Tag Archives: wind

Away, back, away, and back again 3/2/2018

Finally settled back home from a couple of weeks of flurried activity, first with our cruise and as soon as the laundry was done and the dust settled, I was off to the winter version of the spinning retreat. We enjoyed a couple of weeks of very nice weather, enjoying the western Caribbean toward the end of their rainy season, so not too hot and only a few random showers. There were two nights of heavier rain, but it occurred after we had settled for the night. For the most part the seas were calm, though I tend to motion sickness and had one bad evening when I had failed to take Bonine in the morning, did a water excursion and back on the ship just as we were about to leave port. The ship store sold motion sick bands and a couple of Bonine and I was okay after a few hours. We had a great time on a much needed vacation.  And we returned to spring like weather at home.

The spinning retreat is an event that I look forward to, rejoining friends that I see infrequently, laughing, eating, spinning and knitting. The motel at Hawk’s Nest State Park lacks a restaurant at this time, but Tudor’s Biscuit World is just down the road and Pies and Pints Pizza is only a short drive away, so many of us go out for breakfast and lunch. Dinner started as happy hour and morphed over the years to a grand pot luck. This year the pot luck was so immense that one night we had 5 or 6 crockpot dishes, plus salads, crackers, cheese, dips, and desserts. Though I had not asked prior to the event to vend as I was unsure having been away, I took some soaps, salves, yarn, and knitwear and because there were few vendors, I did get to set up and was able to sell enough to pay for the weekend which is my goal.

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This retreat did take a negative twist though as I awoke each day with a few more itchy spots, unsure if I was reacting to their detergent or if I was being bitten. Sunday morning, I was pretty sure that they were bites, notified the office as I left, washed my bag and clothing in hot water as soon as I arrived home. By Monday, it was apparent, that I had had a bed bug encounter, something I have feared in hotels, but not expected there. I have always been over reactive to insect bites and have broad itchy bands surrounding the rows of bites, characteristic of bed bugs. Now a week out, I am still on antihistamines, anti itch creams, and trying not to scratch. I am hoping that I did not bring them home with me. My spinning, knitting, and vending items remained in the tiled conference room for the weekend, but traveled home in the back of my car with my suitcase, though in a plastic box crate and in trays strapped to the top of the crate.

The week remained delightfully spring like until last night. We have howling wind and woke to snow flurries. The upcoming forecast is more seasonal. We lost our power briefly last night and again this afternoon for a couple of hours. Fires have been lit in the wood stove and fireplace in case of another failure. It is supposed to go down into the twenties tonight and we want the house to stay warm.

I am continuing to knit on the new shawl that is a design on the fly that I will probably never write down.  The yarns are lovely though.  It is a mitered shawl of a Freia Ombre Shawl ball and a craveyarn Santa Fe solid.

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I am nearly to a point where I need to make sure I have a multiple of the number of stitches needed for the fancier lace that will be the bottom lace band.

Also on the needles are Log Cabin squares for a gift blanket in the works.

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The warmer weather and longer days have the hens producing generously again.  My egg buying friends were all grateful today when I was able to bring them the quantities they desire.  Each day gathering 8 to a dozen from the 16 hens.  I’m still unsure whether the two with the pale combs are laying, so I may be getting them from just 14 hens.

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The power has been restored and flickered off and back on again, so I should get our dinner going in case it goes out again.  Until next time.

The Winter of the Wind

Each year since moving to the mountains, more than a decade ago, it has snowed on Valentine’s Day.  Sometimes just a couple of inches, sometimes a foot or more.  This time of year has been noted for it’s cold and it’s snow, but this year is different.  There has been very little snow, mountain snow showers, yes, a trace here and there, but only one really measureable snow of about 3 or 4 inches. The temperatures have yoyo’d from parka cold to 80ºf (27ºC), definitely not mid February in the mountains weather.  The trees are confused, already they are budding out, some of the maples have tiny leaves.

But this has been the winter of the wind.  Our log home is in a hollow with a mountain gap to the northwest and the wind at times howls through that gap sounding like a locomotive bearing down on us.  We have experienced that wind many times in the decade, but it seems this year like a constant force.  It howls and rattles.  Our home is a large sturdy structure with a three story west side of logs on a stone faced concrete footer wall.  It isn’t going anywhere, but some days it seems like the whole house is shuttering.  The window choice of the log home company from whom we purchased are not the best, though they are double hung insulated windows, we have hung insulated Roman shades on those windows.  The ones on the west end of the house have been closed more times this winter than most winters in the past.  Opened in the late afternoon to allow in the sun’s warmth, then closed again at night to block the chill from the wind. Today is cold, mostly cloudy, and a high wind advisory again.  Tomorrow it is going to be spring like again and calm, reaching unseasonable temperatures for most of next week.

The Virginia and West Virginia ski resorts are probably fretting this year, having difficulty even making man made snow at night.  On our way home from out son’s house last weekend, when the temperature was rising to 80, we passed one of the resorts, they had two long parallel man made runs with snow in the otherwise very unwinter like surroundings.

