Tag Archives: Winter

Making 2017 Count

Once again, the giant blue orb has slipped into another year and 2017 is with us. Winter has come too, with a heavy frost. The garden pond is frozen, the grass crunching underfoot as I ventured out to replenish the bird feeder. At least today the sky is blue, the air clean and the sun out.

The festivities are over, decorations put away, cupboards looking decidedly bare of food and Mum sitting snug in my sister’s car being safely transported home as I write this. With Dave back at work today, the house is quiet and calm. A little too quiet after a frenetic fortnight but it grants me the opportunity to reflect for a moment on 2016.

It wasn’t a good year for many people including most of my family and friends. Dave and I certainly had our share of misfortunes and serious health issues, and whilst it would be easy to list all the problems we’ve endured and come through, there were several highlights too; nothing major, perhaps small, almost insignificant, for many people, but they meant a great deal to me.

The first was being able to celebrate with the family my mother’s 90th birthday back in March which, in turn, brought my brother over from Spain to spend a few days with us even if he couldn’t bring the sunshine with him. There was a short trip to the English Lake District, somewhere I’d always wanted to visit. It was here I saw our native red squirrels at close hand and had the opportunity to hold and stroke a barn owl ­­– one of my favourite birds. Three items on my most want to do list ticked off in one fell swoop.

Kingfisher © Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Dreamstime Stock Photos

Then came the visit to the garden of  our native kingfisher – my favourite bird of all. They aren’t rare but I had never seen one in the flesh despite my being a keen birdwatcher. They are birds of woodland streams and rivers, so to find one perched on my bird feeder in the middle of a vast housing estate one morning was an absolute joy and a dream come true. It was the last place I expected to see one. By the time I had scrabbled to get my camera ready, the beautiful bird had flown.

So to 2017. I’m not one for making resolutions – like most people’s good intentions they seldom last more than a few weeks. Instead, I make a list of things to achieve. I might never achieve them all, if any, but it gives me focus and a starting point, pointing a way forward. First on my list is to have a proper sunshine holiday. You know me: hate winter, love summer. But at least the days are getting longer now, bit by bit. This morning I spied the first snowdrop in bud on the lawn and the more I looked, the more new shoots I saw, of crocus and daffodils and of hellebores in bud, their colours shining out already. Anyone walking by would have wondered why I wore such a broad smile.

I have several novels written which I am determined this year will see at least one of them published, if not all, along with a self-help book I’m writing.  I intend to give my art a big push too; enter painting competitions, join an art class, lead an art class? And I simply must make the effort to exhibit some of my work. Some how. Some where. Make the effort. Push myself.

Starting now. Things can only get better.

So, yes, 2017 WILL BE MY YEAR!

And wishing you all have a fabulous year too.

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What’s your favorite season of the year?

So…it’s been another strange winter. While others around the country have been deluged with rain, snow and wind, our Pacific Northwest weather has been quiet and almost balmy in comparison. Even our mountains are desperate for snowfall. We’re all concerned because that snowpack feeds our rivers and tributaries, and by default, irrigates our crops.

These hills should be covered in snow.

These hills should be covered in snow.

As someone who likes seasons to look different, I wish (and I say this very quietly) we could have a bit more snow in winter. This is our second year of no real measurable lowland snow, and I love a walk in the snow. I’m the first one out the door when the flakes begin to cascade down. I like Spring to be full of rain and flowers. Summer to be warm and rejuvenating. And Fall to be alive with changing leaf colors, then fading into the hibernating chill of winter.

We are very, very lucky to live here. We have our issues, mostly flooding when we get too much rain. Sadly, that’s meant some loss of life, most recently with the Oso slide in early 2014 where we lost 41 people. So I’m not complaining. I know we are lucky.

I just wish I’d seen a bit of snow.

How about you? How did Old Man Winter treat you this year? Were you part of the January blizzard in the Northeast? Sunny and warm all winter long? Is winter your least favorite season? Which one do you like best?

