• Tag Archives snow
  • Moon Over Black Mountain

    Spring                                                            Mountain Spring Moon

    1428323496098Snow last night, not much but enough to coat rooftops and give the moonshine a reflective surface in the back. The moon hung directly over Black Mountain for a couple of mornings. Here’s a fuzzy (phone) photo taken from the deck off my loft.

    An odd phenomenon with shifting my workouts to the morning. I get more work done in the morning. Then, though, the afternoon, late afternoon, seems to drag.

    This will become my reading time for work related material. Right now I’m studying germline gene therapy for Superior Wolf. I’m also reading an older historical fiction piece called The Teutonic Knights by Henryk Sienkiewicz. Written in 1900 it is a great read. Sienkiewicz was prolific, author of many other works of historical fiction, including Quo Vadis. The Teutonic Knights have a role to play in Superior Wolf,so that book is work related, too.

    I count Latin, writing and reading to support them as work, as I do gardening and beekeeping. Some people would count these as hobbies, especially the gardening and the beekeeping, but for me they represent the non-domestic parts of my day and have done for many years now.

    At least for me a day filled only with meals, leisure reading, volunteer activities, shopping would be lacking a contrast, the contrast provided by labor with a forward progression, aimed toward an end of some kind. As I wrote before, I’m learning to detach myself from the results of this work, but that doesn’t deflate its value. Hardly. Work remains key to a sense of agency, a sense that does not come from merely sustaining life. For me.

    Mentioning work, Kate made me a spectacular wall-hanging with vintage Colorado postcards.

  • Yet.

    Imbolc                                                                   Bloodroot Moon

    Snow came in the night.  Maybe 2 inches.  Freshened up the landscape, pushed back the melting time.  Last year today it was 73, ruining my vision of the north, turning it into a slushy Indiana/Ohio/Illinois.  Climate change stealing my home.  It disoriented me, made me feel like a stranger in a strange, yet strangely familiar, land.  Now.  30 degrees.  8 inches of snow.  Home again.

    A book on my shelf, important to me:  Becoming Native to This Place.  The idea so powerful.  One so necessary for this nature starved moment, as the pace of the city as refuge lopes toward its own four minute mile.  Cities are energy, buzz, imagination criss-crossing, humans indulging, amplifying, renewing humanness but.  But.

    All good.  Yes.  Yet.

    That stream you used to walk along.  The meadow where the deer stood.  You remember.  The night the snow came down and you put on your snowshoes and you walked out the backdoor into the woods and walked quietly among the trees, listening to the great horned owl and the wind.  The great dog bounding behind you in the snow, standing on your snowshoes, making you fall over and laugh.  Remember that?

    There was, too, that New Year’s Day.  Early morning with the temperature in the 20s below zero and another dog, the feral one, black and sleek, slung low to the ground, went with you on the frozen lake, investigating the ice-fishing shacks, all alone, everyone still in bed from the party the night before but you two walked, just you two and the cold.

    Before I go, I also have to mention those potatoes.  The first year.  Reaching underneath the earth, scrabbling around with gloved fingers.  Finding a lump.  There.  Another.  And another.  And another.  The taste.  Straight from the soil.  With leeks and garlic.  Tomatoes, too, and beets.  Red fingers.  The collard greens.  Biscuits spread with honey from the hive.

  • Running the Manor House

    Imbolc                                                                         Valentine Moon

    “Bob.  Gas man Bob.”  The sales rep from Centerpoint energy introduced himself, pronounced himself of German ancestry and therefore very excited about strong coffee, minor league baseball and variable speed fan motors.

    The second estimate is on the table.  Literally.  At the end of our kitchen table.  Reliance and Center Point.  Nice folders.  Roughly similar costs.  A few bells here, whistles there.

    Tomorrow Brad from Air Mechanical comes out.  He’ll be the last.  We’ll make a decision and should have a new furnace by mid-week next week.  At least 95%, maybe 96.5% efficiency if we decide we want the quieter variable speed fan motor.

    Owning a home means these kind of transactions go on all year.  The handyman fixes the door.  The snowplower clears the driveway and the sidewalk.  Ray cuts the grass.  Mickman’s opens up our irrigation system and closes it down in the fall.  We have a crew that washes our windows outside twice a year, cleaning the gutters at the same time.  It’s all part of a balance among the things we can do and want to do and what we’re willing to pay others to do.

