It all started because I was laid up for several weeks in early November with a bum leg. All I could do was keep it up, so I sat there and watched TV. Before long I was hooked on Hallmark's Christmas movies. Many of them involve snow, of course, plus sappy love stories, since they also involve Christmas.
Then to put me even more in the snow mood, we received 8 inches in early December. My John Deere utility tractor fired up and I got the snow out of the driveway. My snow thrower wouldn't fire a lick – it's still at the repair shop. It might have something to do with not reading the directions and draining the fuel out of the tank after it was used the last time.
At any rate, add to all this snow fever the fact that our local historic theater in Franklin, the Artcraft, showed White Christmas on a Saturday afternoon. My wife went, we ate popcorn, sat down in a packed house, and dreamed of a White Christmas.
We got six inches of rain instead, the most since the Flood of '08 (which will go down in the annals of Indiana history as the ultimate flood.)
With all this emphasis on snow and Christmas, it reminded me that there is a snow guessing contest underway. You have until January 15, either with a postmark the old-fashioned way, or until 11:59 p.m. EST on the 15th if sending an email, to guess how much snow will fall at three locations in Indiana. The top three guesses that come closest to the overall total will win free seed from Beck's Hybrids for 2014.
The three locations are LaPorte, Whitestown and Paoli. Your job is to guess how much snow will fall at each location from Dec. 1 through Feb. 28. Ken Scheeringa, associate Indiana state climatologist, says that time frame is what weather people call "climatological winter."
So you can get half-way through winter before guessing, just don't forget to guess. The deadline is approaching. The idea to let you wait until January 15 is so that everyone has a fair chance to assess what winter will be like.
Whether the extra time to guess helped this year or not is up for debate. With an early snowfall or two, spotty around the state, followed by big rains, also spotty, it's still difficult to know what this winter wants to do – be nasty and cold, or just be nasty and wet.
If you want to email in your entry, send your name, mailing address, cell phone and home phone number, acres of crops you raise, and your snow totals for the three towns to firstname.lastname@example.org. Official entry blanks for traditional mail are in the December and January issues of Indiana Prairie Farmer magazine.
Do you think I'll need that snow blower any more this winter if I ever get it running? Or will I need a row boat instead? Jury is still out in my book.