Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Blizzard 2016 or Winter Storm Jonas

Jonas was a whopper of a storm.  It started out calmly enough at 11:15 a.m. here in Orange, VA on Friday, but quickly moved into a category known as a Nor'easter.  Yep, good, old fashioned, Nor'easter.  Wind whipping, snow blowing, bare spots in some places, and 5 foot drifts in others.  Jonas ended his wrath on us at around 9 p.m. on Saturday night.

This was the sunrise Friday morning - we never did see the sun that day......

Sunrise before the storm.
I did a lot of prep work on Friday because we were told there was no doubt we'd lose power.  Two years ago, after a storm not nearly this bad, we lost power for almost ten days.  It was awful.  That's the year I drove 70 miles to a store where they had power, and bought a huge generator.  That thing saved us that year.  In late 2014, I insisted that we prepare for winter weather so that when it [inevitably] hit, we would be prepared, instead of worried all the time that we weren't prepared.  I'm really thankful that I was insistent.  It's been really great knowing we are prepared and as the saying goes, "prior and proper preparation prevents piss pour performance......"

We had our electrical box set up so we have a switch that when if the power goes out, we can flip that switch, then start the generator, then flip whatever switches we need to run whatever needs to be run.  It's not a whole-house generator.  We looked into one of those and between the cost, and the fact we'd have to put in a propane tank, and make sure our propane was always full (which is difficult enough in good weather but in winter with snow on the ground, would be a challenge), the thing would have to sit right below our bedroom window, as well as right in the path of where we walk from the back door, to the barn.  It was not ideal...and again, very expensive.  More than we wanted to invest.

The transfer switch was less expensive by far, and we had already invested in a good generator.  So we decided on that route.  I'm so grateful we did.  It's not perfect, but it takes a LOT of the pressure off us during a power outage.

The snow and wind were exhausting.  The snow just kept coming, and the wind was howling all day Saturday and into Saturday night.

However, Sunday dawned bright and beautiful.....and with tons of snow to be moved.  This below is the Mister.  After plowing the gravel driveway (which is why it's not plowed down to the gravel).
We have an extremely long driveway.  This is only about a quarter of it.

This is Gabbi, our little Maltese.  This was during the storm, when she had to go potty.  We shoveled the front yard, and poor little thing, I had to make sure she didn't blow away!  Her ears blew up just as I snapped this shot, and she looked like she was going to fly away.
This is Blue, who is wondering where his grass went that he'd been eating yesterday!  He was NOT happy that the grass was gone....under a couple of feet of snow.

This is what it looked like in the town of Culpeper on Sunday.  People walking in the roads because the sidewalks were full of snow.
We survived.  No loss of power.  Some loss of sleep due to worry, but I worked really hard not to worry too much.  We were SO prepared.

I had cooked a bunch of food on Friday morning.  I made chicken breasts, and chicken thighs, and a sort of chili - we don't like spice so it was ground chicken, baked beans, diced tomatoes, salt and pepper.  It was yummy when we finally ate it.

If we don't get anymore snow, I'll be okay with that.  This was a big storm for our area of the country. I know other areas got hit with a lot more damage, and I feel really bad, especially for the residents along the east coast that have been hit several times in the last few years with flooding and erosion tearing away the coastline.

I'm not one to wish away time.  January is almost over (I can hardly believe it).  February is a "short" month.  March usually brings in spring, so it's very close.  I will look forward to warmer weather.  My arthritis has been painful, and it gets so every winter now.  Not fun.  Age is sneaking up on me.  Also not fun.  However, I am trying to live my life by the day, and not be the year.  I'm also trying not to think about my age but about how I want to live.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope if you were affected by this storm, you're doing well and didn't suffer any loss or damage.

Take care,
Always,
Martha

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Looming Snowstorm

We are in the path of the upcoming looming snowstorm.  Predictions for the area we live in, is 1-2 feet.  FEET.  C'mon.  Really?  The Euro weather models for the predictions are more accurate than the U.S. or Canada models.  The Euro model is scary.  Just sayin.....

On the other hand, I can hardly believe that January is half over.  Time just seems to fly by now that I'm older.  I can't believe I'm going to be 60 years old this year either.....in some ways I feel it, in others, not so much.