The winter has produces some beautiful morning skies.

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It’s Back!

It has snowed all day.  Nothing is sticking, it is mountain snow showers, but the high was at 7 a.m. and it was below freezing then.  The wind has howled all day long.  This weather system according to NOAA is the system that spawned the major snowstorm up the east coast of the US.  And yesterday it was in the upper 60’s.

My new parka has been most welcome today, as this was school and preschool days, a book reserved at the library arrived and needed to be collected, parts to fix the kitchen faucet came in, a special order from the grocer also arrived, plus it was Spinning Group day and one of my fellow en-actors at Smithfield House Plantation was coming to give me a lesson on how to warp the backstrap loom that was acquired a few months ago.  The spinning group was large and boisterous, having a lot of fun while D and I sat on the floor and got the loom set up and got me started with weaving on it.

Because of the arthritis from old shoulder and wrist injuries, drop spindle spinning, my portable spinning has had to be curtailed.  There is another type of portable spinning that involved a spindle that is supported in a bowl or dish in your lap or on a low table and my interest in learning this has been piqued.  One style was purchased online, then a different style was found on the fiber social network, and in inquiring about purchasing it, found out the gal selling lives just a few minutes from eldest son.  We already have a weekend trip to see them scheduled for this weekend, so I will get to meet this other spinner who is also homesteading a small acreage and pick up the spindle directly from her.  What a fun coincidence.

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The bottom one is the one we will pick up Saturday.

Graupel and wind

Winter arrived again yesterday.  We had been experiencing unseasonably warm temperatures, lots of rain, and I feared for the garlic and asparagus mulched over in the garden.  The garlic has sprouted some, but I know from experience that it will be okay.  Some cloves might be a bit smaller, but it will still form.  The asparagus, I am really worried about.  This will be year 3.  The year I can actually expect to harvest some of the delightful spears, but the crowns won’t survive if they sprout and then freeze.

Yesterday was sunny off and on and the temperature dropped more than 20ºf between the time I dropped grandson at his bus and sunset yesterday.  More drop occurred during the night and though it isn’t as cold as a few weeks ago, today we have mountain snow showers and high wind, serious wind chill.

The chickens came out to scratch for their grain that was tossed on the ground and all went back in the coop.  Too cold and windy for their preference.  I don’t blame them, I don’t want to be out in it either.

When I dropped granddaughter off at preschool, I stopped and bought more grain to make chicken food, I was nearly out. It was cold in the garage while I worked on that and as I added more straw to their coop to help keep them warm.

Later, we picked granddaughter up from preschool, bought a bowl of soup for lunch, picked up a book I had reserved at the library, mailed a box of yarn to a charity and came home.  Cuddled in my chair with knitting, a book, and watching it snow, I knew that I would have to go out again in a few minutes to pick grandson up from school.  Back home from that, I don’t plan to venture out again.  A cup of tea, my stress free chair, maybe a blanket and I will stay put until time to cook dinner.  Even though I don’t want to go outside again,  the chickens will need some scratch, their pop door closed, and whatever number of eggs they laid today collected.  I guess that means yet another venture into the cold.

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The next couple of days are expected to be even colder.  Maybe the wind will at least die down.

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The iris and jonquils think it is spring.

Abysmal Day

It blew gales, the rain coming from all directions at once, whipping around the house, whistling and shaking screens.

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The driveway looked like a river, culminating in a pond in front of one of the garage doors,

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And created a new, but temporary creek between the house and the gardens.

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Actually this is what is supposed to happen, though the pond in front of the garage door shouldn’t.  That is the result of the grands digging there where the softer soil has washed down the edge of the driveway.

When the rain quits and before it freezes, the tractor will have to be driven up to clean the culvert on the uphill side of our driveway.  The crushed gravel has washed down across the road again and about half filled the ditch.  Maybe a tractor bucket or two of that will be dumped and smoothed in front of that door. The design of the garage is raised enough that this water does not come in, but it is a mess to get to the cars.

The chicken coop was opened, but their food was put inside.  They didn’t venture out until the heaviest rainfall slowed.  I could hear Mr. Croak out there voicing his displeasure.  The high temperature for the day occurred early and though through Wednesday, it will still be mild, the rain should finally quit and a bit of drying out to occur before the cold arrives on Thursday.  Wednesday night’s low will be Thursday’s high and winter will return to the mountains.

Sleepless in …

The wind has howled like a freight train plowing through the house all night.  I don’t sleep well when it does for fear of it toppling the shed roof over the heatpump and taking out our heat.  It woke me at 2 a.m. and that ended my night.

This is what we awoke to find

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yes, snow blowing sideways.  Note the small flag next to the post.

I went out to put food in the coop and open the pop door and because of the direction, there is a small snowdrift in the coop.  Their water bucket is frozen solid.  I left if outside as it is supposed to get up to the mid 40s later, so hopefully it will thaw.

I don’t know when the wind is supposed to die down, but the weather gods are telling us we are expecting 2 to 4 inches of white stuff before it does.  Not what I expected this morn.