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.

...as 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!




Thursday, December 21, 2017

One, Two Birthdays...

Though neither Tiffany, nor Caitlin wished to have babies in December, God chose for both of our grandgirls to be born then, one year and one day apart. Maybe that was for me -- because I LOVE DECEMBER, and having two little sweets celebrate birthdays only adds to the fun! I mean, the whole world is decorated for your celebration, and everyone is itching to do happy, fun stuff, so what can be bad about that?!

Spoken as one whose birthday is in May...I know: too much of a good thing, nothing the rest of the year, etc. But God decided, so I say let's make the most of it! :)

And Emma's and Kit's mommas did just that.

Emma's birthday came first, but her party waited until Grandma Pat & Grandpa Gordon were in town. On the actual day, she came to this Grandma's house for breakfast. I'm glad we made this list of fun things to do on her birthday! In the days leading up to her birthday, her parents coached her on stating her new age. It became a very serious event to her, as she would solemnly state, "Gonna be two..."


Meanwhile, Kit was learning to point her little index finger high when asked, "How old is Kit?"
(This is not a video, just a screenshot. Wish I could have made the video work.)

Oh my heart!

We had a lovely little cake and ice cream party at Jon & Cait's house for Kit's birthday. Fun presents, fun cousins and Kit loved the cake!


Kit loved her Angus night light...It looks exactly like her good buddy!





And when you're done with cake, you can still suck frosting off your thumb!

Then Saturday, we celebrated with Emma's cousins, and presents, and she loved her chocolate cake!
The TWO tutu!




Grandma Pat brought pretties from Hawaii!


She ate the whole piece of chocolate cake, and no wasting it on her face! 

We are so thankful for these two darling girls! Emma and her spunk, storytelling and zest for life. Kit and her sweetly lisping gibberish, and her determined, quiet problem solving play. They are amazing! And they love us, especially Grandpa, which is so sweet to see. Their parents are doing such a good job, loving and leading them.

Indeed, they deserve the best of celebrations because they are the best blessing we enjoy here on this earth!

Happy Birthdays, precious Emma and Kit!!

About Me

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