It's a four letter word we take very seriously in the Midwest. Snow means a trip to the grocery store and gas station in preparation of hunkering down for an impending storm.

I'm one of those crazy people who buy groceries as if we're going to be snowed in for months, although I still don't get why bread is the hot commodity. If I'm stuck in the house for days, the last thing I want to eat are sandwiches. Cabin fever drives me to drink, coffee that is, which in turn gives me more energy than I want to exert on cleaning house, so I take it to the kitchen.

Since it's just the two of us it seems kinda silly to have made a pudding cake, spice cake and chocolate chip cookies, but what else is there to do? I'm basically baking and then eating everything I baked. It happens every year around this time. The holidays are over, it's cold, and all I can do is dream about being outside.

What I need to happen, before all of my jeans are too tight to zip up, is for the snow to go away and a thaw, which seems a long way away, while staring at a foot of snow and drifts taller than I am. With open fields on either side of the house, the wind plays havoc on anything that's loose, whether it's limbs, leaves or snow, Mother Nature gives us an ample supply of piles. Just as soon as anything gets cleared, the wind will cover it back up again.

Our black lab and golden retriever are getting as grumpy as I am since we haven't been on schedule with our daily walk around the 10 acres. After watching them try to maneuver around the drifts blocking the doggie door, we shoveled paths around the yard so they could do their business without having to plow through the white stuff. Since they don't realize they're not actually lap dogs, you have to catch them with a couple of towels as soon as they come back in order to keep yourself dry.

I'll never get tired of watching TV news reporters show us how much snow has accumulated with a yard stick. Some newbie this morning must not have received the memo to bring a ruler with him as he tried to demonstrate, on live TV, a measurement of snow with a tape measure, while holding a microphone, both of which fell into the snow. It probably wasn't as funny as I thought it was, but after being cooped up, I'm starting to get slap happy.

I've researched what I'm going to plant this spring and printed out sheets of descriptions and directions. I've mapped out the garden, cleaned my tools, and located my gardening hat and gloves. Now I guess I'll just have to sit here and wait.

I sure hope it thaws out soon or else I'm going to put on my Carhartts and hoe me some snow.

Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at