Sunday, January 6, 2008

Where Has Winter Gone?

Where have all the snow fences gone?

I thought of this today when I was dismantling my winter village that my son, Andy, continues to create for me. He paints the buildings and over the years (20 years since he started) I have added people, trees and other items that I think should be in the scene. I think the village takes me back to my childhood in western NY, where we had REAL winters.

So as I was rolling up the miniature snow fence, it occurred to me that I have not seen one of those in a very long time.

For those of you who live in more temperate climates, a snow fence is a wooden slat and wire fence that a farmer would install in his field before winter hit. The fence would be parallel to the road (usually a north/south road) and back about fifty feet. As the wind blew (usually from the west) the fence would slow the wind speed, allowing the snow to be deposited right in front of the fence. Hence big drifts would pile up away from the road instead of on the road.

I don't think the farmers were paid by anyone to do this -- it was their community and their way to help. Of course, if the roads became blocked with snow, the farmers would be snowbound, too. If they were dairy farmers, that meant dumping the milk when the milk truck couldn't get through.

With global warming seeming to be the trend, maybe snow fences are a thing of the past -- an antique.

What is still in fashion is community engagement. Doing whatever it takes to make a community stronger and better.

What do you see being done in your community that might be today's snow fence?

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