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The Mountain of Snow

By: Gina Kay Singerhouse
Editor

In a small mid-western town in a small mid-western state there is an event that takes place at this time each year.  It’s an event that does not have an official name, but many of us take part in this annual event.  I guess perhaps this is the year that we give it a name.  How about the Mountain of Snow? 

In this small mid-western town in this small mid-western state there is a church parking lot.  The denomination of this church is irrelevant, for we all have our own God.  The parking lot of this church contains many parking spots, however, come winter the lot diminishes in size.  Why, you ask?  One word, simply stated, snow. 

You see, in this small mid-western town in this small mid-western state, when it snows it stays.  This past winter many of us have endured snow and cold.  But not like this small mid-western town in this small mid-western state.  Most states see snow for a few days then it melts.  But in the upper mid-west, when it snows it stays and stays and stays. 

The event I speak about is the melting of the “Mountain of Snow.”  Today is Tuesday, February 18, 2014.  Each week I will post a picture of the “Mountain of Snow.”  Each week I will tell you more about the mountain and this event that we have just named.  So my friends tune in as we share in the melting of the “Mountain of Snow.” 

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Today is February 25, 2014 and as you can see the mountain did not melt much.  In fact it got bigger!  Last Thursday and Friday we received an additional 9 inches of snow.  I think I need a wide angle lens if we receive any more snow.  I paced out the base of the mountain and figured it must measure close to 70 feet in length, 50 feet in width and Lord knows – way too high!

The event that secretly takes place in this small mid-western town in this small mid-western state is of course how long it will take this mountain to melt.  Some say May, but then again last May 5th we received 14 inches of snow!  Some say June, but I believe July.  Why, you ask?  Well by Friday of this week we will have reached our 50th morning of below zero temperature!  Not in a row, but in the course of the season beginning in November.  Our average temperature at this time of the year is well in to the 30’s.  But here we sit, in the single digits.

Last Thursday began in the 30’s with rain, but soon turned to sleet then on to snow.  Many of the roads around here are caked with ice and snow.  Yes, we do have plows and they are out in full force. My hat goes out to them for their effort to keep the roads clear and safe.  I think it takes a special person to plow.  But then again, there are some who take pleasure in filling up our driveways with what I call road snot.  There is nothing like shoveling road snot.  Road snot is all of the snow, ice, sleet, salt and any other debris that is plowed from the road and ends up at the end of one’s driveway.  Road snot.  But not all plow personnel take gratitude in placing road snot at the end of our driveways.  In fact, most would rather not place the road snot there.  But, what is a person to do when you have four feet of snow piled along the side of the roads.

Last week’s snow made for a Currier and Ives picturesque scene.  I spent Saturday with my husband driving around taking some beautiful winter scene pictures that are sure to make it into Strictly Country’s magazine.  

But what is pretty is quite sickening for many of us.  We all welcome spring but dread it as well.  With this much snow, there is sure to be massive flooding.  I for one have what I call “Lake George” out my backyard each spring.  I think maybe this spring I’ll add a dock, some fish and a boat.  What do you think?

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Today is March 4, 2014 and as you can see the mountain did not melt much.  In fact it got bigger!  I guess I sound like a broken record, but last Saturday we received another two to three inches and last night we receive another half of an inch of snow.  Just yesterday we hit our 50th morning of below zero weather.  Oddly enough that only gets us at the number 9 spot of coldest winters in recorded history.

 

Each time I look over at the mountain I can not help but think about the Alabama’s song “Mountain Music.”  In the beginning of the song, Randy Owen says “See that mountain over there…someday I’m gonna climb that mountain…”  It doesn’t matter what time I look over at this mountain, I rarely see children ‘climbing that mountain.’ 

 

It truly makes me wonder – when I was a kid, mountains and piles of snow were a luxury toy begging to be played with.  So why are there no children climbing, playing and laughing on this mountain?  Have we become a society so far gone that a child can not enjoy the simple things in life as snow? 

 

Although I’m in my forties, I was raised the old fashioned way. My parents were in their 40’s when I was adopted. I often kid to my family, friends and colleagues that all I had to play with was a stick, a rock and a piece of string.  I did have toys, but very limited toys. In fact, most of my toys were passed down from my older brother and sister or they were toys left behind from foster children that my parents took in.  My fondest memories were with toys that didn’t cost anything to my parents.  I remember when I was around six or seven, my parents were building a new house and one of the appliances came in a huge box.  I played in that box for days.  As children we were encouraged to play in the snow, ice skate outside and go sledding.  Granted we had the best sledding hill and my parents turned the vegetable garden into an outdoor ice rink.

