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Man, beast cope with arctic cold

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It is hard to believe the winter season is barely two weeks old. Already we have seen an inundation of snow and record-setting cold.

Enduring the intense cold and blizzard-like conditions in Johnson County takes preparation and determination, yet it is an experience that somehow warms the heart.

The last snowstorm was well predicted and closely watched by area meteorologists, giving residents ample time to stock up on the necessities to last them several days if snowbound.

A quick run through the markets on Saturday night revealed just how seriously everyone took the warning.

There was no bread, (well, there was a dark rye, clearly not a favorite among shoppers), no frozen potatoes, no milk or yogurt.

The vegetable and fruit bins were bare, leaving only a bruised apple and a lonely sweet potato to show where the foods once were.

The shelves were cleared of the foods we eat most often, leaving only those things that would fill us up but not necessarily satisfy our cravings. Eventually, an announcement came over the speaker. New milk had arrived for those waiting. The mad rush began once more.

It’s funny how we entertain ourselves when we are forced to stay home when those winding roads are just too dangerous even for the most daring driver.

My friends have found an avalanche (no pun intended) of things to do while watching the inches of snow creep closer to their doors.

One bought extra yarn to crochet and knit those popular scarves and necklaces. Another bought a couple of jigsaw puzzles, something she hadn’t tackled in a very long time. Those with kids made sure there was an extra video game to play.

They were somewhat confident the gifts of Christmas would come in handy. Still others were going to strive to cook tantalizing foods using a new cookbook, a Christmas gift from a hopeful family member. Most were adamant they weren’t going out.

Sometimes while we are so warm and cozy in our homes, it is easy to forget the critters are still out there enduring the wind chills of 40 below.

The deer, raccoons, opossums, rabbits, squirrels and birds are looking for a bite to survive and the vast snow and incredibly cold temperatures make it challenging at best.

With the cold comes the need for the animals to eat more, as it takes a great deal of energy to fight off the extreme elements.

If the setting is right, perhaps it might be the time to throw out those vegetable scraps or apples that have turned soft.

The birds love to eat the stale bread crumbs or bits of toast that weren’t devoured at breakfast. Instead of throwing away that burned piece of toast, try tossing it out for the birds. They won’t care.

Homemade suet cakes can be created rather easily with ingredients typically found around the house. If boredom sets in, it might be something to look into.

Animals certainly have a way of adjusting to the ways of Mother Nature.

They know where to sleep to get out of the wind and have an uncanny way of finding food. But when the wind howls and the temps drop to record-shattering depths, it might be nice to lend a hand — at least this once.

Carol Edwards is retired after a 30-year career teaching elementary school students at at Greenwood schools. Send column ideas to newstips@dailyjournal.net.

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