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Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

We are getting some badly needed rain.  It has been threatening all morning, flashing and muttering under its breath, teasing us with brief sprinkles.

The radar shows that all of this activity is moving along to the south, which is odd because most of the lightning and clouds I am looking at are to the north of me.  At any rate, I am glad it is raining.   We need for the ground to be nicely wet and more rain promised in order to distribute the beneficial nematodes that are reputed to dine on Japanese beetle grubs.  With a good rain under our belt, and more promised, we can order the supplier to ship them.  With any luck, the weather will cooperate and keep the ground nice and wet after they are applied.

I am happy that there is a storm, Impy is NOT.   I don’t know what horrible trauma happened to him in his kittenhood, but he is terrified of thunder and slinks off full speed ahead for the nearest closet as soon as the first distant rumble occurs.  This morning has been just terrible for him.  With the sporadic nature of this storm, there have been periods of calm in between the heavenly percussion performance long enough for him to stick his whiskers out.   Inevitably, as soon as he is bold enough to exit his sanctuary, a random clap of thunder will send him scurrying back under cover.

We have hypothesized that Impy can understand the weatherman and has listened to all the instructions regarding what to do to be safe in a stormy situation.   If you don’t have a shelter to move into, you should stay in an interior room (preferably with no windows) and put a pillow over your head.  When you hear thunder, you should keep yourself as close to the ground as possible while you move to shelter to minimize the danger of being struck by lightning.   And for God’s sake, don’t go stand under a tree.

Our local YMCA is so careful about lightning danger that they clear the pool if there is any within a few miles of us.   Consequently, this morning our water aerobics class was only 15 minutes long.

I have been surfing the interwebs excessively, so I finally decided I ought to get something worthwhile done instead of endlessly posting on facebook.  I made the bed, and cleaned the catboxes.   I did the dishes, and I am contemplating the idea of vacuuming.   I am pretty sure I can spend enough time on my blog that I simply won’t have time to do that chore before I have to leave for my mammogram.

While I was washing the dishes the storm finally blew into our area and produced a measurable amount of rain.   I was musing as I scrubbed my pots about how one would depict the skies opening up as a response to a prompt of “Open” on an the Art Journal Adventure.   The view out my window captivated me as I worked and pondered.  The finches are busy at  the feeder, they don’t care it is raining and neither do the squirrels, who use their tails as easily as an umbrella as they do a sunshade or blanket.

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The rain will be good for the garden too.  The peas are about an inch tall, and the lettuce that we tended all winter is going gangbusters.   I heartily endorse the use of cold frames in this climate.   We ate beautiful lettuce all winter.

So as I allowed this train of thought to pass through the station of my mind, a huge ground strike flashed down just to the northeast.

I was standing at the window, scrubbing a metal pot with my hands in running water, and I recalled the wisdom that says you can get a pretty bad shock if lightning strikes near your water line when you have your hands in running water.   Suddenly I thought “If that bolt had struck the house and electrocuted me where I stood, I suppose my last thought would have been ‘Impy was right’.”

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It is hard to believe that the last time I posted here was before Thanksgiving.  I have been on line, too.  But somehow I have been sucked into Facebook and have found myself putting up little blips here and there rather than making a blog post.   I wonder how many other bloggers have been seduced by social media?

Since I posted, it has snowed and thawed several times.   I did get some pretty nifty snow shots during all those events.

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We had a real cold snap before Thanksgiving, and the little pond froze with beautiful hoarfrost crystals.

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We also had a small ice storm, no big damage although we did have a couple of elm trees that dropped a lot of branches.   The day after the ice covered stuff it was a lovely day and things were already starting to melt.   I took Ruby for a walk and the ice was positively magical.   Everywhere I looked the woods sparkled in rainbow colors.   This phenomenon proved to be shockingly difficult to photograph, but I did get one image that almost conveys how amazing it was out there.

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During all this harsh weather, my neighborhood has been living up to its name.   All kinds of little birds, and big birds too, have been enjoying the shelter, food and water The Havens provides.  Actually, there are plenty of mammals also enjoying The Havens along with the avian population.

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We had a sumptuous Thanksgiving repast.

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At Christmas, Jesse and Lynette were able to get away from their Army duties and bring James to visit us.   They were here for far too short a time, and we loved every minute of it.

