Archive for the ‘Winter’ category

SOUP IN THE COLD

February 28, 2019

All over America record cold and snowfalls have been recorded.  Here in the Far North we got our share of extreme cold,  lots of snowfall,  and  recently our strong wind storm.

We stay warm by eating (drinking)  hot things.

Oh, and if they tell you to drink hot tea and honey,  because honey is a good antibiotic, especially on your sore throat,   be sure not to take a shortcut and pour the boiling hot water  over the tea bags which are in your jar of honey!
Soup Honey

I just wanted to get the last bit of honey out of a jar that was almost empty –  but, well, it didn’t work too well.     The tea pot was nearby to catch the big drips.

Well, I have a good soup recipe, which I’ll summarize below, but it’s so easy to make that if you have a basic idea of how soup is put together, you don’t really need an exact recipe.

Start with really good butter:

Soup Butter

I use butter from a grass fed cow to get the maximum amount of nutrients that you’re supposed to get from butter.

A warm cozy soup starts by saute’ing a good sweet  Italian sausage and onions.

Soup onions sausage

Our priest actually has a small farm and it was time to use some pigs;  he made part of their meat  into sweet Italian sausage with his own recipe.  He had  so much that he distributed some  to us, his parishioners.     Thank you!

When the meat is no longer pink, you can add more vegetables, like cabbage and celery  and things,  and a lot of broth or water, maybe some bone broth if you have some on hand.

soup green

This is the point where you don’t really need a recipe.  Just chop up lots of things that are good for you and add it to the broth.

But if you notice,   that soup looks awfully monotone.   It needed some color.

Back to the cutting board!

Soup peppers

Now that looks more like a good-tasting soup!

Soup Red

You just need to use your eyeballs and a spoon.       Eyeball the soup, to see how it’s looking;  and use the spoon  frequently to see  how it’s tasting.

Adjust taste with salt, pepper,  turmeric,  cayenne, onion powder,  garlic powder,  spice blends  (I like a Berbere blend), and herbs and herb blends.     Whatever you have time and patience for.

I can’t complain about the snow and the cold here.   Daughter lives in the High Sierras where they got 8 – 10 feet of snow in  the last 48 hours.    She sent me a photo of her two-story house, of which you can see only the second floor and part of the first sticking out of the snow.

I took a look at her village’s Live Webcam:

Village Webcam

Someone needs to clean the lens.    The Webcam on Donner Lake, where she lives, was “Offline” — more like buried, I think.

And woe to anyone who stays still in one place during one of these storms:

 

Tahoe car

One lady couldn’t go any further in her car during the storm.   The snowplow found her car the next day.     She was okay, still inside.

With extreme weather,  your body faces cold-weather stress.   To stay healthy, turn to soup again.   My favorite immune system soup remedy is mushroom soup:

Soup Mushroom soup.jpg

Now there’s an easy recipe, no eyeballing or taste-testing!   Wild Mushroom and Chestnut soup from Whole Foods, with a little extra miitake mushrooms,  re-hydrated in warm cream.

Enjoy winter!   Happy Eating!

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Ingredients for cabbage sausage soup:   (adjust every single ingredient!)

6 medium potatoes, cubed

1 small onion, chopped

1 green pepper, diced

2 carrots, chopped

1/2 head of cabbage,  chopped

3 (beef smoked) sausage foot-long rings (or whatever)  . . ..  sliced or diced . . . (whatever)

1 tsp salt

1 T black pepper

1 tsp garlic

1 tsp sage

2 tsp  onion powder

 

Mix all together in a 5 quart pot with 8 cups of water  (or whatever).

 

Cook until tender.   (But the longer the better)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HOME DELIVERY – FROM ABOVE

February 26, 2019

 

God’s watchful Providence:

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smile

When we run out of things around our homes, we get used to the idea of going to our computer,  Click!  Click!  Zoom (submit)!  — and in two days it’s delivered to our mailbox or onto our front porch!

We’re so used to receiving things based on our own efforts that we think our own efforts  will assure that we receive things.

Well, a week or so ago I ran out of kindling for my fireplace.   I need those tiny little twigs and sticks to get the fire going.    I didn’t want to cross my icy creek to get back into the woods to pick up more sticks . . .

creek 2

(something like that)

And Amazon doesn’t deliver kindling.

So . . .   next?      Here in the Far North we had a terrific windstorm during the weekend.  30 m.p.h.  winds,  with 50-60 m.p.h.  gusts.

And some snow.

Road Snowfall Lights

 

The wind made driving treacherous,   lifting up the snow in great clouds, causing whiteouts over the roads.   Here,  I took a picture of  the snow being driven laterally across the road.   The car was shaking.

Road Lines

I had both hands on the wheel during the whiteouts (no photos) !

Road Red Green

The storm turned the traffic lights into red smears and green streaks.

At home, the trees roared overhead and things dropped onto the roof,  bounced and rolled.    Nothing I could do, but . . .  enjoy!

