Monday, February 23, 2015

New Toys

Well, a mouse isn’t really a toy, unless you’re a cat. Poor little thing. We had a house mouse, and it’s the 3rd one to make the mistake of trying to shelter in our home. This is an old house (60+ years) so we apparently need to go look for wee mouse doors come Spring, and I really can’t blame the little critters. It’s cold outside, and there are all sorts of predators out there. We have hawks, owls, and foxes in our yard all of the time. A warm house with only three cats must seem like an upgrade. But, it’s not a very safe place. Our kitties are excellent mousers. I tried to catch this mouse and put him back out in the woods, but he was too fast for me and my long-handled dustpan. Like the two before him, the cats got him. RIP mouse #3.

Mighty hunters..


Poor little mouse, climbing the bricks in the living room. Why do they have to be so darn cute?


Anyway, the cats have their work to do to keep the house safe, and we have ours. The snow refused to melt sufficiently to ignore yesterday, despite getting up to almost 50F for most of the day, so we had to go clear it. It was still between 3-4 deep at the top of the drive. Out by the street it was VERY deep. 8-10”. Brad decided to get the new snowblower out. It worked very nicely. This thing even motored over the gravel drive pretty well. The drive still required some shoveling, but it was nice to have! Convincing it to not run down hill at speed was a little tricky.


Brian had a lot of homework to do, but Honor got some play time in. Monday had a 2-hour delay, but it was still a school day.



Honor did some sledding, and she made a little snowman too. Eventually, she decided that his hands might be cold, so she let him borrow her gloves.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

More (snow) than expected

After making our way home from piano lessons yesterday, we were still under the impression – based on the forecast – that we were only going to see an accumulation of about 1-3” of snow, that was to turn to rain later in the night. At least that is what we thought. Ok, so it started much earlier than expected, but it would end earlier too, right? Nope.

By 3pm it was still snowing hard, and the initial accumulation we’d got during our drive home had practically doubled. And there was no sign of it stopping or slowing.


Eventually, around 3-4pm, Honor and I went outside to check how deep the snow was. It turns out that it was about shin-deep on an 11 year old!


She almost faceplanted!


“Stop laughing, Mom!”


Yea… next year we totally need snow pants…


Ninja went out onto the patio to check out where the snow had blown through the screens. She was NOT impressed with the cold stuff on her toes and came right back in! Brian and Pumpkin wisely chose to do warm, inside activities as well.


Honor went out to play, and after a bit, I went on a trek to go find her and join her in her explorations. It was easy to track her…


But not so easy to walk. With this snow fall and the snow that had previously accumulated, we had bits of the yard where I was trudging through knee-deep snow.

Where’d my leg go? (Note: Snow pants AND boots)


Ah-ha! Found my intrepid adventurer in the back yard!


“Follow me, mom. I know what I’m doing.”


Evidence of a very busy woodpecker. And me, covered in snow.


Honor decided to make a snow angel. She’s probably tried before, but this is really the first good snow that she’s had to make a REAL snow angel with.

Isn’t this the most awesome snow angel ever?


Next we went over to say hello to the neighbor’s horses, but they were not in a social mood. The were just hanging out quietly together by the trees.


Honor, posing by a stump that we call the chair tree.



Anyway, back in the front yard, the gnome is looking a little concerned.


And Honor got in a little sledding. The snow was so deep and soft though that she’d get down the hill and sink in!


Looking out my window, I can see where we adventured.


Brad and I came to the conclusion that the forecast 1-3” accumulation was the forecast for snow UNDER the carport.


It continued to snow continuously until about 8pm. Nearly 12 hours after it started here. We had a bit of sleet and freezing rain after that. I measured the snow on the upstairs balcony at 10”. What accumulated on the BBQ looked about the same. At night, everything was very quiet and hushed. Everything looked very soft.


The little solar light is barely peeping up out of the snow!


The BBQ had been cleaned off before this snow started. And here is the patio upstairs too.


This was a lovely snowfall, if way more than we expected, but I think this is enough. I’m just about ready for Spring! But first, I may have to go out and join in on the snowman making… or snow shoveling…

Driving in the Snow

Our poor confused truck. While it spent its early years in this region, it has lived in the Middle East for the last ten years. It got adapted to the hot weather, and sun and dust, and has held up very well over the years. Then we brought it back to Maryland. It arrived in September and was fine in the Autumn weather, but come the first cold snap in November, when the temperature dropped into the 20’s for the first time, it actually set off its alarm several times as if in panic. Like a kid who had a nightmare and calls his parents in at night. It would get cold and start hollering with its alarm “Help! Everybody! Get out here! Something’s wrong!”. We had to disconnect the battery. Fortunately, it has figured out the cold, mostly, and is doing better. The defrost needs some help though, and the 4WD doesn’t seem to work as well, but for a 12+ yo SUV with hard miles on it, it does very well indeed.

Anyway, the kids had piano lessons scheduled for this morning. The snow was not forecast to begin until 1pm, and even then, we were only forecast to get 1-3” of accumulation. I didn’t think much of it when, as we left the house, flurries were already starting. During our hour’s lesson though, the snow got heavy and started to stick. I went out a little early and got the car going to warm up before the kids’ came out. That was a good idea…


Honor took a lot of photos on the way home. This storm came in fast and heavy and the plows didn’t have a chance to get out in advance. The roads had been clear when we drove in. By the time we got on the road, we could see snow piling up in the center of the roads, between the driving lanes, 1-2 inches deep at least. Traffic was crawling, which was good, because it was very slick.


Some of these photos aren’t very clear, but I like the effect. It’s like almost like impressionist paintings. They definitely catch the feeling of driving through the cold and snow. Oh, and there was a ton of traffic. I guess that we weren’t the only one under the impression that we had a few hours before the weather changed for the worse. Oops!


The snow and ice on the windows couldn’t melt fast enough. My heater was kicking out the hot air, but I still actually had to stop at one point, on a cul-de-sac, and scrape my windows so that I could see.



Honor accidentally hit one of the special ‘thumbnail’ shots for this photo. It took the outside photo while catching a shot of her too. She wasn’t paying attention, and it made her look so sad! She wasn’t, but a sad face goes with this photo so well!


The snow was blowing sideways. Some cars were driving that way too.


It took us nearly an hour to make what is usually a 10 minute drive. And the roads were way too bad to stop for the donuts we’d planned for breakfast (boo!) but we laughed and had a good ride anyway!


Finally, we made it home! Yay!!


We managed to get up the driveway without sliding off into the ditch, whoo! And even managed to get up the hill too, but I wasn’t going to try and turn it around. The snow on the drive was already thick – 3 inches in places (it had been clear when we left) – and even by this time, we had not yet reached the time when all this was supposed to have even started!


My trusty steed.