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I saved The Quilt for a Christmas presentation, even though the kids knew I had made it and had enjoyed hots of it during all stages of creation.   They did not know about the pillow cases or the matching throw pillow, though.   Honestly, I think it makes a pretty impressive bed.

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James approved, I believe.

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One of my dear friends gave me an amaryllis bulb as a Christmas gift.   This week it started to open.

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Today it looks like this:

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So now you are somewhat up to date.

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Rainy August

Well.   Since August began we have received nearly 8 inches of rain here at The Havens.   That followed a July where we got about an inch of rain every week.   As a consequence, the grass around here looks like this:

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Now, this may not seem very extraordinary, but generally speaking the “lawn” you are looking at in the picture above looks just like the grass around the vineyard does in the following picture.

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Don’t get me wrong.   We are HAPPY to have rain in August.   There are people in the area who wish we weren’t getting quite so much of it quite so fast, since they are experiencing flooding and there are lots of low water crossings that are closed right now, making it hard to get about the county.

The lushness is welcome.   We haven’t had to water the gardens for several weeks, since Mother Nature has been taking care of that job for us.   But usually about the middle of July we get a respite from the constant demands for mowing made byf the green areas here.  Actually, we would be very happy to let it all grow, but Our Fair City has seen fit to pass an ordinance banning lawns taller than 12 inches.

So we were out on Sunday morning trying to finish mowing the acre of our property that contains the vineyard, the labyrinth and the savannah.   Since it has been precipitating upon us on a very regular basis, we had not been able to get out there and the grass was very tall and thick.   It was also still wet from the previous days rain, so it was necessary to stop about every 50 to 75 feet and clear the throw-out area of the mower so it would throw the grass.   I did a whole lot of pulling on the rope to restart the mower, since there was no way I was going to reach in there to clear the area with it still running.

We persisted, however, even after the light rain started falling, and completed our task just as the day’s rain began in earnest.   When I checked the rain gauge this morning we had received an inch and an eighth.

The vegetable garden is glorious.

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We are getting at least two or three zucchini every day.   I am in the process of pickling the third batch of gherkins.   Right now we have stopped picking the tiny cucumbers for that, so in a couple of days we are going to be overwhelmed with large ones.   The green beans are doing well.   The asparagus has decided it can make new shoots, so I have been gleaning the patch for snacks while I work out there.     The eggplants are pretty much finished.   Tomatoes are coming on, yesterday we strained a bunch, made puree, and started condensing it.  Today I canned that batch and there were 7 pints.   A good start on the season.

Out at the pond, I have a large fishing spider hanging about.   She posed for me last night.   I love how you can see she is resting on the surface tension of the water.

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Looks like it is going to rain some more.   I think we are definitely experiencing one for the record books.   I have to admit, it will make the job of the people looking after our place while we are gone on our cruise to Alaska a whole lot easier, and I’m glad for that!

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Last night the weatherperson was having the equivalent of a weather orgasm all over the place.   We were setting records in the Ozarks, right and left.   Let’s see, we had the lowest high temperature ever.   I think we set a record for the lowest low temperature for that date.   It snowed in Arkansas, an event that has not happened in May for 194 years.   It snowed here too, something that last happened 106 years ago.

Last night as we were eating our dinner a little flurry set in.   I felt compelled to try to capture it, and I’m telling you that snowfall is hard to get on a still picture.   All those white streaks?   Snow.

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This is how it looked this morning.

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The reason the perspective is so odd on the last one is I was standing on the step ladder.   As you can see, pansies and the peas in the tubs below don’t give a rap that they were snowed on.

The cats know how to deal with snow.

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This photo is remarkable for two reasons.   First, there is a fire going in the stove.   In May.  Unheard of.   Second, Impy is actually lying in front of it.  The first time he witnessed fire being made in the stove his reaction was terrorized disbelief, never having seen a fire or heard it snapping and popping.  He was sure there was some sort of cat-eating monster residing in the living room.  As you can see, Mallory has managed to educate him about the subject.

So, lest you should believe that this spring snow is some sort of horrible environmental disaster, let me reassure you on that point.   Sure, it is chilly, but the frozen precipitation that caused such ecstasy for the meteorologists came without a hard freeze.   So the garden goes on, almost without acknowledging that anything odd or record breaking has occurred.

