Skip to content

Tales from the Dump: Was Chicken Little right?

The sky might not be falling, but snow certainly is
The sky might not be falling, but you still need to watch out for snow and ice falling from roofs. Walt Humphries photo

“The sky is falling. The sky is falling. So, you had better watch out and be careful.”

Now, how many of you remember the story about Chicken Little. Little was a young chicken wandering around the farm yard when an acorn fell from a tree and hit Little on the head. Ouch.

Chicken Little jumped to the conclusion that the sky was falling and ran around trying to warn and convince the other barnyard animals the sky was indeed falling. She had varying degrees of success depending on the critter she was talking to.

In Chicken Little’s defence, the sky may not have actually been falling but things do fall out of the sky. An acorn may not hurt you much but a coconut could really do you in. They are round and heavy. Maybe not as heavy as a bowling ball, but close.

In fact it is often reported that they are far more dangerous than shark attacks. Shark attacks may kill one person a year but apparently there are over a hundred reports of falling coconuts killing people every year. I have no idea who compiled this information but I suspect the fatality rate is much higher because many of the places that have coconuts are in countries that really don’t keep good statistics.

However, apparently 400 to 500 people in the USA die every year from falling trees, branches, and things being tossed around by severe winds. Also earthquakes, which are one of nature’s most dangerous occurrences when it comes to humans, kill a lot of people when buildings start to collapse.

In the North, in the spring, one has to be wary of snow blobs falling out of trees and snow and ice falling off of buildings, particularly roofs. You don’t want to get hit on the head by masses of either.

We have received a lot of snow this winter and if you look at most houses and buildings there are snow masses hanging over the edge of roofs and when conditions are right they will fall. Also all the snow sitting on angled roofs not only weighs a lot but it could break loose and come cascading down. I once saw all the snow sitting on a metal roof let loose and come crashing down like an avalanche.

For several years in the spring they used to barricade the sidewalk in front of the Bellanca building because of the dangers of falling snow and ice. With all the extra snow and ice we have this year I really hope someone checks the downtown buildings to be sure these hazards are dealt with.

I was in a tent in the spring one year when a windstorm blew in and there was a big whoosh and all the snow from a couple of trees came cascading down. The tent was shaking violently and it felt like we were in an earthquake and an avalanche. I had visions of being knocked to the floor under a tent and big pile of snow. Luckily the tent didn’t collapse and most of the snow slid off the tents roof but it did knock the stovepipes off of the wood stove and while we recovered from the shock the tent filled with smoke and we had to hustle to get everything safe and running smoothly again.

So you just never know what may happen. So while the warm sunny days are wonderful be careful of the slippery roads, the snow overhangs and all the hazards.

The sky may not be falling but other things might, so just remember the story of Chicken Little.