A storm like this is so  strong;  it makes a person feel very small.     All the storms,  all of Nature . . .  the world . . . the universe;  so immense, our efforts so small.   As King David asked:  “What is Man that Thou art mindful of him?” 

And yet God cares and watches over us.    He watches out for our well-being, and He knows what we have need of.        Jesus said:  “Ask, and you shall receive . . .”    

The next day, after the winds subsided and the snow stopped,  I stepped out onto my front porch —

Kindling 3 porch

—  and there was a delivery of fresh new kindling!

All over the front yard,  the “kindling”  had been deposited.

Kindling 2

I checked the back yard and found so much more.

Kindling 4 back

I’ll be doing a lot of tramping around back there to collect all that kindling!

 

Once, long ago,  the Israelites in the desert complained to Moses because they hadn’t had meat for so long.     God “caused a strong west wind to blow . . .”    and the wind picked up thousands of quail and dropped them in abundance into the Israelite camp!

quails

 

With a little hyperbole and absurdity,  Jeff Larson records the event, in Numbers 11 of the Bible.

quail humor

We call that “Providence,”  God’s watchful care over us, noticing what we need,  providing for us in sweet and abundant ways.

Jesus said:  I have come that they may have life,  and that they might have it more abundantly.”     John recorded that in his gospel,  John 10:10.

Now that’s something to wonder about.   He didn’t promise an abundance of things.  The Israelites got lots of “things” —  lots of quail!      But they got sick from overeating, and many died.

We are the “they”  that Jesus was bringing an abundance to,  but what is an “abundance of life”?    If we’re alive, we’re alive, right?    But what is it to be abundantly alive?  Fully alive and aware,  fully living?

Look up in your needs,  during your “storms,”  and  ask,  and receive.   So little of our blessings are the results of our own efforts.

praying hands

Click!  Click!   Submit!

Life with God is an abundant life.

 

 

SNOW “BURIAL”

February 10, 2019

 

Well, what do you do when a blizzard buries your front yard?

Snow angel toppers 280

You jump down on top of the snow and make snow angels!

(That’s Cooper and his Daddy – I think – several feet above their front yard, and beautiful  Donner Lake in the background,  with the High Sierras of California.)

When you have a blizzard burial,  you try not to let you and your friend get  buried —

Snow burial 230

But it makes it really hard to play on your  swing set —

Snow jungle gym 390

The swings are down there somewhere.

They’ll have to wait till Spring.

Snow porch 280

Cooper and Daddy  (I’m sure Cooper helped!)   dug out their front door and shoveled across their raised deck . . .  and I’m sure Daddy said, ‘Now, stand in front of the snow so I can take a picture to show Grandma.”

Oh, yes.  Grandma loves winter.    I’ve told you that before!   Even when I visited them one winter and shoveled three feet of snow off their deck so it wouldn’t collapse.  But it kept snowing and I had another four feet to shovel the next morning.

What that gives you is . . .  an experience to remember!

 

ROARING WEATHER

February 8, 2019

It’s not often that the weatherman predicts  “Roaring Winds”  as part of his weather report.

But he did yesterday, and we did have roaring winds all night long,  into today, from the sound of it.    Along with the high winds we had  drizzle, heavy rain, sleet,  snow, and a temperature plunge from 52 degrees down to -6 (below zero) wind chill, this morning.  Oh, yes,  and sunshine with snow squalls.    Normal winter weather(s).

Throughout all this, somewhere along the way —

Door free front  .     — my front door thawed out and I’m able to open it now.

Ditto the back sliding glass doors –

Door free back

So, just to report up here in The Spruce Tunnel,  I’m free! and no longer iced into my house by frozen doors.

Our Winter Faery:

Winter Fairy 300

I took this  photo recently, and it astonishes me that I can’t remember where.   It was hanging on a wall in a public place;  I walked by,  did a double-take,  and embarrassed myself by taking out my camera right in front of a  bunch of strangers . .  . .

Well,  you find interesting pictures where you can,  and this one reminded me of my own back yard — and the woodsy sprites and fairies that haunt human imaginations.

Hey!  Anything is possible,  right?

dignity of a congressman

She is the new young congressman who tells us we can eschew airplanes and cars and build a railway system to cross the oceans!

(At least   I  don’t really,  really believe in magic and fairies.)

Here is my frozen fairy-world back yard:

Weather Iced Trees

Normal, after an ice storm.

Our birds are not going to get a drink:

Weather no birds

We’re actually having a normal winter,  full of everything that happens during the winter in the Far North.

Here is the surface of my driveway:

Weather iced driveway

It was actually not slippery to walk on because the ice had come down with snow and sleet, producing a measure of bumpy traction:

 

Weather not slippery

 

Another astonishment came, however, from a “weather”  report from the entertainment-news media on the radio last night.   The news reader —   (I wish they could hire readers who could actually read and pronounce the words they’re reading.  They obviously have no idea what they’re reading –  which maybe lets them off the hook for this:

“2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend,” said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt. . . .     Two U.S. agencies, the United Kingdom Met Office and the World Meteorological Organization analyzed global temperatures in slightly different ways, but each came to the same conclusion on Wednesday: 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record behind 2016, 2015 and 2017.