Now my husband on the other hand, well he was not encouraged to go outside, but he did.  He still played lots of video games as well as listened to a lot of music.  He too looks over at the mountain questioning why children are not enjoying its limited time.

Today’s children are they not encouraged to play in the snow?  Have we become a society that places like this church ban children from playing on mountains of snow because of fear of lawsuits?  What happened to just old fashioned fun? Perhaps we as adults should show them just how to have fun with the simplest things in life, like this mountain of snow… anyone care to help?

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Today is March 11, 2014 and as you can see the mountain did melt a little.  Yesterday, we finally reached our first 50 degree day.  We have to go back to November 13, 2013, for our last 50 degree day.  Think about that for just a second - that is nearly four months of days filled with cold to bitter cold weather.  So hopefully we are on the upside of things and moving towards welcoming spring and summer.

Just the other day, I looked out towards the mountain and saw a wonderful sight.  Playing amongst the vast piles of this mountain of snow were a few children.  It was a joyous sight that brought hope to me for this younger generation.  Think back to some of your greatest and fondest memories of your childhood – What were they of?  Were they of movies, television and video games?  They probably were not.  Perhaps they were memories of spending time in the kitchen with your Mom or Grandmother, spending time in the yard tossing the ball with your Father, fishing with your Grandfather or were they simply memories of playing on a mountain such as this?  Now, think about the memories you have with your children or the memories that your children have of you.  Can you honestly say that they have similar fond memories like you have? 

Like my therapist would say – It’s just food for thought this week…

That being said…  We thought that we would host a contest called “The Mountain Melted.” The person who chooses the date in which this mountain of snow is completely melted will win a Strictly Country prize pack of 17 albums including a copy of Eric Paslay’s self entitled debut album and an autographed copy of Dierks Bentley’s new album “Riser.” Here are the rules…

  1. No purchase necessary.
  2. Need not be a subscriber / member to enter.
  3. Open only to USA residents 18 years or older. 
  4. Choose one date in which you believe that the mountain of snow will be fully melted. Make sure that date is not already taken, you only get one chance at this.  Choose wisely – you only get one date, per person, per mailing address.  Your date will include the full 24 hours ranging from 12 AM (midnight) to 11:59 PM.
  5. You must submit the following form to Strictly Country, no later than April 1, 2014.  This form must be filled out completely.  Strictly Country will not accept any other form, unfilled form, or snail mailed form. 
  6.  Only one (1) prize pack will be awarded. The person whose choice is on the exact date will win the prize pack indicated above and pictured below.  If the date is not chosen, the person closest to that date will win.  If there is a tie between two people, then the winner’s name will be randomly drawn.
  7. Winner will be notified by e-mail.  Strictly Country will not sell, give out or use any of your contact information in any way other than this contest. 
  8. Strictly Country is not responsible for incorrect address, lost, stolen, damaged or personal injury due to prize pack. Prize pack is mailed using US Priority Mail.
  9. By submitting this form you agree to all rules and rights stated by Strictly Country and will not hold Strictly Country accountable for any legal actions.
  10. Void where prohibited.

The Mountain Melted Contest

Please read the rules above.  Fill out this form entirely to enter to win a Strictly Country Prize pack containing 17 CDs featuring Eric Paslay’s self entitled debut album and an autographed copy of Dierks Bentley’s new album “Riser.”  Please select a date not taken to the right.

HURRY!  Offer ends April 1, 2014!

Predicted Date In Which The Mountain Will Be Fully Melted

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Today is March 18, 2014 and as you can see we are in for another round of snow!  Will this winter never end?  It seems as if this has now become an annual event, having snow the day after St. Paddy’s day.  Last year we received around six inches of snow.  How do I remember? Well, I had surgery that day and well it was a mess trying to get home in the snow.

St. Patrick’s Day is a day to celebrate the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.  However, I believe for most of us it’s a day to revel in the traditions of Ireland.  For me, it’s a celebration of my heritage.  I especially enjoy the lore of Ireland. Yes, my name is quite German.  However, I am adopted and found out my biological heritage is Irish.  I may be the only Irish woman who does not drink!  That and I may be the tallest leprechaun, measuring in at five feet. 


