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Posts Tagged ‘weather’

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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One of the things I have always wanted to do was to walk on a glacier.

Actually, I have done this previously.   When I was a little girl living in the wild mountains of Colorado, we used to hike up into the high places quite frequently.   I walked on the St. Vrain glacier, and also the Arapahoe Glacier.   Nowadays, the tiny remnants that remain of both of these glaciers makes me wonder how in the name of sanity people are still able to convince themselves that there is no problem going on as regards to global climate change, or global warming (which seems to be a term that is in disrepute for some reason).

As I read the news of the disappearance and retreats of glaciers world wide, my internal need to walk on these ancient ice fields becomes more and more urgent.   When we decided to go on the seven day Inside Passage cruise up to southeast Alaska, I knew that I really really wanted to experience being on a glacier, before it was too late and there aren’t any left.    I mean, it is hard to believe that they might actually all melt world wide.   They are so massive, and there are so many of them.    People used to think that the Passenger Pigeon was so numerous they could not be hunted to extinction either.

Oh darn.   I was just going to tell you about my wonderful walk on the Herbert Glacier.   Then I went all poignant and scientifical and thoughtful on you.   Sorry.

Lets see.   We booked a tour up on the Mendenhall Glacier about four months before we went.  That is Juneau ahead of us, all decked in typical Southeast Alaskan weather.   Rain.

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Because of the low ceiling at the Mendenhall Glacier, our tour was cancelled.  I am not ashamed to admit that I went to my cabin on the ship and cried like a little child over the disappointment, but the day was saved by Chris with Juneau Tours , who was able to book us on a tour with Coastal Helicopters that went later in the day and to a different glacier that was not weathered in.

(I really can’t say enough good things about the staff of Coastal Helicopters.   They were dealing with two different groups, ours and one which spoke only Hebrew and had a translator, going to two different sites in three helicopters.  They were pleasant, professional, efficient, friendly, and went out of their way to get us what we wanted, even when they had to run across the tarmac in the rain to the warehouse to secure a t-shirt in the style and size I wanted.   

And the pilot!   Wow.   I want a helicopter now.   Okay, I’ll be honest.   I want the pilot too… but I’m already taken and he’s probably way too young for me.   Still, cute!  And professional.   And a great pilot.)

Okay.   Now the pictures.   When we got to the airport where the helicopters were, the clouds opened and an omen appeared.

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After a safety briefing, we were taken out to the helicopters in single file like a bunch of baby ducklings being shepherded along by their concerned Mama.  After we were all strapped in and equipped with our headphones, through which we could actually talk to the pilot, our little group of helicopters took off.

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Even though none of our craft were gunships, all of us thought of the movie Apocalypse Now for some reason as our group headed off up the valley.

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We flew past the Mendenhall Glacier.   Still socked in but beautiful anyway.

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You can see the big terminal moraine where the glacier has receded in the past few years.  We flew over some mighty pretty country, on the lookout for wildlife.  But we didn’t see any.

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It seemed like only moments, and we reached the Herbert Glacier.   Our pilot took us on an exciting little ride up over the terminus, along the glacier itself and through a small cirque off to the side where the glacier that created it was gone, centuries past.

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It was a thrill ride.   I’m sure we were never taken closer to the rock walls of the cirque than was safe, but it felt like you could have reached out and touched them.   The helicopter tilted and rose like a magic carpet.   Finally we descended to the glacier itself and landed.

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We de-coptered and our pilot strapped on crampons, and suddenly became our glacier tour guide.

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First thing he took us to was a moulin.  This is a place where melt water pours into a hole that tunnels through the glacier, flowing down to the rocky bed under the glacier.   At this particular spot, the glacier was about 1500 feet thick (about 450 meters or thereabouts).    The hole, about 10′ in diameter, was plenty big enough to swallow a human if she was so careless as to slip and fall in.

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“Anybody want to get close?” our intrepid guide asked.  Of course I did!   With a good hand to wrist grip on each other, he dug his crampons into the ice and I edged my way to within a couple of feet of the edge so I could get my shots.   What a rush.

After that, he led us across an ice bridge, and allowed us to peer into a deep crevasse.   “Don’t fall in that, please.   We don’t have ropes that are long enough to reach you to save you if you do,” we were instructed.   Needless to say, we approached that abyss gingerly.

This is the ice bridge.  Jim is on the bridge, our guide is down in the cave below it.

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I wished I had real crampons and not the silly studded overboots I had been given by the tour operators.   Our intrepid guide helped me go down to the cave safely.

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Yes.   It REALLY IS that blue.

Back out of the cave, across the bridge after looking around at some more cool stuff.  Then the obligatory shot proving that We Were There.  We were also very glad that we both had on long johns, boot socks, coats, hats and gloves.   Believe me it felt really silly to pack those things here in Missouri when it was 90 degrees.  It wasn’t so silly when we were on the glacier!

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I believe that there must be a required course in operating every kind of camera known to man for all tour guides.   I have never met one that had any trouble getting a fine documentary shot of my presence at a feature.  Our guide was no exception.

All too soon our time was up; our pilot had to get us back to civilization.  As he tried to round up his four chicks, I managed to get another couple of shots.

This is a hole that is mostly full of melt water.   I guess it to be about six feet deep.

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Jim looks at the view.

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Back in the air, we get another juicy little roller coaster ride down to the end of the glacier.   Lots of fun.

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Came around the shoulder of the mountain and BAM!   Right in front of us was spread the Lynn Canal, in all its sunset glory, complete with holes in the clouds and rays shooting down.    Unbelievable.   I was unable to get a good shot because we were heading back to Juneau and the pilot, the instruments, and the curved bubble of the copter were all in my way.

Plaintively, I asked if he could just turn the helicopter towards that view for me, please?

“Just for a minute,” was the reply.  I know we were way late, so I snapped away as he kindly held the attitude for me.

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So grateful for that minute, aren’t you?

Then back to the airport, where the other groups had been landed several minutes and the rest of the tour operator staff were figuratively tapping their toes in impatience to finish their day.

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It was a glorious day.

I walked on a glacier.   I am so blessed.

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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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