Foothill takes brunt of harsh winter weather
The Gardnerville area has experienced the heaviest snowfall in quite a while. Temperatures have stayed well below the average and are expected to remain there for quite a while.
The sun rises at about 7 a.m. with overcast conditions and hardly any warmth is felt. This is the main reason why the snow remains and ice has formed.
It is also noticeable that sunset is about the same time every day, around 4:30 p.m. and this makes the day seem shorter. Darkness comes to the Foothill area that much quicker, making the temperatures drop rapidly.
The Foothill area of Gardnerville is much closer to the Sierra Nevada. Did you know that Sierra Nevada is really a Spanish word that means “Snowy Range” and certainly with the current snow level, it is living up to its name. Records indicate that Sierra Nevada has some of the heaviest snow falls in the world. The highest average snow fall in March one year measured 108 inches ( 9 ft.) at Echo Summit.
Elevation has a lot do with the amount of snow that falls and how the temperature varies. The foothills generally do not receive any measurable snow, in comparison to the Lake Tahoe area. This is hard to believe as I look out of my window, my deck seems to have at least (9 or 8 inches) of snow.
Not to mention the condition of my walkway and driveway. And I am sure my neighbors must agree, as they shovel, blow or scrape snow from steps, walkways and drive ways.
There are icicles hanging from the edges of our roofs, some so large they are almost unbelievable. Silver reflections sparkle and bounce off the blowing snow.
Trees appear to have been especially decorated by the snow. Any body of water is frozen and adds such a serene feel to the area. There are several ponds where ducks huddle together; they too, must be cold. Just a few hardy birds remain looking for something to eat and many of us are feeding them, as well as, other small creatures.
The deer are exquisite against the back drop of the snow. You can see them all along the Foothill corridor. Deer are one of the gentlest of animals and their biggest enemy aside from man is the mountain lion. At one time the Sierra Nevada had a record number of approximately 250,000 mule deer.
Weather conditions and a seven year drought reduced the population by almost half. In 2000, the estimate for mule deer numbers was less than 145,000. The snow conditions greatly impact the herd size of the mule deer. The food source in winter is very scarce, maybe this is why they resort to eating the last of my roses and other prized plants in my garden.
A good thing about snow is the bears are fast asleep in the Sierra Nevada. I do not have to worry about their visits to my neighbors apple trees. The number of confrontations between bears and humans is rising as western Nevada urban areas expand. Development displaces the food source for not only the bear but many other animals. In an earlier article I wrote about a bat in my garage, if I must make a choice between a bear and a bat, I would take the smaller creature any day.
It seems as if nature knows exactly what to do. Our area of the world is in preparation for the end of another year and winter which is already here. And of course the season of peace, which begins with advent and ends with Christmas.
The Advent season is best described by the prophet Isaiah; The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
There are many religious holidays in December this is a reference to just two more of them. Hanukah began at sunset yesterday and Kwanzaa will begin Dec. 26.
Enjoy the snow and try a snow ball just for fun or a sleigh ride and most of all enjoy the peace we now have in the Carson Valley.
— JoEtta Brown can be reached at JoetBro@aol.com.