Archive | January, 2016

Free at Last!

27 Jan

We knew the snow was coming, so we had stocked up on the things we needed, but with a 200 foot driveway, we were prepared to stay put until Easter, ‘coz there was no way we were going to shovel it. Yesterday afternoon, Eldest Daughter took pity on us and sent a friend down to plow us out.

We have a wall along one side of the drive, so The Squire slogged out to show the fellow where it was and how to avoid it. Just as well he did so, as the man promised he’d “go clear down to the black top”, and we have a gravel drive! He got about two thirds of the way down, but the spot where the drive turns was solid ice under the snow, and even with a fully loaded 4×4 pickup truck he couldn’t manage to get to the house. He told The Squire to have Eldest Daughter pay him for half the job, backed out of the drive (a chore in itself) and left. This morning, the snow had compacted enough that The Squire was able to “bull” his way to the top of the drive and get through.

It’s funny. I never thought a trip to the grocery store would be so enjoyable!

While we were in the store, my nose began to run, and I hied myself to the ladies room for a bit of tissue paper. I was reminded of the time I took my two daughters to a concert, maybe at the Maryland Historical Society, but it doesn’t matter. Middle daughter (at the time she was still the Younger Daughter) had come down with a bad cold, and I’d used all the tissue I had with me, so I asked Elder Daughter, who was about six years old, if she would go get me some paper from the ladies room. She came back, skipping happily down the aisle, with a wad of paper in her hand, and a tail sailing behind her like a comet!

Nothing like a bit of class.

From the mailbox.

From the mailbox.

The view from the house

The view from the house

I tried to get these all lined up, but WordPress wasn’t cooperating. We’ll just have to live with it.  I was really surprised at how green the grass was under the snow.

The impassable corner

The impassable corner

Help! I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up!

26 Jan

Last night I only made it about two-thirds of the way out to the barn, but today was warm enough to compress the snow, so it wasn’t as deep, and I had last night’s foot prints to follow.

Riiight.

First, I managed to miss about every other step – a literal case of starting off on the wrong foot – and then  lost my balance and fell on my bottom. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get back on your feet when you have no place to put your hands, and the dog is “helping”?

I did manage to get all the way to the barn, and since I had carried the food out in an old pie plate, I was able to sit it down on top of the snow, instead of trying to scatter it over the surface.

Tomorrow is supposed to be nearly 50F, and the possibility of rain tonight, so instead of snow, I can slog out there in the mud. More fun.

BTW – should you ever be in need of a truly first class overshoe, let me recommend Neos brand. The Squire wears custom formed shoes because of his foot problems and finding a pair of boots to go over his shoes was just about impossible. I saw these advertised in a magazine several years ago, and decided to order them, in spite of what I thought was a pretty steep price. The boot opens out almost flat, with a generous toe box, and then wraps around the calf and fastens with Velcro. There is also an adjustable strap that goes across the ankle. If you wear special shoes, braces, or are in a cast, these things simply can’t be beat. I found they also fit over my bedroom slipper/booties, which are the warmest footwear I own, so I stay both dry and warm. I just ordered a second pair, and paid about $50 for them. They are worth every penny and then some.

 

We Are Still Here

25 Jan

Eldest daughter is working on finding somebody to plow the drive, and she thinks he can be here tomorrow. Of course, tomorrow is supposed to be around 45 degrees so we may not need him after all.

I tried to slog out to the barn and feed the outside critters – you can smell “fox” all around the house – but I got about two-thirds of the way before I quit, and just tossed the kibble across the snow. The Squire and I have done quite a bit of shoveling, mostly so we can get to the bird feeders, and our time spent at the gym has made that pretty easy.

However.

Walking, plodding, staggering through knee deep snow can be deadly. I honestly didn’t think I was going to get back to the house. The Squire was just getting ready to come look for me when I staggered onto the patio. He said Blazer was barking at the back door, and sounded very concerned. He said he expected to find me face down someplace.

Last night, the dog thought he heard something out back that “needed barking at” so I let him go without the lead. He took one flying leap into the snow, which was about up to his ears, spun around in midair, and raced back to the door. I guess he figured I wasn’t safe out there either, and he ought to let Poppa know.

This photo was lifted from the Baltimore Sun. When the plows get stuck, you’re in big trouble.

Capture

Back when I was still working for Blue Cross, my car pool rider didn’t want to come down Route 7 in the snow, so she dumped me at the shopping center about a mile and a half from the house. I didn’t even have boots. By the grace of God, a friend had stopped at the grocery store for cigarettes on his way home and saw me standing on the median strip, trying not to cry. I’d venture to say that pack of cigarettes saved my life. Thanks, Hugh!

Ironically, Rt. 7 is a state highway and is always plowed, and she would have gotten home herself more quickly if she’d come this way, instead of staying on US 40, which had not been plowed.

 

Jonas

23 Jan

Well, how many ways can you say “it’s snowing”? It started yesterday around 4PM, and has not slowed down. About midnight last night, with the wind blowing a gale and visibility down to a few feet, some obliviots were racing up and down Rt. 7 on ATVs. Darwin candidates.

We had just a foot of snow when we got up this morning and now (almost 7PM) it is over two feet, with no sign of stopping. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We did see one lonely squirrel this morning. Heaven knows how he managed to get to the feeder in all this mess.  Mostly, we have had “vultures” – red-winged black birds,

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grackles, starlings… I know they are God’s creatures and need to eat, but Lawsy, they are a pain. They will eat just about everything in sight, including the cheap bird seed we purchase at the grocery for emergencies.

