Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Eight Days of Winter (1/15-22/2024): Knox County, TN, & Moscow, Russia (published 1-23-2024; article #452)


Welcome, dear reader, to a winter wonderland article! It's about our eight days of real winter. The article on Sunday, 1/14/2024, broke the weather alert news, about the snow that was forecast, the next day (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day). The conclusion had encouraged calm, before the snow storm. The local weather forecasters were right, that time.

This 101st article, under the “life (such as it is)” topic section, includes four photographs of snow. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman's stealthy video clip, on Tuesday, is highlighted.

This article contrasts eight days of winter (January 15th to the 22st), in Knox County, Tennessee, to Moscow, Russia. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I served as Christian missionaries, in and around Moscow, from 1994 to 1999. When northeast Tennessee gets a few days of winter, I remember the long, cold, and snowy Russian winters. To say that there is quite a contrast, usually, would be an understatement. Our eight days of winter, however, were similar to an entire Russian winter. We sampled that, to which, Russians are accustomed, all winter long.

The contrast is day by day. The Moscow, Russia, weather information is from Monthly Weather: Moscow, Russia, January 2024 (The Weather Channel). The Knox County, Tennessee, weather information is by yours truly. Two accurate thermometers (analog and digital) are located, below the front porch ceiling. We still have the yardstick that we were given, when we lived in Charleston, Missouri (1986 - 1992).

Please remember that snow covers the Russian capital, from early November, to the end of April. Unpaved ground remains white, about six months of the year. Snow drifts bury inactive cars. The cars reappear, once the snow starts to melt. Accidentally stepping into a snow drift can bury you knee deep, in snow. I know. I did it several times.

Monday, 1/15/2024, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Moscow: morning low -14 degrees Celsius (C), daytime high -2C. That's a morning low of 6.8 degrees Fahrenheit (F) and a daytime high of 28.4F. It snowed, on a cloudy day. An unknown depth of snow covered the ground.

Certainly, the main roads, streets, and sidewalks were being kept clear. Secondary roads, streets, and sidewalks crunch, as vehicles or pedestrians travel them. I still enjoy hearing fresh snow crunch, under my feet. I don't like to hear truck tires crunching through snow.

Here: morning low 26F (-3.3C), daytime high 31F (-0.6C). On Sunday evening, about 8:30 PM, I was outside, with Molly (our age 8 “puppy”). Molly enjoys sniffing and running, in our one acre yard, before her bedtime. I'd seen and felt the light snow.

On Monday morning, we awakened, to see the snow that had fallen, during the night. Heavy snow continued to fall, throughout the cloudy and foggy day. I took the two photographs, below, at 3:35 PM. I was on the landing, just outside a basement door. Both views look southwest. The yardstick showed six inches of snow, at that moment. Snow continued to fall, well into the evening and during the night.

I'd crouched, to take the photograph. Those are Molly's tracks. The next photograph shows the snow, still coming down. I'd stood up, to get a better image.

Molly enjoyed the day, on the living room couch. My wife had a work holiday. I started working on this article.

Tuesday, 1/16/2024

Moscow: morning low -3C (26.6F), daytime high -1C (30.2F). The day was cloudy, with more snowfall. It was a seasonably warm day.

Here: morning low 16F (-8.9C), daytime high 27F (-2.8C). The low and high temperatures here were colder than in Moscow. Morning clouds cleared to a mostly sunny afternoon.

I shoveled snow, off the driveway, for almost two hours (from 12:51 to 2:49 PM). I'd worn a T-shirt, sweatshirt, and light jacket (three layers), with gloves, when I started. Minutes into the work, I took off the light jacket and gloves. I was too warm! Just over an hour into the job, I'd paused, to take the photograph, below, at 1:55 PM.

The yardstick measured eight inches of snow. I took the next photograph, at 3:09 PM, twenty minutes, after I'd finished shoveling snow.

