t seen before. Or, perhaps I once saw it, when I was young and could afford skiing, and rode ski-lifts to the tops of mountains where the rime could really build up on the spruce and fir trees, but they are trees designed to simply bend and curl over and endure the weight.

This is not the case for trees at lower altitudes. Eventually they break, and once you start to hear the cracking, sometimes like the report of a gun, coming from the woods, you start to notice the lights flickering, and perhaps make ready for the power to quit by filling a bathtub with water and lighting a candle.

My last local post described the storm that left our Childcare without power for nineteen hours. It did little to remove the snow from the trees, for the usual blast of northwest winds didn’t follow its passage. Instead the trees looked beautiful, and also dangerous.

Such heavy snow is sticky and great for making igloos, but perhaps such igloo-construction is unwise, for a man of my advanced years. In fact I know it is, for I was barely able to creak out of bed the next day, and headed for the aspirin bottle even before the coffee pot. Ahead of me my schedule foresaw there was heavy slush to clear up from the front walk of the Childcare, and I decided after that I would lean against a tree and watch the kids play. That may not be much of a curriculum: To not be at involved at all, but I could always say the woods were too dangerous to walk in, with burdened limbs crashing down.

But for play the children wanted to sled, and fresh, heavy snow is not good for sledding. The sleds just sink, making a sort of crater on the hillside. One must pack down the snow, but small children are not all that good at packing, it turns out. So I had to show them, slowly and laboriously tramping a wide path up the hill. I attempted to involve them, but their footprints tended to wander off and not stick to the planned route. Apparently it was too boring to pack a straight path.

I consoled myself by remembering my cellphone has a gadget that counts how many steps I take in a day. But it turned out this odometer thought I must be cheating, to take such short steps. All my tromping didn’t count as steps, to my deep disappointment. All I got was more weary than ever, as the kids got some slow sledding over the wet snow, as the long day ended.

There was still plenty of ice glinting in the treetops, as yet another storm approached.

It was another slushy storm. You could tell it was going to be hard to forecast where the rain-snow line would set up. They were forecasting a burst (or “thump”) of six inches of heavy, wet snow, changing to freezing rain and then rain, which didn’t sound good. The lights had been blinking all day, even without any added snow. But there was nothing to do but watch the storm come rolling east through the Ohio Valley on the weather maps.

The question was how soon the coastal development would develop, and how far north the warm air would surge, and how strong the “cold air damming” would be, and whether any sneaky cold air would creep under the warm air from the northeast as the coastal low “bombed.”.

Ordinarily such stuff fascinates me, but I was pretty achy, and the way the lights were flickering messed up my laptop’s ability to stay on the sites I tried to look at, and my weary brains had trouble staying in focus as well. After a easy-to-make dinner of hotdogs and beans I glanced out the window and saw it was snowing to beat the band, and then thought I’d lay down for just a bit to digest greasy hot dogs, but utterly konked out. (Just to show how tired I was, I left a lone beer on the table, with only a single sip of it swallowed).

I awoke at 3:30 AM and thought it might be wise to undress for bed, but then remembered I hadn’t put wood in the fires. Blearily I hobbled about, attempting to avoid clattering and clanging too much, as my wife has been as weary as I, and she was softly snoring. The power had been off, and the digital clocks were blinking on various devises, but we have some clocks that are battery-powered, which is how I knew it was 3:30 AM. The fires had burned down to embers, and it took time to get them going again.

At some point I went out on the porch for a couple logs. The air had a mildness unlike what I expect in January, and a quick glance down the steps showed that roughly three inches of snow (7.62 cm) was swiftly wilting under steady rain. The changeover had come earlier than expected, which I was glad to see. Hopefully the snow would shrink, and flow down the drains without the floods we had in December. I prefer snow melting to shoveling the stuff.

The lights flickered again as I glanced at the radar before heading back to bed. There were no warning signs of cold air and snow sneaking south as a backlash, and instead signs that a “dry slot” would end the rain earlier than expected. (I am located in the orange heavier rain, between Lowell and Keene.)

