We are all alive! Me, Lee, the rest of the local family, horses, dogs, and chickens. It’s a lot worse in other parts of the US, so I’m thankful for my knowledge of how to dress for really cold weather and that it only got down to 10° F last night.
I brought the chickens fresh water and received cold eggs is return. The horses appreciated me opening up their water troughs and giving them some energy-filled food. My snow gloves made that hard, so I ditched them. I’m glad Fiona has extra food dishes, because hers blew into the next field. Yow. So much wind.
Our heat stopped working, just like last year, so I went up to the landing and finished my work where the sun was shining. It confused the dogs. Then we went shopping for holiday food in the warm car. We had fun!
We figured the propane would get better soon as it got a little warmer, which it did. We weren’t alone. The same thing happened all over the area. It’s not like we suffered! We have dogs and many handmade items to keep us warm. And whiskey.
So, I went in the kitchen to pour myself some medicinal Jameson’s Irish whiskey with a little water. Then I sat down to crochet on my unfinished Christmas gift. First, I checked Facebook. Guess what the first damned ad I saw was for? Jameson’s!!
Can one of my conspiracy theory friends explain that? I didn’t SAY what I was doing. I haven’t mentioned that stuff, perhaps ever, except when Lee tells people he prefers Clontarf instead. (Which is why I am drinking the perfectly adequate other stuff.)
That was today’s mystery. Tomorrow’s big agenda includes cooking pork chops. I lead an exciting life when the polar winds blow.
Today started out at 50° and now it’s 20°—what a drop. Plus it’s really windy. Not the best day to get my hair cut, but it had gotten rather unruly. No way was I putting a hat over my new hair!
Of course we had to go out and do stuff, which included picking up Lee’s new mobile office, which he’s been talking about for a couple of years now. I’m glad the search is over, and I know it will be nice to be able to go places and still work, and Lee can work when I do horse stuff.
The wind made driving the large vehicle a challenge but I enjoyed taking photos of the scenery as we drove through the crisp air.
Yes, winter came in with a vengeance. But we didn’t get snow. It’s bad all over the country! I just have to take care of the animals. After tomorrow it should start warming up.
Stay safe if you’re experiencing this polar blast!
Ooh doggies, it was nippy today. It wasn’t that cold, really, but the wind was fierce. And it kept drizzling all day. What a great day for horse lessons, right?
It hadn’t felt too bad in the morning, but it got worse and worse. By the time Tarrin got to my house, I think she was glad to go in the tack room and warm up a bit. I needed to defrost from scraping the layers of mud off Apache. He literally had mud balls hanging from his mane and scattered across his coat.
That was the least pleasant grooming session I can remember. And he was not a happy guy at first. As you can see, he was physically great. But mentally he appeared to be elsewhere.
It was pretty hilarious when I rode him. The wind was whipping through my layers and my teeth were chattering, but I soldiered on asking him to walk briskly then stop, a thing he is normally fine with. Nope.
He got to do it a lot until he deigned to stop like he should. Then he got to do something else. Hooray. Funny boy.
That’s Drew in his new fancy rope hackamore that Tarrin re-tied after I botched it. Knots are not either of our strong suits. It’s pretty, though! I now know how to loop it and stuff. What a cowgirl.
It was not ideal to learn to use the new bridle and two pairs of reins with frozen hands, but now I figure it will feel great when it’s nicer outside. Drew was very patient getting his chin strap put on (it came from my surplus collection from when I got the trailer, so it doesn’t match yet), then with me putting the bridle on and off repeatedly.
Drew was way more cooperative than Apache, since he’s used to riding in bad weather. We even side passed better. I’m working on reins, but getting there. It’s fun learning with him. He tries and so do I!
After Tarrin got to go home, we took a road trip to look at yet another potential mobile office for Lee. The weather was spooky. That’s what got “In the Bleak Midwinter” going through my mind. It was gray on gray.
Nonetheless the day was saved by the treat of going to dinner at the famous German restaurant in Wahlberg. We hadn’t been in years. I sure enjoyed my Hefeweizen and the sauerkraut. Ahh.
The place wasn’t too crowded, so it didn’t feel all germy and they had a huge fire in the fireplace. I even enjoyed the Wahlberg Band, which featured much excellent yodeling. No, honest, it was good! What a pleasant change of pace.
