Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Bring on the snow February 19, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Wind sculpts snow into drifts in rural Minnesota. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


YOU KNOW THE MINNESOTA WINTER is getting too long when your husband says…

Maybe they canceled the snow.

(He made that comment Sunday morning upon looking out the bedroom window to, once again, see snow falling, as predicted.)


As much as I appreciate the hard-working snowplow drivers, the constant plowing in of sidewalks and driveways (after Randy has already cleared them) increases his snow removal workload and is especially frustrating. This is the plowed in end of our sidewalk during a previous winter. But this photo could be from this winter. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


They plowed the snow and blew it onto the sidewalk.

(He made that comment Monday morning upon looking out the bedroom window to see snow and chunks of snow/ice thrown onto the walk. He then suited up in his coveralls and boots to, once again, clear snow before leaving for work.


Randy begins the process of clearing snow from our driveway following past winter snowfall. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


I got the old Minnesota work-out this morning.

(He made that comment Monday morning upon completing snow removal duty.)


A huge, hard-as-rock snowdrift blocks our farm driveway in this March 1965 photo taken in rural Vesta, Minnesota. I’m standing with my mom and four of my siblings. I remember the winters of my childhood being particularly snowy.


This is, it seems, the long winter, the endless winter, the forever winter. More snow is forecast for Wednesday and Saturday. Minnesota will likely break the record for snowiest February ever dating back to 1962 when 26.5 inches fell in the Twin Cities during the month. The current month metro snowfall total of 22.6 inches ranks this February as the fourth snowiest ever. I foresee no difficulty breaking that. So bring it on. If we’re going to get snow, we may as well have something to brag about.

(In Faribault I’m pretty certain we’ve exceeded that record-breaking 26.5 inches as we’ve gotten more snow than the Twin Cities. I just don’t know where to find the data to back that up.)


© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


32 Responses to “Bring on the snow”

  1. parkerozgood Says:

    I’m ready for it to be over!

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    Having sidewalks to clear is absolutely the worst when the snowplows pile it up time after time. I understand they have no choice but it makes it so difficult. Add a fire hydrant that needs to remain uncovered and it makes it even worse. I always hated that. You guys have really gotten hit with all of the weather this year and hopefully it will break soon and spring will be arriving. Thinking warm thoughts for you!

  3. Brenda Says:

    We have a similar picture from 1965 of a huge drift that was behind our house. We also have photos of the flooding of farm fields and roads that created small lakes with the melted snow back in 1965. Some neighbors took small boats out to “fish” in their “lake”! If this keeps up we might be doing the same!

    • I’m surprised we haven’t heard talk yet about flooding. I would think the potential is high.

      Are you like me, thinking we got lots more snow when we were kids?

      • Brenda Says:

        I definitely think we used to get more snow! It sometimes started in October already, but almost always we got a considerable amount of snow in November and December. The January of 1975 snowstorm was one of the worst and longest snowstorms that I remember. The visibility was very poor and most people didn’t have power. As I remember, the phones worked, so we were able to check on our elderly neighbors. When the visibility got a little better, my 2 oldest brothers took snowmobiles to our closest neighbor and gave them a ride to another neighbor that had heat. Thankfully we had a generator for milking the cows, so we had heat and other conveniences. I remember my Dad and brothers tying a heavy hay rope from the house to the power pole in the middle of the yard and then on to the barn so they wouldn’t get disoriented in the snow and get lost. Thinking about this really makes me wonder why we stay here!! But then I think of our prairie forefathers and think we’re kind of whining too much! 😬

      • I remember that January 1975 storm as I was a college freshman at Bethany in Mankato.

        Your detailed memory is impressive, especially the bit about tying a rope from the house to the power pole. That sounds like something straight out of a Laura Ingalls Wilder book. We stayed here because of the land, the rich farmland of southern Minnesota. And because this is home.

        Be safe of the roads today, even you’re even doing rural mail delivery. Randy made it to work in Northfield.

