Battling Through Winter

AP-avatar Cara/Andrea here,

Snow2 Like much of the U.S., the Northeast (where I live) has been slogging through a pretty severe winter. Since the end of December we’ve been hammered with several blizzards that have dropped massive amounts snow—many longtime residents of the area are shaking their heads and saying they can’t remember drifts this deep. Ever.

Snowstorm-5 I emerged from my half-buried house on the morning after the first storm and tried to walk to the end of my driveway, only to find the snow up to my thighs. I was huffing and puffing after a 100 yards, and simple tasks, like trying to fetch some firewood from the pile behind the garage, became a comedy of epic proportions. (Tripping, falling, snow angels . . .you get the picture) Thankfully, the snowplows showed up later in the day, helping life get back to normal fairly quickly, but it got me to thinking about winters of old, when high tech technology wasn’t there to roll in and tidy up the mess. I mean, how the devil did people and essential goods manage to move around? It must have been quite an ordeal . . .

Napoleon_group Speaking of ordeals, further thoughts on the subject of snow—while curled comfortably under a blanket sipping hot tea—naturally brought to mind one of the epic winters in history: Russia, 1812, when the snows and freezing temperatures are credited with doing what no army had yet accomplished in over a decade of war—defeat Napoleon and his Grand Armee.

Napoleon_march In early September of 1812, after much cat and mouse maneuvering between the invading French and the Russian defenders, Napoleon and Kutusov clashed in the Battle of Borodino. Both sides suffered grievous losses, but when the Russian retreated to lick their wounds, Napoleon was able to march into Moscow, confident that Tsar Alexander would soon capitulate and add the vast stretch of Slavic forests and taiga to the French sphere of influence.

Even if the Tsar dragged his feet, the Emperor wasn’t overly worried. He was perfectly comfortable with the idea of hunkering down for the winter within the splendid confines of the Kremlin. And the rest of the city promised to provide a respite from the constant marching and foraging for his weary soldiers.  (They had been on the march for months, covering mind-boggling distances on foot.)

Napoleon_retreat_from_Russia_by_Adam As we all know, the Emperor was a brilliant military tactician, but he hadn’t anticipated the grim determination of his Russian foes to drive their enemy from the Motherland. Rather than provide sanctuary, the city soon turned into a raging inferno. Fires set by the Russians accomplished what the bullets at Borodino had failed to do. Napoleon and his troops were forced to flee.

Napoleons_retreat_of_moscow The snows started early that year, and as the first flakes fell, the Emperor was faced with a chilling dilemma—what to do? With cold setting in, there was little chance of living off the land if they tried to march deeper into enemy territory. But with the lands behind them already ravaged, the picking were also slim. Still, there seemed little alternative but to make the trek back into central Europe.

And so began one of the most brutal retreats in military history. Weather played a huge factor. The first weeks were cold and snowy, decimating the already weakened troops. Then a warm spell made the going even more difficult—frozen streams and rivers turned to icy waters, making crossings a nightmare. Rutted roads softened into muddy quagmires. And as they struggled, the maurading Cossacks cavalry kept up a constant and deadly harassment.

Retreat_from_Russia The snows then returned with a vengeance, and the retreating French suffered more and more losses to freezing and starvation. Hearing rumbling of a coup in Paris, Napoleon left his struggling army and was whisked away to France in a private sled, The troops were not so fortunate. Step by weary step, they fought their way west, finally crossing the Neiman River into Poland in late December. What had once been a proud army of over 600,000 men was
now a rag-tag band of scarecrows, numbering less than 1000,000.

Having been daunted by a mere stroll down my suburban driveway in heavy snow, I can’t even begin to imagine the hardships suffered. I mean, here we all are trading war stories about what we’re going through, but really, it can’t hold a candle to the past, when there was no one to dig you out of a deep hole. After re-reading some of the accounts of the retreat of 1812, I decided to stop my kvetching about ice on the driveway and the frozen gutters. Somehow, I think I shall survive!