That “dry slot” did me a favor, for I overslept. I know when I oversleep, because it isn’t pitch dark out. I leapt out of bed, threw on my clothes, and rushed to clean the slush from the walks at the Childcare before the customers arrived. The morning was mild, and I had only to wipe the wet snow from my windshield, without needing to scrape at any frost. Yet there was still ice in the trees, and in fact the morning was sparkling, with the trees shimmering silver.

It is important to drink in that silver shimmering, for all too soon your eyes must drop to what you must shovel.

I did the front walkway, and no customer was inconvenienced, because the fact of the matter was most everyone in town was behind schedule, because the power outages messed up everyone’s clocks. Also the constant surging and blinking of the electricity supply messed up other switches in modern conveniences. I faced a freezer and a water pump that had quit. But fortunately I had five young men arriving at my Childcare and five snow shovels, and, rather than sullenly waiting for the school bus, they made some money shoveling the Childcare’s emergency exits. They trooped onto the school bus richer, as I, only $20.00 poorer, watched the snow slide off my “snow-shedding roof” and undo some of their work. Though they broke a couple shovels, they were a good investment, for they did free up my time, allowing me to get the freezer and pump working again.

(All I did was un-jam the switches; I don’t know how power surges manage to paralyze such devises, but working them once undoes the damage: With the freezer I only needed to turn the dial until it was “off”, and then, with the tender fingers of a safe-cracker, turn the dial in the “on” direction, and the freezer abruptly hummed and worked. The pump involved exposing and physically manipulating a pressure switch, but with the same effect: The pump started humming, and faucets gushed water again.) (Few things are so disconcerting as an empty faucet.)

I had proven I can function to some degree without coffee, but I was not happy about it, yet at this point there appeared, from the shimmering glitter of the sunshine, an angel. It was my wife, with a steaming extra-large coffee she got at the take-out window of a local coffee shop. Abruptly all seemed right in the world.

“Not so fast”, said this winter of slush. As I abandoned my wife to a small crowd of merciless children, driving off to do a quick errand, the coffee fueled a brief euphoria. The sun was shining off the wet road as if I was on a highway to heaven, but just then a tree branch chose to unload about ten pounds of slush and ice, down, down, down, and smack dab in the center of my windshield. I only slightly indented my Jeep’s roof. Why the windshield’s glass wasn’t cracked I cannot say.

This shock brought me back to earth, and reminded of a poem I wrote at age sixteen called “Thaw”, and also of being aged fourteen and a time I threw a snowball which plastered the center of a windshield of a Cadillac, while I was out “raising hay” during a January Thaw with a close friend, and how we got chased a long way through winter woods by a huge, burly man who looked a little like he might work for the Mafia who came exploding out of that Cadillac. In both cases the message seemed to be, “Don’t get too cocky; winter isn’t over yet.”

If I get the time (which seems unlikely) I’ll expand the above paragraph into a post about what life was like for a teenager in the 1960’s. But for now I’ll just be an old man in the 2020’s, and end with a sonnet:

The thaw made snow get heavy. The forest
Lost what was limber, and tall trees lumbered
Like ships wallow when they're sorely distressed
By freezing spray: Boughs burdened, so some bird
Alighting pressed the final, fatal straw
And a crack like a gun's shocked the cowed glades
And a crashing and thudding maimed a flaw
On many a fine tree, so summer's shades 
Will know pockets of light, but summer is far,
Far from my thinking. Winter's just begun
It's onslaught, yet has done so much to mar
My peace of mind that I now want to run
To warm taverns where jovial drinking
Scoffs at the way the slush has me thinking.


On a different site a commenter made me laugh by pointing out that, in terms of weather, “average” weather never happened. Surely he was indulging a bit of hyperbole, but it derived power by being so close to the Truth: “Average” is a theoretical number created by a reality which almost always is either “above” or “below” the theoretical number.

The theoretical number around the hills where I live in New Hampshire sees temperatures drop to a winter rock-bottom where the “average” high is 29 degrees and the “average” low is 9 degrees, which gives us a “average” mean temperature of 19 degrees, (-7 degrees Celsius).

