Thursday, March 15, 2018

Historical, or as Dad would say, Hysterical Moments...

We have been living in historical times for the Ivan Likkel Family of late.

Remember that I mentioned how proud I was of my parents dealing with 3 days without power in an ice storm? How they had to keep the tractor running and fueled and also had to get someone out to fix the generator in the midst of it? And God provided the right people at the right time, and the part that was needed?

Well, what they accomplished those few days was great – and it took them a couple of weeks to recover the strength they expended on the effort. My sisters and I told them: “We’ve worried about how it would go for you if something like this happened…But you handled it so well, and now we aren’t going to worry anymore. You can do it!”

And yes, they could – but they decided, they didn’t want to anymore.

Who can blame them for that?! Seems like wisdom to me.

Unbeknownst to us, Dad said to Mom, “Let’s go look around 19th Street. I like that area.” So them went for a ride and lo and behold, there was a nice little condo for sale. They right away called nephew Rick about it and went to see it.

Only then did they tell us that they had decided they didn’t want to do winters out in the country anymore, and they liked this little condo, and would we go see it with them.

We were a little surprised…

We looked at it with them and right away saw how it would be a good fit. Modest, comfortable, the layout was similar to the farm house, nice open area to look out on to the front, a lot of retired folks living in the area, within walking distance of an implement dealer, and the grocery store was just down the street.

More than just seeing it was a good fit, we began to see how settled Mom and Dad were about their decision to go to town. We always expected that it would be grievous for them to leave their home of 47 years, and more so for Dad to leave the farm that always provided projects to putter at. We were dreading that a day might come when they would have to leave, rather than choose to leave…

Within days, they had made an offer and it was accepted…a week later, the deal was closed. God was at work in this timing and the opportunity He provided them. Their hearts were ready for the change, and they welcomed it as His provision for this time in their lives.

How grateful we are for God’s mercies, His provision, and His peace at this time of big decisions and change!

In short order, Mom was purging and preparing to move. Walls were painted, and new floors laid at the condo. My sisters and I loaded up and delivered the donations to the thrift store and elsewhere. We got boxes and packed and cleaned the condo, ready for moving day…March 1.

In the meantime, there was the other side of the story…What was going to happen with the farmhouse and the property?

That, my friends, will follow as Part Two.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Perils of Proactivity...

In trying to improve my life, I have resolved to become less of a procrastinator. (See the realism there? I didn't say QUIT being a procrastinator...First rule of the FINISH book: don't let perfectionism keep you from going forward.)

Anyway, I'm trying to be proactive about problems, projects, goals...So I thought it would be a good example of my new resolve if I dealt with my washing machine's recent quirks.

Yes -- the dear old Maytag, 22 years old, and they don't make them like that anymore, the repairman says -- has lately been exhibiting some quirky behavior. I've been finding sopping wet laundry after the spin cycle with some normal size loads, or the thing has been shimmying it's way to one side or the other with no visible signs of an imbalanced load, and now and then, it shrieks, or squeals.

I decided that this time I would not wait for my appliance to be unusable before I checked into the health of its mechanical parts. I made a call to Lee, the best repairman ever, and felt quite smug and satisfied that I would not have any down time because the issue would be dealt with before a complete system failure occurred.

Except that when Lee got here, dear Maytag exhibited no signs or symptoms, and in fact, ran remarkably smoothly for an old machine, apparently. We went over all the symptoms and tried to recreate them, and Lee checked all the components that might cause them, but the old gal was running like a top, working like a charm.

So my proactivity cost me the better part of $100...and it is not lost on me that this is also an apt example of how my resolutions usually play out. I step boldly forth, and slip on a banana peel I didn't see sitting there...

Now, I am in that place where my resolve is most severely tested! I mean, why keep on this track when the reward is absent? Today my washer is the same as it was yesterday; in between, I just spent a bunch of money finding that out. (Note: I don't think the charge was unfair...Lee has saved my appliances more than once, and his expertise is deserving of the value.)