So how about you? Any other winter disasters in history you can think of? And how are you all coping with the weather?

70 thoughts on “Battling Through Winter”

  1. This chart that includes distance, temperature, death, etc. is amazing. Somehow it all combines to give a great picture of truly epic suffering.
    http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/posters
    A professional snow sculptor from Alaska stated that there is no such thing as bad weather, just inadequate clothing. Could you image how much better they would have survived with Goretex and Polartek?
    Yeah modern technology and snow blowers.

    Reply
  2. This chart that includes distance, temperature, death, etc. is amazing. Somehow it all combines to give a great picture of truly epic suffering.
    http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/posters
    A professional snow sculptor from Alaska stated that there is no such thing as bad weather, just inadequate clothing. Could you image how much better they would have survived with Goretex and Polartek?
    Yeah modern technology and snow blowers.

    Reply
  3. This chart that includes distance, temperature, death, etc. is amazing. Somehow it all combines to give a great picture of truly epic suffering.
    http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/posters
    A professional snow sculptor from Alaska stated that there is no such thing as bad weather, just inadequate clothing. Could you image how much better they would have survived with Goretex and Polartek?
    Yeah modern technology and snow blowers.

    Reply
  4. This chart that includes distance, temperature, death, etc. is amazing. Somehow it all combines to give a great picture of truly epic suffering.
    http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/posters
    A professional snow sculptor from Alaska stated that there is no such thing as bad weather, just inadequate clothing. Could you image how much better they would have survived with Goretex and Polartek?
    Yeah modern technology and snow blowers.

    Reply
  5. This chart that includes distance, temperature, death, etc. is amazing. Somehow it all combines to give a great picture of truly epic suffering.
    http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/posters
    A professional snow sculptor from Alaska stated that there is no such thing as bad weather, just inadequate clothing. Could you image how much better they would have survived with Goretex and Polartek?
    Yeah modern technology and snow blowers.

    Reply
  6. I’ve no clue how to post images, but the link below (if it doesn’t work, copy and paste the web address into your browser) shows a map developed by Charles Minard in 1859 to show Napoleon’s march to/from Moscow. It’s an incredibly rich graphic, as it shows the geographic route (including latitude and longitude), the temperatures at each stage, and the number of soldiers remaining — all on a 2-dimensional image. I went to a lecture where it was also pointed out that Napoleon’s name doesn’t appear at all, because Minard was anti-imperialist and did not want to give Napoleon any credit by naming him.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Minard.png

    Reply
  7. I’ve no clue how to post images, but the link below (if it doesn’t work, copy and paste the web address into your browser) shows a map developed by Charles Minard in 1859 to show Napoleon’s march to/from Moscow. It’s an incredibly rich graphic, as it shows the geographic route (including latitude and longitude), the temperatures at each stage, and the number of soldiers remaining — all on a 2-dimensional image. I went to a lecture where it was also pointed out that Napoleon’s name doesn’t appear at all, because Minard was anti-imperialist and did not want to give Napoleon any credit by naming him.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Minard.png

    Reply
  8. I’ve no clue how to post images, but the link below (if it doesn’t work, copy and paste the web address into your browser) shows a map developed by Charles Minard in 1859 to show Napoleon’s march to/from Moscow. It’s an incredibly rich graphic, as it shows the geographic route (including latitude and longitude), the temperatures at each stage, and the number of soldiers remaining — all on a 2-dimensional image. I went to a lecture where it was also pointed out that Napoleon’s name doesn’t appear at all, because Minard was anti-imperialist and did not want to give Napoleon any credit by naming him.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Minard.png

    Reply
  9. I’ve no clue how to post images, but the link below (if it doesn’t work, copy and paste the web address into your browser) shows a map developed by Charles Minard in 1859 to show Napoleon’s march to/from Moscow. It’s an incredibly rich graphic, as it shows the geographic route (including latitude and longitude), the temperatures at each stage, and the number of soldiers remaining — all on a 2-dimensional image. I went to a lecture where it was also pointed out that Napoleon’s name doesn’t appear at all, because Minard was anti-imperialist and did not want to give Napoleon any credit by naming him.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Minard.png