In other words, if things were “average” then we should go through a prolonged period in the depth of our winter when temperatures do not rise above freezing. But they almost always do. It is so noticeable and even predictable that it has its own name, “The January Thaw”, and people expect it, as if it was an “average” thing to occur even thought it is not “average”.

This year the “January Thaw” has been especially prolonged, so you could say it has been longer than “average”. (Around this point the word “average” is starting to look a bit tattered and dog-eared.)

Several times the temperature 29 degrees Fahrenheit (-1.67 Centagrade) has not been our high temperature, but our low temperature. This has given us mean temperatures at least ten degrees above “average”. However 29 degrees is still cold enough to make snow. Such snow is not the light, dry, drifting powder-snow one expects when mean temperatures are 19 and “average”, but rather is heavy, dense and wet stuff local folk call “glop.”

It strikes me as a bit amusing that having temperatures more than ten degrees above normal at times, in the depth of our winter, has not given us the snow-free landscape where, according to several Alarmists (who apparently copy each other), “our children will not know what snow is any more.” Instead we have glop. Glop is snow so heavy plows sometimes break down trying to push it around. And, as I run a Childcare, I can tell you children know all about glop. Would you like to know what they, who have not been educated at liberal colleges, know?

If so, then allow me to describe our last glop-storm.

Sunday should be a day of rest, but I was physically active, for an old coot pushing seventy, cleaning up from our last glop-storm and making ready for the next. As I huffed and puffed, loading firewood on the porch, I had to stop and catch my breath, and attempted to look picturesque, by pretending I was merely scanning the skies and sniffing out changes in the weather. And because I did that so often, I actually did notice the changes, which were so subtle and beautiful it made me want to quit the work, and go write a poem.

The north winds behind the prior glop-storm had brought temperatures down to nearly “average”, but those winds shifted to the south and you could feel the north relenting. The cut of the wind relaxed into a sort of softness. I felt the next storm surely must be rain, but the forecasters were sure we’d get snow.

What they somehow knew, and I didn’t, was those south winds from a storm to our west would shift to northeast winds, as that primary storm to our west occluded and basically vanished from the map, and a secondary “coastal development” took over.

In the map below you can see the secondary has taken over, and the only sign of the primary is dashed orange lines, and a curl of clouds.

I was impressed by the forecaaster’s skill, as snow began falling as I went to bed Sunday night. The forecast was for six-to-ten inches by morning. (School had already been cancelled, though we keep our Childcare open, as we are needed.) But the rain-snow line was very nearby to our south, and I was well aware how difficult it is to forecast what amounts to a difference between 32.1 degrees and 31.9. I was not particularly surprised when I awoke at two in the morning, and saw rain out the window. Apparently the primary low, which didn’t even exist on maps any more, pushed just enough warmth north to switch the snow to rain, as the radar map showed.

The radar showed purple, indicative of freezing rain and sleet, and my thermometer read 32, so I knew this was not the sort of rain that melts snow much. When I went to open our Childcare at 6:45 it was still 32, and the windows of my Jeep were suggestive of freezing rain and not rain. As I shoveled the front walk I noticed the snow had a crust on top, more like freezing rain than wet rain. Temperatures might be thirteen degrees above normal, but the glop was still glop.

The forecast insisted the rain would change back to snow as the secondary low grew stronger and moved over Cape Cod into the Gulf of Maine, but I was in no mood to send children out to get wet in cold rain, so I had to endure innocent darlings totally trashing the Childcare indoors.

The children were excited to see the rain change back to wet snow out the window…

…And I confess I was glad to get the children dressed in their body-armor snowsuits and out the door. I hoped to put them to work rolling snowballs, which they adore, but we were disappointed to discover the crust of ice that freezing snow put on the snow made rolling snowballs impossible. However the snow was very sticky, and could be shoveled to the sides of our igloo-in-progress.

