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Saturday essay: Peace of mind

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

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Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

The winter forecasts have been all over the meteorological map.

Almanac A is calling for a brutally cold and snowy winter in this region of ours that's not quite the Midwest but always a gateway to its pernicious blasts.

Almanac B says the Middle Atlantic state that Pennsylvania is — west of the mountain range that disqualifies it for any “seaboard” designation — will be milder and wetter than usual but doesn't hint at whether that means fluffier, heavier snow or monsoon-like rains.

Almanac C, which drops us into the Ohio Valley forecasting model, is calling for a cold and dry winter with less snow than normal.

What's a would-be rugged individualist to do? Prepare for the worst, of course.

A cord and a half of firewood is split and ready to burn; another cord will be put up soon. Should there be a power outage, no one will freeze.

Slowly and deliberately, the basement pantry is being beefed up with canned and dry foodstuffs and liquids. Should the Snow or Ice Storm of the Century strike, nobody's going to starve. (The emergency radio and lighting sources are there, too).

The greenhouse will be fully transitioned to lettuce and herbs by then, which should be abundant well past the holidays.

But even if there's no winter calamity this year, the peace of mind will be worth it. And the warmth of the hearth will be that much more comforting.

— Colin McNickle

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