    Reply
  10. I’ve no clue how to post images, but the link below (if it doesn’t work, copy and paste the web address into your browser) shows a map developed by Charles Minard in 1859 to show Napoleon’s march to/from Moscow. It’s an incredibly rich graphic, as it shows the geographic route (including latitude and longitude), the temperatures at each stage, and the number of soldiers remaining — all on a 2-dimensional image. I went to a lecture where it was also pointed out that Napoleon’s name doesn’t appear at all, because Minard was anti-imperialist and did not want to give Napoleon any credit by naming him.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Minard.png

    Reply
  11. Thanks Susan for the wikipedia link to the chart. It is a much clearer image and can be enlarged. I just knew of the site that sold reproductions.

    Reply
  12. Thanks Susan for the wikipedia link to the chart. It is a much clearer image and can be enlarged. I just knew of the site that sold reproductions.

    Reply
  13. Thanks Susan for the wikipedia link to the chart. It is a much clearer image and can be enlarged. I just knew of the site that sold reproductions.

    Reply
  14. Thanks Susan for the wikipedia link to the chart. It is a much clearer image and can be enlarged. I just knew of the site that sold reproductions.

    Reply
  15. Thanks Susan for the wikipedia link to the chart. It is a much clearer image and can be enlarged. I just knew of the site that sold reproductions.

    Reply
  16. I suppose the two that strike me the most is the experience of the Donner party. So many mistakes by so many people. Arguments, power struggles and a total lack of understanding of the amount of time they had since they left so late was a terrible tragedy.
    And the reason we now have an Iditarod was the Diphtheria epidemic of 1925. The only way Nome could get their much needed and life saving medicine was by sled dog. That was a brutal winter and though we celebrate Balto, he was the lead dog on the last relay of the journey. There were 20 relay teams in white-out, -20+ below temps that managed to deliver the medicine.

    Reply
  17. I suppose the two that strike me the most is the experience of the Donner party. So many mistakes by so many people. Arguments, power struggles and a total lack of understanding of the amount of time they had since they left so late was a terrible tragedy.
    And the reason we now have an Iditarod was the Diphtheria epidemic of 1925. The only way Nome could get their much needed and life saving medicine was by sled dog. That was a brutal winter and though we celebrate Balto, he was the lead dog on the last relay of the journey. There were 20 relay teams in white-out, -20+ below temps that managed to deliver the medicine.

    Reply
  18. I suppose the two that strike me the most is the experience of the Donner party. So many mistakes by so many people. Arguments, power struggles and a total lack of understanding of the amount of time they had since they left so late was a terrible tragedy.
    And the reason we now have an Iditarod was the Diphtheria epidemic of 1925. The only way Nome could get their much needed and life saving medicine was by sled dog. That was a brutal winter and though we celebrate Balto, he was the lead dog on the last relay of the journey. There were 20 relay teams in white-out, -20+ below temps that managed to deliver the medicine.

    Reply
  19. I suppose the two that strike me the most is the experience of the Donner party. So many mistakes by so many people. Arguments, power struggles and a total lack of understanding of the amount of time they had since they left so late was a terrible tragedy.
    And the reason we now have an Iditarod was the Diphtheria epidemic of 1925. The only way Nome could get their much needed and life saving medicine was by sled dog. That was a brutal winter and though we celebrate Balto, he was the lead dog on the last relay of the journey. There were 20 relay teams in white-out, -20+ below temps that managed to deliver the medicine.

    Reply
  20. I suppose the two that strike me the most is the experience of the Donner party. So many mistakes by so many people. Arguments, power struggles and a total lack of understanding of the amount of time they had since they left so late was a terrible tragedy.
    And the reason we now have an Iditarod was the Diphtheria epidemic of 1925. The only way Nome could get their much needed and life saving medicine was by sled dog. That was a brutal winter and though we celebrate Balto, he was the lead dog on the last relay of the journey. There were 20 relay teams in white-out, -20+ below temps that managed to deliver the medicine.