  4. Cheryl schrader Says:

    Your remembrances of a lot of snow is what I remember also. I remember being snowed in for days at a time. And yes the huge drifts. Who needed hills for sledding. The drifts worked just fine. Ahhhh life on the prairie. Where the snow came down sideways.

    • Your description of winter on the prairie is spot on. I loved winter then. The hard snowdrifts, the pushed up piles of snow. All of it except the cold that numbed my fingers when I did chores. I’m pretty sure I came close to experiencing frostbite many many times while wearing only think cotton gloves.

  5. Almost Iowa Says:

    Yesterday, I ran the snow blower around the driveway to clear out the dusting of snow and expose the asphalt to the sun. I was hoping to see just a bit of clearing. A slight peek at what the driveway might look like one day…. and now for another round of snow.

    I am madly flapping my arms in a vain attempt to fly south.

    • You’re going the wrong direction. I think I saw someone resembling you madly flapping his arms in my neighborhood yesterday. Oh, wait, that was a neighbor atop his roof shoveling snow. My mistake.

      Our sidewalk is currently clear, right down to the cement. Not for long…

  6. jhc1218 Says:

    Jason feels the same level of exasperation after the plows clear our street. The piles at the end of the driveway are almost too tall for the blower to reach. As much work as it is for the adults, the kids love it. Up until the last week of January we hardly had any snow. Stay warm.

    • If only we could see winter through the eyes of children. I’m glad your girls are getting outdoors to enjoy winter. I don’t see many kids playing outside ever.

      Randy and Jason could share snowplow woes. I haven’t shoveled much this winter. Randy doesn’t want me shoveling on icy surfaces. Gee, I wonder why?

  7. Littlesundog Says:

    My brother is in Rochester, MN (Mayo) right now preparing for a hip rebuild and permanent hip structuring this week. He reported Minnesota had a lot more accumulation of snow than Nebraska, and often they could not see around the piles of snow or drifts and had to proceed carefully through traffic in town. He noted that parking areas were often heaped with piles of snow, making parking either creative or sketchy to find in areas around the medical center. He and his wife are just hoping that more bad weather will hold off while they have to be on the roads. It’s not much fun maneuvering around when you’re an out-of-towner, even though they’ve been to Rochester many times over the last forty years with his hip issues.

    • I pray your brother’s hip rebuild goes well. He should be in excellent medical hands.

      All he describes to you about the current snow situation in Minnesota is absolutely true. Proceed with caution as you nose into intersections.

      Unfortunately, lots of snow is in the forecast for the next five-plus days. Southeastern Minnesota (which includes Rochester) is in a winter storm warning for up to eight inches of snow on Wednesday. Then more snow on Friday and Saturday into Sunday.

  8. Gunny Says:

    All the images you have are “burr!!”. Except the first one. This picture reminds me of wearing cool shoes and shorts with a t-shirt, cold drink in hand while standing around waiting for someone to snap a picture so we can jump back into the air conditioned car! Anyone who has been to White Sands in Southern New Mexico would not necessarily recognize the first picture as snow – may be confused. Snow or sand?

    Hang in there, Spring is coming!

    • Having never been to White Sands (or New Mexico), I had no idea that first shot could be confused with sand. I will now pretend it’s sand.

      We’re bracing for a winter storm here on Wednesday with up to eight inches of snow.

  9. I remember my last Winter in MN back in 2004/2005 and there was plenty of snow, especially the wet and heavy stuff. I will take 70 degrees at 7 in the morning. Be Safe and Stay Warm 🙂

    • We are breaking our February snowfall record today. Heavy snow falling in Faribault this morning. I asked the husband to consider staying home from work, which is typically a 22-minute drive to Northfield. But he wouldn’t listen and made it there in about 35-40 minutes. Snow is falling at a rate of one to two inches an hour.

  10. Well, it is a snow-lovers dream winter…..finally a real winter! Like when we were kids 🙂

  11. Ruth Says:

    I shouldn’t click like but it’s for the post and writing and pics. Not for the unrelenting snow your community has had to deal with.

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