Tomorrow should be sunny, so it won’t be so bad riding and exercising. Maybe Apache will act like his mature self! If not, I’ve always got crochet and football.
PS: hi to my step-sister and spouse. Loved your card.
A cold front blasted through this morning. Declan mowed the yard, and we were comfortably discussing how he should wait to trim until later, when a huge gust of wind came and instantly lowered the temperature. Declan said, “Hello, winter.” It’s a powerful front that has lowered the temperature at least 20 degrees and brought a lot of rain.
Usually if it rains hard here, we get a flood. But while we got a lot, it didn’t instantly refill the ponds. I was happy to go out to the new pond a couple of times to see it wasn’t full all the way, and now was slowly filling.
The arroyo and front pasture are nicely draining into the pond, and I hope not washing too much dirt away. Some grass had started to grow. I’m encouraged, though.
The dogs weren’t thrilled by the thunder and stayed close to me all day. Well, except when the cows and calves decided to stand right by our fence and moo. And the calves enjoyed the rain and we’re playing, which especially outraged Harvey. It was hard to work (in between internet outages).
It may be cold and wet, but we’re cozy. Sending cozy thoughts your way.
The weather turned very cold and windy. Sara and I canceled horse fun, so I told my son we could go get some stuff in Temple. First, I took the chance to play with the new phone camera and take artsy dog photos.
After that, we went off to the Western-wear store and I got belts to wear for horse shows. I think I’m supposed to wear a belt. It was hard to find ones that weren’t all sparkly. I found a nice brown one with tooled flowers and a black one with a sort of snakeskin background. It will go great with my snakeskin boots and Drew’s coloring.
I got the kids some ranch-appropriate shoes, too, and ones that will be good for my son to wear working on renovation projects (yes, we still do that, I just don’t write too much about it).
The weather improved, and we had lots of fun trying to buy groceries on one of the worst days of the year. The day before the Super Bowl is not a good one, crowd wise. There are no Fritos to be had. This is a tragedy for the menfolk at the ranch, who worship the Texas classic, Frito Pie. I’m a Dorito fan myself. Those were all gone, too. Oh well.
Well, with a couple of household items obtained and a space heater borrowed, I think the cabin residents are in good shape. Yep. There are also no space heaters to be had anymore, thanks to the last cold snap. This was not a good week for their heater to die!
Tomorrow should be more interesting. But I’ve enjoyed my restful day and a chance to spend quality time alone with my kid. I remember how much I loved to be alone with my dad and talk freely. I hope my son enjoys our times together, as much as we do like the rest of the family. It was a nice opportunity opened up by some cruddy weather.
That’s pretty much the highlight of the day, which had some challenges, but nothing insurmountable. Things started out cold, which made me move kind of slow.
The heater was having the same problem it had last year when it got really cold, not enough pressure to turn on. So it was a brisk 61 degrees as I tried to do my early meeting.
The photo above is what was in each of the horses’ food buckets. We got 3” of rain over two days. It turned into sheets of ice. Brr.
Anyway, the menfolk got the heater going around noon, so I thawed out enough to record some voiceovers without vocal shivers. I’m relieved. Last year’s cold event was miserable with no heat.
I did my best to stop working around 2, since I worked such long hours this week, and I’m theoretically an hourly worker. But, of course I could not resist answering questions until we’ll after 5. It’s hard to not help!
Still, I got a bit of a nap in. When I awoke, Goldie was next to me, Harvey was draped over my lap, and Penney was on my chest and face. I must have been tired.
It’s going to be a quiet weekend. I’m sure something will happen worth blogging.
Oh! I did manage to brave the cold and see what was in the new trailer. It sure is shiny.
I was sorta glad to see that the trailer isn’t totally full. Maybe we will be able to fit it all in the new tack room.
Well. Let’s see what happens. I’ve got nothing to complain about other than a bit of chill. It’s worse elsewhere. Love to all you readers.
That yeah, we need shades. Wow is ole Sol making fast work of the ice. Even though it’s well below freezing outside, the ice is crashing and booming off the roof, and clear patches are starting to show up.
The trees had rainbow diamonds in them this morning, and just look at the Chihuly sculpture our rain chain made!