The Squire shoveled a path around the house, from the carport to the front door. Twice. I went out and cleared a “pooping place” for Blazer, as the snow is too deep for him to walk, never mind doing anything else. He made quick work of it this morning, but he has refused to do anything else the rest of the day. Well, he can’t walk around with his legs crossed forever, so I suppose he’ll decide to go eventually. Mind you, with over two feet of snow and blowing between 35 and 50 MPH I can’t exactly blame him.

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It’s a shame he can’t manage the litter box.

How deep is it? Well, the picture of the chair is not mine (I “borrowed” it from Twitter), but that is Eddie, looking out the den window this evening.  7PM and still coming down.

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chair in snow

And So It Begins

22 Jan

It was cloudy this morning, but unless you’d been following the weather reports, nothing unusual. Except that the squirrels were out in force, scouring the ground for every possible shred of food.  There are eight in this picture, plus three more in the tree.

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Chowing Down

And this fellow, trying to empty the “Squirrel Proof” bird feeder. We went up to the Y after breakfast, and when we came home, the feeder had been unscrewed – again – and was on the ground. The little buggers jump up onto the suet feeder and scamper across the top, then hang upside down and shovel the seed onto the ground.

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Squirrel Guard? What’s that?

It started to snow about 4 PM, and is supposed to continue for the next 24 hours, at least. Church has already been cancelled, and since our policy is to remain closed when Harford County school are shut down, we may not even have service on Tuesday evening.

We were supposed to go to a viewing tomorrow evening and a funeral on Sunday, but both of those have been pushed back a day, with a suggestion we call to double check before we sally forth.

Snow?

20 Jan

Depending upon whom you ask, and when, we are supposed to get anywhere from a dusting of snow to two feet, anywhere from Friday morning to all day Saturday.

I had to run to the store today for a prescription and you’d have thought it was Black Friday. What is it with snow storms and toilet paper? And people renting more movies than they could watch in a month, for a one or two day “snow in”? And if the power goes out, those movies aren’t going to do much good, any way.

A  gal who used to work with The Squire died on the 17th. The viewing is Saturday evening, and the funeral is on Sunday (never heard of such a thing, to quote the Late and Unlamented) so we shall have to make every effort to get to one or the other – or both. She and her husband  did not use the same name, and we only discovered by one of those crazy flukes that I worked with him at the same time she was working with The Squire.

Speaking of working – I worked Monday and Tuesday (yesterday) at BD. The Squire fixed dinner for us both nights. Chicken Marsala on Monday, and last night was a vegetarian stew; he found the recipe on line last year and it’s his go-to for his night to cook. Purchased the ingredients when he went to the Y, and had it ready to put on the table when I got home. After we ate we decided to run up and get the laundry out of the way and swing into Aldi’s for a few perishables such as milk and eggs.

Our kitchen door has always leaked cold air. The house is in constant motion from the ground settling and even though we replace the weather stripping every winter, the shrinkage from the dry winter air and the movement of the building means the door is about as airtight as an orange crate. Many years ago I purchased a pair of cotton duck, tab top, curtains and a tension rod to put over the door. We lay the curtains on top of each other and then run the rod through both sets of tabs, so we have a double thickness of heavy fabric. Last night, the spring broke in the tension rod.

Fortunately, The Squire remembered we had some hooks that clipped onto the rails of the suspended ceiling, so between those and an old broom handle we got the blasted curtains up. The cat tries his best to refuse to use the front door (“We’ve never done it that way before!” You’d think he was an Episcopalian – or a Lutheran.) but Blazer is up for whatever involves going out. Besides, if he’s in the living room, there’s a chance he can sneak into Poppa’s chair for a quick nap. He still hasn’t completely reconciled himself to sleeping in a dog bed on the floor. (“You think I’m some sort of animal, or something?”)

After the curtain fiasco, I went to put the soup pot on the porch and didn’t bother to turn on the dining room lights. I hadn’t finished my drink at supper and when I sat the pot on the table so I could open the door I knocked over the glass. We have a plastic tablecloth, so I had to run and get a bath towel to clean the table, the chairs, and the rug. It’s amazing how much space a small amount of liquid can cover. Finally got the pot on the front porch and managed to break a finger nail as I came back inside, just to add insult to injury.

 

Winter has arrived!

19 Jan

Well, we’ve gotten off easy so far, but Mother Nature is catching up with us.

It snowed on Sunday, but the ground was too warm for it to amount to anything. However. It was 18-F when I got up yesterday, and the wind blew hard all day. Last night when we went to bed the temp was 5F, with a wind chill well below zero. The furnace has been chugging along, but the dining room never got above 65, and when I got up this morning it was 61 in there, and 58 in the kitchen. It was so cold the butter wouldn’t spread!  It was 12F outside, with a wind chill of 4 below zero. It did get up to a tropical 29 degrees around 2:30. Whoop.

It is supposed to snow both Friday and Saturday, but Sunday is supposed to warm up to 37, so maybe it will melt a bit. Just be sure to get home before dark, coz it will freeze over again.

For some reason, our bedroom is the warmest room in the house, and The Squire is a walking blast furnace, so I had to get up in the middle of the night and open the window an inch or two.

Nuts.