The Lovers, The Dreaders and Warm Weather Fetish-ers Which One are You?

The Mountain Farmgirl is digging herself out from under mountains of snow! When it comes to the winter white stuff, there are ‘Lovers’ , “Dreaders’ and those who choose to live someplace warm to begin with, so they don’t have to deal with it at all! Which one are you?

It’s Valentine’s Day as I write this, although you won’t be reading it for a few days hence.  The Blizzard of ’13 has just made its mark across our northern landscape, leaving 2-3 foot reminders of its wintery fury, with snowdrifts considerably higher. What a great storm that was! There are two camps when it comes to snow: The Lovers and The Dreaders.  Oh yes … I almost forgot ... There are also those who safely reside in warmer climes and choose not to deal with it, period.   I decidedly fall in the first category, and had just said (only days before), “What we need is a good old-fashioned blizzard to get us into spring.” And as the saying goes, 'Be careful what you wish for'!  Words can be powerful tools … apparently as powerful as a storm like Nemo. 

There is an energy that always precedes a storm like this, a palpable excitement in the air as real as the firewood we stack up on the hearth in anticipation. Can you feel it? It exists, at least,  in a small New England ski town like mine. Jackson is one of those rare places where you will find folks elatedly dancing around in the grocery aisles as they stock up on provisions, waiting for Mother Nature’s onslaught. There are smiles on everyone’s faces as they get their morning papers and cups of morning brew.  ‘Bring it on!’ most of us say as we toss around our optimistic predictions for snowfall amounts, and wax up our skis. The more the merrier here in the North Country, and this storm didn’t disappoint us a bit. While I feel for the people south of Boston and on the Cape who are still without power,  I actually cheered for this rare, modern-day appearance of a winter storm that would have been a common occurrence just a generation ago.  Farm-folk of yore would have been taken it  in stride without much notice or fanfare at all. It would have been just part of a days work!

I laugh at the weather channels these days, though, reporting 24/7 with the tone of a world-crisis at hand.  Clearly the reporters are in their glory, with the eyes of the nation glued on them. It’s good business to be sure; the sponsors and networks love it. Granted, Nemo was a dangerous storm and wreaked havoc in many areas that are still in the process of recovering. I don’t want to demean its power and how it has affected millions. However, that same ‘top news story’ mentality accompanies a storm that may bring only 4-6” of snow to the region, too. Our farmgirl ancestors would laugh at the absurdity of such a thing. Don’t we have anything better to do?  We have degenerated into a nation of dependent wimps!

Forgive my attitude if I seem cavalier. Modern science is truly amazing in its accuracy to predict storm models and storm paths, allowing for life-saving preparations and evacuations long before trouble strikes.  But for most Americans, despite being descendants of hearty stock that made the country great, an inch or two of inconvenience becomes an insurmountable  obstacle.  Shame on us!

My daughter lives along the coast in Portland, Maine, which was one of the places that got hardest hit in total snowfall amounts and winds. Three plus feet of snow fell within 24 hours, amidst 60+ mph winds. You’d think it would have all blown into the ocean before it landed, but she tells me that it wasn’t so! Photos of this storm in  Portland are reminiscent of my childhood in New York State, a time when winters were really winters, and according to Prairie Home Companion, a time “ when the women were strong, the men were good looking, and all the children were waaay above average.”  When did we stop being like this as a culture?  Okay, okay … I promise not to wax nostalgic about how I had to walk 8 miles uphill in a blizzard to get to the schoolhouse, with nothing but a freshly baked potato to keep me warm from the -20 degree winds!!!  I’ll spare you that tirade!  But frankly, here I am today sitting in a teahouse in downtown Portland only days after this debilitating storm, and it is ‘life as usual’ here.  While there are piles of snow to be sure, one would hardly know Nemo had come through, or that life was disrupted in any way. My daughter says that during the blizzard, she saw people everywhere in the middle of the city on their cross-country skis and snowshoes, grinning from ear to ear.  Snowmobiles were the mode of transport for longer trips. Folks were out shoveling their walks as soon as it the winds died down, and almost without missing a beat, it was business as usual.


I love Mainers for their no-nonsense, take-responsibility outlook on life! These folks have always  seemed REAL to me, they are independent and resourceful; the salt of the earth.  Of course, by telling you this I am preaching to the choir as Farmgirls are a breed of die-hard resourceful stock too. But it is our sacred responsibility to pass these  traits on to our children and those with whom we come into contact. There are not enough teachers of this sort of character to light the way into the future, and that’s why I love MaryJane and the lifestyle she and our fellow Farmgirl bloggers and readers represent. This can-do, self-sufficient attitude transcends whether you like snow, hate it or choose to live tropically and ignore it altogether. But while we’re on the subject, which one are YOU??!! Weigh in your 'type' in the comments below!

Hope you had a beautiful Valentine’s Day, full of love, hope and joy. I am sharing mine with my daughter, and snow or no snow, it is a beautiful day!


By: Judy Nance
On: 02/18/2013 10:52:24
Hear, hear. I totally agree with your opinions about this "storm" reporting. I believe the 24/7 news reporting and thrown the news media into "creating" stories, instead of factually reporting them. I do agree that Americans have become wimps. After living in Montana, Oregon and Washington, I now live in the Sierra Foothills in California. I too, appreciate the days that we are without electricity, and the only sound of the wood stove burning in the quiet of the house or hanging my clothes out on the line to dry. The city dwellers believe they will parish without power. They need to try it first. HA! Thanks for your wise observations. I always enjoy reading your blog.