I couldn’t write or work much yesterday, because the cell towers weren’t working. So Lee and I watched movies on DVD most of the day.
I did make it out to check animals and see if we got any mail (no). Penney loved running and sliding on the ice. She went full tilt.
The layer of ice was over water in lots of spots. It was hard to find the right places to step. Neither Carlton nor I moved very fast.
Ice is now falling off the roof again and booming, so the dogs are close by me. Penney and Carlton are even getting along!
All the toting and fetching of water has been hard on Ralph, so Sara and I are taking over for him now. I’m pretty sure the driveway has melted enough to get out! Freedom! Of course, the water supply is spotty.
But, all in all, we see the light at the end of the tunnel, so I have my sunglasses ready. Maybe it will thaw out the water heater and heat pump and we can be clean and warm again inside!
Such a dreamer.
I’m hearing my friends and coworkers in Austin are getting heat and power back, too. I sure hope some of the infrastructure issues can be fixed.
Witnessing people’s reactions to the natural disaster event we’re going through here in central Texas has been most educational. People seem to fall into different groups, and I’ve been fascinated as I note their actions. I’ll share a few observations. Which of these are you?
I want to start out with these folks, because they impress me and keep my sliver of faith in humanity alive. All the sharing, caring and helping makes me so proud. Here are some examples I know of.
My coworker, Jason, lives out in the country near a road that has a banked curve. It froze over, of course, and people took it way too fast for the conditions (mostly because they were unaware). He and his son drove on a level back road until they were close to the road and proceeded to help people get unstuck, flagged cars down to slow them, and made sure everyone was safe. Most people had just abandoned their vehicles. He’s also monitoring the local NextDoor posts, and taking water and food to elderly neighbors. He sadly reported that some people just lectured others for not being prepared. I’m glad there are more people like him and his family out there being good neighbors.
My other coworkers are all sharing information, checking in, and offering to help. A woman in my department volunteered to boil water for people who have no electricity and can’t boil it for themselves (lots of people have neither water nor electricity right now).
Our business has a client who needs services, even in this weather. A Deputy from the Sheriff’s Department kindly drove our amazing Meghan to a neighboring smaller town than Cameron, because the roads were so bad. I can’t mention the kindnesses Meghan has performed this week, but some go way above and beyond her job duties.
A lot of people with time and bandwidth seem to be using it to point fingers at various industries, businesses, and people for not doing a good enough job. I admit to being unhappy that nothing has been done about our road, with the icy bridge and the treacherous hill, but I know there are reasons for it (the district personnel had been under a COVID quarantine, AND Monday was a Federal holiday). I am trying to remember that no one set out to cause this mess on purpose. Still, I read a lot of this kind of stuff.
Texas is to blame for their own problems, because they are not on any US power grid. Well, none of US made that decision. Let’s deal with our weird system of buying power on an open marketplace and such later, and concentrate on making sure our linemen and other power service staff stay safe and get help.
The water companies are to blame for not maintaining pipes. Um. They need money to do that (and Cameron IS in the process of upgrading infrastructure). Also, when pipes burst, it ruins water pressure. Even homeowners who are doing their best to care for their pipes are having issues, so it’s no one’s fault.
People who dislike fracking and pipelines should just go build their own windmills for power. Okay, that is just dumb. The windmills didn’t freeze, anyway. Texas has a mix of power sources, which actually isn’t a bad idea…just no one could prepare for this stuff.
The President hasn’t come to save us. He’s a piece of sh**. Um, he cleared disaster funds days ago, when requested by the governor who’s the one who keeps bragging he don’t need no Federal dollars to help sick people. Meanwhile, Senator Cruz got on a plane and headed to a resort in Mexico. He can’t exactly fix things, but that still doesn’t make a great impression. I always enjoy it when the people who insult me for saying poor and/or homeless people can use some help and insist they pull themselves up by the bootstraps start blaming the government for not helping THEM whey THEY need it.
I’ll stop here. I do think blamers could better spend their time doing useful things.
This is what I TRY to be, when I can. Like, right now puffed-up meadowlarks are flying around drinking water out of places where there is melting. And I have a lot of time to read and knit. Kathleen is the champion of not complaining ever, about anything. The power outage lets her use more candles, the ice formations in the field are pretty, etc. This is commendable, knowing what she’s actually dealing with and NOT sharing!
