Day 35 – Living well in spite of Old Man Winter


It is a bright and stormy day in North Dakota today. Snow is falling and blowing around, and what little light comes through the clouds makes everything kind of blindingly white. As gloomy settings go, this isn’t highest on the list, but it is somewhat disheartening to see snow falling…again.

I saw did see something today that brightened my spirits quite a bit, and Sprouts day 2reminded me how large a difference one day can make. The seeds which were just barely noticeable in yesterday’s picture are now very apparent.

Today is going to be a mixture of crappy chores like paying bills and cleaning floors, but also a trip to the local Rambler’s Magic City Bike Show. It’s always fun to get out and see the motorcycles on display, and running into people I haven’t seen in a while.

The nice thing about being from North Dakota is you learn from a young age to respect our weather because it will kill you, but also how to live well in spite of it.

Today is a good example. It’s snowing and crappy outside. No doubt the roads will be extra slick with all of this new dry, fluffy snow falling. However, there is fun to be had and people to see on the other side of town. It would be easier to just stay put and putter around the house, but getting out is good for the soul. As long as there is decent visibility and clear roads there’s no good reason to let Old Man Winter win. You lose, you mean old bastard!

On the flip side, there is a certain coziness to just being in the house when the weather is icky. Maybe I’ll curl up with my latest crochet project later after the sun goes down.

Here’s hoping you find a way to live well, no matter what weather is thrown your way. Blessings and warm green thoughts to you all!

Day 34 – Killing despair at the end of a North Dakota Winter


It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to write, and I am starting to think that it’s because I have so much rambling around in my head that I can’t begin to know how get it out in words. Sometimes there aren’t words to describe exactly what is going on in my head.

Most of my problem lately has been the weather. We’ve been blessed with two or three good warm spells, which have melted much of the snow that was dumped on us at the beginning of the Winter in December. That has been a big help, but Winter just can’t let Spring Owl - Nopego, and I wish he’d just pack it in and go to sleep for the season.

Just recently, we’ve had some awful storms in northern North Dakota and southern Saskatchewan. The amount of snow we got isn’t great in amount, but the winds whipping it around at 60+ mph is the real evil here. Minot didn’t get it so bad, but mostly everyone north of us did, and it’s ugly. People have dug their way out now, but it appears that we are getting more snow cold this week. As my favorite weather app (WTF Weather) tells me today, it’s “snotcicle weather”, with a low of -1, and a projected high of 10 above zero. That’s really not terribly cold, but we have been teased with 40-50 degree temps, which makes it feel cold all of a sudden.

I don’t want to give the false impression that we have been beleaguered by a long nasty winter, because we really haven’t. Our first real accumulation of snow came late in December with a whiz-bang blizzard, and we have been struggling along ever since, but to only have snow and cold from December through March is a gift. I’ve known years where our first blizzard comes in October and Winter keeps us in his grips right through some of April. When Old Man Winter stays around for so long, it gets really demoralizing. If I were to personify Winter, and I often do, I would guess that he likes it that way. Mean old bastard…

Why demoralizing? Well, for one thing, it’s painful. The cold makes your bones hurt, and when the weather changes and storms blow through it can cause throbbing aches which are hard to get rid of. That’s part of my problem now. I’m really done hurting all of the time. I would love nothing more than to just sit in the sunshine, soak the heat into my bones and be ache free. It was not lost on me that I didn’t hurt the whole time I was in Las Vegas, and when I came back to North Dakota the old aches just fell back into place. Wow…going somewhere else can make my knees stop hurting. Hmmm…food for thought.

Spring Sprouts

If you look really close, you can see little sprouts in the middle.

Something else I am keenly aware of is my need to be surrounded by greenery and things that I can nurture and grow.  I believe what happens when you grow things is that you plant a little hope with those seeds, and to watch them grow is very sustaining in times when regular daily life just isn’t. I’ve started some seeds on my kitchen table, and it’s nice to check on it daily to see the growth and change. This will tide me over until I can get outside to plant in my yard.

