|dooj's house in washington state|
In Alabama it doesn't snow every year. We mark our "hard" winters according to how much snow and ice we have had to deal with. It may go below freezing during the winter, but never stays there long. So our cold days come in what we call "spells", or periods of time.
A prediction of snow in Alabama triggers a rush to every grocery store in the area to buy all the bread and milk and batteries. You can bet that 30 minutes after the weather man (excuse me... "meteorologist") says we are possibly going to see 2 inches of snow, there won't be a loaf of bread or gallon of milk left in the state of Alabama. The first time I saw it happen I was dumbfounded...I mean, how many people can eat 6 loaves of bread and drink 4 gallons of milk in the two or three days that it snows?
People also panic at the thought of not having power for any length of time. So they buy every battery for every flashlight and radio they have, plus extras in case those go dead. The flashlights are for seeing in the dark, and the radio is for up to the minute news about when the snow will melt (we don't believe in looking out our windows to find out what the weather is doing). In Alabama the only thing as important as the meteorologist, are the death announcements (but that's another blog). My husband had that mind set. We might starve if the power was off for two or three days. So worried about it was he that we had a wood burning stove as our major source of heat for over fifteen years. That knocked off two dangers right there...we would never freeze (Steve would stay up half the night stoking that fire) and we would be able to cook on the top of the stove. I had one problem with that...I am no pioneer woman...and that was what the 6 loaves of bread and 4 gallons of milk were for, I thought...sandwiches. Plus we discovered the first time we tried to make the stove do double duty that it takes 12 hours to heat up a can of soup. Or you can stoke the fire up (Steve's job) until the stove is red hot and heat it up in 2 hours. If you do that, you have hot soup, and you also have a room that has gone from a comfortable 70F to 130F. And that means you have to eat your soup in the closet if you don't want to drip sweat in it while you eat it. But that's ok, because you have your flashlight with the extra 20 batteries.
The next most important thing that southerners do in Alabama when it snows is making snow ice cream. I can count on one hand the times it has snowed in Alabama during my forty years here, and can tell you that every time they predicted snow I had my pots and pans sitting on cars and every perch I could find to catch "clean" snow (my mother in law taught me the difference), although I have been known to scrape the hood of the car a few times when there wasn't enough snowfall to make a huge bowl of snow ice cream. And I did learn right away the first time I made it that if you overeat this delicacy, it will give you the scours.
|longhouse in bethel, alaska|
The snow isn't wet in Bethel either, it's a fine powdery dry stuff, similar to frozen sand. If you pick it up, it runs right through your fingers. In Alabama the snow was wet, and if you were blessed with those 2 inches the "meteorologist" predicted, you had enough to scrape up a decent snowball to smack someone with, although you always ran the risk of having a few rocks mixed in from scraping the ground to get the snow. In Bethel, the only time you could make a snowball was when the snow started to melt, and that always happened every time the temperature went to 34F. Melt, then refreeze when the temperature dropped, then more snow on top of it. Which meant the snow was actually layers of ice, snow, more ice, more snow and so on. And it meant that the percentage of broken legs and bones always went up in direct proportion to which layer was on top, the snow layer or the ice layer.
|me, shopping day|