All laughs aside, I long for the simple things that come with spring.  This week, we will welcome the first day of spring – while we shovel more snow!  I long for green grass and the smell of the clean air after a spring shower.  I long for seeing the little bunnies hopping about.  I long to see bluebirds arrive and snow birds gone.  I long to feel the warm sun upon my face, as I clean up the yard after the harsh winter.  I long to see the trees with leaves upon their barren branches, dotting the landscape with their shades of green. But most of all – I long to feel, smell and see spring.


Perhaps seeing the four-leaf clover, that is so widely used on St. Patrick’s Day, brings us a bit of hope for spring.  Perhaps too much hope...

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Today is March 25, 2014 and as you can see the first day of spring did not meet up to what it is meant to.  Today is quite deceiving with its beautiful sun shining so bright.  But the reality of it is that it’s cold out!  The morning began in the single digits of 7 degrees with a -2 degree wind-chill.  I nearly got frost bite from walking out and taking this picture.  Oh, how I long to feel the warmth of the summer sun on my face as I walk upon a carpet of green grass.  Is it to much to ask in what is deemed as our snowiest month of the year?

 

I have to laugh at all of the department stores and how they advance far into the next season with their merchandise.  By the time the season actually feels like it arrived, the stores are then on to the next.  It’s a never ending battle between stores and consumers.  Last fall, I was in a store when a mother walked up to an employee and asked about winter boots.  Winter boots!  Here it was only fall and the store had already sold out of them and would not be getting them in again.  I’m all for getting a head of things, but if winter has yet to arrive and you have already sold out of winter supplies – wouldn’t you order more?  Even though it’s officially spring, winter still has it’s tightly grasp upon us.  Let us feel the season prior to the stores taking that season away from us.

 

The past two weeks have been brutal and I don’t mean the weather.  The staff and I spent nearly 100 hours on one article for the new issue of Strictly Country.  To put this into perspective, a normal article takes approximately 8 hours to complete.  That includes research, interviews, listening to the album and of course writing the article.  Where as a review of an album we are only allotted two hours per album.  I put in so many 15 hour days last week that I feel that I could sleep for a year!  Most of the days I was going on coffee, with very little sleep.  Finally on Friday, the issue was done and at the printers. 

 

I’m proud of the issue and the article that took forever to write.  But, I fear that my time is often wasted.  It’s like this article, this blog and this contest – no one reads any more! Just look at the contest above.  How many people have submitted their requests? Two?  I can prove that no one reads – just go onto Strictly Country’s Facebook page (you can find it at the bottom of this page) and simply tell me if you read this article.  Heck, if you do so and contact us through our ‘contact us’ page – I’ll send you a free cd.  No questions asked.   

 

Next week I’ll tell you how many free cds we sent out.  You’ll be surprised as I will probably say  - absolutely none.

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Today is April 1, 2014 – April Fool’s Day.  Mother Nature is sure playing a prank on us today.  For the last few days it has been in the 50’s and nearly 60’s.  But today it’s back to the 20’s and it’s snowing.  SNOWING!  Oh come on Mother Nature… have a heart! 

As I was driving home yesterday, I kept seeing these vast creeks over flowing with the running of the melted snow.  I grew up on a 270 acre farm here in Wisconsin.  The buildings were nestled deep in a wide ravine.  It wasn’t so much as a ravine, then a canyon or a hollow.  Much of Wisconsin was washed away by the glaciers from the last ice age.  I don’t mean the ice age of a winter that we just went through, but the “Ice Age.” 

You could see where the glaciers carved out the ravines, canyons and hollows of my parent’s farm.  We had these incredible hills all around the barn, corn crib, sheds and other buildings.  In fact, we always said we had our own glacier!  There was an area where two hills came together to create a ravine.  This area was the last of the areas where snow would melt.  It would be a nice beautiful sunny day in early May, the grass was green and the trees were about to leaf, but in that area there was a drift of snow that looked a lot like a glacier.

About two hundred yards away from that ‘glacier’ area was the only spot where we could find fossils. If you went up the hill or down the hill, even only a few feet, you could not find fossils.  It was located on one side of the hill on the whole 270 acres of the farm.  I once found a fossil of a coral fanned out in the rock.  I still have that fossil.  But most of the fossils were of shells, small ammonites, bits of coral and bones from smaller fish.  I have kept all of the fossils I have found over the years.  My only regret is that I did not conduct a private dig of my own.