Followed by the ever popular:  “It’s going to GET WORSE so you’d better listen to your climate change politicians . . . .

While 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record, British meteorologists are predicting the next five years will be much hotter, maybe even record-breaking.

You know,  there’s been a lot of analysis of these ridiculous statements;  you can find it all over the Internet.    The temperature charts have been selectively used, and the “conclusions”  even contradict their own previously-published charts.

Cold weather, like today,  is not a Cold Climate,  or even evidence of a Getting-Colder Climate.  Hot weather is not Hot Climate,  nor evidence of a Getting-Hotter Climate.

The climate on any planet in the solar system  changes as it’s affected by our changing sun.

The Grand Scheme of a Massive Transfer of Wealth across the globe planned by the Global Socialist Rulers  is simply not supported by any science or any history of our planet.

Yet the scares go “roaring out” over the airwaves.

Time for us to do some roaring  back.

Listen up, dear young lady –

WIDE-EYED Cortez

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ICE THINGS

January 31, 2019

Well,  the story around here is still ice.   And today was the third day that I’ve been iced in, as in my doors are frozen shut!    Front door and back door.

It’s okay.    This weather is in my blood.   Here are some of “my people” —   my ancestors, my Grandma’s cousins.  They’re playing with their reindeer.

reindeericeancestors

Reindeer are surprisingly small animals,  but they can give a Lapp or a Sami absolutely everything needed for life.

Well, I wouldn’t see them outside my windows today.   As I said in the last post,  I roam from window to window, just looking outside “at the cold.”       I knew there was no mail delivery today, but I peeked outside my (frozen )  front door curtain anyway.

icewindow

It’s not Jack Frost,  but that ice is pretty thick.    And that’s my  mailbox out there, temporarily inaccessible to me.

 
icepalms   Our weatherman  promises really warm weather this weekend, so my doors will probably thaw and release me to the outdoor world.   Our temperatures are supposed to take a wild swing 70 degrees upwards,  from Wednesday to Sunday.      (For a day or two, that is, before another swing downwards.)

 

It’s a big country here.  I know there are some who are all right during this deep freeze, some who are not all right.       That’s the way life is.   You take care of those immediately around you, and maybe,   if you can,   help those who are reaching out even further away.

Meanwhile,  we can just experience this extreme cold snap with  a little fun:

Here’s a lighthouse along the shore of Lake Michigan  that gets photographed most winters:

icelighthosue

 

For some perspective:

icepersepctive

 

Someone in Ohio,  Cleveland I think, near Lake Erie,  took some photos.  Here are some street lamps:

icelamps

And then — I don’t know what this is!

icedon27tknow

Maybe when the Midwest gets its heatwave this weekend,  they[‘ll figure it out.

 

 

 

BIG AND INVISIBLE

January 31, 2019

If I were going to give you a lesson today, it would be that some really big things cannot be seen.

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As I write,  it’s 15 degrees below zero, with a wind chill index somewhere approaching  40 below.   In this area we’re all aware that something  major,  something extreme is going on outside . . . .

Well, here’s a beautiful photo from my back yard during this deep freeze we’re having.

starlights cr

It’s two of my solar-powered lights which are supposed to be lighting up the statue of St. Joseph in my back garden     I didn’t even know they would work in such cold weather!   The snow depth was just right to catch the light coming from the bottom of the lamps to make these star patterns.

I chanced upon these pretty “starlights” because I go from window to window, looking outside into this frigid weather.   It’s not the snow that fascinates me,  it’s pretty, but I’ve seen it before.   It’s the extreme cold.

As I said, we all know this weather is unusual; it’s a very big event, and  dangerous.  It has already proven to be fatal to some.    So I keep checking the windows, I think  just to  “see”  how different it is out there.

jack frost

Jack Frost*

Like  this weather,  there are other invisible  things that are bigger than humans, notable and very  real.    There are things we have to deal with  that are invisible, but dangerous if we ignore.

heaven cr

 

The whole spiritual world is very real yet usually remains invisible.  Our own souls.   God Himself  and all His angels — intelligent spirits who do God’s bidding.   Evil intelligent creatures.   Heaven.   Hell.

 

spirits

 

I can keep on looking out my windows, going from room to room as I do, and yet I’ll never see 15 below zero;    and I’ll never see anything in the spiritual world,  but yet it has an effect on me,  on all of us.

It can be denied and ignored, but only at our own peril.

We were created with a soul and an intellect,  and the created natural world can help us start  our journey back to our Creator.      And then we need to search out more information with open hearts,  humbly, and with our full attention.   We’ll find some beautiful “starlights” along the way.

These Big Matters which are  invisible  are  yet  real.  We need to know all about them.

