On remembering how to Winter

Before I walked out of the house this morning I realized I’d forgotten to start my car, which was covered with a light coating of frost. So, I had to start the car and wait for it to thaw out.


After having so many months of warm weather, it’s hard getting back into the swing of how to Winter. Yes, I did use that as a verb.

Winter is not only a season, but it is also a state of mind, and a very specific mode of action. There’s light as the sun is rising later, and setting earlier. It’s a completely different way of being.

There is a whole different protocol for dressing, and for survival. It requires warmer clothing and footwear, as well as a whole extra set of outer garments. You also need what feels like a truckload of extra equipment. If you don’t have windshield scrapers, a shovel, and a winter survival kit just for your car, you aren’t prepared. That’s not to mention shovels, ice choppers, snow blowers etc. that you need for your house.

There are some people who do can enjoy Winter with relish and an enthusiasm not unlike that of a kid in a candy store. There are others, like me, who watch Winter approach with dread and much trepidation. I don’t enjoy the struggle and survive factor.

Why do I live where the precipitation can bury me, and the air hurts my face?

This is home.

And, the cold keeps most poisonous and venomous creatures away, which is an unarguable benefit.

While I definitely have designs on living somewhere warmer in my retirement, I’m content to stick it out a while longer to stay close to family and friends. My favorite mantra is: Spring is coming, Spring is coming, Spring is coming…

Today the weather will be back up to 60, and most of the snow is gone from our early snowstorm. But, it’s time to get prepared, and be ready to Winter again.

Here’s hoping you all have a smooth transition getting back into the swing of whatever seasonal changes you have coming. Blessings all!

Snowmageddon 2019-Part 2

Our 2nd storm arrived, and dumped significant amounts of snow across the High Plains yesterday. Parts between Minot and the Red River Valley got more snow than anyone needs in a year. Last night it was reported that Langdon, ND got 27 inches of snow, and it was still falling.

27 inches of snow in one day. (Gasp!)

We got 4 inches of snow in Minot on Thursday, but it all melted the next day. Today, I wake up to this:

All of my windows are blocked for the heavy wet snow that was driven into the screens. Well, I guess that’s just a little more insulation, right?

The storm that pounded everyone east of us finally moved into the area around 8pm last night, and the wind howled like the roof was going to come off.

I took this picture overlooking the football field at sunset, and you can see the leading edge of the storm pushing in across the top. It was a beautiful sunset, and I wish my crappy iPhone did a better job at taking pictures. This one just doesn’t do it justice:

I got a call from my friend “A”, who was going to go to an event downtown with me this evening. She lives in a neighboring town and can’t get out, but I imagine it will be canceled anyway. Such is Winter in the High Plains. All plans are tentative until proven otherwise.

Today will be about housework, laundry, and baking. The Flirt said he will be coming over today to help with some organizing in the basement. He won’t have any trouble making it with his big truck. Until then, I get the house to myself and will enjoy the peace and quiet, punctuated by high winds and snow removal backup beepers.

Here’s hoping you all are having better weather that we are. If not, do the best you can to enjoy your time inside. Blessings all!

Where is Barbara Eden when you need her?

Holy cow…life has taken be for quite a ride these last two weeks. The end of the school year, combined with everything else that’s going on has left me with my head spinning and my house is a complete disaster. Here it is, Friday already this week, and I have company coming this weekend. Uff da.

I woke up today thinking how lovely it would be if I could have mad skills like Barbara Eden’s Jeannie. I would love it if I could clean my whole house with just a sharp bob of my head.  In my youth, when I spouted off about how I wished something could be different, my Dad would ask me if I had a pile of wish in one and a cow patty in another, what do you get when you rub your hands together? Better to get your hands dirty with work than to rub them together wishing things were different. Well, I’m unhappy to report that Dad was right. Wishing doesn’t quite fix the problem, so I guess I’ll stay up a little later tonight and get everything in order.

In other news, we’ve had a few gloriously sunshiny days. We deserved this nice weather, and I even got a little bit of a sunburn at the garage sale last weekend. Today we have 100% chance of rain, but I’m hoping that things will dry out enough this coming week that we’ll be able to put the garden in.

