We had our coldest day so far yesterday, starting at about 11 degrees and warming to a toasty 21. We had a dusting of snow – the second of the year – and there’s still a bit of ice on some of the higher roads that don’t get good sun. Overall, though, I don’t think there were many travel difficulties. Fortunately, the wind came up pretty good before the snow and dried most of the rain off the roads.
It’s been a bit of an odd winter, given that most folks expected that since it rained almost every day this summer, we were due for a lot of snow. Instead, it has just rained more than usual. It may also be that we’ve had more cold days than usual, or more days that haven’t warmed up to near sixty in the afternoon.
There isn’t much wild excitement in town at this time of year. The next big event is the Fire & Ice Festival on February 15. That’s a chili cook off with live music and ice carving. It’s turned out to be a very popular event. I think I remember that last year tickets for the chili tasting were $5, so it’s reasonable, and a good winter break.
Especially now that deer season is out, our favorite winter activity is hiking. We were able to get out on the Benton McKaye from Watson Gap the other day, and had a very good hike. I think I’ve about recovered from my knee injury of a few years ago, and it’s just been great to be able to do some real hiking. I love the solitude and quiet of the woods this time of year, and I love being out there without a crowd of fellow hikers.
The county has invested in an emergency alert system run by an outfit called Nixle. You can go to their website and sign up, and even view past alerts for your zip code. That gives you an idea what to expect. The latest was for a missing elderly man, who was found the same day. Previous alerts were for road conditions, flood watches, and tornados. All in all, it seems a very good idea to sign up for at least the text messages.
I hope that all of you had good times during the holidays, and that you found some things to be thankful for and to look forward to. There’s a feeling hereabouts that 2014 is going to be a better year, and while I didn’t count 2013 as bad, I’m hoping that it’s true. The real estate business is certainly looking up, with the cabin market showing some modest appreciation. The best news, though, is that we’re back to normal levels of inventory – or perhaps a bit less inventory than we would like – rather than a ridiculous glut. Unfortunately, the glut pretty much continues for land, which is trading at the lowest prices in an awfully long time, if it is trading at all. The best wisdom I have is that this situation is apt to continue for some time yet, so folks are probably best advised to wait to sell land, if they can. On the other hand, I think with interest rates rising, that the time to wait to sell cabins is past. In most cases, my advice recently has been to consider putting it on the market now because we definitely need more good inventory.