OR ELSE, we just might step out into the Night and run into real danger.

 

spirits near

 

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.*    I must “defend” my own windows.   I don’t really see Jack Frost  because my windows are triple-paned and insulated with inert gases.   It’s quite cozy,  but not very artistic in the cold weather anymore.    At least I’m  “saving energy.”

 

FROZEN – IN

January 29, 2019

(85% of our nation’s lower 48 is below freezing temperature these days, according to news reader on television.    I join. . . .)

It’s “official.”    I am officially frozen in my house,  back and front.

door frozen

That’s a door handle to the sliding glass door that opens out to my back deck.   Only it won’t open today.   It is frozen shut.

It has been cold.  The wind chill index is about 10 below zero right now as I write,  but it’s supposed to get down to as much as 38 below overnight.   30 mph winds –  so I will count myself very lucky if our power doesn’t go out.

See,  my front door is frozen shut too.    The door frame has contracted in the cold so the door can’t leave its frame.     My firewood is out there on the front porch.

Lighting a fire in the fireplace is fun;  but if it’s a necessity,  then  there’s a serious situation going on.

I woke up to this view across my desk this morning:

snow from desk

We did get 7 inches in that storm I was writing about last time.      My neighbor (who played and coached hockey and still likes to skate)  cleared the snow off the pond with shovel and snowblower.     (And left his chair that they all use to fumble with their skates, or to rest.  Wonder if it’s a penalty box too?)

The reason my sliding glass doors are frozen is because I’m using two vaporizers in the kitchen.  When it’s so cold outside,  the humidity goes way down.   The plants and I get very dehydrated — a big no-no for someone walking around with (dissolving)  pulmonary embolisms.   The sliding glass doors are very tight,  but that room moisture seeps into cracks that we can’t even feel. And  the severe cold seeps in from the other side.

snow rink chair

So the pond looks inviting.   My neighbor augered the ice and found it to be at least four inches thick, so it’s safe.

It’s just the air that’s not safe.

Not for another couple days.   A couple days to be,  not  snowed in,  but frozen in!

 

Stay warm everyone.

 

 

SNOW FOR DINNER and UPS AND DOWNS

January 28, 2019

(Human emotions are so weird – and uncontrollable,  at least when  they come up unexpectedly.   Like an ambush.)

This is about snowstorms,  funks,  and a thought from our Sunday Sermon.

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bear talking to you

 

First your scent.  Then stalking.  Then the sudden ambush.

 

(Things in life do that to you.)

A restaurant in Austria last week   (“Snow for Dinner”):

snow for dinner

In case you haven’t been following European news in the past couple months,  they’re having a terrible winter  over there;  extreme weather, especially lots of snowfall!  There have been frequent avalanches there,  some deadly, as well as here in the US;  a bad one in New Mexico and another in Utah, in the same suburb of Salt Lake city where I stayed one winter.  Our hosts took us up  a harrowing  snow-covered winding road to one of the ski mountains —  something about a “bird, forgot which one —  and that’s where they had an avalanche this year.

Well, we’re going to get a big  snowstorm tonight and all day tomorrow.   “Hurray!”  I say.  And just in time to raise my spirits.

It started with a visit from Son a few days ago,  enjoying his conversation;  he has interesting things to say –enjoy feeding him;   and he’s really good at lighting up the fireplace.   And then we watched a movie together.

About a bear.       A bear attack.

bear trees a man

That’s not from the movie, but it’s a very scary picture to me.  The movie was about two people hiking in  the woods (why do people DO that?)  up in Canada, and they were stalked (successfully)   by a big bear.

The movie was well done,  based on a true story  and,  as Son remarked,  “intense.”   I enjoyed it, but of course it brought me back to the moments when a bear started to stalk my Mom, Dad, and me deep in the forest in the Far  Far North.

Stalking,  then chasing,  making  lunges through the bushes.

bear brown snarl 350

Not a time that you’d forget.

Unfortunately,  for some reason that also brought back lots of “feelings”  from that period in my  life.  It was a long period of time,  very, very long,  and all the sadness and bleakness of those years  came out and  “attacked” — unexpectedly.

And that started one of those Deep Blue Funks that I get from time to time.

funk

I don’t know what Garfield should have been doing,  but I couldn’t post for a few days. . .

No big deal.  We all have  old emotions hanging over our heads,  stalking us.

funk blue moon

You wouldn’t believe how much sadness a person can contain – usually hidden from the rest of us.    I know this.   And I can easily imagine  the sadness and “aloneness”  that overshadows other people.

funk moon

I wrote.  I wrote and wrote and wrote;  and that helped,  to get feelings out of me and down on paper.   But what ended this Funk altogether were some good words in our Sunday sermon based upon readings from Romans 7.     Be present for the other person.  Be “instant in prayer”  — always ready for a reason to pray and then personally “present”  to God when you do pray.    Being fully present for the person you’re talking to.  