Sadly, several famous people have passed on this week - all in their 60s.  That's scary.
Even sadder, a person that I got to know over the last 8 years or so has also passed on.  She was vibrant, well loved in her work as a nurse, in her community, and as a horse woman.  She was always bright, cheery, and down to earth.  I feel sad for her passing, but I feel sadder for those people who's lives she touched and who will miss her the most.  Her family, of course, is very saddened.  Her husband and her sons.  They are all angry and will have to face life without her in theirs.  Her best friend, who was like a sister to her.  They held each other up in times of need.  They had tons of fun together in the horse world.  They were always smiling and happy when they were together.  Sue made everything you did with her, fun.

I will be getting on my old computer (which now resides upstairs but might have to come back downstairs for this task) and downloading all the old pictures I have on it.  I know I have many, many pictures that will be missing from an even older computer I had.  I wish I had saved them when I should have.  Photos are something I cherish.  I plan on getting many of them printed, even though they may sit and not be looked at often, I want them to be in the printed form for the future.  After all, I am realistic that I won't be around forever either.

I've decided to challenge myself this year. I joined a photography challenge which isn't a competition, but more of a challenge for those of us that need a bit of a push to do more with our photography.  I like this idea.  I'm not good at doing it on my own, but I may just decide to start one of my own.  I think that'll be fun.

This last weeks' challenge was red.  Be artistic.  Well, I don't think I was artistic in the sense that I created something that was red.  Lots of photos of red wine splashing on dark backgrounds were posted.  I don't drink wine, and I don't have the artistic fortitude some of the people have - I'm not a pro at this stuff.  However, artistically, I like my photo because I was able to get a sharp center of focus, with even more red in the background, and the foreground is just out of focus as well.  I happened to be taking a different photo, which didn't turn out the way I'd hoped it would, then turned and saw this.  I knew I had the shot I wanted.
The previous challenge was landscape.  Since I'd been busy the beginning of the week, and sick the middle to the end of the week, I decided to get this shot:
Landscape:  Get the foreground, and don't forget the sky!  Well, I got the foreground shadows which I love this time of year - I think I love it because it proves the sun shines sometimes even in the dead of winter.  The elongated shadows are pretty cool, along with the low sun, the starkness of the bare branches on the trees, and the hilly landscape in the background.  The horizontal lines of the fence with the contrast of the vertical trees.  The sun peeking at the top of the photo.

I post my photos on the Facebook page that has to do with the challenge - dogwood52 - but I don't get many likes or comments because there are SO many people involved and posting and some of the photos are totally amazing.  It's okay.  This is about challenging myself, not about criticism from others.

The first week challenge was a self portrait.  Yeah, not happening since I'm not happy seeing photos of myself.

Next challenge is a portrait of someone else.  I don't know what I'm going to do but I'll have to get out with my camera and try to catch people unaware - that's my favorite way of doing a portrait of someone else.

One of the other things I have planned for this year is to create a quilt for our king size bed.  Call me crazy.  I bought some beautiful batik fabric but I didn't buy enough.  I then found some Shimmer fabric strips to use in addition to the batik fabric, and I really love the combination of the fabrics.  I've done 2 sections of the quilt, sewing the strips together in a certain order.  Then realized the sections aren't large enough going across the bed, left to right.  So I spent part of the other afternoon laying out the next choices for strips, and I think it'll look okay.  It's not perfect, I'd prefer that I'd made better choices before sewing the strips together in the first place, but I'm working with it, and I'm okay with it.  It's not for anyone else, it's for me, and it's a learning experience.
A sneak peak into what my new quilt will look like


I have yet to decide if I'll try to quilt the fabric myself, either on my new machine, or on an longarm quilting machine, or if I'll send it to a quilt shop to get quilted by someone else.  For me, that takes the "I did this myself" out of getting this quilt done.  Since my new machine can quilt a design in the hoop from a pattern, I think I may be doing it myself, if the machine can handle the bulk of a king size quilt.  We'll see......

I have woven 5 yards of neutral fabric on my Saori loom.  I haven't cut it off because I'm trying to get as much out of what's left on my pre made warp, and I want to weave some blue fabric.  Eventually, I'm going to have to order a new pre made warp.

I'm also signing up for a few classes/demos this year, as I don't want to let learning opportunities get past me. I'm tired of giving things up because of guilt.  I want to live today.  I don't know that tomorrow is promised.

Well, I'm off to do some more snowstorm prep.  Wish us luck.  If you're being affected by this upcoming storm, I hope you stay safe and warm, and have plenty of fun stuff to do.

Take care,
Always,
Martha