Having heard these past days of mis-haps created by the ice and wind, I’m filled with empathy. I’ve encouraged everyone to be extremely careful of ice; especially when the wind is blowing. Believe it or not, I was out on showings today gripping my steering wheel between houses and being more than careful on the driveways and sidewalks. I will never forget the time when I was having a public open house and a customer slipped and fell crossing the street and cut her hand in the process. Most of us are not used to having ice to this winter’s degree. I’ve been using granules of ground granite on icy spots which seem to help better than the normal sand. I do hope these January weather patterns are not harbingers of what’s in store for us these coming months. I heard today that Southern California is having exceedingly warm temperatures for this time of year as well as little rain. It may sound crazy coming from me, but it seems like the storms we have been having these past several years are more severe as well as the rapid temperature changes over 24 hour time frames. This is yet one more reason I encourage people to plant trees and create wind breaks. I can’t imagine how people who live in new subdivisions cope with the wind blowing down their streets with nothing to slow it down. I’ll never forget the time I had to drive to an acreage southeast of Lake Mills on a showing during a not so windy of an afternoon as today. The last two or three miles were like something I had never experienced. The blacktop was icy and the wind was doing everything it could to cause my car to go into the other lane. There were seconds when I wasn’t even sure if I was on the road due to the “ground blizzard” that was taking place. I finally decided to ride the shoulder of the road so I could at least be assured that I wasn’t in the other lane. I did finally make it to the acreage and all was well but I assure anyone driving in conditions like that, seconds become minutes and minutes become hours due to the stress of driving in white-outs. I hope we all remember days like today when we are enjoying the other delightful seasons living here in North Iowa. As I said before, “Every rose of beauty must have its thorns.” In between my appointments today, I snapped the photo on this article on the edge of Mason City. It is a great example of what our countryside looks like when we have gale force winter winds blowing.