Good advice for all  of us, of course;  good thoughts to meditate on . . .   but what if someone actually practiced that on you!   Someone did!     Friendly chitchat after Mass,  and then a friend made a personal comment on my boots (of all things!)  and that she liked the color and how they matched my clothes!  Since I’m usually unaware of how I dress, I took notice that this was a genuine compliment.    Well, I took notice.   Of everything around me, then.

And I remembered the sermon, in which we were admonished to be fully present and attentive to the people around us.    And —  then . . .  I remember my Mom during some of our blizzards when I was a child around the age of that bear chase we had.    My Mom made our days of being snowed in a happy time of togetherness and mutually enjoyable activities –  reading to each other;  knitting side by side;  and  baking!  Above all,  the baking of treats.    I wrote about this a few posts ago,  but it came back to me again.

Now, our coming  snowstorm reminds me of someone being fully present for me.     A sense of not being alone all the time.    My Mom.  My friend today.   My Son for me.

And now my turn, for others.

That’s what a good sermon does,  makes you think and try to  become a better person in some way.

And that’s what a good snowstorm does,   reminds you of happy times.

And keeps the bear away.

 

FIFTY YEARS OF . . .

December 21, 2018

50 golden years

Whenever there is a long gap between postings, there always is an underlying reason bubbling under the surface of my emotions . . .     this week, no different.  

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This week, the reason:

50th Anniverdary 380

A snapshot of my Grandma and Grandpa’s 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration.  Family and Friends and neighbors attended.  Picture in the newspaper.   For my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary there was a smaller celebration.

And for mine, today, a very small one indeed.   Hubbie didn’t make it.

Hubbie didn’t quite make it to that age.    Son and I will celebrate.  We’ll celebrate mostly his life,  his life in this marriage,  and life itself which takes so many twists and turns, and only by seeming coincidence are we born of parents who managed to find each other  . . .  and marry.

Our very, very early years together are more vivid to me than all the rest, so I will just share those early times for The Spruce Tunnel record.

I had a bachelor party, of course.   (I’m the blonde.)

Kris Bachelor Party 380

I don’t know what all the others were doing,  but a couple hours later I didn’t look so good.   I drink my rum by the Tablespoon now,  not by the glass.

A day or two later I was being attended by my bridesmaids just before the wedding:

Kris and Bridesmaids

It was a winter wedding, of course.  December 21st.   Blizzard outside for two days before,  no snowfall on that day, then big blizzard again the next day.  Bridesmaids dresses were royal blue velvet trimmed in white fur.

Shortly thereafter I was being led down the aisle by my Dad.

Kris and Dad at aisle 380

“Helped”  down the aisle, more like it.    I was holding together until he patted me on the arm and said everything was going to be all right.   I so much remember every moment of that day.

My  Dad in that picture is the same age as my Son is now.   I don’t understand this Passage of Time thing.

Then we are at the altar:

Kris Ken at altar 380

We were married High Church Anglican,  An Anglo-Catholic wedding ceremony, complete with Mass for the wedding party, beautiful liturgy, beautiful music, and an exquisite soloist singing Ave Maria.   It felt so perfect.

Then we did the Cake in the Mouth thing:

Kris Ken Cake Thing 380

 

And then the Search For the Blue Garter thing:

Kris Ken Garter Thing 380

Dear New Husbands:  It’s a bit embarrassing.  don’t take too long….

 

Shortly after our wedding, two weeks later,  I graduated from college.   Hubbie caught me walking  down the hallway with my new diploma:
Kris after graduation 380

Then I began teaching my new  class:

Kris teaching 380

Our honeymoon was spread out over the next few months because of our immediate teaching duties, but we hit the highlights:   Niagara Falls with my handsome new husband:

Ken at Niagara 380

On the  ferry  (the Staten Island Ferry?)  on our way to see the Statue of Liberty:

Kris on Ferry 380

And then on down to Washington D.C.

Kris at capitol steps 380

We settled into our new life.   We continued to travel, all around the country.  Our early albums are filled with photos of mountains, plains, caves, fun hotel stops,  Mt. Rushmore, Las Vegas, and Disneyland.    It was like we were on one long “honeymoon” adventure.

Hubbie bought me a piano and let me adopt my Grandma’s cat:

Piano Kris n Mitzi 380

We taught school,  watched all the societal changes and learned what tear gas smells like.  (Our wedding wasn’t the only momentous event that happened in ’68.)     We had two children, traveled more, visited our parents regularly, the ordinary things of marriage happened, Hubbie got sick, and passed away several years ago.

He didn’t “pass away”  very far.

All those of our family who have died in recent years are not  truly “away,”  but they are “away” in the cruelest, most difficult way  —    not “away”  but inaccessible.

I will have an inaccessible husband at dinner tonight.   We will go to one of his favorite restaurants.   I will have something he liked to eat, within the restrictions of Friday abstinence.  I will aim for a strawberry kind of dessert, because he liked strawberries and one time he communicated to us through strawberry ice cream — don’t ask.

