Before I open my bedroom shade each morning I switch on the TV and check the Weather Channel...because frankly, folks, the weather this winter has been a little scary and sometimes I am afraid to look!
The Weather Channel said that it was -8, but the sun will shine and it will warm up...briefly. So this is the scene outside my bedroom window at -8 in the morning.
A little later, it looked like this.
If you look over the top of the red shed behind our house, you see fog. The fog is coming up from the river...which means that the air temperature is colder than that of the water in the river today in Cody.
It is enough to make me want to pull that shade back down and go back to sleep until spring!
Wyoming has its own way of decorating. It's shabby. It is not chic...but it is cheap. My sister and I call it 'Shabby Western'. You simply take everyday items, garage sale items and steal stuff off of your horse, and learn to love it and live with it!
I have been watching with interest to see if the people in Georgia learned to think for themselves as opposed to having the government think for them this weather go-round.
I was happy to see that a lot of them learned their lesson...staying home, keeping their kids at home, and stocking up on food.
But...where before they blamed the government, now they are complaining that there was no milk or bread on the store shelves...what were they to do?
Well, I will tell them. The next lesson in learning to be independent (part one being not to expect the government to take care of you and to think for yourselves) is to stock your pantry.
In the days of old this was not radical thinking. But in our 'just buzz to Walmart for your daily bread every day world', it is.
Now I am not talking about a doomsday prepper scenario, but I am talking about common sense living the way our grandmothers and great-grandmothers lived.
They had a pantry. They kept it filled. If there was a snowstorm and they couldn't get out for a week or two...no problem.
They had reserves.
Our culture seems to have everything in the way of material possessions, but nothing in reserve. We just expect the stores to be stocked.
But...if those trucks can't get through to stock the stores, or you can't get out to get to the store...the wise thing to do is to be prepared.
Find a small closet or room in your house or apartment, and start to keep a few things on hand. Canned goods. Pasta. Bottled water. Pretend you live on a farm, and only go to town every two weeks. What would you need to keep your family going?
Then set aside some money every payday...even if you can only afford $20 a month...and begin to stock up on necessities.
Don't forget to rotate though...canned goods have a limited shelf life.
Try and get a deep freezer. Freeze meat that is on sale, bread, your leftovers. If you are making lasagna for supper, assemble two and freeze one for a busy day...much cheaper than eating out. Walmart has foil pans especially for freezer use.
The Bible says that a wise woman builds her house. In Proverbs it says...and I am paraphrasing here...that the woman in Proverbs 31 could laugh at the days to come, because her house was clothed in warm clothes.
She was ready for whatever life threw at her.
Somehow I don't think that there was much call for milkshakes on Sunday...when we were hit with 12-15 inches of snow, blowing snow, and still subzero temperatures. For once there was no line at Dairy Queen!
My husband was driving.
He is not known for his patience with this kind of thing.
Baptists are hard to stop.
Tonight we are bracing for wind gusts of 70 mph. With all the snow we should be in store for a good, old fashioned blizzard.
I have lots of other things to blog about...but lately all I can think about is spring. And summer. And warmth.
But we have another 3 1/2 months to go until we get what passes for spring around here. I shouldn't complain, I have a family member in Gillette that said school was canceled because the actual temperature was minus 40...so I guess the wind chill was minus 60 or something.
I remember a few winters when it was that cold in Cody.
On the bright side, the 70 mph wind gusts are blowing in warmer temperatures for the next week.
It's important to think about the bright side!
Or take a cue from the grizzly bears and expect it to be cold and just hibernate the winter away.
I am thinking that this winter there is a lot to be said for a long winter's nap!
I love small towns in Wyoming...and one of my favorites is the tiny town of Cowley, which is about 50 miles from Cody. The population is close to 600 or so. My favorite building in Cowley is this community center...an old log building that also doubles as a gym.
I am so done with winter. I wish winter was done with us!
The temperature in Cody this week was subzero...I think the actual temperature on Wednesday was minus 24...and the wind chill was minus 35 or so.
Dangerous cold. Crazy cold.
When you go outside the hairs in your nose freeze cold.
When my husband fed the horses his mustache froze cold.
If your vehicle is not running or inside a garage, it has to be plugged into an engine heater cold.
Yesterday in Cody it warmed up...for one brief shining moment, to about 25 above. We went out to eat at La Comida...and it looked like the middle of tourist season there. Everyone had cabin fever and wanted out of the house!
But...we could see the thermometer on the bank sign across the street, and while we were eating the temperature fell eleven degrees.
We didn't linger too long!
Today we have over three inches of snow, and I think the high will be eleven.
But at least it is not minus eleven!
With this kind of winter...eleven is practically a heat wave!
This is the side view of the Irma in winter...lots of parking spaces and nary a tourist in sight. But if you look up on the roof...
See that ball...wrapped in tinfoil and decorated with white Christmas lights? New York City may have the New Year's ball drop in Times Square, but Cody drops this from the top of the Irma at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve.
I kid you not!
