Summer Dew Point

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Let It Snow?

Well, we made it. The trip home was mostly clear, and very beautiful, until we got off the interstate and headed up Hwy 60 at Worthington. Still beautiful, but the roads got steadily worse. And when we got onto the county road, it got interesting. Drivable, but snow packed in some places and ice in others. As we headed north, the snow got deeper and deeper. When we hit Storden, MN, we got a little nervous. If they had that much, how deep was ours going to be?
Frosted Pine Tree
Frosted pine trees in Rapid City.

Frosted Prairies in South Dakota
Frosted prairies in South Dakota.

Minnesota Interstate Windbreak
Interstate windbreak in Minnesota.

Heron Lake Snow
County road at Heron Lake, MN.

Storden Snow
Storden, MN snow.
Well, as hoped, Charlie, our road maintenance man had taken his BIG Pay Loader and cleaned out our driveway and the yard area. But unfortunately, he had done that on Sunday, and by Monday afternoon, it had drifted shut. We could not get in the driveway. Days like this are the reason most people raised in the north carry “survival” gear. And along with our insulated coveralls, packs, hats, scarves and heavy gloves; this year we had new snowshoes and poles in the car, courtesy of Cabalas and a used sporting store in Rapid City. So Hubby geared up and headed down the driveway on his snowshoes to check the house. The yard and the driveway by the house were fine, but 2/3 of the driveway was impassible for our car. Hubby shoed back up the hill and
we headed to Sister Connie’s for the night. Happy puppies and warm soup awaited us.Pay Loader
The Big Pay Loader.
Then yesterday morning with -2 degrees temperature and a heavy south wind, we came back to the house and both of us shoed in. It was not as fun as normal snowshoeing, because of the extreme cold. But we made with only some very cold fingers. Hubby started blowing snow to open the cat house and look for 2 missing cats (I will talk about that tomorrow), Charlie’s son came and redid the drive, and Hubby walked back up the drive to get the car. We got the car unloaded and headed back to Connie’s to get the dogs. Then went to Storden for the mail, Westbrook for milk, back to Connie’s for items forgotten, then got home and snuggled into a warm house. By the time all that was done, Hubby was too tired to finish blowing snow. So today he plans to blow a path to the barn to get out the tractor and front end loader. Then he can clean some more paths so we can get around to different buildings and the animals can get around the yard better.

Usually, if we are home when it snows, Hubby can get a jump start on cleaning off the drive and the yard. However, with this much snow, I don’t think he could have kept up with it. We can’t get an accurate depth reading, but we have somewhere between 25-30 inches, depending on where you measure.

We had a wonderful time in Rapid with the folks for Christmas, but we are glad to be back home, and thankful we made it safely. Now we just have to worry about Daughter Brook, who is driving home today….AND IT IS SNOWING AGAIN.
Winter Sky
The beauty of winter skies…one of the many reasons we live here.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holiday Blessings

Over the river (the Missouri) and to the woods (the Black Hills) for Christmas 2009. We made it a day before Snowstorm of the Century (as some were calling it) blew in. And we are still here. The storm totals at home are over 23 inches. There is not as much snow here, but the wind has made the trip back to Minnesota impossible right now. Hubby and I are waiting for a calmer Monday to trek across South Dakota. By then the man that plows our township roads will hopefully be able to get into our place and plow us out. I’d really rather not walk in ¼ mile in 20+ inches of snow. And that doesn’t include the drifting.

But while we are here, we had a wonderful Christmas with my parents. And daughter Brook with granddaughter Erin made it in to town for a short Christmas Eve. They had to hurry back to her other family 20 miles away before Interstate 90 was closed. So they are also spending extra time in South Dakota.

Now we are enjoying staying in a beautiful apartment, swimming and hot tubbing, playing Skip-Bo and of course…..eating. I'll share photos when I get home to my computer.

We were blessed this Christmas to be able to spend the holidays with our parents and that our whole family was somewhere safe from the storm. I hope your holidays were happy and safe too.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Early Christmas

My Christmas present from Hubby is here! And I am so excited.

