What We Learned From ThisWinter
The 2013 – 2014 Winter season was one for the books. In the 15 years I have lived here in “them thar hills”, this had to be the longest, coldest and most brutal winter yet. I know you folks that originally hail from the cold, bleak north snort derisively at the thought that Georgia could have a brutal winter. Well, us southern folk don’t particularly care for old man winter much. And it’s hard for us to pity those that actually choose to embrace the ice, snow and frigid wind chills associated with those more northerly climes. Plus, they had all summer to move!
The last couple of winters the acorn crop has been nearly non-existent. That’s bad news for squirrels, bears and the deer. The deer have been especially naughty this winter! They have stripped mature landscape plants to nubs. While they do like to eat newly planted bushes and trees with regularity, this winter they ate things we have never even heard of them eating. Mature Cryptomarias, Leyland cypress, Nandina, Hollies, etc. were all nibbled or eaten. That’s what happens when you are starving and desperate. While the deer are just doing what comes natural, we don’t appreciate it and neither do homeowners.
Deer damage aside, the extended periods of cold damaged many pants as well. It down right killed some bushes and small trees. Some are only partially dead and may never regain their shape. We do obtain most of the plants we use from local suppliers so that they are acclimated to our climactic conditions. No sense importing plants from Texas and expecting them to live comfortably here. Some may, many will not. We are currently taking a “wait and see” approach as far as the plants go on the advice of our suppliers.
Another lesson learned from this winter is that some of you do not properly winterize your homes. You know who you are! Our winter was getting pretty slow because of the awful cold when… BAM! We were hit with an avalanche of calls regarding frozen or busted pipes. At some of the calls we responded to, we could hear the water when we got out of the car!!! We sent out an email blast regarding coming freezing weather and offered to check on your place. Unfortunately, not everyone took us up on our offer. I know that many of you don’t want to spend a bunch of money on your vacation homes but, and believe me when I tell you folks, it is FAR cheaper to pay us to properly winterize your home than to pay us for even 1 broken pipe! The main reason for that being the collateral damage that occurs when water has been running amuck. We also recommend, strenuously, turning your water off every time you leave your vacation home!!! When a pipe or a connection finally gives way, you can be sure it will be at the time you are not there. We have received a call regarding an unusually high water bill where the owner wanted us to go out and check. Sent cold chills up our spines. Went out and, sure enough, a connection had given way and water had been spewing out for about 1.5 months. Luckily, the break was in the ground and did not ruin the house. It did require a moderately expensive erosion repair. I cannot think of a single detrimental effect for you or your home from turning your water off when you leave from your visit. If you can, please email or give me a call.
Last, but not least, this winter has re-affirmed my intense dislike for the cold. Yes, yes you’ve heard it before but c’mon! I couldn’t wear enough clothing to stay warm. Some of our guys said, ”Oh we can handle a little cold.” Then they return, teeth chattering, snot-cicles hanging from their noses. The folks living in the cutting, glacial, polar north can enjoy it all to themselves. I’ll park it right here in the dirty South.