One of the jobs that I hated and liked at the same time was picking rock.  Farmers picked rock out of the fields in early spring.  The larger rocks tended to break parts on plows and disks, where as smaller rocks prohibited crops from growing.  So, my father would gather us up on a Saturday and we would walk the fields looking for rocks. One of us, usually Mom or Dad, would drive a tractor that was hauling a flat bed wagon behind for us to load the rock on.  My mother and I would always separate the pretty rocks from the ugly ones.  My mother loved to garden and had many rock gardens among her flowers.  She would always have a pile of field rocks that she would add to her rock gardens.  One rock picking day, I found a spear.  It measures nearly six inches in length.  My sister thought it was just a rock that looked like a spear, she was always jealous type.  A decade later, I had a friend take it to the University to have it checked out.  The professor agreed with me that it was indeed a spear.  Yes, I still have that as well.

As fun as it was on the farm, I truly enjoyed the spring.  See, deep in all the hills and valleys of my parent’s farm, there were underground springs.  Above ground there were several creeks that were overflowing with running water at this time of the year.  It was always fun to walk those creeks.  There is something relaxing about seeing water rush through a hollowed out piece of earth.  For many millennia mankind has been drawn to the water and its vast power.  As a child, many of us have spent our time in the streams, creeks and puddles getting all muddy.  It’s a childish behavior that I’m sure all of us would love to partake in our adulthood.  Many of us do, but we pay dearly for it in the salons. 

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Today is April 8, 2014.  Ah… It seems as if spring has arrived.  But we have paid the price from Mother Nature last week to earn us this beautiful weather.  Last Thursday into Friday we received between six to twelve inches of snow in the region.  As for this small speck on the world map, we received six inches. 

As we angrily shoveled the snow, many of us questioned Mother Nature.  Many of us stated to one another that Mother Nature owes us.  Well, she doesn’t.  We owe her!

For years, we as humans have gone on to destroy what Mother Nature has given us.  I don’t mean global warming.  I mean simple things…like garbage.  As the snow begins to melt it uncovers the pigsty provided by lazy people.  It has become the American way – “I’m done with it so I leave it wherever…”

NO!  How about you don’t? How about you do your job as a citizen and clean up after yourself?  Have we become so lazy that we are ready to just give in and give up?

Each day, Charlie Daniels writes an inspiring message on his Facebook page and each day he ends with “let’s make the day count.”  How about we start by making this day count by teaching our children, teenagers and fellow adults that it is not right to drop your garbage at anytime and any where? 

Why am I so vocal about this?  Like I said last week, I grew up on a 270 acre farm that the neighbors would trespass and poach on.  Neighbors, who honestly believed that the fields were theirs for the taking, while tearing down fences and destroying crops.  But, mostly they would litter and or drop their unwanted animals off with no questions asked.  Such ungrateful beings who would believe that a farmer had all the resources at their disposal to clean up and take care of what they do not want.

As I look around this beautiful area that I work and reside in, I can see beyond the garbage to see the beauty that Mother Nature has provided.  But, it’s the few lazy arse people who must rule to destroy such beauty!  How about we all do our parts and clean up after ourselves?

People who smoke often complain that they are harassed the most about their habit.  Yes, we harass you because majority of you are filthy pigs!  You believe that if you are done with your cigarette, you can just put it out anywhere!  Well guess what?  Those cigarette butts do not dissolve.  According to the Longwood University website, “cigarette filters take 18 months to ten years to degrade.  It is safe to say that the cellulose acetate fibers in cigarette filters, like other plastics, are with us for some time after they are discarded.”  So as you decide to throw away your spent cigarette into my yard or someone else’s property? Just remember that will sit there for up to ten years!

The one thing that I question most about smokers is this…according to FEMA, “almost 1,000 smokers and non-smokers are killed in home fires caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials.”  According to the US National Library of Medicine, “Cigarette lights cause an estimated 100,000 US and one million global fires per year.”  So why is there not a law that states that discarding a cigarette is attempted arson?

As much as cigarettes are most of the problems with litter, chewing gum is also a problem.  According to Ask.com, “Chewing gum is made of non-biodegradable and non-nutritive substances so it doesn’t decompose.”  It doesn’t decompose!  Other countries including Great Britain have had such a chewing gum litter problem that they have taken extreme measures to prohibit people from chewing it.  In fact, Singapore banned chewing gum until a trade agreement in 2004 with the USA.  Now it only allows chewing gum that is deemed a medical benefit. 