Sweetwater Ranch
By: Adrienne
On: 02/18/2013 10:54:06
It's good to hear from you again and I'm glad you and your family made it through safely. There is something comforting about waiting for the blizzard to arrive while being prepared for everything. When I had a cabin years ago, it had a 100-gallon propane tank buried in the ground and that took care of the refrigerator (yep, propane), stove and Swedish fireplace. There was plenty of food, books to read, music to listen to and oil lamps in case the power disappeared. And snuggling under a warm quilt with a tummy full of hot soup or stew, tea and home-baked bread was the ultimate end of a snowy day.
By: Jeanette
On: 02/18/2013 12:34:57
I love snow! Bring it on! As I write this we are in the midst of a blizzard here in west central Minnesota, mostly due to high winds blowing around the snow we already have. The local school closed early but had to send the buses back to school due to white-out conditions. Those kids are making great memories stranded at school with their friends!
By: diana hernetty
On: 02/18/2013 13:03:36
Howdy from the Ozarks, where winter hasnt really arrived yet, in fact trees are budding out and flowers are coming up in Noel Mo!
We did get 1/2 inch of snow twice, thats it!
This is our 5th year of having our little "ice storm pantry" stocked and filled to the brim with everything you can think of, and not a speck of ice, but its worth it to know we are ready for everything.
Its very comforting to know you have enough for your family, pets, and even some to share with neighbors if needed.
We laugh too at the weather forecasters now days, they seem to have joined in with the media focusing on how bad everything in our world is, and its always the worst ever!!
Haha, they just don't know how strong our American spirit is, we can weather anything that comes our way!
Loved your wisdom today, thanks for sharing!
Blessings from the Ozarks! Diana
By: Carol
On: 02/18/2013 14:10:48
as a new subscriber, i was curious as to what a mountain woman would blog about. pleasantly surprised! i live in the mountains of western montana. the last vestage in the main 48 - after this it's alaska! i smiled about how residents took the passing of Nemo. a good storm is a rite of passage. around here, we complain about the possibility, compare notes as to how the roads were taken care of, how we hunkered down, or bundled up. and when it comes, we totally appreciate its arrival. we know that a good snowfall means a bit of protection come the dry of summer and fire season. we live for the extremes. yet call it paradise. thank you for a wonder read this afternoon.
By: bonnie ellis
On: 02/18/2013 16:19:24
Cathi: I'm with you. I love a good snowstorm. I'm from Minnesota, I can't help it. Of course, my version of a snowstorm means nobody is hurt or lost or in trouble. I love to be by the crackling fire with a nice warm cup of tea. My house inside has a sunroom with orchids, water plants, ferns, goldfish and large koi (28") so no matter what the weather we're good.
By: Cathy G
On: 02/18/2013 17:42:25
I love snow! However, here in Mississippi, we seldom get much, if any at all. I think it would be exciting to experience a blizzard as you have described it, although I do not wish hardship on anybody. Enjoy the white stuff, and send some this way!
By: Pam deMarrais
On: 02/18/2013 17:49:39
I can relate to the anticipation of a good winter storm. I grew up near Boston, and I can remember lots of great snowfalls that would leave 6 foot drifts in our yard. As an adult I lived in New Hampshire in the snow belt, and I knew how to prepare for the winter weather, and invited the challenge along with the beauty of the snow. You are so right to compare MaryJane's philosophy of life with our approach to the storms of life, whatever they may be. We are "can do" kind of gals!
By: Sandy
On: 02/18/2013 21:00:57
Snow lover from Minnesota here! Just love the beauty of it, the incredible silence of a heavy snow, the sparkle, love it all. I am out with my camera after a snowfall. I don't really like the cold that comes after a storm or the wind, but the snow.......
By: Mary
On: 02/19/2013 04:46:22
I was born and have lived in NH my whole life. I love every season, but winter is so comforting. To get up in the morning and see the snow coming down, knowing that except for the snow plow the day will be filled with a silence that one only gets during a snowstorm. Nemo had high winds and with that comes a gentle song from my 220 year old farmhouse. The house creaks and groans with each gust and seems to say "stick with me, I've been doing this for centuries." As I sat at the window with a cup of hot tea and my needlework, I enjoyed the day and looked forward to the next NH season. Mud season, fueled by all this white stuff!
By: Rebecca
On: 02/21/2013 11:29:12
I'm a snow lover from W.Va, although in the part of W.Va that I live in, we haven't had enough to even count as snow this year.....just a couple of inches a time or two. I would love to have enough snow to make everything look clean and beautiful. I also love the quiet that comes with a nice, deep snow. We have daffodils and tulips blooming already, though, so I'm not sure I'll see much snow this winter. That's okay, though, I like spring, too.

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Cathi Belcher

Cathi Belcher,
an old-fashioned farmgirl with a pioneer spirit, lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. As a “lifelong learner” in the “Live-Free-or-Die” state, she fiercely values self-reliance, independence, freedom, and fresh mountain air. Married to her childhood sweetheart of 40+ years (a few of them “uphill climbs”), she’s had plenty of time to reinvent herself. From museum curator, restaurant owner, homeschool mom/conference speaker, to post-and-beam house builder and entrepreneur, she’s also a multi-media artist, with an obsession for off-grid living and alternative housing. Cathi owns and operates a 32-room mountain lodge. Her specialty has evolved to include “hermit hospitality” at her rustic cabin in the mountains, where she offers weekend workshops of special interest to women.

“Mountains speak to my soul, and farming is an important part of my heritage. I want to pass on my love of these things to others through my writing. Living in the mountains has its own particular challenges, but I delight in turning them into opportunities from which we can all learn and grow.”

Column content copyright © 2010– Cathi Belcher. All rights reserved.

Mountain Bounty

“Keep close to Nature’s heart ... and break clear away once in awhile to climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods, to wash your spirit clean.”
– John Muir