    We do our own pruning, tree removal, garden amending, planting, bee keeping.  I maintain the electric fence and installed it.  We harvest our flowers, vegetables, fruit and honey.  We’re lucky that we can sort tasks out along these lines.  It makes life so much easier.



  • Book of Revelations

    Spring                                                     Bee Hiving Moon

    Weather guru Paul Douglas (a Republican who accepts global warming and climate science) said this morning, “I feel like a weather forecaster for the Book of Revelations.  If the 7th day of my 7 day forecast doesn’t appear, head for the hills.”

    (our cherry blossoms)

    This because he had to assure us that the SNOW today would not accumulate.  Over the last two weeks I’ve gone from furnace to AC and back again twice.  Never before in my memory.

    As I ate my delicious Swedish pancakes, thank you Kate, the snow blew and whirled over the bee hives, through the branches of our blooming cherry and pear trees and gathered on the tips of the onions stalks I planted a couple of weeks ago.

    Interesting.  As my Norwegian brethren might say.

  • Yes, Virginia. It Still Snows in Minnesota.

    Imbolc                               Woodpecker Moon

    The night came cold and wet, slush frozen, then snow piling up, now in the morning branches sag heavy with soggy white.  A late season snow.  The kind for basketball tourneys or interrupting plans.  Just right for that.

    Still, it’s a nod to winter, a sort of, yes, we still know how to do this kind of thing notice on the part of the weather gods.  Not good for the trees or the shrubs, but, water, if it can get into the ground.  Good in that way.  We need more plus some.

    (my photo from December 11, 2010.  Photoshopped.)

    After the pedal to the metal push over the weekend on the Sports Show, I’m reluctant to dive into the next big thing, finishing the novel.  That’s definitely next.  Yesterday evening I did do some Latin in what would have been my Tuesday exercise slot.  That’s the new plan.  Made some headway, too.

    Last night the last Photoshop class of four.  Asked how long it took to get good at Photoshop, our instructor said, “Oh, years.”  I believe him.  This stuff does not come cleanly, quickly for me.  More like Latin, a struggle, two steps backward, then another one. Maybe later, progress.  Well maybe not that bad, but it felt like it last night.

    Partly I drove over in the rain and thought what a nasty drive it would be back home if the temperature slipped below 32.  All that rain and slush.  Ice.  No one’s driving condition of choice, except 19 year old boys with muscle cars.  So, I left a half an hour early.  And got back home just as the below freezing temps hit and the rain turned to snow, the slush to ridged ice.  Still had to take the trash out.  Of course.  But nothing like driving in the stuff.


  • A Puzzle

    Winter                                 First Moon of the New Year

    Here’s a puzzle.  Tuesday night is trash night here in Kadlec Estates so I trundled out both the regular trash and the recycling.

    The moon, at about 3/4’s full, was there, the lesser lamp, but the greater in aesthetic impact; Orion had risen in the eastern sky, now his usual upright self after his disturbing Southern Hemisphere headstand; and, there, on the western patch of lawn, the portion that abuts the driveway and goes down to the street, were regular bare patches, about 6-8 inches wide, then a much broader band of icy snow, a pattern that repeated several times as the yard slopes up toward the garage.

    What could cause such regularity?  Baffles me.

    Soon I’ll have several more chunks of photographs posted about the cruise at www.ancientoftrails.tumblr.com .  Going through them brought back a lot of the trip, its diverse geography, flora and fauna.  This trip will take a long time to settle in.  My eventual goal is to post my ancientrails entries in tandem with the photographs, but that may not happen for months.

  • The Chain Saw

    Beltane                                                                   Full Last Frost Moon

    Instead of opening Ovid this morning, I opened the garage doors and took out the chain saw.  Checked the chain oil, thick almost like grease.  Added some.  Filled a measured quantity of oil in a squeeze bottle, poured into the one gallon gas can, added a gallon of fresh gas, shook the can and put the gas oil mixture in the chain saw.  With the choke out full, I put my toe through the handle, pressing the saw firmly onto the driveway, grabbed the pull and yanked up.  Sputter.  Pulled again.  Nothing.  Pushed the choke half way in, yanked again and that ear-splitting racket that pierces homes and exurban silence whined to life.