It is still only the middle of March, so it is not out of bounds to still have cold and stormy weather. However… we are witnessing the death throes of Winter, and the rattle and wheeze of his last days are loud. Underneath all of that complaining racket I can just hear Mother Nature plotting with Spring and Summer in whispers and grins of anticipation. Their time is coming, and the long wait is soon to be over.

Here’s hoping that your weather is just right. If it isn’t, just hold on…better weather is coming. Blessings all!

 

My garden longs for your brains…


… but some sunshine and warmth would suffice. 

Day 33 – Seasonal shifts


Today, The Flirt brought over the ice house to store for the season. He went ice fishing with his nephew yesterday and had some success, but it is getting too warm out to be on the ice much longer. Soon we will have to renew our fishing licenses and get our summer poles ready for the new season. Yay!

I am so ready for the new fishing season. Why? Because with that comes warm weather.

img_1720

Lake Sakakawea from a pontoon last Summer

I’m ready for the good warm weather, and gardening, and fishing in the sunshine. I’m ready for warm breezes and thunderstorms. I’m ready to have weather that requires neither the furnace nor the air conditioner to be on at all.

 

Today, I planted some herbs and eagerly await their little green sprouts to appear. I do have one regular house plant, but it’s kind of static. It doesn’t change much, and is a little underwhelming when it comes to the kind of growth and change I am looking for.

I love when the seasons change, but I am always looking forward to the change of seasons, but Spring and Autumn are my favorites. These seasons seem to drip with the magic of Mother Nature, and the beautiful transformations that go along with that.

Right now, I am so grateful to have a day in early March which is so beautiful I can shut off my furnace and have all of my windows open. It’s a whopping 39 degrees here today, the sun is out, and there’s just a little breeze. Lovely!

Here in North Dakota we have to take advantage of these nice days. There’s a saying here: If you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes and it will change. That’s the truth. Old Man Winter (who can go suck rotten eggs) isn’t done with us yet. Tonight, we can expect, “…a wintry mix followed by accumulating snow and blowing snow possible across western and central North Dakota, Sunday night through Tuesday…strong northwest winds with gusts of between 50 and 60 mph are also possible Monday… 3-5 inches are possible…”. The good news is that it doesn’t look like it’s going to get below zero. There’s always a silver lining!

Here’s hoping you have lovely weather where you are, and that your Sunday is slow and peaceful. Blessings all!

 

 

 

Day 32 – The “Should” part of my brain can go take a chill pill


Good morning and happy Saturday!

It was nice to be able to walk on my treadmill in the sunshine today. I should have been up at O’Dark-Thirty to get my walk in, and my day going, way before sun up. Here it is 9:30 and I am just now getting to the blog.

The “Should”part of my brain is berating my laziness, and murmuring angry whispers to me about how my morning has been wasted. Look at how much could have been accomplished, if I’d have only gotten out of bed at 7 when my alarm went off! Now I am behind, and will have to run to try to catch up with everything that needs to be done.

The “I Am Done With The Running And The Stress” part of my brain says to chill and enjoy the moment. Bask in the sunshine and sip coffee in the quiet of the morning. There’s no harm in being flexible and making sure you get a little rest, for your brain and your body.

These two areas of my brain have been at war with each other for a while now. I used to just go with the insistence of the “Should” part of my brain, and then I got divorced. At that point “Should” went out the window for “Have To”. I had to work two jobs to get by. I had to constantly run here and there for the kids, and whatever else needed doing.

I was constantly in survival mode for the first two years after my divorce, and it burnt off a lot of what “Should” was trying to convince me of: that I wasn’t good enough, and that I need to work harder, better, faster, stronger.  That’s not good enough, do it better. Your time management is terrible, get up earlier so you can cram more into every day….etc., recycle, rinse, repeat.

These days, I try to ask myself, what needs to be done now, and how do I balance that with what I want?

