Sunday, January 24, 2010

Currier and Ives

Dr Phil referred to the Currier and Ives prints of winter scenes in the 19th century in the comments to the previous post. That reminded me how much I like Currier and Ives prints, even though Currier and Ives were kind of the "Wal Mart" of 19th century lithography and I think there are much better examples of the art out there.

But I found this neat site that has a lot of their prints:

The earlier discussion was about how 19th century engravings showed a colder, snowier world than we now live in. Here are some examples:

"A Spill Out on the Snow"

"American Homestead Winter"

"Winter Morning in the Country"

"Maple Sugaring"

I have been postulating that we are headed for a Currier and Ives future - colder winters with a lot more snow - because of the cycle of low solar activity that is just beginning. I've been watching for anecdotal evidence that this is true, and I've seen quite a bit for the last couple of years. This year, a lake I've only ever seen slightly frozen in the last 40 years was frozen hard enough to walk on (or ice-skate) after the recent early-January cold snap. The second half of January has been much more average or typical (here in NC anyway) but the Farmer's Almanac (my new best friend) is predicting a snowy February.

Maybe it will be time to bust out the sleigh that has been collecting dust in the back of the barn for 100 years!


WendyB_09 said...

Atlanta had over 10 days this month where we did not get above freezing. Not normal, not normal at all. And this year seems to be bad all over.

Now the South does not do cold well. Snow, ice, sleet, freezing rain, slushy stuff all causes for near hysterics. As a New Yorker from the Buffalo snow belt, this amuses me a great deal. Matter of fact, as a teenager I took my first driving lesson on several inches of packed ice & snow. But after 35+ years down here I've learned to adjust my expectations.

The first week of the year started out with several days of freezing weather. Then we had an ice/snow mixture fall one night. We were iced in the next 3 days. I take public transit, the day it snowed the bus on my route was running about 1 every 2 hours instead of every 30 minutes. Pipes burst in homes, city water mains fractured & froze, fountains froze, the ground froze, ponds froze over. (and no the fountains were not drained and winterized, it's normally not an issue here.) As a region we're just not equipped to deal with this.

Worse, and despite dire warnings from public saftey officials on every media source possible, 3 high school boys fooling around by a subdivision pond decided the ice was thick enough to walk on. It wasn't. One was buried Thursday, one was buried Saturday, the third is still in the hospital but expected to survive.

I seem to remember winters being worse here about 25-30 years ago. I distinctly recall a couple years with multiple 2-3 foot snowfalls when I lived just south of the Tennessee line. Then there was the blizzard of March, 1993 that shut down the whole region for over a week.

Very strange, very strange indeed.
Think I need to check the camp stove and propane supply it uses. Just in case.

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