1 Comment

Snowmageddon 2019

 

In February of 2019, Douglas County in Oregon experienced an epic snowstorm that caught everyone by surprise.  The weather forecast was for a large amount of rainfall possibly turning to snow.  We never get much snow around here, so it didn’t seem likely that we would get any.  The snow came down over a period of two days and was wet and heavy.  As a result all of the residents in the county lost power and most lost cell service and internet service for from less than a day (in town) to three weeks.  We, ourselves, lost power for eight days and a bit longer for cell and internet.  At our farm we got about 2 feet of snow, which is a disaster for this part of the country.  There were downed and broken power lines all over the county along with a multitude of downed trees.  Many roads were impassable and one whole town north of here was completely stranded.   I kept a diary of sorts during the power outage and what follows is my account (with explanations in parentheses).  Photos are at the bottom of the page.

–Sunday, February 24–power went out at night after 7 pm.  (It started snowing in the evening; big, beautiful flakes)

–Monday, February 25–no power, no cell, no internet-at least 1 ft. of snow, still snowing.  Water in pressure tank, cistern.  Turned off all water to toilets.  PB&J for breakfast.  (We have a pressure tank in the house that runs from the cistern.  We didn’t know how much water it held, but we did have bottled water.)  Pulled generator from barn to house in deep snow on cart.  Tipped over, switch on gen. broken, now only works with 120 volt and extension cords.  Powered up for 2 hours for refrigerator, freezers and Keurig.  Wood stove works, plenty of wood.  Thankfully had previously figured out the smoke problem. ( The wood stove had been giving us problems with making the house smoky, and we stopped using it.  But Bruce finally figured out the problem, just days before the snowstorm hit.)  Made tuna for lunch. Tree branch fell onto road near creek.  FVR (the main road)passable, not plowed.  Chicken Veg Soup for dinner.  Read to Bruce about Iceland on Kindle with soy candle for light.  (Nights were the worst–it was cold and dark and depressing.  We had on many layers of clothing which we slept in, but were still cold.)

(So strange to be stranded with no contact from the rest of the world-scary too, if we had an accident.  We would have had to walk through the snow up to the main road and then hope to flag a car going by.)

–Tuesday, February 26–no power, cell, internet. PB&J & coffee for breakfast.  Powering gen. for 2 hours/3X’s per day.  Getting pond water to flush toilets.  🙂 (Took a day to figure that out; we must have been in shock). Drove the ATV from barn and up the road, but it stalled and wouldn’t restart.  Dragged it away from FVR and left it.  (We had just bought the ATV second-hand from a friend and had it tuned up, so we thought it would be our salvation to give us a way to get the truck up to the main roadBefore we finally got plowed out, I came up with a boatload of ideas for getting that truck up to the road.  My last idea was to lay newspapers all along our road and set fire to them to melt the snow.  Yes, I was that desperate!  At least all my failed ideas gave us something to do during the day.)

–Wednesday, February 27–Defrosted frittata warmed on the stove for breakfast.  (We have a propane stove in the kitchen, so cooking was possible.) Bruce walked to George’s (our nearest neighbor).  He only let Bruce use phone to call Tim-no plow, no fuel, not much help.  After the call, he asked Bruce where he had parked! (He actually thought that Bruce had driven to his house, to use his phone!) Bruce flagged down a truck on FVR and it was Don Casteel, Tim’s partner (he did some work on our farm).  Gave Bruce 5 gallons of fuel and said would plow our road on Thursday.  (We we getting low on fuel for the generator, and Bruce had been considering walking to town-12 miles- and renting a U-Haul so we would have transportation.)            Steak, potatoes and cauliflower for dinner.  (Utilizing the BBQ grill and kitchen stove.)  Read about the bee lady at night. (A Country Year: Living the Questions by Sue Hubbell.  Great book by the foremost expert on bee-keeping)

–Thursday, February 28–Don & Tim arrived with Cat @ 2pm. (We were beginning to think they weren’t coming, but they were busy all day with the plow helping other people.) Plowed out road and got the ATV back to the house and truck out to FVR.  Went to town-farm store, Costco, Sherm’s and Thai Restaurant—in ski hat, down jacket and muck boots.  Bruce made a sled out of plywood with straps to haul wood from shed. Read about bee lady at night.

–Friday, March 1—Dave H. brought over his generator with 230 V, but we had the wrong plug for it.  Ours is for a 30 amp and his is for a 20 amp.  Finally found a plug from Alan Sabin and went out at dark to get it from him in Camas Valley. (Bruce said it was like doing a drug deal.)  Finally had lights on at night and water to flush toilets.  Got some spotty cell service.  Newspaper delivery today.  (Thanks go out to Dave H. and Dave C. for lending us their generators, when their power was restored.)