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It’s a good thing I got out there and got those pictures when I did.   In the time it took me to download them, edit them and get this far on my post, the snow on the wisteria has all melted.

I was concerned about the robins, whom I know for a fact have been very busy incubating eggs lately.   Jim showed me one out in one of the cedars a few days ago who was guarding new hatchlings.   So, the few days of cold and unseasonable snow made me worried for the little family.

I went out to see what I could see.  She was sitting tight.

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She did not like me or the camera, and left the nest to yell at me from a convenient locust tree.   Her mate joined her in vociferous complaints.   Since the nest was open, I thought I’d grab a quick look.

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Not wanting those naked babies to get cold, I left immediately.  I hadn’t gotten fifty feet away before Mama was back on the nest.   So that was all right.

The robin who has chosen to nest on the dragon head driftwood is hyper-vigilant.    You can’t walk into the back yard past the corner of that sauna without her jumping off the nest and flying over to the fig tree to tell you all about it.   This morning was no exception.

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I had my doubts about the viability of her eggs given that pattern of behavior.  Apparently all that flying off didn’t keep the eggs from developing.

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I guess that the cold weather this morning made it possible for her to ignore my presence over by the pond, because she got back on the nest while I was there, which is not her typical pattern.

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She was able to stay on her babies while I walked back to the house.   Of course, the fact that I walked WAY over by the fence behind where the clothesline is may have had something to do with it.

Well, I”m not so overjoyed by this weather pattern as the weatherman, but it certainly has been interesting.

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After a lot of fitful starts and stops, it appears that spring has finally come to the Ozarks.   We had a lot of swings in temperature last month, one day it would be in the 60s and then the next it would be freezing and snowing.

Through it all the crocuses carried on bravely.   I had daffodils that got snowed on and showed no ill effects.

In the interim I have started going to water aerobics on a regular basis.   When I first started, there were things I really couldn’t do, and I certainly could not keep up with the instructor.   Now I can keep up with her and my core has gotten strong enough that I can do the things that were impossible before.   And my love handles have shrunk.

I started out a little too fast and intense, and wound up being very sore.   After a few weeks, my dear husband commented that perhaps I ought to give myself a chance to get in shape.   “After all, you aren’t twenty five any more, it takes longer for your body to recover.”

Of course, this elicited a bit of a grumble, but I had to acknowledge that I am staring sixty in the face, and June isn’t that far away.  So I cut back to three days a week, and I find that my body is much happier with me.  If things keep on this way, after next week I will start going four days a week and see how it goes.

I have been to Texas since we last were together here at The Havens.   I visited my older sister for a few days, took my quilt to her quilt guild to be admired (which it was).   I find I am quite the anachronism as pretty much everybody does their quilting by machine nowadays.   I chose to hand quilt the baby quilt so I could work powerful protective and loving energy into it.   I don’t think you get the same result with a machine.

While I was in San Antonio, I was escorted about to some of the numerous stores that sell quilt fabric there.  I felt much like a kid in a candy store with only five cents to spend, but I came home with a lot of beautiful stuff, including the rest of the fabrics I need for the next quilt I am going to make, which will be for Jesse and Lynette.   I have the strips cut out, but have not started sewing them together yet.   Soon.

Another thing that has happened is that young Mallory has gone blind.   Several trips to the vet and we discovered that the lesions she had were the symptom of a deterioration that appears to be congenital.   We believe she may be able to see large dark and light areas sketchily, although lately I doubt she even has that.    It hasn’t slowed her down much.   She still plays chase games with Impy and they wrestle.   He chirps at her so she can locate him, and he is very kind about now cheating in the games and sneaking away from where she last heard him.

Occasionally she gets confused as to where she is, but that is happening less and less.   She really gives us a dirty look if we leave the chairs out from the dining table and she runs into one.   Also, we have had to acquire a trash can with a lid for the kitchen as the heightened sensitivity of her sense of smell has led her astray in that direction.    She stole a chicken bone out of it the other day; I guess it just smelled too good to ignore.

So, the vegetable garden has seeds planted in it, but nothing is up yet.   No big surrprise there.   Soon.