It was a pretty poor application of the resolution to be proactive...There is Peril in being Proactive. I recommend that you wait until your washer dies before calling the repairman. It may be fine to go to the doctor and pay $100 to find out you are not dying -- but it's doesn't play out that way when it's a washing machine.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Festival of White

Rosie and I just returned from a enjoyable walk in the long as you can enjoy a Boston Terror scrambling in circles and then running out to the end of the retractable leash. Or if you can tolerate having your arm jerk back because she has dead-stopped to eat as much snow as she can as quickly as she can. Or if you don't mind having her run around your legs trying to bite the straps off your gaiters while you are walking.

She may hate ice, but she does love a thoroughly annoying way.

However, it is so beautiful to walk in inches (more than 2 already!) of snow, while it continues to softly cascade from the sky...well, I just didn't even get that annoyed!

I know it's almost March, and less than a month until Spring is official -- but how often do we get snow without wind?

I'm just going to savor it, whenever it comes. To me it is an extraordinary treat.

Besides, it's almost Spring! How much more can there be?

Winter Wonderland --
The earth is blanketed in white.
Trees gracefully bear the burden of the snow,
swaying slightly in the gentle breeze.
Snowflakes, in lazy dance,
float by my window,
beckoning me to join the in their Festival of White.

It IS a festival!
where all the grayness of cement
and the nakedness of wooden and steel structures
are costumed in softness and beauty.
Unhappy children suddenly smile and laugh,
hurrying to join the holiday,
bundled in bright colors,
red cheeks, sparkling eyes
party decorations in the Festival of White.

We smile at their excitement and act amused
but all the while our hearts beat a little faster,
our smiles come a little easier...

Dance, little snowflakes dance!
In our hearts we dance with you
welcoming the beauty you bring
Cover our world and the grayness of life
with your softness.
Smooth over the harshness,
Remind us to live and love.
Joyfully we join you
in your Festival of White.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Current Situation...

Current situation:I never seem to have time to read this…

And last week, when I had 2 glorious days without any obligations, 2 glorious days that would be dedicated to catching up on life…I became ill and, instead, spent them on the couch or in bed.

I always wish for a day when I can lay around and watch TV as much as I want. Well, that’s what I had -- and it was a disappointment. However, I am relieved to know that my appetite for mindless entertainment is not insatiable. I would have been happy to read when I reached my limit of TV, but reading made me feel motion sick, as did watching the Olympics! Don’t watch skeleton when you are nauseated folks…not a cure or a distraction! I could not change the channel fast enough!

Glad to be feeling better this week and enjoying the winter return. Clear and cold with only a NE breeze! Crystal clear skies and mountain views for miles! Mt. Baker is so stunningly white!

Oh the glory of it!

We are happy for the berries. The low on our recording thermometer sits at 22 degrees. That will remind them to stay asleep.

I think my hydrangea and roses will have some burned leaves, and my potted hellebore is very sad. I think it will survive, though. And the daffodils are quite far up, but they seem to survive everything!
Sounds like a week more of winter-ish weather, and then I will have to concede to Spring and more outdoor chores…I noticed, before the cold returned, that the goats were starting to rub against the fences, ready to lose the winter coats…Another sure sign of Spring. Time to get the winter chores completed.

Looks like it’s imperative that I MAKE time to read that book…I guess the first test of it's value is if  I FINISH it! I'll let you know...

Monday, February 12, 2018

It looks like Spring out there...

...but it doesn't feel like Spring!

And, frankly, I am glad of it. We need some cold to remind the berries that they can still be sleeping for a while yet.

There are some rumors that a little bit of winter could still show up this month... Of course, that sounds like fun to me...but it won't be fun if the berries get the wrong idea about this season and start growing, and then get frozen when winter reappears.

I'm thankful for some chilly days to remind them that it's not time to grow.

And I still have quite a list of winter chores to accomplish...It's so much easier to read books by the fire, than do chores in the rain... I really struggle with the long-term view when a good book and a comfy chair are so immediately available.


Still, I am finding the beautiful sunshine quite motivating, even for inside work.

Well, as long as I don't get too close to my chair and my book...