I was doing most of the work, as the children were persuaded by a cynic in their midst that a roof on a snow-fort was one of those silly ideas adults have, like tooth fairies or Santa Claus. I didn’t mind. Occasionally I had to break up snowball wars, but mostly they did their thing, (which seemed to involve making paths), and I worked on the impossible roof. But I did notice the kindly south winds, and the the southerly movement of low skud, shifted around to the north, as the storm headed by to our east.

One thing that seemed odd was that there was no increase in the winds. The trees were still white with the burden of the last glop-storm, and more burdened by freezing rain, and now were being further frosted by wet snow, but there was no wind to blow the white from the boughs. The flakes were big and wet, as the passing low created bands of snow. (If you want to show off your meteorological jargon, call the bands “mesoscale”.)

We were short-handed, but, because school was cancelled. a high-school-aged “intern” showed up to make some extra money, and this meant I did not need to bring the children in for lunch, and put all their wet snow suits in the drier, and get them settled down for nap time. Rather, she did all that, while, huffing and puffing, I could stay out and complete the igloo, which, because the small cynic doubted me, had become a thing my old ego deemed important. It was likely unwise to huff and puff so much at my age, but I managed to finish the job.

Rather than noticing my masterpiece, please notice the woods in the background, burdened with glop. From those woods, as I worked in the child-free silence of falling snow, I heard occasional loud cracks, like the report of a pistol, followed by crashing and thumping, like large limbs falling to earth. This is not a good sign.

We lost power at our Childcare around 2:30, when the children were just rising from their naps. The place was still warm, and it was not particularly hard to dress them to go out and play again. I’d rushed off to attend to other details, but was glad to hear the kids were very impressed my igloo had a roof, and my wife took a picture for our website of seven small children sitting within. Then I rushed back to watch kids play in the dwindling light of the ebbing day, (made especially dark with no power), as one by one their parents arrived to pick them up. Nearly every parent had an adventure to talk about, describing trees down across highways, and losing power at workplaces.

I spend so much time with small children, dealing with the way they think, that I have come to value the all-too-short time I get to spend with actual living and breathing adults. Perhaps it is because I am coming from a different perspective, but it strikes me adults have no idea how amazing they are. A tree can close a highway as they go to pick up their child, and they just make a joke out of the experience. They find their way around the obstacles. They lose power at a workplace, yet get their job done. They don’t like glop, but accept it as “average” and get on with life.

But for Alarmists, glop is a disaster. Rather than above “average ” temperatures causing less snow, glop creates snow so heavy and dense it shuts down schools.

The storm was heading off, just a feature on my “fisherman’s map”:

But the glop took time to clean up. Arriving at work at 6:45 this morning to shovel the inch of overnight snow and salt the walks, I discovered the schools needed a two hour delay before opening. Also we had no power at our Childcare. But we opened, with a wood-stove’s fire upstairs to warm the children, and with snow melting in pots on that stove to use, if we needed to flush the toilets. Power came back on at 9:30, so we never needed to flush toilets with melted snow, but the point I want to make is that glop didn’t stop us.

Actually, when the sun snuck briefly under the cloud deck at sunrise, the way glop bent a pine’s up-reaching boughs down like a hemlock’s was downright beautiful.

It is important to remember Glop is beautiful, because our local forecast is for more of it. Tomorrow night we are suppose to get a quick thump of a half-foot of snow, turning to heavy rain, which will turn snow to slush, which will freeze as solid as iron as winds turn north afterwards.

If “above average” gives us so much winter, what shall happen when things swing to “below average”? For surely things must do so, in order for “above” and “below” to average-out into the “average” (which hardly ever happens).


One major reason I shifted from being reluctant about being vaccinated for the China Virus,`to adamantly refusing to being vaccinated, was the death of Robert Felix on June 10, 2021. He suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, but had the painful affliction under control with medications, however, after getting “the jab”, his arthritis flared out of control and he swiftly was confined to a wheelchair and, soon afterwards, died.