–Saturday, March 2—Still no power.  Spotty cell, no internet. Toaster made toast this morning.  Space heater doesn’t work on generator.   Not much to do today.  Bruce cleared a path to FVR and dug a path from FVR to the mailbox.  Got mail and paper today.  Governor declared our area a State of Emergency on Thursday.  We see no improvement.  Played Canasta. (This is how bored we were–because Bruce never plays any games.)

So the up-side to all of this is that we have made a list of everything we had that was helpful and the things we wish we had or what we would have done differently.  We were mostly well-prepared.  You do what you can and pray for the rest.  Also, we are so thankful to the many people in Douglas County who went above and beyond in helping us and many others out, with no expectation of reward, but just because they could and because they are wonderful, kind-hearted people who exemplify the best of this country.

 

The usual amount of snow we get in the wintertime.  This was a few days before Snowmageddon.

  1. Frittata; 2-3. First day of snowfall; 4. Entry to our farm; 5. Main road to town- George’s house way in the distance; 6. tree down on our road.

1-4. More snow has fallen. 5. Truck stuck in the snow.

  1. Bruce getting pond water for the toilets, in knee-deep snow; 2-3. Our attempt to drive the truck out; 4. The ATV was great while it lasted; 5 It took us awhile to figure out how to get more light.  If you shine a flashlight onto a white wall you get quite a lot of light.  This is our soy emergency candle, in a canning jar.

1-4. So much snow-covering 2 foot bushes; 5.  Our trusty wood stove blasting away for days. 6. Some hope for tomorrow?  Yes!

 

 

 


1 Comment

Twenty-seventeen

Last year I decided to try something new, because I was depressed about the rampant discord in our country and the massive amount of rancor (a feeling of deep and bitter anger and ill-will) coming from so many people in this country, who I really thought knew better.  My decision was to try and be mindful of the good in life and make a record of it on little 3X3 pieces of notepaper.  Every time something nice, good, wonderful, interesting, funny or weird happened I would write it down, fold it up and toss it in a jar.  Hopefully, at the end of the year I would have a jar full of happy memories to prove to myself that something good did happen during the year.

The following is a mix of the best of my written and photographic recordings of the past year.

January 1, 2017–Happy New Year’s!  It snowed today!

_MG_5103 (1)

January 4–I went on a photowalk around the farm in the freshly fallen snow.  Such a different, serene view!

January 5–Saw two coyotes in the Morgan’s cow pasture this morning.  We often hear the coyotes howling at night, but never see more than one or two in the daytime.

_MG_5606

January 24–Went out for pizza and beer with Janice Barthlomew and her mom at Abbey Pizza.  Good times!  (Abbey Pizza benefit for the Sigl family’s loss of wife and mom.)

January 24–Saw the elk two times today.  It’s a big herd with young.  The herd was much more visible this year with more young than usual.

_MG_5724

January 25–I brought Matrimonial bars to the SIG event (Spring Into Gardening) and a man sought me out to ask  for the recipe…for something I baked!

January 26–Sun is shining!  Temperature got up to 85 degrees upstairs.

IMG_1609

January 27–There were some interesting wave-shaped clouds over the mountains just before sunset.  These, I found out later, are called  Kevin-Helmholtz wave clouds.

_MG_5729

 

January 30–Started an on-line photoshop course called Photoshop Artistry, which makes art from a collage of photos.

January 31–Today I FIXED my computer, after breaking it last week.  Installed the correct Wacom TAB DRIVER so the mouse works again and figured out that MS Edge will let my Wacom Pen work with Adobe Flash!  😀

 

February 23–First wine and food pairing class with Diane of Delish with Diane.  Lots of fun, wine and good Caesar Salad!  This was a six-week course and every week we had something delicious to eat, great wine, and lots of laughs.

March 1–Laura got a big raise and a new title!  😀

March 2–Saw a Bald Eagle early this morning–he landed on top of a tree in the cow pasture.

March 12–Lovely warm day spent weeding and trimming.  Saw the elk herd in the pasture.

_MG_5749

March 25–Joined an interesting group–The Cloud Appreciation Society.

The Cloud Appreciation Society was founded by Gavin Pretor-Pinney from the United Kingdom  in January 2005. The society aims to foster understanding and appreciation of clouds, and has over 42,000 members worldwide from 115 different countries, as of January 2017.  Yahoo named the society’s website as “the most weird and wonderful find on the internet for 2005”. The group and its founder were the focus of a BBC documentary Cloudspotting, based on Pretor-Pinney’s book The Cloudspotter’s Guide.  (Wikipedia)

Upon joining, I received a certificate (member 43,001), a nifty enamel pin and a Cloud Selector Identification Wheel, plus every day they send me a photo of an interesting cloud formation with an explanation of what it is.  I don’t remember why I joined, but I have been enjoying it immensely.  You too can join at https://cloudappreciationsociety.org/

IMG_2596   IMG_2597

April–NO MFP Training!  😀  (Sorry Sara R.)

