Cold and Dark Looms Near

Author JL Huffman
3 min readOct 30, 2023


Fall Foliage

Our Blue Ridge Mountain area has been blessed with a week of beautiful weather, with daytime highs in the high 70s to low 80s and nighttime lows in the 50–60 range. It was a perfect time to put the garden to bed for the 2023 season. But, it was too good to be true because here comes the cold weather.

Montana Snowfall (Brent Reich)

The date of the first fall freeze varies depending on where you live in the US. Friends in Montana have already experienced snow and near-zero temperatures. Having previously lived in Montana, I can vouch for the frigid climate our Northern neighbors must endure.

Median US First Freeze Dates

Our neck of the woods will join the freezing temperature zone this week on Wednesday, November 1st night.

Indian (or Second) Summer

We may enjoy one more burst of unseasonable warm, dry weather if traditional Indian Summer arrives mid-November. The criteria for a true “Second Summer” include: (1)the period happens after at least one good killing frost but before the first snowfall, and (2) the temperatures must remain above 70 F for at least seven or more days after the fall equinox. This year, the Fall Equinox was on September 23 at 02:50 AM (in the Northern Hemisphere).

End of Daylight Savings Time

Since the Fall Equinox, days are already becoming shorter and nights longer. In most parts of the US, we will also endure the time change next weekend, on Sunday, November 5th, at 02:00 AM, when we set our clocks back an hour and are plunged into even earlier darkness.

Prepare for the Cold and Dark

We’ve begun our winter preparations. I had the propane tank filled to the top last week and have started laying in a supply of firewood for our fireplace and woodstove. A candle lantern is on the mantel, and extra non-perishable foods are in the larder. The vehicles have been winterized and stocked with window scrapers, collapsible shovels, hand warmers, hats, scarves and gloves, and blankets and boots.

Get Ready for Winter

Have you started to ready yourself, your home, and your cars for the upcoming winter season? Don’t be caught in a dangerous situation; preparing for the worst is good insurance.

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Author JL Huffman

I’m a retired Trauma surgeon/ICU doctor, a world traveler and gardener. I’ve published in the surgical literature; now I’m writing poetry, memoir & fiction.