Unforgettable Memories #8 Snow, Snow, Snow
We just had a snowstorm in Seattle last week with it dumping around two feet here. Sedans are not made for snow, and few Seattleites know how to drive in the snow or have snow tires, as our snowfall is usually only an inch or two. This year we couldn’t get out of our home as it was too deep for our regular cars, which piled up the snow in front of them, and quickly came to a stop. The snowplows didn’t come by until two days ago.
Our electricity went out, but just for a day, not for two weeks at a time like it used to do. We were very comfortable with our lanterns, candles, gas stoves, and gas hot water heaters, as we built our homes to handle power outages when they happened.
Growing up in Eastern Washington, our family had snow every winter, in much deeper amounts. One year after it snowed, it drifted so deep that the cattle could walk over the fences. Dad had to shovel snow around the corral fence, enough to make a trench so they couldn’t get out. Then it would blow and snow some more, and he had to trench it all over again. We had a small herd of around 40 to 60 cows, so he was able to keep most of them in the barn.
I was a baby then, but during another winter, when the snow was not quite so deep, my brother and I built tunnels in the snow. My mother made us stop building the tunnels in the road, as she was afraid the snowplows would come by and kill us. That didn’t happen, as the snowplows never got out our way. My uncle finally took our tractor and plowed our part of the road, but only after we had snow on the ground for two weeks, and after a warm Chinook wind came and melted it away. Then the only snow left was what was piled in the road cuts.
The Chinook winds I experienced are in eastern Washington and Oregon and parts of Idaho, and maybe into Wyoming. There is a funnel formed by the mountains in that part of the land, which brings in a warm, dry, and strong wind, raising the temperature around 40 degrees. It can blow all night long and melt all the snow, so that the land is almost dry in the morning. You can find it described, and mapped out, on the Internet. We would all go outside and stand in the wind and enjoy its warmth. They are found in other parts of the world, under different names.
Here’s a photo from our ranch taken during this year’s snow. Not very deep when the photo was taken, but you can see the Blue Mountains where I rode my horse. The building is a granary that my dad built in the early 1940s out of two by fours laid flat on their sides and nailed together, to make the walls around two inches thick. It had no windows in it, and only one door.
When the grain was harvested, they threshed it and then put it into sacks. The sacks of grain that weren’t hauled to the warehouse, were stored in this building, to feed our livestock. I remember watching the men sew up the burlap bag sacks with twine, tying a knot on each corner, which formed the “ear.” Dad would haul some of the oats and barley to the feed mill, to have the grains crushed before he used it as cattle feed.
This year’s Authors’ Billboard set, Sweet & Sassy in the Snow, has one of my books, Courage Dares, which is a romantic suspense novel involving snowshoeing and survival in the Cascade Mountains. A second set called, A Romance She’ll Remember, contains my Blue Mountain story, Appaloosa Blues, about two neighboring ranch families. These sets are both 99¢ at this time.
Be sure to check out our Authors’ Billboard Monthly Contests for free ebooks, gift cards, and paperbacks.
A USA Today bestselling author, Nancy Radke grew up on a wheat and cattle ranch in SE Washinton State. She attended a one-room country school through the eighth grade. She learned to ride bareback at age 3 (Really! It was a common practice.) and when she got off or fell off, she would pull her horse’s nose to the ground, get on behind its ears, and the horse would lift its head so she could scoot down onto its back. Nancy spent most of her childhood exploring the Blue Mountain trails that bordered the ranchlands. She and a friend once took a trail that turned out to be a two day trip. They always rode with matches and pocket knives, so made camp and returned the next day. These long rides worried her parents, but provided plenty of time to make up stories. Her first novel was set in the Blues, and is entitled APPALOOSA BLUES. TURNAGAIN LOVE was the first one published. It rated a four star review from Affaire de Coeur. Scribes World said “Turnagain Love has some fascinating twists and turns, unexpected complications, and charming scenes.” It is light and humorous. Nancy currently has over 30 books written, both modern and western. All her stories are sweet and wholesome.