April 15–April, the giraffe, had her baby!  Too cool.  Live video was posted by the zoo and many, many people invested many, many hours waiting for that baby’s arrival.

April 16–Alternate Universe–There is a Sabbath setting on the refrigerator.  The panel stops working=NO WATER!  Happy Easter!

IMG_1820

April 19–A pheasant came to visit us–very friendly.  We bought it some food and haven’t seen it since.

IMG_5849

May 1– Last day of Delish with Diane.  A lady in the class, who homeschools, asked me to teach art to the kids in her homeschool group.  Nice to be asked, but I turned her down.

May 7–Going to Ireland!

 

Creevah Heights22  _MG_6885a

_MG_6803  _MG_6497

Creevah Heights39  _MG_6046

 

_MG_6012  _MG_6325a

 

 

_MG_6801  _MG_7165

 

 

May 25–Home from Ireland!  We had the best time–two and a half weeks of a perfect vacation.  We drove from Dublin clockwise around the entire island and ended in Dublin.  The people of Ireland are very friendly and the scenery is gorgeous.

We found Smithwick’s ale to be the best in Ireland and at a Slow Food Festival near the Cliffs of Moher I won a bottle of Irish Peat Wine as a door prize.  Hmmm…it didn’t taste like peat though.

June 27–Started pottery class–great fun!  Started on a slab cup and attempted a pinch pot.

IMG_2056

July 1–Bruce was the cover boy (with article inside) for our local electric company’s magazine, Ruralite. 

IMG_2018 

July 10–Finally finished a pastel painting.  The subject is a photo that a friend posted on Facebook.  Next painting up is a photo I took in Ireland of a mama pig and piglets in a barn.

_MG_5741

July 17–I found my Photoshop Brushes that I thought were lost forever!  Oh, Happy Day!  Also, 7-17-17, all the sevens, and my Grandmother’s birthday.

July 26–Threw my first pot on the pottery wheel.  Short cylinder, difficult to do, but fun!

IMG_2067

July 27–Bruce installed new sun covers for the kitchen and greenhouse/conservatory.  They are very nice and keep the kitchen much cooler!

August 15–We planted a peach tree in our orchard and got a small but very delicious crop this year.  These are Elberta peaches.

IMG_2119

August 21–Today I’m sure that Laura bought us a fine bottle of Port in Porto, Portugal!  Yum!  😀  (update Christmas 2017–I was right!)

August 21–Total Solar Eclipse Day!  We had about 97% totality.  It got as dark as it does at dusk.

August 22–The glaze on my coil pot came out just the way I wanted it.  Yahoo!

IMG_2135

August 24–We have a beautiful new marble countertop in our bathroom!  The second photo is the previous countertop.  We also put in new fixtures and a spiffy shower door.

IMG_2169  _MG_8369

IMG_2391

August 28–Laura made it home safely from trip to Portugal/Spain and had a great vacation!

September 7–Smoke has cleared and skies are blue–partially.  Air smells sweet.  😀     The fires were fierce in Oregon this summer and we mostly avoided the smoke until the end of summer when the winds shifted and we were enveloped in a cloud of smoke for weeks.  It made for some interesting photography, though.

_MG_9039Morning sun

_MG_9008

_MG_8859Afternoon/evening sun

November 15– Pottery class is winding down for the holidays.  This is my favorite piece since we began.

IMG_2424

December 14–I finally figured out how to use the Scan Function on the printer to make it put the image on the computer! 😀

In the end, this project was a good decision on my part–I didn’t always have something good to write, but when I did, I mostly remembered to write it down and it was fun reading all the notes at the end of the year.  Some things I remembered and some were a good jog to the memory and some things were silly, but still good.  Best of all, it reminded me that in spite of it all seeming like life is awful, there are still many, many good things that happen too.  I have no trouble remembering the bad that happens and dwell on it too much, but now I have a way of keeping happy alive.

I wish you all a year of many happy memories!


3 Comments

A Room With A View

I’ve always loved looking at the clouds.  I can remember as a child, lying in the grass, and trying to figure out what each cloud shape looked like–a dog, a castle, a funny kind of car…there were no limits to what you could imagine.   In college, I took a class in meteorology and learned that all those cloud shapes had specific names–cumulus, stratus, cirrus–and that made cloud watching even more interesting.  One of the more captivating cloud shapes is the lenticular cloud (Altocumulus lenticularis) which often looks like an alien spaceship.  Trying to find and figure out cloud shapes never gets old.