    Reply
  21. Theo, I was thinking of the Donner party, but had forgotten that the Iditarod was inspired by the need to get medicine. A wonderful story of spirit triumphing over the elements, As I said, this tiny brush with the power of nature has made me even more aware of how much we take for granted about basic survival.

    Reply
  22. Theo, I was thinking of the Donner party, but had forgotten that the Iditarod was inspired by the need to get medicine. A wonderful story of spirit triumphing over the elements, As I said, this tiny brush with the power of nature has made me even more aware of how much we take for granted about basic survival.

    Reply
  23. Theo, I was thinking of the Donner party, but had forgotten that the Iditarod was inspired by the need to get medicine. A wonderful story of spirit triumphing over the elements, As I said, this tiny brush with the power of nature has made me even more aware of how much we take for granted about basic survival.

    Reply
  24. Theo, I was thinking of the Donner party, but had forgotten that the Iditarod was inspired by the need to get medicine. A wonderful story of spirit triumphing over the elements, As I said, this tiny brush with the power of nature has made me even more aware of how much we take for granted about basic survival.

    Reply
  25. Theo, I was thinking of the Donner party, but had forgotten that the Iditarod was inspired by the need to get medicine. A wonderful story of spirit triumphing over the elements, As I said, this tiny brush with the power of nature has made me even more aware of how much we take for granted about basic survival.

    Reply
  26. It does rather put our winter troubles in perspective, doesn’t it? My father always said “There’s always someone in a deeper, darker hole than the one you’re in. Start climbing!” He was right. (He usually was!)
    Stories like this bring to mind the winter Washington and his troops spent at Valley Forge. I can’t begin to imagine what they went through while Washington’s dispatches to the Continental Congress went unanswered.
    Another story that comes to mind is the uprising (and subsequent gorilla warfare) in the Warsaw Ghetto in January of 1943. People died by the thousands after the ghetto was sealed and still the resistance fighters managed to rise up and nearly defeat the Nazi occupiers. I did a great deal of research for a Holocaust course I taught as a high school history teacher and the stories of the winters in the ghetto from letters and diaries break my heart and make me alternately ashamed and proud to be a member of the human race.

    Reply
  27. It does rather put our winter troubles in perspective, doesn’t it? My father always said “There’s always someone in a deeper, darker hole than the one you’re in. Start climbing!” He was right. (He usually was!)
    Stories like this bring to mind the winter Washington and his troops spent at Valley Forge. I can’t begin to imagine what they went through while Washington’s dispatches to the Continental Congress went unanswered.
    Another story that comes to mind is the uprising (and subsequent gorilla warfare) in the Warsaw Ghetto in January of 1943. People died by the thousands after the ghetto was sealed and still the resistance fighters managed to rise up and nearly defeat the Nazi occupiers. I did a great deal of research for a Holocaust course I taught as a high school history teacher and the stories of the winters in the ghetto from letters and diaries break my heart and make me alternately ashamed and proud to be a member of the human race.

    Reply
  28. It does rather put our winter troubles in perspective, doesn’t it? My father always said “There’s always someone in a deeper, darker hole than the one you’re in. Start climbing!” He was right. (He usually was!)
    Stories like this bring to mind the winter Washington and his troops spent at Valley Forge. I can’t begin to imagine what they went through while Washington’s dispatches to the Continental Congress went unanswered.
    Another story that comes to mind is the uprising (and subsequent gorilla warfare) in the Warsaw Ghetto in January of 1943. People died by the thousands after the ghetto was sealed and still the resistance fighters managed to rise up and nearly defeat the Nazi occupiers. I did a great deal of research for a Holocaust course I taught as a high school history teacher and the stories of the winters in the ghetto from letters and diaries break my heart and make me alternately ashamed and proud to be a member of the human race.

