Jan 5 2014

 

 

 

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Living in our farmhouse in Southern New Jersey was always quite an adventure. There was the time 'army worms' invaded the entire area and covered the house. Crop duster planes had to come and spread DDT over everyone to kill them. There were the hurricanes (especially Hazel) that force trees down close to the house and blew away some of the smaller out buildings. How about that time several dozen B-52 propeller bombers flew low in formation right over the house!

Our farm house was located in the middle of fields with no protections from the brutal and cold winter winds. Any snow on the ground would be picked up and carried until it hit our home which served as the only snow fence for the traveling flakes. Huge eight to ten foot drives would pile up around our house and on the road and take forever to clear.

The winds would seep in around the windows even when we had place storm windows on top of the regular windows. The cold would seep everywhere in the house. In my early years, we had a coal furnace and coal would have to be shoveled into it in a losing battle to heat the house. My grandparents had a wood stove to keep warm and somehow it seem to overheat the place to make it just as uncomfortable.

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Amazingly, the kids in our house had free reign with the blizzards. Never kept indoors (as if that was possible!), we stayed in the storms as long as our tough little bodies would allow us before getting warm again inside the house with hot chocolate enhanced marshmallows and whip cream. Then we would layer up again and head out into the storm facing the new challenges that it presented to us.

In the bitter cold we would build a system of tunnels and rooms in the drifts where we would seek warmth and have our own snow palaces. Sometime war broke out between my brother Melvin and I over territorial disputes on who owned what drifts. It usually ended like most wars with total destruction on both sides and a beautiful network of rooms and tunnels gone into the drifting snow.

The hill they built up to the second level of the barn to make unloading stuff easier serve as our sled Mecca. Up and down the hill we would go on our sleighs. Looking back it hardly seems like a hill at all but then it could have been Mt. Everest!

Once the storm abated, from our youngest years, we were handed shovels and expected to dig. Dad made extra money from running snowplows so it was up to the kids to dig out everything and it was awhile lot! Then the drifts became less exciting and the wind blown snow that filled what we had just dug out was less enchanting. Soon, however, the hard labor was forgotten as we headed into the woods to see the winter wonderland that nature had created for us.

Even today, because of this wonderful joy in childhood, I love these storms, wait for them and celebrate their arrival. There is just no such thing as too much snow. It is just not possible in my book.

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