From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Nebraska Christmas Blizzard

Lots of snow




My friend Sammie who lives near Amelia, Nebraska, sent this photo of snowdrifts near their house. It was taken during the long blizzard that struck over Christmas. Yes, those are the tops of fenceposts. The depth of the snowdrifts in the trees is hard to estimate!

Sammie wrote:
Started with mist, sleet etc Wednesday. Turned to snow and didn't quit snowing or blowing through Saturday... Most of the roads were closed and most people just stayed home. We didn't have electricity from about 10:30 pm Wednesday night until about 3 the next afternoon. And it was off again Thursday night but was on when we got up Christmas [Friday] morning. That was due to the ice and snow on the lines and trees and the wind. Couldn't see past the fence posts across the road to the east. Saturday, the snow had quit blowing quite so bad, but it still wasn't a good day to be out. The drifts had got pretty hard by then. (Source: E-mail, December 27, 2009)

Sammie's remark about the snowdrifts being hard made me remember childhood adventures of walking on top of snow. If the snow was not very hard, every step was a test. At any moment, one leg might suddenly plunge through the crust and sink into the snow. It was great fun when the snow was so hard that we could walk on big drifts.

Deep snow and big snowdrifts are fun for the kids, but they make life miserable for the livestock and for people who work outside. I remember how my parents struggled to feed the cattle during winter storms, and I know that aspect of cattle ranching hasn't changed much. The hard fight to feed the livestock is always the first thing I think of when I hear about blizzards on the Great Plains. And the public servants who work the storms have my respect and concern as well.

3 comments:

John Ruberry said...

Reminds me of central Illinois...Few trees, lots of wind.

Lesa said...

Oh my goodness! We wouldn't dig out until Spring here!

Genevieve said...

John, I think these trees are probably part of a windbreak. Lesa, you're right -- snow like that would absolutely paralyze us in Kentucky. Some highways were impassable and declared closed in Nebraska while the storm was at its worst, including long stretches of Highway 20, a major route across the state on its northern side.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

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