All this was what was on my mind during this past week or two.   I couldn’t  post about ordinary things.

Christmas baking now.   Preparing for our little family to be together for the holiday season.   Because life goes on and time passes.

I don’t understand this Passage of Time thing.   But it must happen.

The Present is what’s important.

Deo gratias.

 

 

 

 

“NOT BY FIRE BUT BY ICE”

December 1, 2018

 

I think the title of this posting is the name of a book written a couple decades ago.    But the phrase seems more apparently true nowadays.

ICE Deer Hoof

We had a nice little snowstorm to start out this week and the high temperatures haven’t reached the freezing point all week – until today, when my car noticed that the outdoor temperature just after noon registered 40 degrees.

Oh, that top photo is a hoof print;   I see I had a visitor last night leaving a trail across my front yard.

Ice Deer Trail

I do enjoy winter.   At least I enjoy “normal”  winters.   However, we might be in for some pretty extreme winters for the next . . .  oh, say   250 years.

All over this planet there are signs that the world is reacting to the quieting down of the sun.      Scientists report that the Greenland ice pack has been increasing in the past few years,   the Arctic sea ice is thickening,   summer highs have been lower:

Ice summers getting cooler

And glaciers all over are increasing in size.    You’d think a glacier is a solid river of ice,  but it really  has quite a rough surface,  full of bumps and crevasses, sort of like this, if you were in an airplane looking down:

Ice Glacial

 

Well, I didn’t take that photo in an airplane looking down.  I was just reminded of glaciers when I walked past “the source”  of that glacier photo:

Ice glacial source

Your world can be kind of fun when you walk past your “frozen car”  and start thinking of glaciers!   And developing ice ages.

And lack of sunspots:

ice sun still doing it

Here is the sun a couple decades ago and a decade ago (approximately).    The number of sunspots comes in cycles.   They’re counted and recorded by observers around the world.

Scientists have noticed that the normal cycle is not manifesting, but rather there are fewer and fewer sunspots within the cycles.

ice sunspot chart

That’s a small segment of the sunspot cycle chart, just showing the most recent years.  (Does it suggest a  Super Grand Solar Minimum  developing?)

Here is today’s sun:

ice imnage of today nov 30

Nothing.     “Number of sunspots: 0”  —       The sunspot count is posted daily on  www .  spaceweather . com   (remove spaces), as well as other interesting measurements and space events.    (Such as:    We are expecting a mild geomagnetic storm, class G1, this weekend.  No big deal, but people like me who listen to AM radio all night will have a little problem listening to our radio stations.   And:  on Dec. 2nd,  there will be a very, very close pass of a little asteroid  ( .1 LD) ;  but it’s only 9 feet in diameter, so – no problem, probably. )

The climate  is  changing.   Our sun is in the process of reversing its magnetic poles which is accompanied by a lessening of its magnetic field – at the same time the earth is doing the same thing.   With the magnetosphere  (around our planet)  weakening,  more cosmic rays get through to us, right down to the core.   Cosmic raise cause more clouds  (I’m skipping some details)  which causes less warming from our sun, and increases earthquakes,  volcanic activity, which in turn causes more particulate matter to be thrown up into the atmosphere,  which causes . . .  less warming from the sun.

An ice age develops in cycles, short cycles, medium cycles,  long and very long cycles.  Sometimes they all meet at once.    It develops slowly,  then more quickly and scientists begin noticing it,  and then it cascades rapidly into a (temporarily)  irreversible lengthy ice age.    That seems to be where we are now.

There are consequences to Earth’s societies.  There are fewer resources, especially food and fuel, to go around.    Famine, disease;  kingdoms have fallen, in the past, during lengthy sunspot minimums and resulting earth cooling.

Add to the stress of lower temperatures the stress of lowering CO2 levels which we are recording now.   CO2 is plant food,  good food for plants, like trees and food crops.   CO2 is down to 400 ppm, and agricultural and forestry experts are reporting that the trees are growing more slowly, they are shorter in height,  and they are stressed which makes them vulnerable to disease and pests.    Crop production is noticeably down,  chiefly in grain and in produce.

So let us enjoy the “climate” we have right now.    If these observations are correct,  things may change!      If these actual measurements are correct,  things may change!    If these scientists are right,  things may change!

 

Banner icicles

 

Here’s a comment at the end of one climate change article:

“Don’t bother googling news about the vanishing sunspots, they too are vanishing.”

I never use Google for my searches,  but for some reason it sounds like Google   (and other search engines dominated by our Rulers)   are preventing these stories from coming up in your search engine results.     Sometimes you have to do the “searching.”

 

AN ICY BREAK

April 16, 2018

Just a little fun amidst my “Agenda”  posts —

Icy Back Yard 380

This was my backyard this weekend.     An icy paradise!     The Evil Winter Witch of Narnia reigns!