Florida, Weather and Fires- Guest Author- Hobbes

Hobbes here- sneaking around Jillian’s back again. I noticed she’s been posting some pretty dull things over here and decided she needed a little help. We live in Florida but you’d never know it these last few weeks. Now, today, as my paws are hammering out this post, it’s 73 degrees and sunny, sunny. A perfectly perfect day. A couple of weeks ago, it got down to 24 degrees a couple of days with a high only in the 40s. For you Celsius people that 73 Fahrenheit today would be 23 Celsius. BUT the 24 Fahrenheit we had those days would be something like negative 4 Celsius. That is pretty cold, people. Even those of us with permanent fur coats get a mite chilled then. Sometimes we get air that cold here but not normally in November. It usually comes in February.

Luckily, Jillian knows how to make fire. What a handy skill that is even though she doesn’t get to use it often. This is me digging the heck out of the fire she made the other day. hobbes fire hog

That contraption they call a Christmas tree should be arriving soon. I always appreciate it when they bring the outdoors inside since I love being out there so much. In fact, every day when Jillian comes home from work, she has to let me out on the screened-porch for a minute so I can make sure outside is still there. She finally caught on to that trick, though and leaves the door open. I thought I was being all slick going out and as soon as she closed the door, asking to come back in but I was not a clever puss after all. She’s on to me and my tricks.

Shhh. Did you hear that? No? Well, I did, and here she comes. *closes laptop and meows nonchalantly.*

Goodbye, Winter!

A bloom from my husband's favorite rose-bush.

A bloom from my husband’s favorite rose-bush.

So Spring began last week. I’m certain there are a lot of folks really happy to see Winter leave. I have a sister in Philadelphia who is tired of shoveling snow. They’ve had something like 15 snow and ice storms blow through.

I live in the Pacific Northwest and our winter has been strange, but mild in comparison. We started the year 11 inches below normal for rainfall. That’s a LOT. It was the driest winter I think we’ve ever had. I don’t know that for sure, but it seemed like it. Until about a month ago.

The heavens opened up and we’ve gotten gully-washers for rainstorms. We generally get rain and drizzle, but not too many downpours. These were all day downpours. And we’ve almost caught up to the average rainfall for our area. In THREE weeks! It’s crazy. The more important thing for us is that the mountain snow-pack, which was seriously depleted, has also almost caught up to average. We need that snow this summer to feed crops.

So we’ve been super dry, then super wet. But overall, mild here. I feel like I need to apologize to the rest of the world for having an easy winter while others have struggled so. 🙂

This year was a neutral year. That generally means a more unstable weather pattern. El Nino years tend to be warmer for us, La Nina tends to be cooler. They are already saying that this next winter will have an El Nino pattern.

Personally, I don’t like El Nino warming. It generally means I don’t get to see any snow unless I drive to it. And I like a little snow in the winter. Not as much as some of you have gotten this year. My shoulders ache just thinking about how much snow some of you have been shoveling. I  only like enough for a nice walk or two.

For now, though, I’m ready to see Spring. Soak up some sunshine, let the rain help our gardens grow, and air out the house (my favorite thing to do in the Spring).

So how about you? How was your winter? And are you glad for Spring to have sprung?

Oh, and a quick Happy Birthday to my pinochle partner and father. 87 years old, wheelchair bound, and still finding a lot of life to smile about. 🙂

The Media…Overstepping or Merely Reporting? by Valerie J. Patterson

If you’re like a lot of Americans and folks around the globe, you’ve been watching the Olympics.  Even if winter sports are not your thing, you’re bound to have seen some sort of coverage by accident, even.

I’ve seen crashes on the slopes I thought surely had to have ended a career.  I’ve seen a skater quit due to a back injury.  I’ve seen both men and women crash on the half pipe. And I’ve seen a lot of tears…not only over missing a shot at the podium but also because our media has pushed these fine athletes to tears with their invasive questions.

This annoys me.

