Waterlogged blessings

Last night we had one humdinger of a thunderstorm pass through. It passed by quickly, but there was a lot of bright lightning, and the thunder was so loud it literally shook the house. While I’m a big fan of thunderstorms, I have to say I could have waited. We are so waterlogged here that more rain is just not what most people needed here. Not only are people still dealing with flooding issues left over from the snow melting, but the farmers are over due trying to get their spring seeding done. Uff-da, what a mess.

So, where’s the blessing here? As Older Son astutely observed, “Well, at least it isn’t snowing”.  Amen to that.

In an effort to lighten my over-watered mood, of course I went out to You Tube looking for something to make me laugh. I found lots of interesting things to post, unfortunately Word Press isn’t cooperating and won’t let me embed videos today. Suffice it to say that videos I found were hilarious snippets of cats doing silly things. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Speaking of cats, I’ve not posted an update about my lovely kitty, Harley. Turns out he can be quite a handful, and has discovered the joys of clawing the corners of the box springs our mattresses. Baaaaad kitty.

Harley is also not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. He likes to hide in things, but has gotten big and doesn’t fit quite how he used to as illustrated by this picture:

This is Harley playing in one of his favorite boxes. He used to be able to fit all the way inside, but now he can’t even get his whole body in.  He’s kind of like a little kid who hasn’t learned yet that just because he can’t see you, it doesn’t mean you can’t see him. So, Harley’s backside sticks out a lot, and he thinks he’s good and hidden. At least it provides us with on-going entertainment!

Anyway, here’s hoping that you can find something in your day to make you laugh. Better yet, here’s hoping that you need not go seeking for something to make your day brighter.

How Old Man Winter got Jack Frost grounded

It was a dark and stormy night last night.  You might think that we had a thunderstorm, being as it was the last day in April, but no. Yesterday we had a blizzard. It was a no hold’s barred, wind howling, snow flying, North Dakota Blizzard. There are still towns West and North of us that have no electricity due to the wind and ice damage to the electric poles and lines.

This is what I saw outside my back door last night:

I’ve stated before in previous posts that I felt that Old Man Winter has had all the fun he’s entitled to, and should be fired for taking too many liberties with his share of the year. I have to wonder what’s going on in Mother Nature’s realm that our weather has been so out of whack? Let’s take a peek into their world, shall we?

Mother Nature: “Jack! Could you come here for a minute please?”

Jack Frost: “Yes, Mother?”

Mother Nature (one eye brow raised, arms crossed): “Jack, what have I told you about playing with blizzards?”

Jack Frost (Sighs heavily): “You said not to because it causes imbalances in weather all over the world, not just in the area where the storm happens.”

Mother Nature (Other eyebrow raises): “And…?”

Jack Frost (Hangs head, one toe pushes around some lint on the carpet, mumbling):  “And, too much of one kind of weather over and over again wreaks havoc with the humans in that area and makes them suffer needlessly.”

Mother Nature (Hands on hips): “That’s right, you know better. So what gives? What’s your excuse for abusing our humans like that? For crying out loud, Jack, it’s April 30th! Not only are you messing with them, but now my time-table has to be pushed back.  How are people supposed to get out and celebrate Me with picnics and May Pole dancing tomorrow when they are knee-deep in snow drifts?! Not only that, but because the Winter Season has been unnaturally extended, the tornadoes got angry for being cooped up and went on a screaming rampage across the Southern States, en masse. What a MESS! Just what have you got to say for yourself?!”

Jack Frost (Frowning, and stomping a foot. Whines.):  “Well, Old Man Winter said the humans are there for us to play with. He was showing me how they scramble like ants when storms come. He says you spoil them and they need some toughening up!”

Mother Nature (Steam now rolling out of her ears): “Oh really? Jack, when I agreed to let you job shadow with Old Man Winter, it was only as long as you promised not to pick up his bad habits. He has a tendency to play with the humans as though they were expendable, and I’ve raised you to know better than that. (Shouting into the Ether) WINTER! Show yourself… You have some explaining to do!”

