Posts Tagged ‘snow’

When kids could fly

credit: the Old Sled Works Museum

All of this snow is making me nostalgic for the sledding days of my childhood.  We used to pile on the clothes and throw ourselves down the hill on our sleds until we couldn’t stand the cold anymore.  Then we ran inside for hot chocolate made with real milk.  I started doing some research on sleds.

Chances are you grew up with a Flexible Flyer sled. I remember sledding down the hill at my neighbor’s as a child on our family’s short flexible flyer.  I had to take turns with my older brother, but my turns were worth the wait.  When I was a child it was the sled to own, but my children have never been able to slide down a hill on a sled with runners like I had when I was a child.   There have been very few snowfalls in their lives that were deep enough or icy enough for the runners.  We opted for plastic sleds without runners because they went over the snow easily and because Fort Wayne doesn’t have many public hills for sledding. Our back yard is flat and the front goes straight into the street.  We spent a lot of time pulling sleds on flat ground rather than sliding down hills.  I think they missed out on a lot.

Flexible Flyer was the trademark of the S. L. Allen Company, which manufactured farm equipment in  most of the year. Samuel Leeds Allen patented the Flexible Flyer in 1889.  He had a passion for outdoor sports and thought this was a good use of his manufacturing equipment in the off season when they were not producing farm equipment.

Another company that made sleds beginning in 1904, the Standard novelty works, also in Pennsylvania, made the Lightning Guider. It looks very much like the Flexible Flyer and both companies continued to make sleds through the 1980’s.  In 1960, there were eight companies making sleds in the United States.  By 1990 Paris Manufacturing, now Paricon, was the only one left. I guess plastic sleds took over because they were less expensive to make and they worked on all kinds of snow.  The Lightning Guider is no more, except for what you can find on eBay or in a garage sale these days, but the Flexible Flyer brand was purchased by Paricon sleds and you can buy one at Target for a mere $79.99.  Paricon also makes just about any type of sled you can imagine.

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Playing in the snow is FUN.  At least these furry companions think so!

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A lot of snow, and a lot of winter yet to go

snowMy husband looked at me last Wednesday and said, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much snow!”  My first thought was “Sure you have!” When I thought about it, I realized he had lived south of Interstate 70 for most of his life. While we have had winters with heavy snowfalls since we moved to Fort Wayne, we haven’t had cumulative snowfalls like this.  I used to live in Elkhart. (Snow belt, ’nuff said.) I remember years where the snow didn’t completely melt all winter. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Fort Wayne does not get lake effect snow. I checked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for Fort Wayne Snowfall and got the scoop.  Fort Wayne has had at least two winters in the last 10 years with well above-average snowfall, but the highest amount of snowfall for one season was 1981-82 with 81 inches.  That was before our time.

What a difference a week makes.  A week ago I had two feet of snow beside my sidewalk from drifting.  Now we barely have four inches!  Fort Wayne had seven inches on January 2 and another 10-14 on January 5 without any melt between the two.  With drifting, that was a lot of snow! We’ve already had more than half of the average annual snowfall of 33.4 inches.

This chart of our  2013 snowfall demonstrates how quickly snow melts in Fort Wayne:

“The daily number of hourly observed snow reports during 2013, with climate normals (faint shaded areas). The bar at the top of the graph is blue if there was snow fall observed that day and white otherwise.” (Historic weather 2013)

This graph is from the 2013 link above.

I think we’re lucky to live in an area that gets plenty of snow, but also where it melts quickly so we can get on with our lives.  The frigid blasts of January 6 and 7 showed us what could happen if we didn’t. The five days of canceled school is unprecedented in the 20-plus years we have lived here.  The temperatures are warmer, but more snow is on the way.  Curl up with a good book and stay safe and warm!


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It’s December. And it’s Christmas Eve! Isn’t it supposed to be snowing?  We could all be sitting inside, preferably by a roaring fire, reading our favorite books while the snow swirls outside! The weather simply is not cooperating, but thanks to a Google “Easter egg” you can have your very own snowstorm!

Using Firefox or Google Chrome as your browser  — Explorer doesn’t seem to work — simply type “Let It Snow” into the google search box and watch the flakes begin to fall. Soon, your whole screen will be covered in snow. You can use your mouse to write messages or to clear the screen. If you are impatient, you can always take the easy way out and click the “defrost” button!

Hopefully we’ll see some of the real white stuff soon. Until then, enjoy this snowstorm gift from Google!

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