I decided not to shovel the snow, off the driveway, behind our 2012 Nissan Sentra. I knew that my wife would have snow days, off work, all this week. She did. Our 2006 Nissan Frontier had a cleared path, if needed.

At 2 PM, on the dot, my sneaky wife recorded a 59-second video clip, of me shoveling snow! On Appalachian Irishman - Podcasts (YouTube), the episode is "Shoveling Snow, 1-16-2024: Recorded, by Mrs Appalachian Irishman (published 1-16-2024; episode 25).” Near the end of the clip, I looked, saw, and asked, “Are you recording me?” Answering “yes,” she signed off quickly!

Molly, our couch potato “puppy,” came outside, a while, when I was shoveling snow. I need to buy another snow shovel. My wife could help shovel snow!

Wednesday, 1/17/2024

Moscow: the morning low and the daytime high were both -8C (17.6F). The weather was cloudy. Snow fell again.

Here: morning low -3F (-19.4C), daytime high 32F (0C). The morning low was a bit colder than Moscow. The sky was mostly sunny. I managed to encourage Molly, our couch potato, to get outside, with me, a while. I wished that the roads, to House Mountain, were clear enough. In wisdom, I decided not to attempt a drive there, for a snow hike.

Thursday, 1/18/2024

I remembered my maternal uncle, Robert (Bobby) Allen Wood (5/14/1939 - 1/18/1941), and my wife's paternal aunt, Mona Beckner (1/18/1922 - 4/18/2022). Uncle Bobby passed, on this date, in 1941. Aunt Mona was born, on this date, in 1922.

Moscow: morning low -15C (5.0F), daytime high -8C (17.6F). The weather was still cloudy and snowy.

Here: morning low 4F (-15.6C), daytime high 32F (0C). The morning low was slightly colder than Moscow. The sky was cloudy. The local weather forecast was calling for freezing rain or snow, to start that evening. About 10 PM, I noticed that a light freezing rain was falling.

After the noon meal, I “hiked” from our house, to the county road and back, speaking briefly with four neighbors. The distance is about eight tenths of a mile, round trip. The subdivision road, slightly curvy and hilly, was solid snow and ice. The few vehicle tracks had compacted snow into ice. Reaching the more curvy and hilly county road, I saw that it was covered, with snow, ice, and slush. I saw a few vehicles travel slowly, up the road. I didn't see any come down it. That county road didn't appear to have any salt or brine treatment. Neighbors, who'd been out, told me that the nearby state road had been treated, with salt and brine.

Back home, having taken off my boots, I saw that the hard scab, on the heal of my “bionic” right foot, had torn loose and bled, into my sock. I'd wondered why my right heel was hurting slightly, each time that I took a step. I cleaned and bandaged the wound.

I think that my 2006 Frontier could have taken me, to and from the grocery store. We have sufficient groceries. I didn't want to get slush and salt brine, on my truck.

Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and Molly both enjoyed their mostly couch potato lives. I couldn't get either, to walk the subdivision road, with me.

Meanwhile, as a political aside, with the USSA (Ununited Socialist States of America) sinking, in trillions of dollars of debt, the USSA Congress passed yet another temporary spending bill -- funding federal government until early March -- to avoid yet another federal government shutdown. One source is “US Congress passes bill to avert government shutdown, sends it to Biden,” Reuters, by Richard Cowan & Makini Brice, 1/19/2024. When will the government, of this once great nation, ever learn to live within its means? Don't hold your breath! Let's see what these borrow and spend debt addicts do, in early March.

Friday, 1/19/2024

Moscow: morning low -9C (15.8F), daytime high -4C (24.8F). The weather was cloudy and windy, but snow did not fall. Of course, layers of snow still covered the ground.

Here: the morning low and the daytime high were the same, 33F (0.6C). We awakened, to see snow falling. The snow kept falling, either lightly or heavily, during the day. Thankfully, the shoveled driveway did not acquire new accumulations of ice or snow. New accumulation melted. By late afternoon, the clouds started to clear. The temperature started dropping, late in the afternoon, as it usually does.