Old Man Winter (Pops into the room amidst a cloud of snowflakes): “What!? Why are you screaming at me during my lunch hour? Don’t you know that Days of our Lives is on, and it’s a big cliff-hanger this week. Marlena’s discovered she has another personality, and Roman was just about to find out when you started shouting…what’s so important it couldn’t wait?”

Mother Nature (takes a deep, cleansing breath): “Never mind the soap operas, I caught Jack playing with your Blizzards again. I distinctly remember telling you that he wasn’t allowed to play with your weather, he was just there to job shadow.  Speaking of which, your Season is far over extended. Why aren’t you paying attention to the time-table I sent you at the beginning of the year?”

Old Man Winter (Frowns and stomps his foot): “I’m tired of having to put my Season to bed for months on end. It’s so boring having to wait for all of the other Seasons to get out of the way so I can get back to business! Young Jack shows promise…he could be a big help to me in the event I want to take a vacation next year. Besides, you’re too soft on those humans…they need to toughen up.”

Mother Nature (Exasperated eye roll, heavy sigh. Her spine stiffens): “Ok, that’s it. I’ve had it! Jack, I think you’ve had enough job shadowing with Winter. For the next several decades, you will be helping me get things going in the Spring, and then you will understand why over extension of one Season into another causes problems for everyone. And, you’re grounded until you learn to respect ALL of my creatures, especially humans.”

Jack Frost (pouting fiercely): Aw, MOM!

Mother Nature (Sternly Shakes her finger): Don’t you give me any lip, young man.  As for you Winter, you’re done. Your Season’s over. Box up your weather for the next three Seasons and get ready for a nice loooong nap. You’ll be lucky if I allow you to let your weather out again before January next year.

Old Man Winter (Eyes glow stormily. Bushy white eyebrows rise up on his forehead): You can’t tell me what to do! I’m WINTER, and I’m not done…I have plans! You just watch, I’m gonna… (Mother Nature, lazily waves her hand in his direction)…ZZZZZZZ.”

Mother Nature (tiredly): Alright Jack, while I tuck Winter in for the next three Seasons, you get off to your room and don’t come out until breakfast tomorrow. We have a busy day ahead of us, and we’ll start out with how to make enough Sunshine to melt all that snow you threw down yesterday. Sheesh…what a disaster. I need a margarita!

So, today, apparently young Jack did get some schooling on how to make the Sun shine enough to melt snow. Below is the picture I took from my back door this afternoon. May Day actually turned out to be kind of nice after all. And, I spent it celebrating with friends. We didn’t get to have a picnic or dance around a May Pole, but it was just as great as if we did.

A Very Sultry Day

Grandma and I used to sit on her front porch watching the traffic go by, chatting about stuff. I remember one particular evening, we were eating New York Vanilla ice cream and cantaloupe (yum!). It was one of those July days when the air is so thick with humidity, that it makes you want to grow gills. Grandma turned to me and said, “It sure is has been a sultry day today”.

At the time I was about 13 and didn’t know exactly what sultry was, but I’ve come to associate it with hot, sticky, July days. Today is one of those days. When I walked out of the house this morning at 7:20am, it was already starting to heat up. When I walked out of work at 5:00pm,  the humidity was so thick, I felt like I was swimming across the parking lot.  I only had about 100 feet to walk from work to the car, but poor Oldest Son walked almost two miles home from work this afternoon. Poor kid!

So, with the hot, humid weather comes the storms, and we’re currently under a severe thunderstorm warning. Holy cow… the Emergency Broadcast System just announced that the Minot Air Force Base is expecting a tornado as we speak. Not a tornado warning, but an actual tornado. I hope it misses them.

Time to batten down the hatches!  [UPDATE: No tornado actually touched down, but a friend of mine that lives at MAFB said they saw lots of swirling in the clouds!]

