On and Off The Mountain/Stephanie Grubert

The biggest story this winter is the unrelenting frigid cold and the 31 snowstorms that have challenged Mountaintop since meteorological winter began last fall. The rest of the country is getting a taste of the same and the south is totally crippled when the ice and snow in the monster storm breezed by their states last week. The snow piles don’t melt with single digit and below zero temperatures and with compaction of ice when there is occasional melting we still have huge piles along roadsides and driveways. It’s enough to make us yearn for the fresh scent of spring breezes and hot summer days.

There are places in our country that do not battle snow on a daily basis. California rarely sees a snow event and towns near the Pacific Ocean only battle the occasional fog or rainy, windy day. Most of California is in a severe drought. The nightly news reports on the farmer’s plight in the Central Valley near Fresno, the breadbasket for 50% of the fruits and vegetables supplied to the entire United States. Dusty clumps of earth will lie fallow this year until the rains return. We saw similar dire conditions in the mid-west in previous years with livestock sent to slaughter because farmers could not raise feed for them. Water is the most precious commodity and resource we have on earth.

I plant my vegetable garden and every year I have to work with what God gives me to keep my plot alive and producing. I have had years with too much water and the crops died from blight or rot. I have had years with scant rain and so much sun that keeping plants alive took a super effort of mulching to keep whatever moisture could be found.

I do believe in the cyclical change in the conditions from year to year over many years. Scientists tell us that cycles can go for 20 to 50 to 100 years. We cannot make conclusions from short-term conditions. Today’s drought could be tomorrow’s Garden of Eden. I remember well the 1995-95 winter season when Mountaintop had 27 snow storms. They just kept coming every third day. I was on the school board at the time and led the charge to change the school calendar to begin school one week earlier just to build in more time for snow days. That year Crestwood kids went to school until June 30.

So Many Snow Days Mountaintop and the public had a snow day last week on Thursday February 13. With 11.7” of snow and 1.16” of rain the best idea was to stay home. The local police declared that it would make their jobs so much easier. Many heeded that advice. After all what is so bad about letting the weather give us a day off to kick back and read a book, catch up with housework, call a friend or write a letter. A snow day now and then is good for all of us.

I hope that the Valentine celebrations went off as planned. We had a number of local restaurants eagerly looking forward to serving their customers on that special day. Florists, candy makers, gift shops— many businesses count on the special holidays to give a bump to their sales. Those opportunities are important.

The Olympic games will conclude this week. With winter conditions challenged in Sochi Russia the athletes have been doubly challenged. They must be best in their sport and factor in warmer than optimal conditions. Still it is a sport and in life we have to deal with a variety of conditions and scenarios to achieve our goals. Sport is our training for dealing with adversity. It makes us stronger. I hope all of the athletes achieved their goals.

Mountaintop’s Biggest Loser One of my favorite TV programs

is NBC’s Biggest Loser. In Mountaintop The Fitness Place has been sponsoring their own Mountaintop’s Biggest Loser competition since November. The local business owned by Diane Hanlon and assisted by Registered Dietician Kristin Joseph has been working with contestants for months showing them how exercise and good nutrition can make weight control goals a reality.

Maintaining health including weight loss and muscle toning is a day-by-day endeavor. It does not happen over night. Congratulations to The Fitness Place and their stellar clients for making Mountaintop’s Biggest Loser Competition a reality.