I could go on about this, why?  I am an avid gardener who has worked endless hours on my house and yard to create my piece of heaven.  But, my piece of heaven is destroyed on a daily basis from a neighbor who smokes, teenagers who chew gum, garbage that is not properly disregarded and people who walk their dogs and let them use my beautiful hard earned yard as their dump.

All I ask is a little respect.  How about a little respect for other people and their property?  How about a little respect for yourself as a human being?  How about a little respect for Mother Nature?  Mother Nature does not owe us – we owe her!

As a great man and an incredible entertainer states each day – “Let’s make the day count.” – Charlie Daniels.

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Today is April 15, 2014, tax day.  As you can see the mountain of snow has decreased quite a bit.  But, don’t let this beautiful sun deceive you – for we are again under a winter storm watch.  As I write this, I look out among the beautiful clear blue skies with the sun so brightly shining, then I look at the thermostat and it reads 39.9 degrees.  Nearly two hours ago it read 27 degrees. 

For the past week or so, we have been above average when it comes to temperatures.  Now as we try to survive through another Tuesday and another week we have dipped to temperatures well below the average.  I was talking with one of my co-workers about the impending snow that is heading our way.  He stated how he can not remember when we had snow in April.  Granted he is six years older than I, I can still remember Easters dressed in heavy winter coats with my beautiful Easter dress on heading to church.

Speaking of Easter, it is this Sunday.  I guess we all get it imbedded in our minds that Easter should be warm with Spring flowers in full bloom.  But, up here that is quite a task, even for Mother Nature.

Holidays always bring a flood of memories back to me.  My childhood was made extra special by my mother.  She totally believed in all of the various holidays.  She made Easter extra special for us kids. 

A couple of weeks earlier, Mom would get out all of her Easter decorations to decorate the house.  There were Easter bunnies, which she made in ceramics, all over the house.  Some were so small that they would fit in the palm of a child’s hand, while others were large enough to make us wonder whether or not they were the real Easter bunny.  There were ceramic baskets filled with ceramic Easter eggs on nearly every table top.  Then a couple of days before Easter, she would gather all of us and we would dye real eggs.  One year, she even decorated her favorite tree with plastic Easter eggs.  Mom was always the crafty type.

On Easter morning we would always awake eager to find what the Easter bunny left for us.  Hidden some where on the main floor of the house was our basket. Each of us had our own basket, even Mom & Dad.  Each basket was filled with a vast array of chocolates, jelly beans, eggs, Peeps and special little prizes. Once we all found our baskets, we could dig in.  The ‘dig in’ was short lived, for church service was beckoning us.

Dressed in our Sunday best, off we went to church for Easter service.  When I was a young teenager, our parish got a new minister and Easter service changed.  We went from two normal time services to a sunrise service, Easter brunch and then the second service.  Easter brunch was served by the youth group.  All of us would have to serve in one way or another.

Serving didn’t bother me, nor did getting up quite early to attend service.  What bothered me was during the sunrise service, we were tortured by the smell of brunch cooking.  There is no other torture than trying to sing “Thine Is The Glory” when all you can concentrate on is the wonderful smell of fresh cooked eggs and sausage as it tickles your nose.

It’s nice to take time to reminisce for a bit.  You know I can still smell those eggs.  As the years passed, what once was the whole family attending church ended with only my mother and I.  I am the youngest and Mom made sure that all of our lives were founded on God.

Some time before my graduation from High School, someone told me a wonderful story.  Now, a few decades or so later, I don’t rightly remember who told me the following story.  But as I sit here real as can be, I will attest that it is true and I have seen...

“Just as it is written in the Bible that Jesus appeared on that first Easter Sunday thousands of years ago, the lamb appears every Easter morn.  If you believe you will see.  For on the mourning of Easter, just before the sun rise, you must journey to the highest point in your life.  A hill, a mountain you must climb.  Face east and you will see.  For as the blackness of death (night) is over come by the bright light of goodness (day), just as Jesus endured for us so many years before.  The Easter lamb will appear.  As the sun comes over the horizon you will see, for but a second, a lamb as bright as can be-jumps over the sun so early on this holy morn.” – Author unknown.

Whatever you believe, whatever you see – I wish you a Happy Easter and I’ll see you next week.

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