Monday, February 28, 2011


It started raining around 10:00 last night.  They forecasted us for perhaps 1/2 of rain so I wasn't overly concerned about flooding problems due to the deep snow from last week's 2 storms and went to bed.

I was woken up at 2:00 a.m. with lots of thunder and lightning.  I listened for an hour then decided to check the radar to see when it was going to quiet down.  What I found was a massive front with lots of embedded thunderstorms.

It sure won't be quieting down anytime soon and now I'm back to worrying about flooding.  Guess falling back asleep now is going to be a little problematic....

7:30 a.m. update:

The storms continued until nearly 6:30 and finally tapered off.  The heavy stuff is past us although we are now in a tornado watch.  There is 2" in the rain gauge. 

Around 5:15 I heard a sound I couldn't identify and it didn't last long.  It happened again a few minutes later and then I realized I was hearing the sump pump!  Now you might think this shouldn't be so surprising, but it is. Y'see, I had a full basement interior gutter system and sump installed back in 2004 after a storm that dumped 5" of rain in less than an hour.  The basement was awash; every crack in the basement floor shot geysers of spray from underground water pressure.  After that huge expenditure, it's never rained hard enough or long enough for it to come on. :-/

But now with the ground frozen and the 10" of snow remaining on the lawns, roof runoff obviously worked down the foundation and filled the sump.  Good to know it works. It came on maybe 8 times and is quiet now.  Another thing that makes it noteworthy is that you have to remember - I'm on TOP OF A HILL so I can only imagine what my neighbors downhill from me and going through this morning.

Glenda asked about my flood concerns.  But it's not for MY property.  My lot was properly graded way back when and most of the water off my lawns run into a swale between my house and the neighbor to the south.  A lot of the private road and other lawns feed that swale which in turn runs downhill across a couple of backyard and joins up the stream at the bottom of the hill.  This morning the snow and ice has blocked the culvert under the golfcourse (it's too narrow) and now several backyards are flooded there.

Here you can see the path of the swale coming from between the 2 houses then running down and across the backyards down and the flooded stream.  (Sorry for the blurry pic).

After 3 months of hard-core winter and other aberrant weather, I'm about worn out.  It took me 3 days to dig out the driveway and deck from Friday's blizzard.  But there is still lots of (now saturated) snow on the ground.  Can I relax now?  Nope! In fact, we're just now coming into our HEAVIEST SNOWFALLS which traditionally come in March and early April.  Oh joy.  :-/

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Friday, February 25, 2011


It started with freezing rain around 3:00 a.m. to soak into the snow left over from Monday's storm.  Then around 5:00 a.m. it turned to snow.  Lots of it.  And more to come!  Add high winds and we've got a blizzard.  About 4" already and they are predicting 8-10", maybe more.

For crying out loud.   UNCLE!  UNCLE! UNCLE already!  #(*&(@$&
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Socked in

As Monday afternoon slid into evening, snow fell more than an inch an hour!  It was unbelievable.

And it kept coming.  Deeper and deeper.

Finally, at the 8-9" depth, I had to bite the bullet and go out into the dark and the storm and fire up the snowblower.  My blower won't handle anything over 8" and I'd actually delayed longer than I should have.  Not only was the snow almost too deep, but it was heavier than I thought.

The above pic is a blurry 'night scene' shot showing that I had to first dig out a path across the deck.  The wintersown bins are pretty much buried.

So I blew the driveway and part of the turnaround.  I couldn't do anymore because the blower kept clogging.  It was surreal blowing during the storm.  I'd do a swipe down the driveway, come back and find the previous swipe was filling up.  But if I left it go until tomorrow (today) I'd never be able to dig my way out myself.  I was out there for almost 2 hours.

It's very pretty out there this morning.

But I'll have to get out the blower again to handle the additional 3-4 inches that fell overnight.

All in all - somewhere between 10-12" fell. Maybe more.  Most of it within 8 hours!  There are some deeper drifts.  Thank goodness I used the blower last night else I'd really be in a jam.  *woof*
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Monday, February 21, 2011

We now return to....

...our regularly scheduled winter.

Sunday afternoon
 After those 60s on Friday, Saturday got cold and Sunday dawned 11 degrees.  Then another front came through and dumped 2" of snow within 30 minutes!  That would have been fine but then it was followed by freezing rain.
Monday afternoon

Now everything is frozen over again with more freezing rain for the rest of the day.  The driveway is again a skating rink while the trees accumulate ice.

Update - after some freezing rain, it's switched back to thick snow.  It supposed to go through the night so tomorrow will look like there's never been a thaw at all.

