"Hard" winter has arrived here in the North Country.
Yes, we had a few days of 30s to 40s with some rain, but that was just Mother Nature letting us take a breath before she got down to the real business of Winter.
People don't panic up here. Snow tires were put on in October, fuel oil ordered at the same time (or perhaps earlier in September) and firewood cutting and stacking is a year 'round occupation here.
I work in a grocery store and the weatherman's predictions never alarm residents to the point where we have empty milk coolers or a bare bread aisle.
You still live with the rhythm of the seasons here.
You look forward to the first snow and the holidays, but after the New Year is past, you hunker down.
Plastic or insulation is put up on most windows (if you are in an older house).
You buy a little extra on all your shopping trips starting in September...a few extra cans of soup, an extra bag of flour, some extra stew beef to stick in the freezer...just the little extra you'll need in case you don't feel like shoveling your car out one morning.
Farmers laid in extra hay and feed by the end of October as they tried to calculate how severe the Winter would be, Farmers Almanac as their guide with a bit of advice from the National Weather Service predictions.
Every household has their snow supplies...shovels (always more than one!), many have snow blowers...the elderly have phone numbers of people will to shovel them out (cheaply or free of charge). Everyone has salt or Ice Melt in a bucket near the door. Gloves and mittens have a spot near the door as well.....multiple pairs (matched or not). Extra boots, in many cases.
Flashlights and extra batteries are in a designated location in case of power outages and every bed has extra blankets at the ready.
The North Country is prepared.
Not to be *preppers*, not to be cutting edge or fashionable or *on trend*.
The North Country is prepared because that is simply the way it is.
If you are not prepared for Winter up here, you won't survive.
This is Old School preparedness, something the *Prepper Movement* is still trying to get a handle on. It never went away in The North Country because Mother Nature was not defeated by modern technology up here. She still holds sway every Winter and will continue to do so.
"Hard" Winter is here...and we are ready.