One year someone stole the dang thing...but once they sobered up it was returned.
The things that happen in a small town you wouldn't believe!
And that's about all that I have for today...it is bitter cold outside and I have cabin fever. I talked my husband and dog into a ride in the countryside.
The dog is more willing than the husband...but he is going. Anything to get us through another day of winter!
This is where you turn off of Main Street to go to the hospital, or the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.
Speaking of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center...winter is a good time to hit the gift store at the museum. There is nary a tourist, so you have all the time in the world to browse.
I have become a fan of shabby western decorating...which means you get saddle blankets and use them as rugs, or cut them up for runners. Another thing I have been doing is buying western prints at the museum, and framing them with old garage sale picture frames.
Whatever gets you through the winter!
Speaking of winter...what's up with all this? I have been watching with amusement all the finger pointing and the blame games in Atlanta. Apparently everyone is mad at the city government because the ice and snow forced people to get stranded on the roads and in the schools.
Now don't get me wrong...it looks like the city should have been better prepared. But in Wyoming, most people would have listened to the weather forecast and had the good sense to not send their kids to school, and stayed off the roads.
It is important not to lose the ability to think for yourself!
If you let the government do the thinking for you, then honey...you are doomed! Just saying.
Speaking of saying...that is all I have to say tonight!
Something that we all have been curious about was what was going to happen to the old library building...now that we have the fancy new library.
Well, mystery solved. They are turning it into a brewery and pizza place. Remodeling has begun...and I am hoping it will be open by this summer, but I haven't heard anything about that yet.
The above view is from 12th Street...
Construction is still underway...and I'll take a photo when it is completed so you can see how it turned out!
One thing I like about living in a smaller town is that you can sneak in exercise just going about your daily errands. I may not have the will to walk around a track somewhere on a cold winter day...but exercise is more tempting when you can grab the dog and stroll up to the local newstand to get the paper or a magazine.
Better yet, leave the dog at home, grab the paper and pop over to Peter's (the local cafe) for a cup of coffee to sip while you read. Chances are you will see someone you know, and get to visit for a while.
A lot of people ask me what it is like to live in Wyoming. I would have to say that it is a lot like where they live...we go to work, we pay our bills, we shop, we exercise, etc.
But what is different is that our state is really a rural state...which means that everything we do is probably on a much smaller scale. We don't hop on an interstate to do our shopping, go to work...or to a gym somewhere. Mostly everything is local.
We don't have all the exciting cultural activities big places do...or lots of dining and exciting stores.
If excitement is your thing, Wyoming is probably not for you.
But if you think that life could be sweeter if it was lived on a smaller, more human scale...maybe Wyoming or another rural state may be what you are looking for. Maybe just a smaller town would fit the bill, and you wouldn't have to uproot to another state.
It bears thinking about though...because life is short. And change is handled better when you are young enough to absorb the shock and stress of a move.
Leave it too long, and you may end up living the life you don't want in a place you don't want to be.
There is no utopia...there is a plus and minus to everywhere you go. It take courage to make a move, especially when you are not young, and have less time to regroup if you make a big mistake.
My advice? If you are doing a drastic change...don't sell your house. Rent for a year...and see if your new life in a new place lives up to your expectations.
Don't burn the bridge, until you are positive you will not need to cross it again! A lot of people are moving to Wyoming, and don't even make it a year. The change in culture was too big. They couldn't adjust...and the 9 month winters were too depressing.
Remember the old saying...best to look, before you take the leap!
There is just something about a log church, especially on a snowy day. Until just recently, they used to heat this Baptist church mostly with wood...which made it smell like pine. It was a pleasure just breathing...
I thought of some more things that Cody, Wyoming doesn't have.
We don't have a mall. You have to drive two hours to Billings, Montana.
Other than a few fast food places, we don't have chain restaurants. No Panera Bread, no nothing. We have a lot of restaurants, (after all this is a tourist town) but they are the small business kind.
We don't have a daily paper. Our paper comes out twice a week, whether you need it or not. The state of Wyoming does have a few daily papers, but they don't sell them in Cody. If you want the New York Times, if it comes at all to the local newstand it is a week late. USA Today comes only in the summer...they don't bother with us after tourist season is over.
Do they think we can't read?
Your best bet, if you want news, is to either get it off the computer, or get the Billings paper, which may have a couple of columns of Wyoming news.
The radio news is often the same two or three days running, and they get most of that from the newspaper that comes out, you guessed it, just twice a week.
We never used to have much crime...but as more and more people are moving in here, that is changing slowly. I may have to eventually get a key made for my front door.
That just ticks me off!
We don't have an interstate anywhere near here. If you want to go fast, you have to drive the two hours and get to Billings.
We have a local hospital, but if you want a big hospital with a lot of specialists, again...two hours to Billings, Montana.
Best of all, we don't have traffic. Except maybe in tourist season things get a little crowded. We don't have rush hours. Wyoming people usually don't rush, anyway. There is no where to rush to!
That is all I can think of tonight, my brain is tired! Maybe next time I will tell you things we do have!