In North Dakota, we have a LOT of different Seasons, all of which overlap each other. For example, right now it is Spring, but it is also the beginning of Road Construction and Home Improvement Seasons. We have a lot of pot holes in the streets after a long hard Winter…axle-busting pot holes…and it could very well take most of the Spring and Summer for them all to get repaired. Home Improvement Season will be long too. There’s just no end to the work of art in progress that is my home. Thank goodness for my Dad, who has a handle on all things that have to do with home improvement.

Last year I had the roof replaced, the bathroom gutted and redone, and all of my windows were changed out. This will be the Summer of Small Projects. Lots of paint, lots of organizing and much getting rid of stuff that I don’t need anymore. I’m looking at doing some different things with my garden this year too, but more on that later.

Today it will rain and wash away the dust and dirt that covers everything, and make the air smell good. I have lunch with my Sister by Choice today, and work should be light….at least at the Cube Farm. It’s going to be a good day.

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.

Old Man Winter isn’t done with us yet

We were spoiled for a while, having temperatures in the 40’s for over a week. The snow melted some, and the roads were cleared off. It was glorious to walk outside with the sun on our faces and feel like Spring was just around the corner.

And then, not.

I should have known better. It didn’t quite smell like Spring, even though it looked like it.

Yesterday Old Man Winter woke from his nap and realized he’d been falling down on the job. Now the cold is back and storms are all around us. Luckily we haven’t had it too bad where I live, but others are getting pounded. Here is where I find my blessing for today…I don’t have to dig out to go to work today.

In North Dakota, we essentially have two seasons: Winter and Construction. When the weather is warm enough, people are building and fixing things. With our booming economy, they are still building even though the weather is so cold. I hope someone gives the construction workers the day off today. Wind chills of -20 and lower would seem to warrant a day off from outside work, right?


Here’s to hoping that Old Man Winter gets sleepy again soon and forgets that he has things to do…!



Winter weather blessings come in strange packaging

Yes, that’s right. There are even blessings to be found in the depths of winter. What’s today’s blessing? You’d be surprised.

I heard on the news this morning that the windchill in Winnipeg, Manitoba will be -49 today. You didn’t read that wrong. It’s that cold. Winnipeg is a neighbor of sorts…about a five hour drive from my house. Here it will only be -20 below with the windchill. It’s a small blessing, but a blessing none the less.

Another blessing I ran into yesterday was a fabulously good deal on a sturdy new winter coat. My old coat was starting to resemble Swiss cheese. The pockets were full of holes, and the zipper lost the little tab so trying to get it zipped up was quite a chore. So, now I have a spiffy new coat, and I’ll be warmer for it.

Even better, we are half-way through January. I’m gunning for March, when I can plant the seeds which will be the start to my garden. I’ve been giving some thoughts to starting my herbs in pots that I will just transfer outside. Oh…just thinking about it makes me feel warmer already!

Next you will see posts here about garden plans. Stay warm everyone!

Of Windows and Aliens

I am so happy today. I got the final word from Dewey the Windows Guy that I am definitely getting my new windows Friday and Saturday. Finally!!!

You might wonder why I would be getting new windows when the temperature is generally just barely above zero? Well, I did too. At this late date in the year, I figured I would just have to wait until spring to get my new windows. But no! According to Dewey, they put windows in all year round without any trouble.

I’m so jazzed about getting my new windows, I can just barely hold still in my chair! I can just imagine how much money I’m going to save on my heat bill, and boy will it be nice to be able to open the windows again!!  From what I understand, they should block more sound out too, so that will be another plus. I can’t wait!

Now, what does this have to do with aliens? Absolutely nothing.

I mentioned aliens in the title of the blog due to an announcement from NASA I was made aware of, which states:

“NASA Sets News Conference on Astrobiology Discovery; Science Journal Has Embargoed Details Until 2 p.m. EST On Dec. 2

WASHINGTON — NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.

The news conference will be held at the NASA Headquarters auditorium at 300 E St. SW, in Washington. It will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency’s website at http://www.nasa.gov.”

Generally NASA doesn’t have things to announce that are Earth-shattering, and I don’t think this one will be any different. However there is already speculation running rampant on the internet saying that perhaps they are going to finally make the big announcement that we are not alone. Riiiiight…and I have a bridge in London I’d like to sell you dirt cheap.