    Reply
  29. It does rather put our winter troubles in perspective, doesn’t it? My father always said “There’s always someone in a deeper, darker hole than the one you’re in. Start climbing!” He was right. (He usually was!)
    Stories like this bring to mind the winter Washington and his troops spent at Valley Forge. I can’t begin to imagine what they went through while Washington’s dispatches to the Continental Congress went unanswered.
    Another story that comes to mind is the uprising (and subsequent gorilla warfare) in the Warsaw Ghetto in January of 1943. People died by the thousands after the ghetto was sealed and still the resistance fighters managed to rise up and nearly defeat the Nazi occupiers. I did a great deal of research for a Holocaust course I taught as a high school history teacher and the stories of the winters in the ghetto from letters and diaries break my heart and make me alternately ashamed and proud to be a member of the human race.

    Reply
  30. It does rather put our winter troubles in perspective, doesn’t it? My father always said “There’s always someone in a deeper, darker hole than the one you’re in. Start climbing!” He was right. (He usually was!)
    Stories like this bring to mind the winter Washington and his troops spent at Valley Forge. I can’t begin to imagine what they went through while Washington’s dispatches to the Continental Congress went unanswered.
    Another story that comes to mind is the uprising (and subsequent gorilla warfare) in the Warsaw Ghetto in January of 1943. People died by the thousands after the ghetto was sealed and still the resistance fighters managed to rise up and nearly defeat the Nazi occupiers. I did a great deal of research for a Holocaust course I taught as a high school history teacher and the stories of the winters in the ghetto from letters and diaries break my heart and make me alternately ashamed and proud to be a member of the human race.

    Reply
  31. Cara/Andrea, the thigh high snow reminds me of the lake effect snow I grew up with in Upstate New York–and even growing up with it did NOT make it easy to navigate!
    Our Regency ancestors mostly could stay home when the snows got impassable. Napoleon’s army was not so lucky, I ran across the fact that Russians burned their own capital to drive the French out when I was researching my my book Veils of Silk, where the heroine was Russian born. I was so fascinated that I had to put that into the book, even though it wasn’t, strictly speaking, very relevant.
    Russian defeated Napoleon. Russia did a lot of the defeating of Hitler. DO not mess with Mother Russia!

    Reply
  32. Cara/Andrea, the thigh high snow reminds me of the lake effect snow I grew up with in Upstate New York–and even growing up with it did NOT make it easy to navigate!
    Our Regency ancestors mostly could stay home when the snows got impassable. Napoleon’s army was not so lucky, I ran across the fact that Russians burned their own capital to drive the French out when I was researching my my book Veils of Silk, where the heroine was Russian born. I was so fascinated that I had to put that into the book, even though it wasn’t, strictly speaking, very relevant.
    Russian defeated Napoleon. Russia did a lot of the defeating of Hitler. DO not mess with Mother Russia!

    Reply
  33. Cara/Andrea, the thigh high snow reminds me of the lake effect snow I grew up with in Upstate New York–and even growing up with it did NOT make it easy to navigate!
    Our Regency ancestors mostly could stay home when the snows got impassable. Napoleon’s army was not so lucky, I ran across the fact that Russians burned their own capital to drive the French out when I was researching my my book Veils of Silk, where the heroine was Russian born. I was so fascinated that I had to put that into the book, even though it wasn’t, strictly speaking, very relevant.
    Russian defeated Napoleon. Russia did a lot of the defeating of Hitler. DO not mess with Mother Russia!

    Reply
  34. Cara/Andrea, the thigh high snow reminds me of the lake effect snow I grew up with in Upstate New York–and even growing up with it did NOT make it easy to navigate!
    Our Regency ancestors mostly could stay home when the snows got impassable. Napoleon’s army was not so lucky, I ran across the fact that Russians burned their own capital to drive the French out when I was researching my my book Veils of Silk, where the heroine was Russian born. I was so fascinated that I had to put that into the book, even though it wasn’t, strictly speaking, very relevant.
    Russian defeated Napoleon. Russia did a lot of the defeating of Hitler. DO not mess with Mother Russia!