I see lots and lots of posts from people who are enjoying the birds and helping keep them alive with food and water. More than one has said watching birds has helped them get through the week in relatively good spirits. Thank you, Nature.
A lot of people are just muddling through. I guess that’s what you do when you truly don’t have any control over a situation and realize that complaining, blaming, or panicking isn’t going to change anything. They are conserving water and electricity (oops I am using it now), not endangering themselves on the road, and figuring out ways to eat and entertain themselves for another few days. They ask for help if needed, but try to be as self reliant as possible.
This seems like a good plan, to me.
I’m gonna take care of animals, stay warm, and hope the satellite doesn’t go out again, so I can at least watch television. I have plenty of books and knitting, and the knitting keeps me warm. It’s my very first horrible natural disaster, so I’m learning things!
Stay safe, if your in the middle of this icepocalypse, and the rest of you be patient with people in this state. They just don’t have the infrastructure, and they have to live with the consequences of some interesting planning decisions.
Lee and I are laughing now, as we got all excited that tomorrow will be warmer. Of course, I’m perfectly warm with a dog and heating pad.
It’s going to snow and sleet but not get so cold tonight and we’re ridiculously chipper about it. Maybe the heat can get it above 60 in the house!
I admit to being a bit scared, which is why I keep writing. I feel like it’s a test, and we’re all doing okay on it, but not enjoying it. Now it’s all the water getting cut off. It just seems like the planners didn’t plan for this stuff very well, even though we know weather extremes are on the way. Sheesh.
At least Lee managed to get a few supplies today, most important of those being chocolate. I’ll be fine as I worry about friends and family, with a little chocolate!
Hoping my Austin friends keep calm and stay safe. I’ve already heard about enough frozen and burst pipes, fires, carbon monoxide stuff…eek. Well, I’m concerned about all of you and sending warm thoughts.
It’s gonna get better and, we will have learned lots and have many stories to tell!
I’m not apologizing to anyone tired of weather posts. All we have here is weather, and since we can’t go anywhere or do anything, it’s weather-post-a-rama here in the ice cube known as the middle of Texas. It’s cold as when I used to live in Illinois, only that it not at all normal here. No one remembers it being this cold. And last night’s blizzard of sleet and snow was something else. The good news is that the sun is out for the first time in days.
And we do have power, which is good. Many parts of the area are dealing with rolling blackouts or just plain outages. The less good thing is that our heating system can’t cope, so it was 45 degrees this morning in our bedroom. My office is the warmest place, and I found a heating pad. We sent the space heater over to Jim in the RV, who needs it way worse than we do!
Today’s snow isn’t as pretty as last time, because the wind blew it out of the trees, but I’ve been enjoying bird watching out the window. Cardinals always look spectacular against the snow, and the little sparrows are bopping around like crazy. The crows are cawing (celebrating all their wins, I guess), and the doves are flopping around grumpily. I saw at least one live chicken outside (I have NOT dared to walk around, since it is 8 degrees outside).
I’m very thankful Ralph said he would check on the horses, since driving over there would be dangerous without four-wheel drive, even though it isn’t very far. Mandi slid down the hill going up to the cemetery yesterday, when she was attempting to go UP. So, we will not be leaving the house.
We managed to sleep fine last night with sufficient blankets and warm dogs. Carlton stayed under the blankets all night, but surprisingly enough, he and Penney went out and ran around and played for a while. They’re tough, but not like the cows. They just want their water trough de-iced!
It has even snowed in Yorktown, where Kathleen and them are, a thing they don’t remember ever happening. Lee says his dad experienced it, but then, he lived through most of the 20th Century! Yorktown is not that far from the Gulf of Mexico, so that’s saying something. It’s a big weather day for Texas!
Luckily, I have lots to blog about and enough bird-watching and knitting to get me through the day, but my longest exercise streak died yesterday, what with all the sickness and the confinement to quarters.
I only feel a little sickly today, so it looks like I’ve kicked the vaccine’s butt and my immune system is strong and vigorous. Hooray.
If you are in any of the many, many areas in the US hit by this awful weather, I hope you stay safe and warm. It’s bad all over, and much worse in the north. You are all in my thoughts.
Feel free to share your experiences or commiseration!