Now we have been married almost thirty years; second marriage for both. And I am sure it is the same for other couples that have been married awhile, the idea of a surprise Christmas gift is non existent. Not only do we have most of what we need, we also have most of what we want. And what we wanted 6 months ago may no longer apply.

So as usual at this time of year it is “What do you want for Christmas?” “Nothing” or "Let’s just give it to the kids”. But this year Hubby was paying attention when I was wishing for more knitting needles. He said he wanted to give me a gift certificate to “that yarn place you always buy from”. I have two favorites for yarn. The Purple Iris in Marshall, MN and Knit Picks on line. And Knit Picks has the needles I like. So Hubby gave me some money to spend as I pleased. This is what I got.

Yarn, needles and a new book.

The yarn is lace weight Shimmering Bayou. The needles are sizes 5-8 Harmony wood interchangeable tips with 2 extra cables. And the book is “A Gathering of Lace” by Meg Swanson. I have never done lace knitting before, but have fallen in love with the looks of it. So I purchased the “Folk Shawls” by Cheryl Oberle a couple of months ago, and now this book. And I WILL learn to knit lace; I am determined. I started with a simple shawl pattern for a gift (the Drop-Stitch Shawl) which is almost done. Next I am going to do the Wool Peddler’s Shawl out of Cheryl Oberle’s book. I already have the beautiful red wool to do this.

Then I figure I will be ready to knit a shawl for myself. And I have changed my mind (a prerogative that Hubby is always puzzled by). My wonderful Maple wool that I have been spinning will be used for the Highland Triangle Shawl from "Folk Shawls".
Brandied Peaches
Maple's natural and peach dyed 2 ply.

I have about 400 yards of Maple’s wool plied and ready to go. I think I’ll need about another 600 yards, which I will start spinning on after the holidays.

And what did Hubby get? With age comes tired eyes. And he was having trouble hitting the target with his 22 rifle. A scope was what he wanted and so a scope was what he got. And he is very happy. As am I. No surprises, no strange gifts that you have to politely smile over, no gifts that you can’t use; all equals less stress for the holidays. I am always trying to find ways to reduce stress. And for me, fiber and fiber tools are better than jewelry.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bob's Unhappy Adventure

What is it about certain animals that grab your heart? I’ve had a lot of pets in my lifetime; dogs, cats, fish, a hamster and even a bantam chicken. I have loved them all, but always one a little bit more than another. I actually had trouble starting this blog. Just thinking about some of those favorites that have been long gone put me in a funk for a couple of days. The death of some of my pets was expected, or sometimes best for the animal, and a lot have been sudden and devastating. But the passing of some, no matter how logical or right or necessary, is hard to take.

But this is not about all the loved pets that have gone out of my life. This blog is about Bob.

What do we know about Bob? We know he is not a feral cat; way to easy to approach. We know that he is not a barn raised cat; he wants to be too close to me and in the house. We know he was hurt at some point, possibly being thrown from a car; his tail is damaged, probably broken part way down, and he has trouble running with weak back legs. We are pretty sure he’s not too bright; couldn’t figure out how to use the cat door into the cat house. And…. I know that he has beautiful pale green eyes and a cute speckled nose, he is affectionate, and loves me almost as much as food.

And we now know that even though he is still a tom, he is not much of a fighter. Right after I had written about him last time, Bob and our neutered cat Pickles got into what I think was a “king of the hill” fight.


And Bob lost. He ended up with punctures on his back. The holes got slightly infected so we cleaned them and used some antibacterial cream for cats and dogs (we get a lot of little scrapes here) on the wound. It looked great. For about a week. Then the day of Thanksgiving (why do emergencies always happen on holidays), we noticed that his back was swelling and he would not let Hubby touch it. He did let me look at it, but with a lot of complaining. Black Friday arrived and we called the vet. The swelling had increased to the size of a golf ball. Our vet got us in that afternoon, so Bob got his first (at least first for us) car ride in a crate. Now Bob is a fairly big boy, 10 pounds and still filling out. So he was uncomfortable in our cat crate. But he only cried until we got in the car and started talking. It seems that he was not as scared knowing we were there (see, not a barn or feral cat). He was very well behaved in the vet waiting room, and even though scared, he was very good in the examining room. His real trouble started when the vet suggested that the wound be flushed out.