Rosie copes with cold nights by sleeping in between her cushions!

Friday, January 5, 2018

See it for yourself -- Icemageddon 2017/18!

The ice storm started with a typical coating of ice. Usually, we call this a silver thaw because freezing rain is the transition from an arctic event to our normal wet, rainy winter weather. This time, it was the main event, and very localized where the cold air from the Fraser Gap has it's greatest influence in northern Whatcom County...But when it began, it looked like silver thaws we had seen before.

But then, it kept going. The temps did not rise above freezing, and the rain kept coming, and eventually was heavy, coating everything with more and more ice! It was no longer a silver thaw, but an Ice Storm! When the precip finally stopped, the temp remained low for several days.

The neighbors poplars got shredded!

When the sun came out, the sparkles were astounding...and more than my camera could capture.

The machine shed was covered, top to bottom, with a sheet of ice on its east side. was the house.

Rosie enjoyed looking out the window, but she didn't want to be out on the ice.

It was a gorgeous view out the window!

I didn't want to venture out very often either, as you never knew when one of these ice rods would drop down on you.
Or the monster ice blob pictured below! 
Yikes! That could knock you out!

Today, the ice on the trees is gone, and I'm surprised at how well the bent birch boughs have bounced back. Not bad...we'll tidy up the broken limbs, and my beautiful birch will continue to give me fall color for another year.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

In which I prove that this isn't called Verbosity for nothing...

Okay, so what day is it? Between holidays and sick days, and then pioneer days where we survived with only 10 electrical circuits running in our home, I have no idea.

I planned to pick up blogging in December, as it is the Month Of Joy And Fun, but then sickness laid me low for two weeks, and recuperation was slow amongst all the celebrating, so I never did. But, I tell you, it was a good time, despite feeling like crap, because the house was pretty as I gazed on it from the couch. And I had laid in a good food supply early in the month, so the stuff was there to make, and I paced myself while making it.

Our kids were here for Christmas Eve day, and we started with brunch. Then we opened gifts in stages as we now have family members who need naps to really enjoy themselves (and I don’t just mean Randy & I). Kit and Emma were so cute, and I love having kidlets for Christmas time again. I mean, it’s great to see your grownup kids say, “Just what I wanted!” but let’s be honest, it takes a lot of work for that to happen…and money too, sometimes.

The grandgirls were thrilled with their toys, and all of us were thrilled with their farm gear! Oh! They look so cute in it! And when Emma donned her Carhartts, she immediately said, “I’m ready to go farm now! Let’s go outside Grandpa!”

Of course, Grandpa obliged, and it was such fun due to the snow that had fallen a few days before. I reveled in the White Christmas, and declared the week after Christmas a time to do nothing but enjoy the view, and read books and watch movies. And eat leftovers, which included entirely too many cookies and treats.

It was great…but it never warmed up enough to rain and thaw the now icy snow -- and then we had the worst ice storm I’ve ever experienced in my years of living in Whatcom County…which includes all my life!

I love me a good winter storm, but freezing rain and ice are not included in my wishing for one. And that’s all we got this time…A good coating of ice on December 28 that knocked our power out from 3:30pm to 3:20am. We ran the generator for lights, the water pump, the fridge and the microwave, and hardly noticed…except for the TV. The satellite dish was iced over.

The next day started well, and Emma came for the day while her momma went to work. More freezing rain was beginning to accumulate, and by 1:29pm, the power was out. And the rain was increasing. Emma’s mom and daddy came to pick her up, and visited a bit until we realized that trees were breaking and falling, which meant driving under wires and trees and power poles was something one should not be doing. They headed home and got there safely.

Of course, they had left their generator here, after moving into town, but Dillon came back out to retrieve it, just in case, and testified to the scary and dangerous conditions he encountered. I was impatient for him to get back home, especially as they weren’t without power yet. He told me that if he brought the generator home, then they wouldn’t lose power.

He turned out to be right.

