Not quite a record

Despite hooking up the snowblower this past weekend in anticipation of the big storm of 2022, the snow still fell.

In the past, being prepared often resulted in a storm blowing over or not being quite as advertised. Sorry about that.

Wellington County fared well in terms of inconvenience and snow accumulation. Closer to Toronto, the storm rivaled some of the larger historical events. In fact, the big snowstorm of 1999 that resulted in former Mayor Mel Lastman calling in the army was only two centimeters greater than what fell this past Monday.

While we all have points of reference and memories of way back when, winters are far tamer than years past. It seems that we are having more events and temperature swings as opposed to long sustained bouts of snow and wind.

Preferring sunshine over moonlight, we left work a little early Monday to blow some snow. Having left fairly early in the morning, the lanes were due for attention where snow had drifted. Plugged in, hooked up and ready to roll, the ole John Deere fired up as if it was a summer day. After a brief warm up for all the creaky joints and frosty metal, we turned the heat on and set about tidying up the driveways.

Monday’s experience, in the warmth and out of the elements, gave pause to think about years past. When we bought the farm back in 2000, it was so different than the farm two doors down where we grew up.

On Lot 23, the only bad snow events seemed to happen when storms came from the east. An ample hedge planted generations earlier knocked down winds and sheltered buildings. On Lot 25 however, the wind raced along fields without hesitation and snow filled in as quickly as it was blown away. There were many times the old David Brown without a cab had to be deployed just to get in and get out mere hours later. It was a horrible time and the depths of those cold battles with nature still cast a chill just thinking about it. How fortunate we feel today.

These were also times that snow days were gifts for kids. Now, with the magic of the internet, kids can still attend classes. Many didn’t attend this past Monday, parents preferring instead to honour the tradition of a found day off. Playing outdoors until cheeks were rosy-red, retiring indoors to a warm stove and some hot chocolate – these types of days can be memorable moments for many Canadian students.

All storms come to an end and the following day, the sun shone and danced off the mounds of snow so that it was hard to understand the miserable hours the day before.

Although the first big snowfall of 2022 didn’t set a record, it was a solid reminder nonetheless of nature’s mighty power.

Eliminate hazards

It goes without saying that taking chances with safety eventually ends up badly. In the worst of cases, it becomes deadly.

News of deaths due to avoidable fires are heartbreaking. Most recently, a multiple-residence building in the Bronx, New York City where 19 perished, and a home in Sandy Lake First Nation where three young children died. Closer to home in Minto, residents luckily escaped injury last week, but their home suffered heavy damage.

In the winter, it is obviously difficult to keep buildings warm, which often leads to relying on supplemental heat. Often, that supplemental heat source may not be the safest contraption whether in poor shape, or susceptible to failure due to age and design. And quite frankly, some of the cheap off-shore heaters are hit and miss in terms of safety features and quality control.

It never hurts to do a quick walk around the house or barn and ensure your family and belongings are as safe as possible. Frayed cords, poorly running fans and smelly heaters should be replaced. While at that task, test your fire and carbon monoxide alarms.

It’s about safety and eliminating hazards before tragedy strikes.