Before taking my morning shower, I removed the bandage, from my “bionic” right heel. Tape had stuck to the wound. Removing that caused the scab to bleed, quite profusely. I splattered the bathroom floor, with blood. Well, sir, that will teach me! I stopped the bleeding, took a shower, and bandaged the wound, properly, this time!

I didn't put on my boots, to venture outside, since I didn't want to reinjure my heel. The postman didn't deliver any mail that day. I day dreamed about a snow hike!

My wife and Molly continued to enjoy their couch potato lives. Come on, y'all! Get out in the snow a while! Neither of you have a damaged heel!

Meanwhile, on a point of morality, the fifty-first annual March for Life Rally, from the National Mall, to Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C., was this afternoon. See “Celebrating the Sanctity of Human Life in the Nation’s Capital,” Liberty Counsel, 1/17/2024. The section, for Monday, 1/22/2024, will include additional comments.

My youngest brother called. His family and he are coping well enough. He measured up to ten inches of snow.

Saturday, 1/20/2024

Moscow: morning low -11C (12.2F), daytime high -4C (24.8F). On another cloudy day, an unknown amount of snow add a new layer. When we lived in Russia, I enjoyed new snow, since it covered the dirty snow layer. Snow, made dirty from foot traffic, looks like sand.

Here: morning low 10F (-12.2C), daytime high 24F (-4.4C). Our morning low and daytime high were slightly colder than Moscow. The weather was sunny and breezy. Outdoors, the wind chill was noticeable.

While my “long-suffering” wife and Molly continued their couch potato lifestyles, my 2006 Frontier took me safely, to and from the nearby grocery store. (We were out of bread and low on other items. My wife didn't want to try to make homemade bread, using her bread machine.) I checked out, at 3:12 PM. The state highway was clear and dry. The county road, in the shady areas, was white. Our subdivision road was compacted snow and ice. Returning home, I had to guide my truck back down the steep bank, where the subdivision road meets the county road, about four times, before enough traction could get us over that bank.

Having unloaded the groceries, I shoveled snow, from the walkway that leads to the front porch. I also shoveled some snow, from behind where our 2012 Sentra is garaged. A heavier coat and a scarf around my neck were required, to keep me warm enough.

My wife paused watching the countless women's college basketball games that were on television, to put up the groceries. She also helped, with a couple of loads of laundry.

Sunday, 1/21/2024

Most, if not all, churches, in our area, were closed, due to the weather. Many churches, however, offer online participation, in worship.

I remembered my “adoptive” mother, Ozella McTigue Scott (1/21/1930 - 4/26/2023), who was born on this day, in 1930. (The 8/5/2023 short story explains the family connection.) I called and had a good phone conversation, with my “adoptive” sister, Carol Sue. Southeast Missouri has been having a similar week of winter. The area didn't get as much snow, but the temperatures have been colder than here.

Moscow: morning low -14C (6.8F), daytime high -10C (14.0F). The weather was mostly sunny, with no snow! This was the first day, in the eight-day period, that sun broke through the clouds.

Here: morning low 0F (-17.7C), daytime high 31F (-0.5C). Our morning low was slightly colder than Moscow, but our daytime high was much warmer.

Preparing to shower, I noticed that the scab, on my “bionic” right heel, had bled again. Yesterday, I'd bandaged the scab and worn two pair of socks, thinking that I'd protected my heel. Apparently, I didn't. I didn't want to aggravate my heel, by putting on my boots and going outside.

Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and Molly both enjoyed their mostly couch potato lives. My wife focused on the countless women's college basketball games that were televised.