Monday afternoon
At least the wintersown bins are looking more wintersown than when they first went outside.

I sure don't envy those that have to brave the icy roads today. It's going to be a nasty ride.

(P.S.  I guess I don't have to change the header pic yet, Jim!)

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Saturday, February 19, 2011


Going ....
 Going ....
 It ... it's so .... naked out there!

A couple of days of blustery warm wind has stripped Ma Nature of her nice white coat.  Temps soared to 60 yesterday then back to below freezing last night.  Forecasts now are for daytime 30s and freezing nights.  But there's no insulation on the plants. *whine*  Still, I am enjoying the sunshine -- while it lasts. :-D

Meanwhile, down in the basement, I've finally started my wintersowing.  The irony is not lost on me! LOL

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Green stuff in the snow??

Something extraordinary!  Yesterday the temps soared to 40 and mild winds blew all day and the world began to change.

Today I see green plants.  And brown leaf mulch.  And blacktop!

I see pine needles and tarps and shrubs and way back in the golf course - grass!!

Is it the end of the world?  I thought we had until Winter solstice, 2012?  Have they moved up the apocalypse?  Why don't I get all my memos!!

Where is all the snow and ice going?  Wait here. I'm going to see what I can find on the internet...

(*musical interlude*)

Well, here's the skinny.  It's called MELT and is, apparently, a normal and natural phenomenon.  Nothing to get excited about.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?  Not get excited?   It's grim and gloomy and everything is turning to mud!  *whine* Where is the bright snow?  The shining ice?  The clear blue skies?  It took me almost 3 months to acclimate to Winter.  Trust me,  I'm acclimated!  Big time.  So do not, I repeat, DO NOT expect me to let go so easily.

Nope! You'll have to pry a fixed and frozen mindset from my cold, mittened fingers!  Right now I'm going to make a steaming mug of cocoa and go sit with my snow shovel.  I'll tell it not to worry, that this "melt" thingy is just a fad and won't last.  We'll be out on the deck dancing again real soon.  You wait.  You'll see....

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Pink rink

We're still under snowpack and it has dipped below zero for the past 2 nights.  Yesterday it only got up to 12 but today we may hit 20.  Needless to say, MELT is not in the vocabulary yet.

But at least the rosy glow of this morning's frosty dawn made the ice rink I call driveway all pretty in pink.  Looking at it is waaaay safer than actually walking on it.  yiiiiiii!

I thought I'd try something different for lunch yesterday.  I mean, just how much soup can a gal make?  So instead of grabbing a pot, I snared a skillet and whipped up a nice ham, kale & veggie frittata.   Hmmmm.  Gooood.

I must admit I'm finally getting restless!  I'm tired of eating(!) and moving snow around (*woof*).  Enough is enough, for crying out loud.  *heavy sigh*  Well, at least Igor and I can go hide out down in the basement.  There's always something going on down there these days. Go seeds!

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bright brittle cold

It's almost too bright outside to see.  I have to peer through half-closed eyelids to prevent snow blindness.  At least when I squint I can almost not see the dark bones of ice-ravaged trees that litter the landscape after the storm.  So, instead of dead stuff, here's a pic of something bright and green and growing.

I turn my gaze away from the false and frigid sunshine (down to 0 tonight and for the next couple of days), prepare a newly-discovered ooey-gooey comfort sandwich (grilled PBJ), and retreat to the green glow of the basement where a lot besides lettuce is lush.  

Come downstairs and visit the (shhhhhh) secret basement plant lab!

Igor and I have been very very busy, haven't we, Igor?  *munch*

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ice aftermath

Dawn - aftermath
All is calm.  Today dawns with clear skies, no wind and single digit temps.  I bundled up and swept away  3" of snow out to the birdfeeder.  The exposed path is not blacktop but inches of ice and must be negotiated with great care.  According to the forecast we won't get above freezing in the near future so melt is yet to come.  (There are glaciers in all my gutters, nothing I want to melt quickly anyway else water can back up under the shingles).

At one point 55,000 Stark county residents were without power.  Today  27,000 are still in the dark.  Luckily neither Mom nor I lost power.  You can deal with a lot if you have heat and lots of hot coffee!

From my windows I used binoculars and saw lots of tree carnage within range.  I was able to identify some of the big crashes I heard that horrible night.  It doesn't appear that any whole trees came down, but some limbs that broke off are as big as trees!