I felt a great sense of loss, because, although we’d only met “on line”, he had been very kind to me. On several occasions I fear I, being at times an offensive person, offended him, and that never sits well with me; I don’t like offending people who have been kind. I sent some apologetic texts, but wanted to meet with him personally at some point. Abruptly he was gone. What was unspoken seemed it would be forever unsaid.

When I thought about it, I decided I was being selfish. It was all about me. Death is a gateway to further life, (I believe), and Robert’s destiny was to move on. The best I could do was to honor his memory and keep alive the good work he did.

Robert got in trouble with politically correct Alarmists because, rather than thinking we should be worried about Global Warming, he felt we should be concerned about a climate cycle bringing a return of Ice Age conditions. He had studied the subject and wrote a book.

I tended to offend Robert by clumsily joking he was as biased towards cold as Alarmists were towards warmth. He had every reason to take offense, for he was very different from Alarmists, in that he was not guilty of B.S.

Everything Robert did was, in my opinion, sincerely devoted to Truth. Unlike certain “climate scientists”, he never (that I ever saw) compromised on Truth to get a grant or endowment or advancement or the cheap fame of media attention, and Robert likely “blew his chances”, by offending bigwigs on a regular basis. I just hope the bigwigs felt as small as I felt, when I stepped on his toes.

Even when I had offended my friend and he was not in the mood to talk with me, I always visited his website “Ice Age Now”, because it was a treasury of information concerning a topic the media avoided and avoids like the plague: Places on earth where it was colder than normal. The media always focused on where the planet was (and is) experiencing a hot spell. The media completely neglected the fact these events tend to balance out, and temperatures ten degrees above normal in one place will be balanced by temperatures ten degrees below normal in another. “Ice Age Now” was like an antidote to such one-sided reporting. The fact of the matter was that, where Al Gore stated, “the planet has a fever”, it was the media that had the fever, and Robert Felix was the cooling cure.

Robert was and is irreplaceable. His website should be a treasury of historic information, and I find it a bit suspicious that so many wrenches have been thrown into the works of what should be part of the public record. It is hard to access his site, and to a suspicious codger like me it seems someone does not want his memory to even exist.

However, though I cannot match his ability, it seems one thing I can do, to honor his memory, is to, (in a much smaller way than Ice Age Now did), note that there are places colder than ever seen before, right now, on our planet. The very fact such places exist are possibly more indicative of a coming Ice Age, than of Global Warming.

Therefore it leapt out at me, grabbing my attention and making me immediately think of Robert, when I saw that both Iceland and China were getting headlines for cold, while browsing through Tony Heller’s website, “Real Climate Science”.

The post about the very cold December in Iceland is available at Tony’s website:

And the post about record cold in China is available at the same website:

Having spoken of places where it is very cold, I would not want you to think I was one-sided. After all, when temperatures are below normal one place, they are balanced by temperatures above normal in another place. And one “other” place happens to be right where I live in New Hampshire. I will now show the results of temperatures far above normal, at a Childcare I run.

I should hasten to add that ordinarily, in mid-January, our snow is usually powder, which sifts dryly in the wind. It is useless stuff, in terms of making snowmen, or igloos, (or pasting a teacher in the face and knocking their glasses off with a snowball as a “joke.”) Temperatures must be ten degrees above normal to make our snow sticky.

However snow is snow, in terms of “albedo”.

“Albedo” is a magic word for Alarmists, for it measures the ability of a surface to absorb sunlight, or else bounce it back to outer space. Snow has a huge ability to reflect sunlight to space without absorbing much heat. Alarmists assume temperatures ten degrees above normal will make less snow, and therefore the planet will reflect less heat, and get hotter and hotter and hotter until the oceans boil.

However the above picture shows the result of temperature well above normal. It doesn’t look like less snow to me. Furthermore it is not light and fluffy powder snow, which quickly shrinks under bright sunshine until a foot is like an inch of wet felt, but rather it is heavy, dense snow about as light and fluffy as cement. (You will have to trust me about this, as I’m the poor old man who had to huff and puff building that igloo.) Snow that dense snapped the branches of trees and knocked out the power at my Childcare from lunch until the purple darkness of closing. Furthermore, if the sun ever shines again, (and lately I’ve had my doubts), you’ll want sunglasses just as much for this cement-like snow as you do for powder snow, but this sort of solid, cement-like snow does not wilt like powder snow does. It just sits there and seems to say, “I will not melt until May.”

