P.S. I still don’t like winter! –
By Rick Houser –
I am not sure if I need to say this but at times I have mentioned just how much winter and I don’t get along. Since I have spent my entire life in southern Ohio, no matter how much I dislike winter, I have still have to cope with it. One thing I have noticed is with each year that passes I get a little less tolerant I of the cold and icy conditions that accompany the winter months.
One thing that hasn’t appeared so much in the past years is snow. It wasn’t uncommon for us to have six plus inches of snow many times in a winter. Lately if we are expected to receive one to two inches, all the schools are locked tight and a snow emergency is put into effect. I will remind all who are reading that I survived the blizzard of “78”. It might be just my memory playing games with me, but it seems we had frequent snows in the 60’s that delivered several inches of the white death. I know I spent a lot of time going to Jennings’ hill to sled ride along with most of of the population of Felicity.
Even though there are a few things that can be fun with snow, those are still a minority to me. There are only a few things I find that are fun with any snow accumulation. They are as follows: sled riding, building a snowman, building a snow fort and a nice supply of snowballs to protect it with, making snow angels, and making snow ice cream. I must admit I have never personally made a snow angel but my daughter said they are a must when we get a good powdery snow. I always tried my hand at making a snowman but even though I had fun trying, I guess I never had the necessary sculpting ability. Now a snow fort was different as a fort can take many shapes and sizes. As long as you made a lot of snow balls, people could see quickly just how serious you were about defending your territory. I know my brother Ben and I would build forts and when I would be defeated, I would learn just what I needed to do next time to strengthen my position.
All of these activities that come with snow also come with being outside in colder temperatures than I really ever cared to spend much time in. Yes, some of these winter events are fun I must admit, but after a limited amount of time exposed to the elements one’s interest can dwindle.
I know that it was wise to have a dry change of warm clothes waiting for you whenever you decided it was time to retreat to a warmer place. One positive for my family was that since we had been outfitted for warmth while feeding the livestock and doing our other farm chores, we could stand being out longer than kids from town who were not nearly as prepared. (I guess they too should have gone to Brannock’s for winter clothing.)
One thing that could be done with snow that I enjoyed was the making of snow ice cream. I think I enjoyed this the most as we did it inside by the stove. For those who aren’t aware of what I am speaking of, it is quite simple. First we would get a large pan and go outside and collect a pan full of snow. Close care must be taken to this step as the snow must be as pure as you can find. I know we would look for snow on top of shrubs and the hoods of cars where it wasn’t yet contaminated. (This would be the worst place for some yellow snow for sure.)
Once the snow was collected, it was brought to the kitchen sink where a tablespoon or more of vanilla extract and a couple of spoonfuls of sugar were added and then it all was mixed together to make a most unique and one of a kind treat that can only be found in your yard and only after a new snow. The first bowl of snow ice cream is a taste your pallet might only get to experience once or maybe twice a year.
To make snow ice cream is a delight that comes to you at a cost of almost nothing. Yet when you taste it, you get the feeling that it must be costly as it can taste so good and different than anything you might taste that entire year. It can be amazing how some of the best things in life can really be free isn’t it? Think about this for a minute. Here I would be sitting by a hot stove with a big bowl of snow ice cream, savoring a product that was outside my door and letting my feet get warm from the fire while I enjoyed what old man winter had delivered. Yes, it is very hard to top that scene on a cold winter’s day.
As exhilarating as a sled ride down a long steep hill can be or as much fun as a snowball fight can be, both will end with a chill in the air. A heavy snow and some calm weather to follow it can deliver some great snow events to participate in. I know I enjoyed them all. The only down side was it didn’t seem to take me too long to get my clothes caked in snow and my shoes and gloves wet, and therefore my feet and hands very cold. I had only one remedy to that and that was to get into the house and find a dry outfit and a hot stove to snuggle up to.
I guess that is why when I look back on all the winter fun I still pick making snow ice cream as my favorite. I was warm and getting to eat something that tasted good, and was something out of the ordinary. I know we made snow ice scream when my children were young and now it will be up to them to make the next batch. You see, it seems a bit too cold for me to go out there and get the snow. I do recommend that it be tried at least once though.
Rick Houser grew up on a farm and loves to share stories about his youth and other topics. If you would like he could speak at your groups meeting. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.