Remember that winter of 13 below?


The coming winter of 2017-18 is expected to be a mild one, according to the weather prognosticators.

That’s good news for the outdoors types among us – except maybe for those who look to the ski slopes for winter sport.

We have fishermen, like those who go for sauger in the Greenup Dam tailwaters, who never put their gear away and who keep their boats ready to roll right on into January.

Rabbit and grouse hunters would rather see the ground unfrozen. Waterfowlers hope ponds and lakes stay clear of ice.

But now and then comes a winter when the best activity is to throw another log on the fire and settle in with a cup of steaming hot chocolate and a good book.

WINTER OF ‘77

Ah, yes, remember that winter of 40 years ago? On January 17, 1977 the newspaper reported the mercury here dipped to 13 below zero. A photo by newspaper staff photographer Phil Benton, taken from the Ben Williamson Memorial Bridge, showed the Ohio River frozen over from shore to shore.

Towboat traffic on the river was brought almost to a halt, and would be totally halted before it was over. Don Haddox, lockmaster at the Greenup Dam, reported that just one boat, pushing eight barges, had managed to lock through late on the night before. He said five inches of ice covered the river around the locks.

Roads were covered with snow and ice. Mail delivery in rural areas was also halted. Even with chains on their tires, vehicles couldn’t get to some people and returned to the post office with out-going mail.

Water lines froze at some rural homes and people were late for work when their cars wouldn’t start.

I remember that at my home on Sand Hill the water main of the privately-owned South Shore Water Works froze solid just past my house. Water hoses stretched from my line down the dead end street fed houses until the main line could be thawed.

Ah, yes, give us a mild winter, please.

RUFFED GROUSE

Grouse hunters say the best time to hunt grouse is when the temperature is below freezing, which tends to make the birds sit tighter. A good English setter or German pointer is essential to success, rather than trying to tromp birds out as I do.

I once owned a beagle, Danny Jo, who was the best rabbit dog going. One time I took her grouse hunting, figuring she could flush one out. But after the first grouse roared out in front of her, she quit – seeming to say that she wasn’t going to try and track down anything with wings.

What about grouse? Are they in one of their periodic down cycles this year? Are there any hunters out there finding grouse in either state?

Let me know.

HOLSTEIN DEER?

In Kentucky, Dave Kersey lives in the Kenwood section, on Robin Road, near Russell High School. There’s a strip of woods between his house and there. Several kinds of wildlife inhabit those woods.

The other day he looked out his window and saw a large animal and first thought that someone’s dairy cow had gotten out. But, whoa! Wait a minute. It had a rack on its head and he counted at least eight points.

“It was dark with white spots, just like a Holstein,” said Kersey, owner of Dave’s Bakery on Powell Lane. “I’ve never heard of a deer with that coloration, but that’s what it was, a big buck.”

Kersey’s not a hunter. He just likes to watch wildlife.

Sometimes they’re a bit of a nuisance, but he said he doesn’t mind. Deer munched up some of his flowers during the late summer. Raccoons raid his garbage cans from time to time.

Reach G. SAM PIATT at gsamwriter@twc.com or (606) 932-3619.

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