Snow, cold and snowthrower gas

Snow in the forecast, but not enough for the throwing machine.It snowed last night. We had some snow – in November, I think – that caused me to drag out the snowthrower. Since then, the machine has been gathering dust in the garage, with still almost a half tank of last winter’s gasoline in the tank.

But what we have had aplenty is cold. Which reminds me, a few Januarys ago, we went to Miami for a visit. That was when I learned the way to keep oranges on the trees from freezing in below 32-degree weather is to spray them with water. As water freezes on the trees and fruit, it releases heat, warming the little orange juice containers. The sheath of ice insulates the fruit, and we Yankees get Florida orange juice with our breakfast..

Weird, but it works.

My fashion conscious travel partner and I prepared to venture out for some sightseeing. I dutifully (because it’s Florida, after all, and 32F is not really that cold) donned shorts, tee shirt and sandals, and, in the interest of light humor, asked the sister-in-law whether I looked like a tourist.

“Oh, you definitely look like a tourist,” she said. “Wait until you see the natives.”

Sure enough, wife and I headed out – to find the locals (I am not making this up) wrapped in boots and fur-lined parkas. Cold air visibly bounced off the hermetically sealed human Floridians, freezing nearby puddles and other water bodies on contact. Alligators walked on water, visibly puzzled that they could see some of their mates and could not get to them.

Floridians thought it was cold.

I was raised in Maine, and well familiar with the January Freeze. The first two weeks of January, the temperature dropped below zero and stayed there, like a raw egg landing on the kitchen floor. Dad once found the thermometer needle pointing a few marks below zero and thought it must have broken. Later that day he took it to the hardware store in town to swap it for one that worked. Unfortunately, Larry Eustis, the store owner, had a whole case of them pointing the same way.

We had running water at home, aided by youthful legs. Yours Truly would dash out to the hand pump, pour hot water into the top to soften the leather seal and prime the mechanism, then draw the frigid liquid into a 10-quart bucket.

And run back to the house before the newly filled pail’s contents froze.

That also is when I learned how much weather can change between home and the town a few miles down the road. I eventually learned the determining factor was the mountain we had to drive over to get home. But television weather forecasters think everyone within the sound of their voice will have the same weather.

Most of us think that way. We believe if the sun is shining where we are, it will be balmy where we are going. In late October, packing for a trip to Canada, it’s warm and sunny so don’t worry about taking a jacket to Toronto. Which is why I had to buy the kid a new jacket in Toronto, which had six inches of new powder.

But it works out now I am older. When the TV weatherperson, in a studio way north of the turnpike, says “six to nine inches,” folks in Upper Adams will likely clean out the grocery store shelves, stockpiling bread, milk and other thirst quenchers in preparation for the Big Storm. Here in southern Adams County, we may see about an inch. Which will allow me to save a lot of money on snowthrower gas.

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