In this house that we have lived in for almost two years, we have a large two-story bank of windows in the family room that faces west.  We’ve never owned a house with west facing windows on the family room side because the setting sun can be very hot in the summer.  But, we fell in love with the farm and the house and it didn’t matter where the windows were.  After moving in, we found out that these windows are wonderful!  We get to see the wildlife walking, flying or hopping by, and we can look down the valley and up into the mountains and yes, it is hot and bright in the summer, but sometimes, we get to see the the most gorgeous sunsets.   They always seem to be different from day to day, due to the abundance of clouds, the mountains and oftentimes smoke in the air.  Sometimes the way the light shines through the clouds is just breathtaking.  So I’m still looking at those clouds and they are still very fascinating.  Here is a collection of some of the more stunning sunsets we have seen over the last year or so, and perhaps a sunrise or two.

RoomWithaView18   RoomWithaView17

The view from our living room, February 2, 2015; May 31, 2015

RoomWithAView1

July 21, 2014

RoomWithAView2 RoomWithAView3a RoomWithAView3b

July 31, 2014: 7:35 pm, 7:39 pm, 7:47 pm

RoomWithAView9 RoomWithAView4

August 11, 2014; September 15, 2014

RoomWithAView11 RoomWithAView10 RoomWithAView12

October 19, 2014: 6:07 pm, 6:21 pm; November 5, 2014: 7:43 am

RoomWithAView13b  RoomWithAView13c

January 23, 2015: 8:24 am

RoomWithAView13a RoomWithAView13

January 23, 2015: 6:03 pm; 6:13 pm

RoomWithAView6 RoomWithAView6a RoomWithAView6ab

May 31, 2015: 7:24 pm, 7:26 pm, 7:32 pm

RoomWithAView7 RoomWithAView8 RoomWithaView16

June 2, 2015; June 27, 2015: 8:48 pm, 8:54 pm

RoomWithaView14 RoomWithaView15

September 28, 2015; October 8, 2015: 6:46 am


1 Comment

Good Times

Our friends, Jeff and Nancy, came up from California to visit us for about five days in early March.  We were quite sure that we would all be sitting around the house watching the endless rain, but the sun came out and the weather was beautiful and warm.  We went on a couple of day trips around the area.  We hadn’t yet been to the Winchester dam and fish ladder, so we picked up some pulled pork BBQ sandwiches and coleslaw in Roseburg ( you must go here– https://www.facebook.com/pages/Neighborhood-Smokehouse-Grill/472787789449719 ) and had a picnic at the dam.  There is a nice parking lot at the top and a staircase down to the fish ladder.  Halfway down, we stopped at some benches and ate our lunch and watched the river go by.  What a nice treat for us in the wintertime!  Sad to say, March is just about the only month in which there are no fish going up the fish ladder, so that was disappointing.

Jenks13

https://roadtrippers.com/us/roseburg-or/camping-rv/winchester-dam

We also took a wine touring trip but only went to two wineries–Hillcrest and Reustle.  Hillcrest is very near to our farm and it is Oregon’s oldest estate winery and the birthplace of Pinot Noir.

Jenks14 http://www.hillcrestvineyard.com/

Reustle winery is further away, up north near Umpqua, but still in Roseburg.  We sat outside and sampled some of the different wines that they have.  We decided to become wine club members (even though I don’t drink much wine) because they have a grassy amphitheater with great views and it looks like they’ll have some nice concerts in the summer.  http://www.reustlevineyards.com/

Jenks15

After Reustle, were were hungry, so we drove a short way over to the Lighthouse Center Bakery and Cafe in Umpqua .   It’s a very nice place, with a post office on one side of the building, and on the other side there is a small grocery and cafe.  The cafe sells lunch, fresh baked breads, and bakery items and it is all vegetarian, but it’s so delicious that you seriously consider becoming vegetarian.  You can eat inside or out and on a nice day it’s best to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air and great views.  Also, don’t pass up the Lentil Stew.  http://lighthousecenterbakery.com/

When we weren’t driving around Bruce and Jeff worked on some farm projects.  One project was the making of ten birdhouses, bluebird and wren.  The birds were very anxious to set up housekeeping and wasted no time in checking out the houses.  They were inside the newly hung houses as soon as Bruce moved the ladder to put up the next house.  I’m not sure if the bluebirds or wrens were able to snatch any houses for themselves as the swallows were very aggressive and did not care that they were not tree swallow houses.

Jenks2 Jenks4 Jenks6

Jenks9 Jenks7 Jenks3

Jenks11  Jenks-Western Bluebird Jenks-Swallow

Jenks8 Jenks1

We hope you had a good visit, Jeff and Nancy!  We enjoyed having you here, going to new places and getting some help with the projects.