Today was supposed to be about a morning of housework, and then a leisurely afternoon strolling through the Home and Garden Show at The State Fair Center. But, as it turns out I will be spending the day with my Mom. The lady who gave my parents their dog (because she didn’t have the time or energy to keep up with the dog anymore) called Mom some time ago and said she wanted to stop by and visit on this date. I think somewhere in the back of Mom’s mind there was a little worry that this lady would try to take the dog back, and Dad was going to be out for the day. Safety in numbers means a lot.

Long story short, the lady never showed up, and I got to spend the day with my Mom. Everyone wins! The Home and Garden Show comes every year, and  I can see it next March. So, the housework that I should have done today will be put off for tomorrow. Or, maybe I’ll do it across evenings next week. The “Should” part of my brain can just go take a chill pill. As long as the bills are paid, and I have enough clothes to wear to work, that’s good enough.

Here’s hoping you have enough time in your life to be flexible to help out the important people in your life, and to take time for things that feed your soul. Tell that “Should” part of your brain to go take a long walk off a short pier. Blessings all!

 

Day 31 – Making do in the moment


Today I walked into the living room to take a walk on the treadmill, and (Poof!) the light died.  Time to go light bulb shopping.

Great. Now what?!

Well, sometimes you just have to suck it up and make do. I turned on my phone so I could see, found the treadmill and turned it on. It was weird walking in the dark this morning, but it got the job done.

Making do seems to be a theme around here, but that’s ok. It’s better to make do, than to just lay down and take it when life throws you a curve ball.

As I sit here writing the sun is starting to rise, and it’s only 7:10am. It’s rising earlier and earlier this days, and it makes me so excited for Summer. I don’t thrive much in the dark. Sometimes I need the dark just to help get the day off of me if it’s been busy and harried. I need the light more, though. These long months of Winter make me feel like a cave dweller, and in the Spring when the light comes back it’s the best thing.

Soon it will be time to cleanup  the yard and get it ready for whatever plans I’ve decided on for planting this year. I have a whole bunch, but can’t do them all. I guess I just need to pick a couple and go with it. Oh, the indecision!

Here’s hoping you have all the light you need, and have a way to make do in the moment if it goes out. Blessings all!

Day 30 – Victory gardens in the 21st Century


I’ve been giving it a lot of thought over the years, and have come to the conclusion that the average American has no survival skills.

What would happen if the electricity were to go out? That’s something I have more than a little stress about, living on the High Planes where the temperatures swing from less than -30 to 100+ throughout the year. There’s not much I can do about that at the moment, but I can grow things.

As a culture, we don’t know how to grow, or hunt for, our own food any more. And if we did, may not know how to preserve it.  I saw a meme on-line several times that declares something along the lines of people survived when things got back in the old days, because Grandma knew how to garden and her supply chain was local.

I have worked at both the Big Red and Big Blue box stores here in town, and I can tell you that their freezers and stock shelves in the back only hold so much. If the supply trucks aren’t able to get through, that food will only last about three days. I would imagine it’s the same for the grocery stores too.

When I got divorced, the first thing I did was make a list of all of the necessities, dry goods, etc. I thought the boys and I would use for a year. I filled three pages of college ruled paper, front and back. It was one of the things I did that made me feel like I had hard ground to stand on. Making a plan is a first step to making a person feel like they have some control of their environment a bad situation. Over time, I stocked a pretty good pantry, and it was a good thing.

Fast forward several years later, and my pantry is full of all kinds of crap that I don’t use. As things have gotten better, and Younger Son is gone with the Navy, we don’t have as much need for a well stocked pantry. Or do we?

I have a suspicion that things are going to get really rough coming up. Things in our country aren’t stable. Things where I live aren’t stable, and jobs are an issue. I think mine should be ok, but I have been surprised before.

Anyway, I’ll bet talking some more about my gardening plans, and how I plan on clearing out my pantry and bringing it back to life.

Here’s hoping that all is well and stable where you are, and that you have a plan just in case things go south. Blessings all!