    Reply
  35. Cara/Andrea, the thigh high snow reminds me of the lake effect snow I grew up with in Upstate New York–and even growing up with it did NOT make it easy to navigate!
    Our Regency ancestors mostly could stay home when the snows got impassable. Napoleon’s army was not so lucky, I ran across the fact that Russians burned their own capital to drive the French out when I was researching my my book Veils of Silk, where the heroine was Russian born. I was so fascinated that I had to put that into the book, even though it wasn’t, strictly speaking, very relevant.
    Russian defeated Napoleon. Russia did a lot of the defeating of Hitler. DO not mess with Mother Russia!

    Reply
  36. Louisa, both are poignant examples. Your Warsaw Ghetto story just reminded me of the seige of Leningrad in WWII. Again, the winter was brutal, and the Russian inside the city were being starved out . . . as you say the juxtaposition of horror and heroism is a difficult thing to balance.

    Reply
  37. Louisa, both are poignant examples. Your Warsaw Ghetto story just reminded me of the seige of Leningrad in WWII. Again, the winter was brutal, and the Russian inside the city were being starved out . . . as you say the juxtaposition of horror and heroism is a difficult thing to balance.

    Reply
  38. Louisa, both are poignant examples. Your Warsaw Ghetto story just reminded me of the seige of Leningrad in WWII. Again, the winter was brutal, and the Russian inside the city were being starved out . . . as you say the juxtaposition of horror and heroism is a difficult thing to balance.

    Reply
  39. Louisa, both are poignant examples. Your Warsaw Ghetto story just reminded me of the seige of Leningrad in WWII. Again, the winter was brutal, and the Russian inside the city were being starved out . . . as you say the juxtaposition of horror and heroism is a difficult thing to balance.

    Reply
  40. Louisa, both are poignant examples. Your Warsaw Ghetto story just reminded me of the seige of Leningrad in WWII. Again, the winter was brutal, and the Russian inside the city were being starved out . . . as you say the juxtaposition of horror and heroism is a difficult thing to balance.

    Reply
  41. LOL, Mary Jo, You definitely don’t want to mess with Mother Russia!
    I’m fascinated by Russian history and have so many anecdotes and historic details that I’ve learned over the years. I’m itching to work them into a future story . . . and have some ideas that I hope will work out.

    Reply
  42. LOL, Mary Jo, You definitely don’t want to mess with Mother Russia!
    I’m fascinated by Russian history and have so many anecdotes and historic details that I’ve learned over the years. I’m itching to work them into a future story . . . and have some ideas that I hope will work out.

    Reply
  43. LOL, Mary Jo, You definitely don’t want to mess with Mother Russia!
    I’m fascinated by Russian history and have so many anecdotes and historic details that I’ve learned over the years. I’m itching to work them into a future story . . . and have some ideas that I hope will work out.

    Reply
  44. LOL, Mary Jo, You definitely don’t want to mess with Mother Russia!
    I’m fascinated by Russian history and have so many anecdotes and historic details that I’ve learned over the years. I’m itching to work them into a future story . . . and have some ideas that I hope will work out.

    Reply
  45. LOL, Mary Jo, You definitely don’t want to mess with Mother Russia!
    I’m fascinated by Russian history and have so many anecdotes and historic details that I’ve learned over the years. I’m itching to work them into a future story . . . and have some ideas that I hope will work out.