Footing is treacherous what with the layers now on the ground: snow, ice, snow, so I didn't wander around to get more damage pics.  I did snap this of one of my broken rhododendrons.

ice victim - broken rhody

Only one other rhody suffered damage - outside my bedroom window, losing a branch.  This rhody, however, had shaded my sitting area in the 'morning' garden.  There won't be any shade there this year. :-(

The sun is shining brightly.  Now it's all about cleanup.  And here at the gardens that can wait until Spring.
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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The trees are falling

It's almost 1:00 AM Wednesday.  The freezing rain drenched us from 7:00~11:00 then tapered off.  I looked outside and saw almost an inch of ice on everything.  I had to look out the window because the deck door was iced closed.

I tried to convince myself it was safe to go to bed, but then heard something.  Like a heavy snowplow rumbling by.  But we have no snow removal on our private road.

I went back to the window, opened it and listened.  It had been calm, but now the wind is picking up.  I hear the tortured groan of frozen trees wrestling against it.  Then crackling.  There's that rumbling sound again.
The trees are breaking.

In the distance I see flashes of light and at first thought it was lightning.  But no, lightning doesn't flare red or blue.  Out there other trees are falling, taking out transformers.  The news say almost 15,000 are without electric - all in Stark county.

Another sassafras limb just crashed to the ground.  Across at the neighbors ash limbs litter their driveway.  Another slithering thump off somewhere in the golf course.  Earlier one of the pines at the back of my lot splintered away to careen into the back of the asparagus bed.

My power has been flicking on and off for the past couple of hours, but holds steady right now.

There goes another tree or large limb, sounding close by.   This is probably the most I've ever been worried in this house.  And there absolutely nothing I can do.  The world is a hard-packed sheet of ice here and I couldn't go anywhere if I wanted to.

All I can do is pace from window to window.  It's going to be a very long night.  And there is still more freezing rain to come.

I hate ice.

MORNING ======================================================

8:30 AM - It's pretty grim out there.  The freezing rain turned into plain rain sometime after 2:00 AM.  Most of the ice was washed off the trees before the (now escalating) wind arrived.  The sassafras lost a lot of heavy limbs.  Thankfully they plummeted straight down and didn't do any damage.

some of the broken sassafras limbs
There are limbs down everywhere that I can see: back in the golf course and throughout the neighborhood.  Living in a 'park-like setting with mature trees' is a perk - except in weather like this.

Across the street I see the main power cable has been pulled off the house and lies across their driveway.  A limb tore it off right at the weatherhead.  Doesn't look like the cable is broken, just yanked out of its house moorings.  The meter is still holding firm.  They may still have power.  The power here came on and off all night, but seems steady this morning.  But more than 45,000 are still without power.

While the ice is off the trees the water has backed up everywhere else.  I couldn't get out to the deck this morning so had to go out through the patio and chip out the breezeway door.  There is over 2" of solid ice out there (the downspout split and spilled tons of  water on the deck sure didn't help).

And I see that the garage door is frozen to the driveway - the ice there is very thick, more than 3 inches as far as I can judge.  I'm not going anywhere for a while.

We're supposed to get cold today with 2-3 inches of snow.  No "happy happy joy joy" here..

11:00 AM update =======================================

High winds are shaking things up right now.  Even with the new windows I can hear it roaring out there (sustained winds of 25mph with gusts over 40). If the rain hadn't melted the ice (early this morning) we'd be having extreme tree/shrub carnage now.  As it is branches ARE coming down.  The snow is sideways...

I see that a neighbor in another direction has taken some serious tree limb damage.  His property borders the golf course and there is a 12' chain link fence between them.  The golf course fence has been smashed down by part of a tree falling on it.  It's a snarled mess over there and I don't envy the cleanup.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Winter storm - first wave through

Ice Glazed Japanese Maple
The first wave of the "Winter Wallop" (don't you just love the names they give land-based storms?) slid through last night.  It was predicted we would get 1-3 inches of snow overnight, then 1-3 inches more during the day.

But I was woken in the middle of the night by what sounded like gravel hitting the windows.  What we got was sleet and freezing rain.  In fact this morning they've pretty much recanted about our county getting snow out of this, only ice and sleet and rain.  Honestly, I'd rather have 8" of snow than this dangerous ice!

Iced Arbor

Everything is glazed with over at least a 1/4" right now.  Surface areas, though, have about an inch of bubbly, grainy crust which, I found out while refilling the bird feeder, is not too difficult to walk on since it's so textured.  

Iced crabapple trees
While I don't deny the crystal beauty of the ice, I sure wouldn't want to drive on it though.  I feel bad for those that have to go to work this morning.  The freezing rain is still coming down and there's so much more storm to come. 

To all those out there being affected by this storm, please, take precautions.  Be safe. 

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