Wednesday, December 28, 2022

The Aftermath

Keeping the wooden walkways and deck cleared of snow is a task I like to do during the winter months.  However, any amount of wind tends to form a drift all along this area that is sometimes challenging to remove.  The winds we had before Christmas made the drift about three-plus feet high and the consistency of cement.

I think my husband took pity on me and worked on a bit of the area, mainly clearing the areas in front of the two doors.  I must be waiting for spring weather to magically melt the rest of it because I sure haven't been in any hurry to attack the remainder.

Yesterday was mild (high 20s) and windless so my daughter and husband ventured up onto the roof to take a look at the chimney pipe that blew off Christmas Eve.

Assessing the damage.

Making a plan.

We all agreed they did a good job that should hold until spring when the roof is dry (and clear of ice!) when we may decide to replace the chimney pipe and, for sure, make the chimney more stable with wire supports.

Job finished, they oh-so-carefully made their way across the roof to the ladder leading them down to solid ground level.  (Whew.) 

Sunday, December 25, 2022

It's Been A Bumpy Ride

I'm writing this Christmas morning, trying to stay quiet while my husband sleeps.  We are warm and safe but the winds we've experienced for the last several days have made these past days ones to remember.
In town there has been a lot of damage to businesses with some losing their roofs.  Power has been out for a large part of the county for up to 21 hours.  Winds have been clocked at 74 mph.  Many trees have been blown down all over.
Until last night, other than the one tree blocking our driveway a couple of days ago, we've not had any problems that couldn't be fixed with snowplow or shovel and lots of really warm clothing.
Last night before Papa Pea stoked the wood stove in the kitchen for the overnight fire, we started experiencing large puffs of gray smoke billowing out of the stove.  Ugh, it quickly got really smoky in the house.  At first we thought it was the incessant wind creating a bad down draft.  It continued to get worse before it occurred to us that, uh-oh, the chimney must have blown down.
Upstairs to Papa Pea's office we went to shine lights out the window where we could see the whole 4' length of heavy insulated chimney pipe lying off to the side in a drift of snow on the roof.  Nothing to do but try to get it back up or continue to let the house fill with more smoke from the two pieces of wood and bed of red-hot coals in the stove.
We changed from our pajamas into outdoor duds.  Papa Pea thought he could get the chimney back in place temporarily at least for the night.  Then we heard a loud "thunk."  The whole section of chimney had blown off the roof and landed on the deck.
Now he'd have to climb the ladder carrying the insulated chimney section back up to the roof.  He insisted he could do it himself so I stayed inside shining a light through the window onto the chimney area.  The wind was still howling while blowing snow.   And my stomach did not feel so good.
Long story short, he got the chimney (and tool box) up the ladder (two trips), crawled between two huge snow drifts on the roof (which was possibly a good thing) to the artificially created snow valley where the chimney was.  Or used to be.
Turns out when the chimney took the header off the roof it was dented and damaged enough that he couldn't reattach it properly, but it did hold for the rest of the night as I checked first thing this morning.
Bedtime came well after midnight.  We looked but never spotted Santa and his sleigh sailing overhead.  With the winds, he most likely had to make his rounds on the ground.  As we crawled into bed, we may have heard a deep voice off in the distance calling, "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night."

Friday, December 23, 2022

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Like many other areas of the country and over the border in Canada, we're experiencing some real winter weather today.  It's supposed to last until 8 a.m. on Sunday morning so we're in for a stretch of it.
I guess it's fortunate we have no snow falling just now because we have winds gusting up to 60 mph and a wind chill factor of -30°.  At times, it's a whiteout condition looking out the window.

This is the snow drift blown up against our living room windows.  The tip of it has got to be 8' from the ground.  I've not been out today thanks to my dear husband.  After morning chores he reported the drifts he had to go through were the consistency of cement.  Our temp right now at a little after noon is 7° and the snow that's blowing is very light so has been packed good and tight.
Speaking of my husband, he left a short time ago to walk out to get our mail on the road in front.  (Should I have his head examined?)  He was eager to do it as he's spent the morning sorting through some winter camping gear and clothing.  He said it will be a great test to the outfit he donned before leaving.  Did I want to go with him?  NOOOOO.
Okay, he just returned and is pleased as punch to report the outfit he had on kept him toasty.  Of course, he was moving right along which no doubt helped keep his body heat percolating.  He also said we have a tree down across the driveway which he was able to get around with no trouble, but it's made the driveway impassable by a vehicle.
So I will be big and brave, suit up and go out with him to help remove the tree.  Daughter is available, too, so she wanted to join in the fun.  What?  Doesn't sound like fun to you?
* * * * * * * *
Back in from the tree removal operation.  It was a larger tree than Papa Pea had first thought.  A full, healthy spruce so it took him more time to cut off the branches with the chainsaw, while daughter and I picked up and tossed them off the side of the driveway, than it did to cut the trunk into pieces.  We stacked them off to the side and will pick them up later as they'll be good firewood when seasoned.
It was, indeed, cold even though we were all working and getting exercise.  I wasn't comfortable with the wind howling and big trees on either side of us creaking and swaying.  But it went well and I'm finally getting warmed up.
Did I say a real blizzard needs snow along with wind?  Well, it's started to snow now so things may get very interesting before this storm passes.
 Snow drift is growing!
For all of you in the path of this widespread storm, stay safe and ready for power outages which are likely to occur. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Where The Wild Things Are

I wanted to share some pictures we recently got off our trail camera.  It's wonderful to see the wild creatures that inhabit our wilderness space.  However, I'm thoroughly convinced a moonlight stroll any night this winter is not something I would be comfortable doing.

