Wednesday, February 24, 2010

More Than We Wanted

Throughout our marriage, we always knew we wanted to spend our retirement years in the mountains of North Carolina. Not surprising since both of us grew up in the mountains.

For more than five years, we visited various areas trying to decide just where we wanted to live. Recognizing the dramatic increase in property values every year, we decided to purchase land, aware that if we decided not to use it we could sell it easily. The land was at an elevation of 4500 feet...a lovely spot along Plott Creek in Haywood County. It had great views.

We continued our search and as we survived those Wisconsin winters we began to realize that our land would get much more snow than we wanted. We began to look in Brevard and found our retirement spot. A gated community about nine miles from downtown and with an elevation of 3000 feet. Elevation is everything in the mountains when you are talking about snowfall. Our community would get one or two snowfalls per year and the moderate weather would melt most of it in a day or so. And if we had a yen to see snow, a short drive further up the mountains would provide us with plenty of the it.

So we built our home and for three years we enjoyed the sparse snow. Then came the winter of 2009. It all started on Friday before Christmas and has continued on a weekly basis ever since. The roads get clear, but the ground remains covered.

When I photographed this little Tufted Titmouse last week, I thought that would be the last snow we might see. Oh, I was wrong.

This morning we are under a severe weather advisory and more snow is expected for the next three days! From the looks of the bird activity at the feeders, they believe the snow is going to come. While we are prepared for snow with plenty of food and a generator, I am not a happy camper. The injured player who loves nothing more than shoveling and working outdoors is vastly improved, but it's pretty hard to shovel while using a cane. So I get into a nasty mood bemoaning the fact that I didn't leave Wisconsin to deal with this. But I plug along and the shoveling makes me feel refreshed. There's such a great satisfaction in seeing the driveway cleared. It's akin to seeing the windows sparkling clean (something I haven't actually observed for some time). I'm hoping that this snow stuff is not a new pattern and that we won't see this much snow next year.
Oh, what happened to our land on Plott Creek? We sold it after a few years and turned a tidy profit. For once, our timing was good.


Vicki Lane said...

Yes, it does look as if we're in for more.

This, too, shall pass.

Anonymous said...

It even snowed at the beach this year... there was no escaping it.

We're getting rain right now. Yours is prettier, anyway. (And we get wet, muddy dogs either way!)

I remember some of our largest snowfalls coming in March, don't you? Keep the shovel handy.

D.K. Wall said...

I am chuckling a little at this since we also live at 4500 feet, We typically see our first snow fall the third week of October and our last snow fall the first or second week of May. People are stunned that we receive snow that late / early in the year AND we live in North Carolina. As you say, altitude is everything.

Fortunately, we get up and down the mountain via the same road that Cataloochee Ski is on and they do a GREAT job of clearing the road. Except after they close in late March. Always surprises people when we are suddenly stuck at the house by 3-4 inches of snow in the middle of April after getting in and out all winter.

Cicero Sings said...

You folk are really getting hit hard back there. We are at 3100 feet.

Glad your timing was good on that other property.

robin andrea said...

We've been getting plenty of rain here at 3100 ft in the Sierras. Had only two snows all season, but have heard that typically there's more. It's hard to figure out what the weather patterns will be with global climate change, but I suspect a pattern will emerge at some point. I sincerely hope it doesn't have the southeast inundated with snow all winter long.

Busy Bee Suz said...

You are very lucking on your timing on the sell.
Funny how the birds just *know*
I hope it passes quickly and you can start to enjoy spring soon!!

Cedar ... said...

We are finally getting some snow here in the Adirondacks. It's been a very mild winter here. Today has brought eleven inches and still snowing. A strange year for all of us.

Jeannette StG said...

It seems even around the globe in the Northern regions the snowfall is heaver and longer this winter.Sorry, it must be pretty frustrating to keep shoveling the snow:( Take care!

Rudee said...

We've had less snow than usual in Detroit, but it's been bitterly cold for weeks. What we have received from the heavens, has all fallen since the beginning of the month. I hear El Nino is weakening, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Stay warm!

Tina said...

Well, maybe I can make you feel a little better.. they say..misery loves company..we are looking at another 12+ tomorrow into Fri..I try not to cry out loud too sems to upset the dog!! I am soooo tired of white..and dirty slush!
I have planted some seeds indoors and planned my garden.. try and do something to think of Spring!! in the mean time pass the tissues, please..sniff..

Sam said...

This snow is more than I wanted, too. I have to wonder - if we're getting so much wild weather now, what will the summer be like? I hope it will be pleasant, but I have a funny feeling it's going to be humid and stormy.

KB said...

Since snow is our 'reservoir' of drinking water, we always know when we are behind on snow. We're definitely behind - so even though I hate it for my neck and back - you are welcome to blow the storm our way!

It sure does make walking on the trails around here harder, though. And, there are no sidewalks so the trails are my only choice for getting exercise.

Hang in there - spring is coming!

troutbirder said...

Life is indeed full of the unexpected.

amarkonmywall said...

I do NOT want to be reading this. Yesterday I got a short text message from my builder, standing at my house at 3200 ft and it read, "SNOW-ARRGGHHH!" He has had an idle excavator up there for two weeks now and until we can build one foundation wall we are on permanent stall. Which puts me further into Florida summer and further from my Fairview garden. It was beautiful over last weekend- still some snow but sunny and warmer. What happened??? (Love your cardinal and titmouse photos!)

Toni aka irishlas said...

I think the snow patterns have been really off this year! But, no worries, we just bought a tractor with a bucket so we won't see anymore big ones... at least that is what we're telling ourselves!

wildcatwoods said...

This is a very unusual year for snow in the moutnains - hopefully we will have more normal years after this one!

Carolina Mountains

LauraHinNJ said...

I've had my fill, too.

How Sam Sees It said...

It will pass, but while it was passing it gave you a chance to take a beautiful bird pictures.


Barb said...

Hi Carolyn,
I'd commiserate, but I will have snow in my yard in Breckenridge until the end of May, beginning of June. At 10,200', winter is never-ending! I'm wondering how much snow your former land has gotten this year? If you were any higher, you might be snowed-in! It is weird to see the Carolinas under so much white stuff.

KGMom said...

Never fear--I can almost guarantee that you won't have this much snow next winter.
Our last really snowy winter (here in central PA) was the winter of '96. So my husband went out and bought a kick-ass snowblower. And it sat in our garage. And sat. And sat.
This winter, it has roared to life--but I am convinced that will be it. Back to garage living next year.

Jayne said...

It has been a brutal winter for most of the east coast for sure. These last weeks seem to be the hardest for me too. I am so ready for the cold to be gone. Hang in there Carolyn. Won't be long we'll see the glory of your green mountains again!

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments everyone.

Thundering Herd - When we see the snow in Haywood County, I think of you and I'm so thankful we didn't join you higher up in the mountains.

Tina - Hope you don't get as much as predicted.

KB - I so so love your photographs of the mountains in the snow, but I really don't think I would last even one winter there.