We didn’t get the 3 or 4 feet of snow that the news has been talking about, nor the 7 foot drifts reported from the Far Far North . . .  but here in the Far North we got a bit of ice!   This is not “crazy”  weather, nor “extreme” weather, and not even too “unusual.”   We’ve had blizzards here in April before,   snowfalls occasionally in May,  but this ice storm was fun to look at.

Our power went out – of course.      Branches were heavy with a covering of ice.:

Icy covering 380

 

The fir trees were all drooping under the weight:

Icy droopy firs 200

Normally, the branches of this tree in the parking lot stand out at about 90 degree angles.

And one big tree wore its halo of ice beautifully:

Icy Tree 370

The human impact?   Well, we lost our power for about a third of a day.

“Poor me” —  I had to find shelter  at my local  coffee shop where there were electrical outlets so I could keep on working.      (ahem):

Icy cocoa 360

 

But now, one day later,   all those ice sheaths on the branches are falling with every gust of wind,  making it sound like intermittent avalanches on my roof.      Or bowling pins rolling around up  there.    O ma herd of angry squirrels running around . . .  you get the idea,  but every once in a while I felt like ducking for cover when my roof got so noisy.

Here are the pieces of ice that litter my yard –

Icy pieces 380

Those are my fingers in the picture to show the size of all those pieces on the ground.   They are heavy, sharp, and loud!

But Grandson Cooper has me beat in weather extremes.   Here is a postcard I got from him while he was in Hawaii last week:

Kris and Volcano 235

He took a hike near a live volcano . . .  and  the next week he returned to his home in the High Sierras to weather like this:

Cooper''s Car 380

Yep, he lives right on Donner Lake, so that’s looking out his front window.   And one of those snowy lumps in the foreground  . . .   that’s his Mommy’s car.

He doesn’t mind.  He’s young enough to take it all in stride.  He cheerfully accepts whatever comes his way.  A good philosophy for us all.

There is another person who made the most of icy weather.  It is Frederic Church, artist.  Very popular a hundred years ago:

Iceberg mist FChurch 380

He painted a series of Iceberg pictures that are really wonderful to look at.    You can look up his name in the Image section of your Search Engine, and you will see all kinds of massive icebergs, some with shipwrecks in them,  and in many  beautiful winter colors.

Icebergs and Wreck Frederic church

Just something to do when the weather keeps you indoors.

Icebrgs

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NIGHT SURPRISE

January 29, 2018

I was raking old leaves this weekend, wearing a sweater . . .  but the Far North gives us surprises –

29 Deck at night snowfall 380

This was taken about 4:30 this morning. We were having such a beautiful snowfall  . . .  I kept going around to all the windows and taking pictures (as though we’d never had snow before!).     The deck lights added so many little patterns  –

29 Deck Lights 380

 

There are nine or so inches on my deck railing and bench right now.    I know a lot of people  must have wakened  up to this “surprise”;  no one seems to have heard any weather report predicting this much snow.

The whole world looks so different under all this snow.         See those two small parallel white lines against the tree trunk?   —

29 Vines in the snow

Those two parallel lines are big Poison Ivy vines that  had been growing  all the way up that tall tree, and then they were ripped off  in a big storm.    They let go of the tree and just fell off.    No one is too willing to go and get them out of the creek where they fell.

Usually you can’t see them too well just behind my pond  (which is all that white in the foreground)  and when everything is colored in  the same brown tones.   But snow outlines everything in a thick soft covering, accentuating some things, obscuring other things.

Schools are closed.  My class is canceled.   The snowplows will not come today, and neither will the mailman.

But then there’s the driveway to think about.       (Think:  good exercise)

29 Shoveling 370

Can’t get out on the roads to go (cross-country)  skiing anyway.     In fact,  looking at that snowbank at the end of the driveway,  I’ll be staying home for a while.    And when the snowplows come,  that snowbank is just going to get higher.

29 Driveway 370

There is a thin light snowfall right now,  but when we get a puff of wind,  the snow on the branches comes down in a cascade of tennis ball size chunks.

Now that I’m all snowed in,  I’m supposed to be enjoying the couch by a big window in my front room,, and reading and knitting . . .    but –

29 Front Window 380

Can’t keep my eyes off this scene.

I’m easily distracted.

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SOUNDS OF COLD

January 5, 2018

Frosty windows today!

5 windows

I’ve  just emailed some of my Friday morning class,   reminding them we don’t have class today.    I ended by bidding them to enjoy the Cold Blast with cozy soft  clothes,  good books,   hot soups and tea and cocoa.

5 soup

But I noticed –  not only do these cups of hot liquids feel good to our hands,  but their sounds  are an anticipation of inner warmth — —   stirring the soup with a  hard metal spoon, scraping the bottom of the pan;

—  the light crinkle of paper surrounding the tea ,   5 tea bag 60

—  the opening of the  container of cocoa,  the swish and light clatter of a spoon around and around the cup   (I have a quiet house).

5 st cocoa str 50

Prolong those sounds and the enjoyment increases.