I am very grateful to that vet for having the foresight to ask us to go to the waiting room. I didn’t see what happened, but I heard it all. Bob was screaming with pain and fear and anger all at the same time. I was in the waiting room almost in tears. The vet had told us this was the only thing to do, unless we wanted Bob knocked out to deal with the wound, in which case he would have had to stay in the clinic over the weekend. I knew he would be unhappy there, so I opted for the flushing. As I heard him crying, I changed my mind, but too late. They were finally finished. Now most of you that have had children or beloved pets know how I felt in that waiting room, hearing him cry and not being able to help him. I felt, oh I don’t know how to describe it, except broken hearted. Even thinking about it now hurts. And Bob? Poor Bob was so scared that he did the 3 Ps in his crate; pooped, peed and puked.
Checking out the shop
Bob checking out my shop in the cat house (note the shaved back).

Anyway, time heals all. Right? So Bob is home, with a shaved back and 3 weeks of antibiotics. We felt so badly for him, Hubby told me to get yet another heated cat bed, and he has been moved into the cat house (as close to the lap of luxury that Hubby will allow). Then we put a towel over the cat door so Bob can go in and out. He just can’t grasp the mechanics of the plastic flap. And we will leave the barn to the feral cats, with a big dish of food and beds in the hay.
Bob's Getting Better
Bob today.

So for now all is well, except our checkbook. Any grants available to take care of abandoned cats? And hopefully Bob’s next trip to the vet will only be for neutering and a tail dock. But then ….that will be another Unhappy Adventure for him.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Just Some Things

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We did. Joining us was Daughter Brook, Granddaughter Erin, Sister Connie and her husband Norm. The food and company were great. Then Brook and Erin spent most of the weekend here (they only live 45 miles away). While Hubby messed around outside and Erin read, Brook and I crafted some Christmas gifts for her. I can’t tell you what we worked on, because some of the recipients read this blog. But I think they will all enjoy the final product. We also got to see one of my nieces; Connie’s daughter and her husband from Seattle. We don’t get to see them too often, so we really enjoyed it.

Let’s see…..oh yes. They are finally done harvesting around us. Last night was the last of the combines, working into the wee hours of the morning across the road from us. When we woke up this morning, they were gone. And the farmer that does the land to the east, south and west of us got the field chiseled yesterday. So Hubby was out this morning dragging the driveway (it’s a ¼ mile long) and fixing up the mess they make with the HUGH machinery. That should be that last time he’ll need to do it until next spring.
Harvest is Done

Harvest is done.

I think Minnesota’s topsy turvey weather has straightened out. We had snow the day before Thanksgiving, which took a couple of days to thaw. Today is in the 50s, but the cold is coming in tonight. So winter is on the way. Hubby and I even took some time to check out the new fancy snowshoes online today (ours are old wooden ones). We are (at least I am) looking forward to some snow. I love snowshoeing. And we have all this land around us that we can use including our grove. Last year, there was so much snow in the grove that we were snowshoeing up in the top branches of some of the trees. That’s an eerie feeling. I bet we scared a few squirrels out of hibernation. And of course, nothing looks the same from 10 feet up, so I’m glad we only have 3 acres of trees. You can’t get lost in that.
Last year’s snow.

Hubby wants me to tell you…. He got his deer after days of sitting and watching does go by. A good sized buck that has blessed our freezer with hamburger, steaks and sausage. No, I didn’t take his photo. I’ll just say he was beautiful in life and leave him with some dignity.

And now, an update on Bob. Well, I’ll wait until later to write about it. I don’t want to make this blog too long. I’ll just say, Bob had an adventure…and it wasn’t the best….. But he’s fine now.