    Reply
  46. I think of Valley Forge and the Donner Party. We really do have it easy today. I wonder how long many of us would survive in the conditions these people had to contend with. We have access to good, warm clothing. I wonder how those soldiers at Valley Forge managed to keep even minimally warm. They were lucky to have shoes, let alone warm winter boots.
    When you think of the general living conditions of the early settlers, it is a wonder many of them survived the winters. A good reason for small cabins – less area to heat. Animals in the house helped add heat. I have a feeling a 3 dog night was just that. You’ll have to admit they would keep you warm curled up on your bed.
    Like everyone else, we have had a much colder than usual winter here in NE TN. We haven’t had anywhere nearly as much snow as as you have, but it has been cold. I grew up on the Canadian border, so am used to it, at least I used to be. We are set up for living without power. We have a wood stove for heat and cooking, and oil lamps. If we had to, we could close off part of the house, something I know was done in the past to make it easier to stay warm.
    Thanks for an interesting if rather sad post. What a terrible loss of life. If anyone is interested in a heartbreakingly touching account of the Donner Party, read the novel IMPATIENT WITH DESIRE by Gabrielle Burton.

    Reply
  47. I think of Valley Forge and the Donner Party. We really do have it easy today. I wonder how long many of us would survive in the conditions these people had to contend with. We have access to good, warm clothing. I wonder how those soldiers at Valley Forge managed to keep even minimally warm. They were lucky to have shoes, let alone warm winter boots.
    When you think of the general living conditions of the early settlers, it is a wonder many of them survived the winters. A good reason for small cabins – less area to heat. Animals in the house helped add heat. I have a feeling a 3 dog night was just that. You’ll have to admit they would keep you warm curled up on your bed.
    Like everyone else, we have had a much colder than usual winter here in NE TN. We haven’t had anywhere nearly as much snow as as you have, but it has been cold. I grew up on the Canadian border, so am used to it, at least I used to be. We are set up for living without power. We have a wood stove for heat and cooking, and oil lamps. If we had to, we could close off part of the house, something I know was done in the past to make it easier to stay warm.
    Thanks for an interesting if rather sad post. What a terrible loss of life. If anyone is interested in a heartbreakingly touching account of the Donner Party, read the novel IMPATIENT WITH DESIRE by Gabrielle Burton.

    Reply
  48. I think of Valley Forge and the Donner Party. We really do have it easy today. I wonder how long many of us would survive in the conditions these people had to contend with. We have access to good, warm clothing. I wonder how those soldiers at Valley Forge managed to keep even minimally warm. They were lucky to have shoes, let alone warm winter boots.
    When you think of the general living conditions of the early settlers, it is a wonder many of them survived the winters. A good reason for small cabins – less area to heat. Animals in the house helped add heat. I have a feeling a 3 dog night was just that. You’ll have to admit they would keep you warm curled up on your bed.
    Like everyone else, we have had a much colder than usual winter here in NE TN. We haven’t had anywhere nearly as much snow as as you have, but it has been cold. I grew up on the Canadian border, so am used to it, at least I used to be. We are set up for living without power. We have a wood stove for heat and cooking, and oil lamps. If we had to, we could close off part of the house, something I know was done in the past to make it easier to stay warm.
    Thanks for an interesting if rather sad post. What a terrible loss of life. If anyone is interested in a heartbreakingly touching account of the Donner Party, read the novel IMPATIENT WITH DESIRE by Gabrielle Burton.

    Reply
  49. I think of Valley Forge and the Donner Party. We really do have it easy today. I wonder how long many of us would survive in the conditions these people had to contend with. We have access to good, warm clothing. I wonder how those soldiers at Valley Forge managed to keep even minimally warm. They were lucky to have shoes, let alone warm winter boots.
    When you think of the general living conditions of the early settlers, it is a wonder many of them survived the winters. A good reason for small cabins – less area to heat. Animals in the house helped add heat. I have a feeling a 3 dog night was just that. You’ll have to admit they would keep you warm curled up on your bed.
    Like everyone else, we have had a much colder than usual winter here in NE TN. We haven’t had anywhere nearly as much snow as as you have, but it has been cold. I grew up on the Canadian border, so am used to it, at least I used to be. We are set up for living without power. We have a wood stove for heat and cooking, and oil lamps. If we had to, we could close off part of the house, something I know was done in the past to make it easier to stay warm.
    Thanks for an interesting if rather sad post. What a terrible loss of life. If anyone is interested in a heartbreakingly touching account of the Donner Party, read the novel IMPATIENT WITH DESIRE by Gabrielle Burton.