 

5 ha ha colors 70  Other sounds too:   All those expected,  overused words we use to express our astonishment that it could actually get this cold!   All those jokes:   “It’s so cold that . . . ”     Here’s a political joke:   “It’s so cold that Elizabeth Warren is now calling herself an Eskimo!”   

Okay,  maybe only 58% of our country would find that funny;  the other ‘half’  don’t seem to have a sense of humor about themselves.

5 birds

The peeps and chirps of the wild birds are sharper and shriller as they remind you to throw out more bird seed.

Then there’s the nail-popping sound when the air gets so cold that the roof contracts and pops those nails right out of the shingles.

5 nails 85

You’re laying there in bed all night hearing a Snap!   Pop!  and Roll!   as the nail is freed and rolls all the way down the roof.    Kind of fun.    (“It’s so cold that I’m losing the nails in my roof. ”  hmmmm)

And then there’s the sound we can all make, if we’re lucky enough to have snow:    You have to walk out to the mailbox and you’re all bundled up like in a cocoon and all you can hear is the Squeak!  Squeak!  Squeak!  of your boots making footprints in the super-frozen dry snow.

Tip:   For added fun,  take your walk to the mailbox when it’s dark.  Preferably by moonlight.

5 moonlight

(Just remember, you can’t breathe that super-cold air  into  your lungs or you’ll come up coughing and sputtering!)

 

5 cocoa 110 j

 

KEEP WARM!

 

 

CAN’T COMPLAIN

January 5, 2018

     -4

That would be MINUS 4  right now,  predicted to go down a  few more degrees yet tonight.      -7, then.

icy

But I am absolutely not complaining after seeing ice water,  literally ice cold water carrying sheets of ice down Boston streets today.

I went out today, first time since New Year’s Eve now that I’m vertical again and on my feet.   It was cold and sunny,  but with a new fur-lined parka,  I didn’t even feel the cold when I went out for supplies.

Hurt to breathe in, though.   I forgot that that happens in below zero weather.

I understand most of America is sharing this same experience this week, each in our own way.   Hope your weather is interesting – but not too interesting.

ANOTHER FAR NORTH SNOW SURPRISE

December 14, 2017

Well,  this isn’t too much of a surprise:

Ruler table

I went out yesterday evening after I wrote about our little snowstorm, and stuck a ruler in my deck table.

Ruler Numbers 370

9 1/2 inches.   Just can’t believed the prediction for this storm passed me by.  Took me by surprise, didn’t see it coming.      Cars are moving on the streets now.

But here’s today’s little surprise:   I drove to my library this evening to return some books, and met a  little guy from the Arctic Circle –

Reinder face 370

And his friend –

Reindeer in cage 370

 

One line of my mother’s family came from Samiland; and one line of my dad’s family came from Lapland.  Both are regions of the world where reindeer like these are part of the families.    Not pets, really,  but food,  drink,  clothing, shelter, etc.

Nice to see them today.  Nice, pleasant little surprise.

 

 

 

A FAR NORTH SNOW STORY

December 13, 2017

(Got time for a    s   l  o   w       little snow story?)

There are 18 more days until 2018;  and this afternoon it was 19 degrees with 19 m.p.h. winds –  which makes it a lot colder.
RECORDER

Supposed to be Recorder practice day.  We were going to do Christmas songs.   Looked forward to that, but this got in the way:

A Snow Window 370

That’s the window looking out over my desk in my study, or library, whatever it’s called.

Weatherman said at one time this afternoon it was coming down an inch an hour.  Looks like about 8 inches on my deck railings.

A Sil Left Deck 370

That’s about four inches there, but  it kept on piling up.   The roads weren’t going to be very good, so all “electives” were canceled, including our music.

But snow that deep has to be taken off the driveway.   Shoveled.     My two across-the-street neighbors were already out there shoveling their own driveways.    I had a quiet afternoon while it got real pretty outside;    reading, dozing off ;    not moving around much, getting thoroughly chilled inside the house.

A Sil Shrub Ball 370

 

Then, time to take care of that driveway because snow-shoveling warms you up.  So does getting into my gigantic new snow parka,  which I put on over a turtleneck, blouse,  a big fuzzy sweater, tied all together with a long scarf .    Getting dressed like that takes some time and  warms you up too.

Then came the long thick over-the-knee socks and my high-tech winter hiking snow boots that I got from a store in the High Sierras.

A BOOTS 370

Took some doing getting the inner and outer laces and buckles done up.  Those boots will put your feet into a slow bake,  but the time it takes to get them on is worth it if your feet would otherwise be walking through deep, cold snow in less high-tech footgear.

Found my big thick stiff ski gloves and got them finally pulled halfway up my arms  and tied in place.

Opened my front door to go out —

And saw that one of my neighbors had already shoveled my driveway!

All dressed up and no place to go.

Nothing to do out there!    Just had to close the door, come back in, and strip off all that  outer gear.

I owe someone a warm fresh-baked loaf of bread,  but I don’t know who.

 

shovel

Neighborliness in the Far North.

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