Greatly.

Brody Miller comes to mind.  There’s been a media hailstorm over the female reporter who repeatedly asked Mr. Miller about his deceased brother.  Mr. Miller evaded her question time and time again until he simply, seemingly had no choice but to answer her as she was relentless.  Only after he shed a tear did she let up.  It was painful to watch.  It also got people riled up.  Most thought she was invading his privacy all for ratings.  Most thought she should have stopped asking after he sidestepped her question the second time.  I thought it never should have been asked.  At all.

After people berated the reporter’s actions, Brody Miller even eventually came to her defense and said she was simply doing her job.  I disagree.  I think she was following the normal route most–if not nearly all–reporters take and that is to go after the sensationalized story.

I don’t think being a reporter gives you the right to push people to the brink of emotional distress.  I don’t think being a reporter gives one the right to prod their subject until they break down into tears.  Any rational. compassionate individual is going to miss a recently deceased family member from their lives whether it be a parent, grandparent, sibling or child.  Why must the media always go for the throat…or in this case, the heart?

Ice and Snow? In Florida?

Hey, Jillian here. We’ve had a quite interesting last couple of weeks around here. First, my son got a new job in Providence, Rhode Island which necessitated him coming home (a ten hour drive) to bring his wife’s household goods to our house to add to the ones in our garage (that have been there since he went to England for his master’s degree) and put them all in a U-Haul to drive them up to RI. They came up from near Ft. Lauderdale on the day that the winter storm arrived so spent a good three hours (of the 9) driving in icy rain (good practice for RI).

The day after they got here, the whole city was shut down due to icy roads and the temperature didn’t get over 17 degrees Farenheit so none of it melted- we do not have snow/ice equipment here as it rarely is needed. My son and his wife closed the garage door to sort through his things but it was still super cold in there for them. It was pretty funny when they opened and closed the doors to dart out and put a load of stuff in the U-Haul. We sure aren’t used to brr temperatures like those.

The travelers left for Rhode Island along with my husband towing the U-Haul with his truck on Thursday. I told them I had visions of them having to live in it as they reserved an apartment sight unseen by using Zillow. Well, guess what? When they got there on Saturday, after 22 hours of driving, the place looked nothing like the pictures on Zillow and they refused to rent it. So, they didn’t get a place until Monday of this week and it’s been snowing up there. They got to pack in the ice and snow and also to unpack in even worse conditions. I’m just glad I had to work! LOL!

The day before the ice/snow was 69 degrees and after the three days of under freezing temps from Tues-Fri, it was 69 again by Sunday. It’s been a wild winter. Today it’s 60s but will be 32 tonight. Fun.

snow 1snow

Bring on the Sunshine…I hope.

Well, winter is winding down, right? At least, I hope it is. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve been blessed with a pretty mild winter. (And I say that tongue in cheek as I’m one who prefers a little snow each winter). I hope you have had a tolerable winter, also.

Now that Spring is around the corner, my husband is starting on garden projects. This year, we’re (oooh, I think I just used the royal “WE” there) starting some seeds in our newly enclosed greenhouse.  This structure has been there the entire time we’ve lived here, but we never took the time to enclose it.  greenhouse1

So now, what used to be a playhouse for our grandchildren is now called “the blue house”. greenhouse2And hopefully, it will give hubby a running start at the produce production. Not that he needs it. I don’t think he remembers there’s only two of us living here when he plants those seeds.

Dude, our 17 pound cat, is already showing signs that he’s coming out of hibernation. He’s not hesitating so much when you open the door to let him out. Cold weather will turn him around in a heartbeat. I think he spends half the winter curled up close to the wood stove. He’s now going outside for more than a quick potty trip. And, at 17 pounds, we’ve been able to talk him into walks around the property. Yes, that’s right. We have to take our cat for a walk. It’s the only way he’ll exercise. He’s such a lazy guy, but too loveable to berate. lol.

floors3

Happy almost Spring, everyone!