Jon and Cait were not so lucky and lost power about 3 hours after we did. They have NO heat as their pellet stove is electric fed, and no water (though they found they have a storage tank that will take them far, thankfully) and they had NO generator. Early the next day, Jon was able to get to town and get one – before they were all gone!

They had spent a long night wearing lots of layers, and Kit seemed to not notice as she slept like she always does. But it was COLD. I was relieved to know they now could keep warm and function.
During this whole time, both sets of our parents were relying on their dairy farming days tractor generators – which happily can power everything you need, but require fueling, often! I was worried about them having to walk over the horrible ice to service the tractor and generator. They did have some trials with their equipment, but made it through the storm without injury from falls…but they are pretty exhausted after doing battle with the elements!

In all, we ended up with a 1 ½ inch accumulation of ice on EVERYTHING! We have never had an ice storm last so long, accumulate so much, cause so much damage, or keep us out of power for so long. I need to check if there was an extended power outage back in the Bad Winter of ’68-’69. If not, this is the worst ever. And I’m proud of our parents for navigating through it out on their farms!

My beautiful birch tree suffered a lot of damage, and we lost branches on other trees too. The raspberry canes, 5 days after the onset of the storm, are still encased in ice. Our Fraser Gap micro-climate here in the northmost part of the county just can’t get warmed up past the lower 30’s. Ice falls a little more every day, but a nice southern Chinook would be helpful to hurry things along. And what a mess that will be!

Oddly, just a couple miles south of Lynden, it’s as if nothing happened. People living mid-county really didn’t even know we were having the worst ice storm of our lives up here.
This is an ice chunk that fell from my weeping Sequoia. Almost 2 in thick and a foot long, 10 inches wide. We're not walking under the trees these days.

In the meantime, the roads are great, but getting around one’s yard is treacherous. The ice is so thick it is hard to break a path. Rosie decided that it was so dangerous that she would just wait to do her duties until the thaw. And so we have spent more time than I can cheerfully accomplish trying to get her to pee and poo while she slips around on the ice. She’ll almost be there, but then her foot slips and so she is sure she must try again to find a safe spot…of which there are none. But she is an optimist, so she keeps trying to find it. Sorry to the neighbors who have had to listen to my emphatic commands, and, frankly, cussing about getting the dog to POOP! JUST POOP! IT'S FREEZING OUT HERE, JUST POOP!

If that's the worst of it, I really am quite lucky. In fact, I have these positive things to say about the Ice Storm Event:

It’s spectacularly beautiful! When the sun comes out, it’s as if our world is covered with BIG diamonds! I keep speculating what heaven must be like if this is so pretty!

It’s good to be reminded how electricity makes our lives better. You guys! I have a machine that actually washes my dishes!! I mean you just put them in dirty, push some buttons, and them come out clean! It’s amazing!! I haven't thought about it that way for too long.

Once the danger was over, it was quite a restful time. Not much you can do with the power out; not many decisions to make about what you can/should do. (I’m sorry dairy farmers for even saying such a thing when, for you, it was all about making everything harder!)

I like the way our GenTran is set up with the microwave being the only cooking appliance available to me…So in the storm, I couldn’t cook; I could only reheat. Let’s keep it that way.

And one last confession: I have a hard time living without the internet, and even my phone failed me in this natural disaster. I couldn’t get a signal, except from Canada. Once in a while, I had a little tiny bit of signal – when I went upstairs and turned my phone the right way. So, I kept getting teases of what was going on out in IceWorld, but really couldn’t participate. I hated that. And because the south county was in typical wet winter weather, the news updates on radio (boy they miss Dillon) were completely irrelevant. Oh…I’m a news junkie, and my phone and the internet are my dealers. It was good for me to only be able to read books for a few days…but it wasn't easy.

Today, which I have discerned is Wednesday, January 3, 2018, there are still people out there without power. The linemen’s trucks are still going by regularly. I hope everyone is online soon. It’s a balmy 36 degrees, highest temp in a week, and I am going to venture out to the grocery story, because we are finally out of milk. I feel like I was well-prepared to make it this far...And I will continue in that effort.

This could be quite the winter!

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life ( and one where I can vent. (