Friday, January 30, 2009

Snowed In

On Tuesday morning, January 27, 2009, I was in Titusville, Florida enjoying this sunrise.

By 2:25 pm that same day I was landing in Akron, Ohio, which looked like this from the air.

We picked up the kids in town, drove back out to the farm and hunkered down, the dire weather warnings ringing in our ears. The power went of about 6 am Wednesday morning, as we knew it would. We awoke to an icy winter landscape.

There would be no school Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. This will mean the kids will be in classes until Labor Day weekend next fall. Oh well.

No electricity meant no computer, no TV, no radio, no house-wide heat, no coffeemaker, no lights in the closet, and no refrigeration. By Thursday morning we were cleaning the fridge out and putting all the food in coolers on the front porch. Spring cleaning a few months early.

Our outdoor food pantry.

I went out in the morning and ran my van long enough to charge up my laptop so I could get a bit of writing done. It felt weird not to be able to access e-mail. Then a calm settled over me. I was not going to fight it. If the cosmos did not want us to be connected to the world, we'd obey and find other ways to pass the time.

After two days without electricity, the kids gave up kvetching, too. They settled down with some new books from Christmas and seemed content. I joked with them about playing games on the Amish Wii: Actually going outside to play in the snow. We voted to go sledding. So we bundled up and headed over to our neighbor's cow pasture and sledding down the bowl-like hillside. It was awesome. But we had to be careful to steer clear of the frozen cowpie moguls which really hurt the old rumpus when you hit them.

Ice-crusted pines made our driveway impassable to anything but foot traffic.

Phoebe prepares to take the first run down the bowl.

Liam and I took the final run of the day, just before dark and I videotaped it. It's scary.


I spent an hour or so cutting pine branches off the slumping trees along the drive. I made enough of a hole though the coniferous blockade to get the 4wd Explorer out this morning. The kids insisted on coming into town with me. Once we got to BWD the ran inside and danced around Helen's desk lamp in the office foyer.

The power is still off at home. But at least we know that we can get to civilization if we need to. We may not have power restored until next week. I am unsure if I'll be disappointed to miss the Super Bowl. It might be kinda cool in a throw-back way.

Have a good, warm weekend.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Foul-Weather Feathered Friends

This week's big snow has kept the kids out of school until today.

Hello Cabin Fever Hotline?

The weather has also brought in a bunch of bird species that normally only visit the feeders when the weather is horrible. Among these foul-weather transients is a big male common grackle in his iridescent best winter plumage.

You can see from this photo why this species used to be called the purple grackle. Grackles are really beautiful birds, if you look at them carefully. Too bad their reputation as agricultural pests, feeder hogs, and marauding nest robbers is what sticks in most peoples' minds.

I'm still hoping these winter storm fronts will coax some common redpolls down to southeastern Ohio. They have been seen in other parts of the state. I'll be keeping one eye on the feeders this weekend.

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