    Reply
  50. I think of Valley Forge and the Donner Party. We really do have it easy today. I wonder how long many of us would survive in the conditions these people had to contend with. We have access to good, warm clothing. I wonder how those soldiers at Valley Forge managed to keep even minimally warm. They were lucky to have shoes, let alone warm winter boots.
    When you think of the general living conditions of the early settlers, it is a wonder many of them survived the winters. A good reason for small cabins – less area to heat. Animals in the house helped add heat. I have a feeling a 3 dog night was just that. You’ll have to admit they would keep you warm curled up on your bed.
    Like everyone else, we have had a much colder than usual winter here in NE TN. We haven’t had anywhere nearly as much snow as as you have, but it has been cold. I grew up on the Canadian border, so am used to it, at least I used to be. We are set up for living without power. We have a wood stove for heat and cooking, and oil lamps. If we had to, we could close off part of the house, something I know was done in the past to make it easier to stay warm.
    Thanks for an interesting if rather sad post. What a terrible loss of life. If anyone is interested in a heartbreakingly touching account of the Donner Party, read the novel IMPATIENT WITH DESIRE by Gabrielle Burton.

    Reply
  51. LibraryPat, You are so right about our ability to survive without all the “bells and whistles.” The recent heavy snows really made me think of that, and how brutally hard even the simple tasks of trying to stay alive would be if we had to do them all by hand. Just staying warm is a huge factor. Wool and leather get wet . . . my hands and feet get frozen very easily, so I would have been in big trouble!

    Reply
  52. LibraryPat, You are so right about our ability to survive without all the “bells and whistles.” The recent heavy snows really made me think of that, and how brutally hard even the simple tasks of trying to stay alive would be if we had to do them all by hand. Just staying warm is a huge factor. Wool and leather get wet . . . my hands and feet get frozen very easily, so I would have been in big trouble!

    Reply
  53. LibraryPat, You are so right about our ability to survive without all the “bells and whistles.” The recent heavy snows really made me think of that, and how brutally hard even the simple tasks of trying to stay alive would be if we had to do them all by hand. Just staying warm is a huge factor. Wool and leather get wet . . . my hands and feet get frozen very easily, so I would have been in big trouble!

    Reply
  54. LibraryPat, You are so right about our ability to survive without all the “bells and whistles.” The recent heavy snows really made me think of that, and how brutally hard even the simple tasks of trying to stay alive would be if we had to do them all by hand. Just staying warm is a huge factor. Wool and leather get wet . . . my hands and feet get frozen very easily, so I would have been in big trouble!

    Reply
  55. LibraryPat, You are so right about our ability to survive without all the “bells and whistles.” The recent heavy snows really made me think of that, and how brutally hard even the simple tasks of trying to stay alive would be if we had to do them all by hand. Just staying warm is a huge factor. Wool and leather get wet . . . my hands and feet get frozen very easily, so I would have been in big trouble!

    Reply
  56. IIRC, Cara/Andrea’s “The Storybook Hero” partly takes place during a Russian winter. Loved that book, and loved how the hero struggled to become the hero of the title.

    Reply
  57. IIRC, Cara/Andrea’s “The Storybook Hero” partly takes place during a Russian winter. Loved that book, and loved how the hero struggled to become the hero of the title.

    Reply
  58. IIRC, Cara/Andrea’s “The Storybook Hero” partly takes place during a Russian winter. Loved that book, and loved how the hero struggled to become the hero of the title.

    Reply
  59. IIRC, Cara/Andrea’s “The Storybook Hero” partly takes place during a Russian winter. Loved that book, and loved how the hero struggled to become the hero of the title.

    Reply
  60. IIRC, Cara/Andrea’s “The Storybook Hero” partly takes place during a Russian winter. Loved that book, and loved how the hero struggled to become the hero of the title.

    Reply

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