Monday, 1/22/2024

This day marked the 40th anniversary observance, of the National Sanctity of Human Life Day -- first declared, by President Ronald Reagan, on 1/22/1984. (One source, of several, is “Sanctity of Human Life Day 2024: What Is it, Which Presidents Endorsed It,” Newsweek, by Kaitlin Lewis, 1/21/2024.) As stated previously, the fifty-first annual March for Life Rally, in Washington, D.C., was last Friday. The morally infamous 1/22/1973 Roe v. Wade decision, by the U.S. “Supreme” Court, was overturned, finally and thankfully, by the morally famous 6/24/2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, by the U.S. “Supreme” Court. The complete statement, on my pro-life stand, is in the article of 6/30/2022.

Moscow: morning low -12C (10.4F), daytime high -4C (24.8F). The weather was mostly cloudy, but there was no snow.

Here: morning low 10F (-12.2C), daytime high 45F (+7.2C). Our morning low was barely colder than Moscow, but our eight days of winter were over.

In the afternoon, with the temperature comfortably above freezing, Molly got off the couch and remembered how to enjoy the cool and sunny weather, outside! I shoveled the melting snow, from the driveway, behind where our car is garaged. My “brave” wife shoveled two scoops of snow. Later, she and I dusted, swept, and vacuumed. Yes, her county school employer called off school today, due to the morning cold and the roads, which were still snow covered. She found out that she's off work tomorrow also.


Here, the typically warm and rainy winter weather pattern is returning. Today, Tuesday, 1/23/2023, our morning low was 28F (-2.2C). The daytime high reached 46F (+7.7C). The after midnight low (for tomorrow morning) is predicted to be 37F (+2.7C). The clouds could bring rain, through most of this week. The 10-Day Weather: Knoxville, TN, as of 1/23/2024, 9:39 AM EST (The Weather Channel) forecasts, from the remainder of today, through Tuesday, 2/6/2024. (That's 14 complete days, actually.) Two morning lows are predicted to be barely below freezing. Daytime highs could range from 44 to 62F (+6.6 to +16.6C). Rain is predicted eight days. Light breezes are expected.

In Moscow, the typically cold, cloudy, and snowy weather pattern continues. On Tuesday, 1/23/2023, the morning low was -7C (19.4F). The daytime high was below freezing, as usual. Snow fell, again. Total snowfall, in January, so far, was 13.18 inches. In the last seven days, 6.09 inches of snow had fallen. The 10-Day Weather: Moscow, Russia, as of 1/23/2024, 5:57 PM MSK (The Weather Channel) actually forecasts 14 complete days, from the rest of today, through Tuesday, 2/6/2024. All morning lows will be well below freezing. Two daytime highs could reach freezing or just above freezing. Snow is predicted 12 days. Winds will be light to moderate.

During our years in Russia, I would tell folks, who asked, about Russian weather, that Moscow, Russia, shares about the same latitude, as Juneau, Alaska. That's what a paper map, which I'd had at the time, showed me. GPS Coordinates shows that Moscow's latitude (55.750541) is slightly lower than Juneau's latitude (58.30195). Well, I was about right.

For recent photographs, of the current Russian winter, you might enjoy: “In Photos: Russians Grapple With Heating Losses Amid Subzero Temperatures,” The Moscow Times, 1/17/2024. The photographs remind me of Russia.

Do I miss the cold and snowy Russian winters? No, but I do remember them. Properly clothed and walking in certain areas, I saw many winter wonderland scenes. Travel to and from Klin, on an электричка (elektrichka, an electric, commuter train), provided breathtaking views, of the snowy countryside. The wagons were usually warm enough, as long as I kept on my heavy coat.

Did I adapt well, to our eight days of Russian winter? Yes, quite well and easily. It brought back memories. The main problem, locally, was that Knox County doesn't have the personnel, equipment, and supplies, to clear all the roads. State roads were cleared, fairly early. County roads were like snowy ice skating rinks.

Today, I could have gone snow hiking, on House Mountain. Instead, my wife, joining me bravely, and I hauled off the trash and recycling, and I filled up my truck with gas. Our eight days of Russian winter are over. Russians continue to enjoy and endure their winter season.

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