    With the exception of one cedar trunk I’ve now downed, limbed and cut into smaller sections all of the damage from last November’s early, heavy snow.  The large cedar tree just off our deck is the only tree I’ll miss.  We nurtured it from a small shrub into a magnificent tree.  Though I’ll miss its 17 year journey with us, it does open up a lot of sun for the vegetable garden.  It would have been strategic to cut it down years ago, but it was a friend.

    When I finished limbing the first cedar trunk, my arms grew tired.  I quit.  No using chain saws when tired.  Flesh and bone pose no obstacle to these tree fellers.

  • I Roll Over On My Belly

    Spring                                              Full Bee Hiving Moon

    OK.  Enough.  Uncle.  I give.  I yield.  I roll over on my belly.  Please let us have spring.  Snow?  More snow?  Just when the Himalayan inspired mounds of soot black snow have begun their glacial retreat?  This is not insult to injury, but insult to insult.  Well, all right.  If it’s coming anyhow, but could this be the last one for this season?  Please.  I have plants that need to get back to growing.

    T’ai C’hi.  Coming along.  I am within one move of learning how to grasp the sparrow’s tail, then one more, the long whip, of having the basic moves in some sort of order and execution.  My teacher says, insists, promises it will all get easier.  But, it took her, she also says, 30 years to get her form to its current level.  Wait.  I’m not sure I have 30 years of T’ai C’hi practice in me.  On the other hand, maybe with T’ai C’hi…

    T’ai C’hi feels like Latin for the body.  It’s taking all of my concentration to stay with it when I practice and the learning is slow.

    Then there’s that radiation problem in Japan.  Good news on it.  The power company says it can have things cleaned up in 6-9 months.  6-9 months?  We’ll see.

    This is the time to move the bees.  Bee colonies do not like to have their homes moved once they’ve learned where they are.  Even a move of 2 feet can be too much for them.  If you want to move existing colonies, you have to do it in slow, incremental steps.  Right now, since I have no bees, I can put the hive boxes wherever I want.  Still mulling.  I want to put them in the orchard, but that will entail switching out the gear from the front garden shed to the back shed where I currently have all the bee equipment.

  • In Spring A Man’s Heart Turns to…Yard Work

    Spring                                                             Waxing Bee Hive Moon

    The weather has turned gray, inclement, wet.  The snow continues to melt, but not wholly disappear, as if it has gotten used to the yard and wants to stay as long as possible.  Where the snow has melted, there is mud.  Mud that tracks it on little dog’s feet.  And big one’s, too.  The spring cleaning season has begun.

    This morning I look outside and see only work:  the trees to repair, various objects that need to get picked up and burned or trashed, the bee hives I need to move, old plastic that has to come so we can plant underneath it.  This last is a method for killing weeds without herbicides.  Leave the plastic in place for a couple of years and seeds germinate but die for lack of sun.  Works pretty well.

    Of course, there’s the garden that will need planting, too.  Perennials left in for winter interest must come out now to make for their 2011 versions.

    Tomorrow I plan to have a meal of greens from the hydroponics and next Monday I’ll use the basil grown there for a caprese salad for an afternoon meal with my docent friends.

    Mark, my brother, e-mailed me and says his flight comes in on Saturday at 1 pm.  I’ll be there.

    Have to practice my Tai Chi.

  • Weather Complaint

    Spring(?)                                                    Waning Bloodroot Moon

    Well.  About a foot of new snow.  A foot.  Heavy, heart attack snow, too.  It’s hard to imagine a less welcome weather pattern at this time, with the exception of a hard rain.  Oh, yeah, we had a hard rain most of yesterday.  Both of them up the ante for the flooding season and seem to put the growing season still further and further away.  These kind of complaints often come in Minnesota about this time, stimulated not so much by the fact of snow or the extension of winter weather, but from a calendar encouraged yearning for a new season, a different form of weather.  We temperate folks like our weather, all four seasons of it, but we want all four seasons.  You know, a cool clear fall, a cold snowy winter, a bright colorful spring and a hot productive summer.  If it appears the weather gods have forgotten a season and just might skip one, we can get cranky.

    Kate came into my study this morning and said, with some surprise, “You’re putting something together!”  And she was right.  I ordered another editor’s desk from Levenger’s so I now have a continuous run of inclined desk space about three feet long.  When juggling books, note pads and more books, these inclined desks make work a lot easier.  Now I have enough space at the same height.

    More Latin, translating the Metamorphoses, and later, the legcom call for the Sierra Club.