Aunt Norie’s Sewing Room
Can you just even imagine (all of you except us very old, old timers) no weather forecasters at all, absolutely none at all. Oh many people relied on the almanacs — the weather’s past performances, etc.
The color and condition of the caterpillar’s coat many believed forewarned of the severity of the coming winter, as did the animal’s behavior, like the squirrels, the way they worked ignoring the humans watching.
A neighbor of ours would say, “Oh, they know. They feel it in their gut,” or “God tells his little creatures.”
However, people just stored up, stacked up, filling barns with hay and grain. They filled the woodsheds, just always “got ready for the worst.” The wells never froze as water pipes do today, but it had to be pumped and carried into the house. Large water tanks had to have the ice cut or broken each day (many farmers are still doing that today).
Winters were longer. Sledding went on for about four months. One could always count on lots of that — some in Nov., Dec., Jan., Feb., lots of sledding, even into March. Santa always had them but the very best were made by the dads themselves, the way they cut and polished those runners made fliers of those sleds.
Each farmer had what they called a drag, made of two wide bridge planks sitting upright on their sides, slanted to push the snow sideways off he road, a platform on top with a heavy limestone rock for weight. The man would stand on top with the horses pulling the whole rig between he and his neighbor, keeping the roads and mail routes open. It seems to me it was the early thirties that we began to see the gasoline tractor-like graders taking care of our roadways.
This all happened just up the road apiece, north of Topeka, southwest of Holton.
Now we have so many forecasters, they can be wrong, but that’s alright, too. God bless them and their efforts.
Have a blessed and cozy, warm winter.
– Aunt Norie, P.O. Box 265, Tonganoxie 66086; firstname.lastname@example.org.