Dick Herfindahl: Winter just seems to keep piling it on

Published 8:16 pm Friday, February 21, 2020

Woods & Water by Dick Herfindahl


It seems as if Old Mother Nature wants to make sure we have plenty of snow to last us until June. In many of the past years, I have been able to use my trusty old “scoop” to move snow around but unfortunately, the snow has been building up to the point where I have no place to dump the scoop. Thanks to good neighbors and my family, I haven’t actually had to do a lot of the heavy shoveling. Unfortunately, my snow blower took a turn for the worse and is no longer with us (me). I do plan on doing a little shopping for a replacement in the very near future. It seems that each time I put it off another round of the white stuff comes along.

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Just the other day, I was driving around town not long after our latest snowfall, when a thought occurred to me. I began to think about the days gone by when folks drove around with a green or orange ball stuck on the end of their car antennae. It seems that none of our cars today actually have an antenna that wiggles in the wind like a whip at a horse race anymore. Times definitely change and with the snow piled high on the boulevard, a person should approach an intersection with caution. When in a low-profile car, you should slowly ease out into said intersection in order to see if there is an approaching vehicle. This only works if the driver is actually stopping to look both ways which doesn’t always happen. I mentioned this because I have seen too many folks not stopping at intersections as of late.

I have to wonder when it happened that the folks on radio and television decided that us Minnesotans need to be told how to drive and how to dress every time there is a little snow, rain or fog. I am lucky that I survived the years before too much information was being shared. It is okay to warn folks with school kids that it is cold out and that their children should dress accordingly, but sometimes oversharing can be a little annoying. I do believe that some of the aforementioned non-stoppers could listen to a few of those driving tips.

I always feel a little sad when I see a young child waiting for a bus or walking to school not dressed for the cold. The sad part about it is that some families don’t always have the money to buy the warmest clothes for their children. When I was a kid my mother always made sure that I was dressed for winter. We maybe didn’t have the latest of styles, but back then nobody really cared as long as you were protected from the elements.

As far as the part of winter that I like most, is the beauty of a snow covered countryside on a bright sunny day. The scenery seems so clean and peaceful but the shoveling of the streets, sidewalks and countryside is another matter altogether.

The other day as I was driving to Lake Mills, I spotted two eagles soaring overhead just north of the drive going to the old Arrowhead golf course. There is an eagles nest nearby and it was truly a sight to see as those eagles soared overhead while the freshly fallen snow glistened below them. A fresh snow makes it a lot easier to spot wildlife off in the distance which is great for folks like myself who just like to observe critters in their natural habitat.

The removal time for “permanent” ice fishing houses is upon us, so the DNR has shared the rules for removal.

Dark houses, fish houses and portables must be off the ice no later than midnight for each of the dates given in the categories below. County sheriffs may prohibit or restrict the use of motorized vehicles if dangerous ice conditions are present. If shelters are not removed, owners will be prosecuted. A conservation officer also may confiscate, remove or destroy any ice structure and its contents if not removed by the deadline.

Inland waters

• South of line: March 2

• North of line: March 16

Border waters

• Minnesota-Iowa: Feb. 20

• Minnesota-Wisconsin: March 1

• Minnesota-North and South Dakota: March 5

• Minnesota-Canada:  March 31

Dates of removal are determined by an east-west line formed by U.S. Highway 10, east along Highway 34 to Minnesota Highway 200, east along Highway 200 to U.S. Highway 2, and east along Highway 2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border. After removal dates, shelters may remain on the ice between midnight and one hour before sunrise only when occupied or attended. Storing or leaving shelters on a public access is prohibited.

It always saddens me when a young person like Grace Zimmerman is suddenly taken from us. Although I did not know her personally, when hearing of this terrible accident my heart was heavy and my prayers go out for her and her family.

Until next time, in last week’s column I mentioned a friend catching some large walleye in Albert Lea Lake. Unfortunately, I listed the walleyes at 20 to 25 pounds when in all reality they were 20 to 25 inches, which is a little more reasonable. Even seasoned fisherman wouldn’t stretch the truth that much.

Please take a few moments to also honor those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy today. Also, take a little extra time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who have served and those troops serving today.