I mentioned on Facebook recently how I had a certain appreciation for the cold weather that the mid-atlantic has been experiencing lately. We’ve had temperatures in the single digits for a lengthy period of time that we simply weren’t used to, sometimes in the negatives, and accumulative snow-fall fairly regularly.
That’s not to say this is unprecedented for the area because I remember significant snowfalls as a child, but for the last several years the winters have been particularly mild. I’m sure when Donald moved up here from Texas in 2012 that his first winter here he thought this would be a piece of cake to deal with the climate change from moving further north. But I think this year has shown him quite differently.
Interesting note: My dad follows the Hagerstown Almanac fairly regularly. A lot of farmers do, and my dad is no different. It said that this winter would be a particularly harsh winter, it has even predicted some of the “Nor’easters” for this season. I was a little skeptical because I’ve been so used to the mild winters of my adulthood, but that was shortly laid to rest.
Despite the freezing temperatures and over-exerting our wood supply to keep our home warm, I really love having all of this cold weather and snow.
Kill All The Things
Well maybe not all, but extensive cold snaps can kill fleas. There are some that find ways to survive, but around 37 degrees or lower can kill mature fleas and eggs. Especially if the weather holds out at 37 degrees (day and night) for around 10 days or so. I don’t want fleas on my dog, and I certainly don’t want them in my house. Think of this as nature’s population control (and we all love some population control).
Ticks on the other hand, don’t die from the cold, unfortunately. Which sucks (literally?), but it does make them dormant so I have less worry about my dog being outside during the cold snaps to do his business. So ticks are pretty much a problem year round, but at least less of a problem during the cold snaps. My personal favorite form of tick control is my guinea hens (though I am lacking in this department due to a wiley fox this past summer) because ticks and fleas are one of their main sources of food.
Possible Emerald Ash Borer decrease. There is some debate on this, but the hope is that these cold snaps will help kill some of the Emerald Ash Borer larvae. For those unfamiliar, Emerald Ash borers were found in Michigan about 2002 and were thought to have been brought over by a wood shipment from Asia. But the newest information states that the larvae have had too much time to get acclimated to colder temps, so the affect won’t be as devastating as originally hoped. Still, a small chance or even a slowing of their population spread is beneficial.
Everyone knows how pending storms force people to rush to the grocery store to get toilet paper, milk, and bread. While annoying, and often laughable, it often makes sense. Most storms are not going to require the need for these items right away, as most storms are cleared out within the next day or so. But the snowpocalypse of 2010, and even the ice storm last week, will show that some of us are either snowed in for days at a time, or without modern luxuries such as electricity for days at a time.
Personally I like that storms kick in our survival instincts. We need that reminder once in a while, because the 9 to 5 work schedules tend to turn us into drones surrounded by comfort and taking modern amenities and routine for granted. We need to be reminded that we are not the top of the food chain, mother nature is.
I am one of those people that likes to keep backups of backups. I have redundancy plans setup for a lot of my computer files so that it is constantly being backed up off-site (in 2 places for some things), which is also being backed up on-site fairly regularly. This type of mindset continues with even the most mundane crap, such as toilet paper or dishwasher tabs. I always have a “backup” on hand in the cabinets. If I run out of ketchup, I have a backup on hand to use. Once that happens, I put it on the grocery list for a new backup. So there’s generally always sets of two for certain items in my house. This prevents me from having to rush out to the store for most anything before a storm hits, and people would benefit a lot from following the same principle. Just keep simple backups of everything. Keep an extra pack of toilet paper in a plastic bin in your basement. Keep some extra condiments in your cabinet and some extra loaves of bread in your freezer. Did you know you can freeze milk? Just sayin’.
This recent cold snap has also brought to the forefront where I am lacking in warm clothes. Try shoveling snow in 0 degree temperature. It sucks when your face and hands are frozen. I have some warm clothes for such an occasions, such as wool socks and a fur hat. But I am severely lacking in decent gloves, insulated pants, and face coverage. So this puts into perspective what I need to prepare for future cold snaps that might eventually extend past my comfort zone.
All in all, the cold is necessary, and I love living in a climate that allows me to experience all four seasons. It allows me to enjoy all forms of nature, and also prepare for all her quirky seasons.