First of all, here's our "big buck" who happily made it through hunting season.  "Hi, Big Buck!"

"'Bye, Big Buck!"

We're fairly sure this is a bobcat.  He was on his way somewhere and didn't stand still for a good photo.

This is a very healthy looking fox heading back to his/her den one morning carrying something in his/her mouth.

It was right around 8 a.m., and I'm imagining it's breakfast he/she is taking home.

Suspicions confirmed.  We've suspected we have a pack of resident timber wolves in our woods and here are six of them right in front of the trail camera.  (How cool for us is that?)  We also had a shot of seven of them but the picture wasn't as good as this one.  
Definitely no night time walks for me.  Nope.  Nuh-uh.  No sirree. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

No Brown Christmas This Year!

We are having a real winter this year.  Last night we got somewhere around 6" of new snow and currently (still before dawn) there's a healthy wind outside blowing enough snow around that it looks more blizzard-like than it really is.

I'm in fairly good shape for the fast approaching Christmas Day.  The presents are wrapped, some ready for delivery and those under the tree tagged with "To" and "From."  Even though I started having Christmas carols playing from dawn to dusk most days (well before dawn and well beyond dusk on these short days) way back in November, I'm already knowing I'll miss them after New Year's Day passes.  How 'bout if I manage to wean myself off of them by listening to audio books while spending time in my quilt room?

Papa Pea is planning on a romp in the woods this afternoon with a good friend, and I'll be happy to let them snowshoe a path through all this new snow so it will be easy-peasy once I venture out on them.  I'm no dummy.

My fantasy is having time slow down once the first of January arrives.  Oh, I know there are always those everyday tasks that must be done every single day to keep our little homestead chugging along smoothly, but other than those necessities, I ain't doin' nuttin' but kicking back and enjoying the few couple months of remaining winter hibernation time which will hopefully include getting out on snowshoes or skis to take in the beautiful wilderness we live in while getting healthy fresh air and exercise.  Or at least I'm determined to make it all possible.  It will be a good thing.
Until our next communication, hang your stockings by the chimney with care (I wouldn't mind having a really good orange or two in mine), and may your next week or so sparkle with family, friends and joy. 

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Winter's Beauty and a Picture from Long Ago

Mother Nature has given us such gorgeous scenery so far this winter season.

Our temperatures have (strangely) remained mild, and the snows have come when the thermometer registers just below freezing.  This, of course, means the snowflakes contain a lot of moisture which makes them stick to every tree branch and twig.

It also means we're using very little wood to keep home and hearth warm and cozy.  Papa Pea has banked snow up against the outside perimeter of the house, and we joke we could probably meet our heating needs if we just burned candles during the day in addition to the evening hours. 
"When it snows, you have two choices:
Shovel or make snow angels."
                     - Unknown
I choose the snow angels.  Then I'll go shovel.

Yep, that's me.  Taken by my mom in front of my grandparents' house about seventy-seven years ago.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Snow and a Day in the Freezer

'Twas a good day today.  The weather is cold.  Only 6° when I got up this morning.  Very gray with a bit of snow forecast.  (I thought it was too cold to snow.)  And lo and behold, it did start snowing with rather heavy, small flakes that managed to amount to about three inches on the ground as of 7 p.m. tonight.
Yes, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  Outside and, of course, inside.  I can't remember a year when I've appreciated our inside decorations this much.
I do love to eat our evening meal by candlelight and this certainly is the time of year to do so.  It's almost dark by 4:30 p.m. now, and certainly pitch black by 5.  How different it is from a day in mid-summer.  Truly like living in a different world.
Today I tackled a job I've been putting off for a couple of months.  When I defrosted our main freezer at the end of the garden's harvest, for some reason I just couldn't fit all the bounty in there in a sensible, convenient order.
After weeks of not being able to find things, I finally did a massive rearranging and organization that I'm now very happy with.  And as so often happens, when finished with the task, I found more room in that big white box than I thought there would be.  Plus, while going through the contents I got all kinds of meal ideas and wondered why I haven't been using as much of the bounty as I could/should.  I guess we'll just have to start eating more.
One thing I pulled out and defrosted was some good navy bean soup with ham which made a great dinner tonight with garlic cheese bread and coleslaw that I made with red cabbage, grated carrots and some chopped raw cauliflower.  Vanilla pudding with whipped cream for dessert finished off a satisfying winter evening's meal. 
More snow to come tomorrow, they say, and I think I'm going to declare Wednesday a low-key, take it easy day with some time devoted to handwork.  After finishing whatever shoveling and snow plowing might be necessary, that is.

This is my latest x-stitch piece I finished and framed last weekend.  I'm going to hang it on the outside of my quilt room door.  (Chortle-chortle.) 

Here's a peek into a corner of my quilt room.  In order to fit the Christmas tree in our small living room, we have to remove this chair and floor lamp to temporary storage elsewhere . . . which is in my quilt room.  The Christmas wrapping paper has been pulled out of storage and I'll start wrapping presents soon.  I don't like wrapping presents so it's best I do it as the ordered presents come in.  I'm behind already. 
The canning jars to the right have been there (got tired of moving them around in the kitchen) since this summer because I still haven't made the batches of haskap, strawberry and blueberry jam yet.  The frozen berries are waiting patiently in the freezer.  Soon.  I'll get to that soon.