So, I shall go off to give the latest massage and talk to you all later.

 

 

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I’m so glad that the mini ice storm we had yesterday was just that, very mini.   It is so odd to go outside and hear the trees rattling in the breeze.  It all sounds so different, but NOTHING like the last time when we felt like we were listening to the war as the trees cracked and broke and smashed to the ground.

Instead, the string of LED lights we have on the back porch provided us with something stunning to look out in the early morning.

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It’s really hard to photograph such bright lights in the dawn’s early light.   But you can see how the little icicles that formed on the string pick up the glow of light from the light they are hanging off.   So very very cool.   I think that this is the effect that the “icicle lights” would like to give and don’t.

By the way, I hasten to explain that these are not Christmas decorations in this application.   Many years ago we discovered that if we strung mini lights up around the back porch they were even more effective than a bug light as a porch light.   Each individual light is small enough that it doesn’t attract swarms of bugs.   They are all away from the door.   So when you go out at night, you get plenty of illumination and you don’t have 900,000 moths and mosquitoes following you in.

I have had a most amusing morning indeed.   My email contained numerous items that made me laugh heartily.   Laughter is always good.   Jim is watching the 49ers game, which he does not know how turns out (although I do)(Tee hee).   I am completing a couple of potholders I created a couple of days ago and then I will address myself to the little quilted piece I made yesterday in my quilting class.  It needs to be backed, quilted and bound.  Later on we will go visit some of our good friends and Jim will learn to smoke cheese and we and the group of people we are spending the afternoon with will have a very good time.

May all your ice storms be small and beautiful, and may your day be amusing and pleasant.

 

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Oasis

We have had record breaking heat in the Ozarks the last few days.  Several times the temperature has risen to 109ºF (42.8°C) in the middle of the day.  The humidity has been so low that the heat index has actually been negative, which I suppose is a blessing of sorts.

Needless to say, we have been watering the gardens assiduously in order to help them stay happy during this heat wave.   We are so blessed that our community is served by wells that run deep into an aquifer that is readily replenished during the spring rains (since we live in a karst limestone area).   There are lots of places here in the Ozarks that get their water from reservoirs, and when it is hot and dry they do not have the luxury of watering gardens as the water must be conserved for essentials like drinking and bathing.   But the water is not free, and I await my next month’s water bill with a certain amount of dread.

Still, the mature trees around here are worth quite a lot; according to some studies mature trees add approximately 2% to the value of a property.  I have also read studies that claim that each tree is worth around $1500.   Whatever they are actually worth, I am willing to spend a few dollars to keep them alive.   Of course, I love my day lilies and hostas too, so I willingly water them.   The trees get water peripherally while I water the landscape plantings.

One of the side benefits of running the sprinkler is the amusement I get from watching the birds.   When it is so hot, they flock to the spray from the sprinklers, and disport themselves gaily, obviously completely enjoying the cool shower.   The cardinals sit in the shrubs and bathe, the robins just stand in the spray and meditate.   The grackles hunt for the bugs that are disturbed by the water, occasionally shaking the cooling drops off their gleaming iridescent bodies.   Right now we have baby grackles that are following their parents around, begging for morsels.  The small birds also enjoy cooling effects of the water.

Yesterday when we were sitting in our pool cooling off, one of the male gold finches stopped by and scolded us severely.   Apparently the lack of niger seed in the finch feeder was the problem.   So, after I was done bathing, I filled the feeder.   The finches are really enjoying it today.   It hangs in the shade, and I’m sure it is much more pleasant to land on a full feeder and feast in the shade of the elm tree rather than rummage around for seeds out in the hot sun.

The pond is quite popular right now too.  The  frogs are utilizing the water along with the dragon flies; the water source in the waterfall is used by all the resident birds.   However, there are some of them who prefer the bird bath, and I like it too as it is the view from my dining room window.   My favorite time is when the young fledglings are taking bathing lessons, but I enjoy watching it all the time.

The birds are not the only denizens of the yard that use the bird bath.    Our bees need a lot of water right now, as they drink large quantities of water and then fly off to the hive and use its evaporative properties to keep the hive cool.

Usually bees are a little camera shy, but this one was so intent on the water that I was able to put the lens right up next to her and use my super macro function to capture her proboscis extended for her drink.

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