Well! Who would have thunk it? Snow produced by warmer temperatures is harder to melt? If that doesn’t infuriate Alarmists and get you shadow banned, they are not paying attention. For if warmer temperatures produce snow more difficult to melt, then maybe Robert Felix was right.

Maybe it is time for the Alarmists to all rush over to the other side of the boat, for when the snow says “I will not melt until May” perhaps, just perhaps, it is also ininuating….

…..Ice Age Now.


Usually our storms depart with strong winds in their wake, but this one was amazingly windless. Here is a picture of the pine boughs bent down over my woodpile this morning:

That picture points out some trimming I need to do, but my wife and granddaughter put me to shame, for rather than grouchy they go out for a walk to appreciate the beautiful way the world is changed. Where I see the wires they see the trees.

Maybe if I write a sonnet my mood will become less sardonic.

The storm was wondrously calm. Not a flake
Was blown off a twig, but instead they clung
Where they fell, and made all a frosted cake
Of white. It was a soft snow which stung
No cheeks; a warm snow which made for wet roads.
There was no skidding; no irksome whining
As tires spun; but still boughs bent under loads
That became a burden. Who is designing
This gentle start to an ordeal? It's like
A soft quilt is tucked up under the chin
Of  man not ready to die, who'll strike 
The quilt away and shout, with a brave grin,
"Not so fast, Wily Winter! Seducing
Can't hide the storm troopers you're loosing!"

(Oops. Started poetic, but I guess I slipped back to my sardonic side, there at the end.)

The storm was calm because the primary low kicked ahead energy along the “triple point” where it occluded. I call such energies “zippers” because they tend to follow where the cold front catches up to a warm front, “zipping up” part of a storms warm sector into an above-the-ground occlusion. When such “zippers” reach the right conditions they “bomb out”, and swiftly have pressures far lower than the primary low, and in fact the primary low and its occlusion may become a minor, “secondary cold front” in the circulation of a gale, in which case the pines roar and the snow is blown from the boughs. However in the case of the last storm the secondary low was slow to form from the “zipper”, and there was very little pressure difference between the primary and secondary low, so the snow drifted down with little wind. The “zipper” gave us a burst of heavy snow either side of midnight on Friday morning, and then as the remnants of the primary low followed we got another twenty-four hours of light snow, ending after midnight Saturday morning. The first burst gave us roughly five inches, and the lighter snow gave us two more.

In the national map below you can see the weakening primary storm lagging behind over us as the secondary strengthens out to sea. (Also note California is drying out as the big Pacific gales are further north towards Alaska.)

But what interests me is that we got snow and not rain. Some of the computer models were seeing rain, as they don’t handle sneaky cold very well. The models are programed to see the atmosphere in terms of small cubes of air, but sometimes the cold air creeps close to the ground, “under the radar” as it were, and the models don’t see it until it is upon us. That is why I have been noting, for over a week, that the “fisherman’s map” I like to look at seems to always have “heavy freezing spray” to our north.

Now here’s what makes me sardonic. If enough cold air can creep down to give us snow when the anomaly maps show us in a cherry red warm spell, with maps looking like this:

What will happen if the models are correct and the cherry red turns to frigid blue in ten days?

I’ll tell you what will happen. At our Childcare children will make pristine, new-fallen snow looking like this:

Look like this:

And maybe we’ll even be able to complete an igloo before it melts away. That’s our third attempt, starting to rise in the distance in the picture below. (Only the walls; the snow wasn’t sticky enough for a roof, yet.) (This picture does a fairly good job of showing a sort of snow-blindness that occurs when the sun is hidden but the sky is bright, and light snow is falling. One’s ability to see contrast between dark and light fades.)

Next storm due Monday, and perhaps another Wednesday night. Feeling sardonic yet?