In Wisconsin we don’t count on the calendar to tell us when winter arrives, because if we did we’d have to wait until late December. November is our “beginning of winter” month. If we’re lucky, this happens toward the end of the month, around Thanksgiving time.
Not this year. Winter came roaring out of the north on November 9th, early and mostly unwelcomed. On that day I crawled out of bed, started the fire in the wood burning cook stove, and noticed a few flakes of snow flying on the wind. Only a dusting I hoped, because I had wood to cut and other outside chores to do. With breakfast finished, the snow continued, lots of it, big flakes, heavy flakes. I watched a parade of turkey gobblers walking a few yards from the cabin, one after the other, five of them stepping high in the ever deeper snow. Not too much bothered by the snow.
By mid-morning it was snowing so hard I couldn’t see the end of my driveway. The heavy snow gathered on the big spruce tree by the woodshed, its lower branches nearly touching the ground. I pulled on my boots and trudged to the woodshed for more wood. Three or four inches of heavy snow to waddle through and it continued falling.
A little after noon, the lights flickered a couple times and then clicked off. No power. I rounded up a flashlight, kept the wood stove going, and decided to enjoy the day. These early snowstorms can be dangerous and at minimum, inconvenient. But oh how beautiful the landscape had become as the drabness of fall had become pure white.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: When it snows, the best thing to do is let it snow.
November 14, Elmbrook Historical Society annual meeting and dinner. 5:45. Horses and Barns (For Elmbrook Historical Society members and guests).
December 3, Fireside Books, West Bend. 11:00 a.m. Celebrating 12 years of speaking/signing at Fireside books. Campfires and Loon Calls—Travels in the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota. Also featuring agriculture history books, fiction and nonfiction.
December 7, Memorial Union, University of Wisconsin-Madison. 7:00 p.m. Max Kade Institute. Stories from Wisconsin: Germans, Beer and Prohibition.
December 10, Sheboygan Falls Library, 9:30 a.m.: A brief history of Wisconsin Agriculture.