Fear and loathing of storms on the High Plains

I live on the High Plains. Yes, I capitalized that on purpose.

Let me make something clear to begin with. I LOVE living on the High Plains. The rolling prairie is where I want to be. I love the ability to see for miles. I adore the sun rises and sun sets. I aspire to own acreage one day and grow wildflowers in stead of a front lawn, keep bees and plant orchards.  I love to watch storms roll in across the prairie in all their furious glory.

I have always been an avid storm watcher. The louder the thunder, and brighter the lightning, the better I like it. Torrential rain and hail is to be marveled at, and compared to previous downpours. The rainbows that precede and follow storms here in North Dakota are the best in the whole world. Montana thinks it has a big sky, but I beg to differ (North Dakota’s Mountain Removal Plan was effective, and now we don’t have anything blocking our view – LOL). The process of seeing a storm coming on, experiencing it, and watching it leave again is something I’ve always loved…that is until last week.

Last week a very severe storm came through, and dumped a good two inches in less than an hour. I learned very quickly that I had leaks in my basement that I never knew existed for the 10 years I’ve lived in this house. I learned the hard way that it’s a good idea to check for the small cracks, and not just big ones…the small ones let in lots of water too. Our basement didn’t altogether flood, but we had rivulets of water running down where the water collected in a low spot next to the house, and rose high enough to seep in between the foundation and the house. I also discovered a previously unknown crack in my foundation that sits right on an interior wall.  The good news is that all of this is easily fixed with caulking and some creative landscaping, at least for now. When I see storms barreling across the TV weather map, headed straight for us, I am no longer eager for it to come… I fear it and hope to heck it goes around us.

This picture of a "highly organized super cell" was taken by one of the local weather guys as the storm was rolling towards Minot last night

We had another severe storm last night, complete with tornado warning, and we all sat around Mom and Dad’s TV watching the weather reports break in every 10 minutes or so. We were warm, comfortable, dry and safe, but all I could think about was how things were going at my house. We can’t live there while the only bathroom is being remodeled, so we’re staying with Mom and Dad at least until next Thursday.

The funny thing was I dreamed last night of having exploding man-hole covers in my basement floor, with water gushing out of them. I know it was just my own paranoia playing out while I sleep, and there is no water damage today. I will be going out to get some water proof barrier for my foundation and will be caulking cracks through the weekend.  I will also be fixing my eaves troughs to plug up the holes. Every little thing I do will help.

So, after all is said and done, perhaps I can go back to enjoying a good storm? I hope so!

Good chicken recipe for a rainy day

Holy, cow…looks like we’re going to get spanked, weather-wise.  There’s wicked line of thunderstorms working its way up through the middle of my fair state of North Dakota.

What's for supper?

So, what do North Dakotans do when the weather gets bad? We hunker down, find something to keep ourselves entertained and we eat…and not necessarily in that order!

Tonight, we are having a nice hot chicken dish, just right for a cold rainy day. This is one of my favorite recipes from childhood, and it comes from a community cook book called S’more Good Cooking!, created by the Centurian Homemakers of Pembina, ND in 1975. My Mom used to make this dish all the time, and it definitely fits in the comfort food category. It makes me very happy that my kids love it as much as I do.

Here’s the recipe:

Sweet and Sour Chicken

  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c ketchup
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 c white vinegar
  • 2 tsp salt (optional)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 parsley flakes
  • minced garlic – as much as you want. (really, is there ever enough garlic?!)
  • 1  3-pound chicken, cut into parts

“Mix all ingredients through garlic, and heat through to get flavors mixed. Put chicken pieces in cake pan and pour sauce over it. Bake at 325° for 1  1/2 hours. Turn chicken once during baking and spoon sauce over it. Serve small dishes of sauce to dip chicken bites in.”

Personally, I like to skip the dipping bowls and just serve the chicken with the sauce drizzled on white rice. Hmmmm…Hm! It’s great as leftovers too.


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