Winter Wonders

As expected, we have snow, but at least the wind isn’t blowing so hard that we’ll be fighting tall drifts of it on the morrow. We might as well make the best of it and be glad that we’re almost at the end of 2020 without any minus 20 below zero temperatures. I’ve always believed that once we get out of the month of January, it’s pretty much a down-hill slide towards Spring. Yes, we always think of Ground Hog Day where there’ll be six more weeks of winter getting thrown in the mix, but as each day grows longer, and our sun moves closer, those bitter days will all be memories quickly forgotten.

I’m hoping this storm will be completely past us by noontime tomorrow because I have two homes to show in Clear Lake in the afternoon. Their market must be starting to slow down because the both are still on the market without any offers. Like I said, this impetuous buying will come to an end sooner or later because we don’t have the income and job bases in North Iowa to sustain such continued spikes in real estate sales.

Yes, we will get retirees moving here so to enjoy their quieter and gentler years, but nearly all of them have some some sort of friend or family connections, as North Iowa holds no location-specific benefits any greater than the hundreds of other like-sized communities in our upper Midwest.

As for me, if I didn’t have deep roots planted here, I’d be looking at locations more scenic like the rolling hills of Eastern Iowa where nearly every turn of their highways offer spectacular views of their countrysides.

A few years ago I took a long road trip to La Crosse, and on my way back, I stair-stepped a number of County blacktops which offered the most memorable sights. If any of you want to take a leisurely Sunday drive this coming Spring, make a point to visit some of the little towns in Howard, Winnesheik, and Allamakee Counties, but first map your travel plans, look up each town’s attractions, and take it from there. There’s no question you’ll come back wondering how you’ve managed to unknowingly live so close to Counties offering such interesting sights. If you’re into wood carvings, you’ll have to be sure and stop at the Bily Clock Museum in Spillville, and since you’ll be so close, stop over to Protivin and visit their vintage meat market. Of course a short drive to Decorah would also be worth your while.

When you cross over into Allamakee County, you’ll find the kosher slaughter house in Postville, beautiful bluffs and rolling hills as you draw closer to the Mississippi, and if you’re into prehistoric sites, you’ve got to stop and visit Effigy Mound National Park. The look-out point near their mounds, offers the most spectacular view of the “Great River”. But, be sure to go before the mosquitos are out because they can be a nuisance.

Once in a great while I check the real estate prices in those towns along the Mississippi, and it looks like their continuing to climb as well. I think a number of them are seasonal homes for those within driving distance of metro areas. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them are owned by people living in the Chicago metro. Yes, there will continue to be those looking to get back to quieter rural settings. I personally know several people in our City who live and work here, but own week-end get-aways in the Lansing area. I guess if you’re into boating and fishing, what better place can you find to lay anchor than Lansing? When thinking about it, I’d much rather drive two hours than four or five to get to those popular lakes in “The People’s Republic of Minnesota”.

There wasn’t much going on at my office today which didn’t surprise me due to the arrival of this snowstorm, but I did manage to get more old paper materials shredded which I’d somehow managed to hang onto for no reason. Some of the old emails I’d received which were inquiries on homes were also added to the pile because they’d since purchased and closed, and several of them being couples who’d ended up buying FSBO.

Knowing how many city-dwellers have purchased acreages this year, I can only imagine what’s going thru their minds right now during this storm. Let’s hope they’ll all come to their realization that country life has its drawbacks, and if there are gravel roads involved, let’s hope they’re prepared to contend with some hellacious snowdrifts. As far as I’m concerned, the east-west roads are the worst because those strong drifting winds are almost always out of the northwest.

Yesterday was my day to make sure I had a snow shovel in my car, an ice scraper, and my hand-held tool crib. I don’t even want to consider how many people refuse to have at least a small shovel in their cars, and even more-so ice scrapers because I’ve seen some pretty comical sights of people in this City who were trying to get snow off their cars, ice scraped from their windshield, and especially trying to get their cars freed from the banks of snow our snowplows so generously pushed next to their vehicles. There’ve been many a-time over the years I’d stop with shovel in hand to help get their cars freed.

I’ll certainly be busy tomorrow morning with my snow removal duties, and likely have a few aches and pains by the time I’m finished. I did stop and shovel one of them this afternoon, just so I wouldn’t be faced with more inches of it to remove. Like I said, I can deal with a little a-lot, but when there are five or more inches, it becomes daunting.

In less than sixty hours, we’ll be able to say “Adios” to our roller-coaster year of 2020, and for sure I’ll be happy to see it only when looking in the rear-view mirror of my life because in more ways than one, it’s been yet one more test of my endurance. Do stay safe and warm while enjoying our winter wonders.

Tonight’s One-liner is: When people talk, listen completely, as most never truly do.

Joe Chodur

About the Author | Joe Chodur

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