I’m betting that the announcement has to do with finding a good candidate for a planet in “Goldilocks’ zone, or some kind of unexpected foreign bacterium unearthed from a meteor buried under an ice pack somewhere, or perhaps some telescope has viewed a cache of water on the moon or another planet that was formerly undisclosed.

Yep, that’s right. It’s stuff we’ve all heard before. Nothing to see here folks…same old, same old.

One thing does make me curious is the usage of the word “embargoed”. I mean, who is Science Journal, and who are they to tell NASA what they can and can’t disclose and when? The opening sentence of the announcement makes it sound like it’s some amazing, can’t believe it sort of thing that someone had to keep a lid on for some reason. Personally, I believe the reality of it is that The Powers That Be at NASA like to get people riled up by posting incendiary things like this.  This wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. It’s just a cheap publicity stunt.  Shame on you NASA.


Something to look forward to

I was just sitting here thinking about the fact that I forgot to plug my van in overnight. That could be bad since, with windchill factored in, it was at least -20 last night. Oh well. It usually starts pretty well, and I’ve got high hopes that it will be ok this morning. I’ll just have to leave it running for a good long time before we leave for work and school today.

As I was thinking about that, I began to think about all the other extra stuff you have to do to survive when winter comes and I was appalled at what it entails. Luckily enough, there are blessings to be found everywhere:

1. Everyone needs a whole extra suit of cold weather gear, head to toe. Most years you just use what you had last year, but it must be maintained and items replaced as they wear out…kind of like a soft suit of armor. (Thank goodness I was able to afford to get the boys new jackets this year.)

2. You must plug your vehicle in when it gets cold, otherwise it may not start, and it requires a special heavy-duty extension cord that can withstand low temperatures. (The good news is that these are pretty cheaply found at The Big Box Store.)

3. Your vehicle must be winterized: make sure the engine is in good running order, change out bad wiper blades, and remember to stow away your blankets and winter survival kit. (Thank goodness we can make our vehicles go in the cold. I can’t imagine being cooped up all winter without being able to get anywhere.)

4. A specialized shovel is required to be able to move large amounts of snow out of the way. In many cases, people hurl the snow out of the way with snow blowers. (In my case, I am fortunate to have teenage boys to hurl my snow for me!)

5. Homes must be winterized. Special attention needs to be paid to windows, doors, and any other spots that may leak cold air inside. Any leaks must be caulked up, and if the window is old, it’s a good idea to cover the whole thing with plastic. (I’m so happy that I won’t have to put plastic on the windows this year…I’m getting them replaced!)

6. All travel plans made during the winter are tentative, subject to the weather. A good example is the storm that beginning to blow through the whole Northern region, preventing my brother and his family from traveling to my house for Thanksgiving. Curse you, Old Man Winter. (At least they will be safe and warm, and they have his wife’s family close by)

While there are many ways to feel blessed in the winter time, there is also something to look forward to: Spring!

It’s always such a relief to shuck the winter jackets, put away the shovels, and stow the sweaters. It’s such a blessing to step out of the house and feel the sun shine on more of your skin than the little bit of your face that isn’t covered up with a scarf. Just four more months!

New windows and the arrival of Winter

As my 11 faithful readers may remember, I’ve written before about getting new windows. I’ve been expecting them all Summer, but I was on the bottom of a loooong list, and the weather didn’t cooperate. As a result, I’m still waiting for my new windows…until today.

While I was working at The Big Box Store last night, The Windows Guy called me and left a message that my time has arrived!! Hazzah! I was really worried about having to go through another North Dakota winter with these old, decrepit windows. Not only are they drafty, but they don’t do much to keep noise out.

Oh wait…

The Weather Man is on the TV, right now, talking about how we are expecting 2-4 inches of snow tonight and tomorrow.

So, the question I will have for The Window Guy is how the heck he’s going to put windows in when Winter has finally arrived and won’t likely be giving us another break, like the one we just had, until April?

Well, I’ll sure be interested in finding out. Perhaps they have some kind of suped-up Winter installation plan? Time will tell. Wish me luck!

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