Under the Weather in Chilly Weather

I have no idea why, but I felt awful today. I was sleepy, fuzzy headed, and stuffy. It made being all brilliant and with-it difficult. Of course, times being as they are, I was sure I had a coronavirus. I took a nap and all that, and got through the day, which was long, long, long.

At least I had a winter wonderland to watch all day. Many flurries.

You know how some days all kinds of issues come up all at the same time? So I was trying to figure out a new part of the software I document, right when someone else really wanted me to edit something right that minute, and I was scheduled to try to figure out how to get Lee verified as my spouse so he can be on my insurance. With my fuzzy head, none of that was working, when the phone rang, and it was my old professor. I got scared he was sick, so I answered it, and he was like, “Hey, are you OK?” I said I’d call back when I was less unhinged.

Cute little flakes

Nonetheless, I actually managed to solve all the problems once I stopped going around and around in my head. Go Suna. I learned the software thing, found my marriage license online, had a great talk with my former coworker about our work stuff, and had a lovely talk with my former professor. It’s all okay. I even have energy to send to friends and family dealing with their own stuff.

The best news is that the yarn came to finish Ellie’s baby blanket, and I think it’s going to work out. I’m even finishing it as I go, since the darning needle I thought I ordered did not show up.

Pool equipment came!

In the meantime, I’m just striping it up like crazy and making a square baby blanket. At least I am sure it will be blanket sized and will go with the other one. It’s in softer yarn, too, Sridar Snuggly. Too bad I’m so wiped out from a very long (but good) Master Naturalist meeting, so not much knitting will occur.

But hey, snow, yarn, online conversations, phone calls. I may have been stuck in the condo all day typing or interacting, but it is a fine life, with ups, downs, and cute little animals to cheer me up.

Hitting the Deck at Breck

It was more like hitting the sidewalks, but I wanted the post title to rhyme. Anyway, yes, on my fourth day here in Breckenridge, Colorado, I finally made it to the scenic downtown.

Look at the stained-glass window in this lilac house.

It’s an interesting contrast to Vail, where we were last Saturday. Vail was sort of like Disney World for physically fit adults. Nothing is natural or what it appears to be and nothing is old. If there were little snowmen and moose characters wandering around, I wouldn’t be surprised. Of course, they’d have to be luxe snowmen and moose.

But here, they have statues of donkeys! This is called “Fast Friends.”

Breck has a lot more history, having once been a mining town. There are museums and old buildings, plus some cool Victorian houses that have been fixed up and made into businesses with lodging on top. I really enjoyed looking at them, even though it was snowing hard enough to mess my glasses up.

Early Breck.

It wasn’t cold, so the snow was melting quickly, which made it an enjoyable day to go for a walk. I got myself a t-shirt, a coffee mug, and some warm pants like everyone around here wears. They are so comfy I may wear them all winter at home. Plus, I think I can ride in them.

I love that they are preserving history, even with all the trendy shops everywhere.

After I finished work, I headed over to the new hot tubs they just installed here at the lodge. They are placed in the front of the building, with a pleasing view of the trees and hills. It was great to sit there watching the trees drip and the steam rise. Since it was around 4:00, there was only one other person there, and she was in another tub. The only downer is that the ceiling is very low on the tub platform. Even I hit my head. But I forgot that in the steam. Ahh.

My happy place.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, it’s rainy, but some work got done on the pool. It is looking rather good, I think.

There’s also good horse news! Not only is Apache still cute (thanks to Kathleen for the photo)…

He looks so clean. And there is a piece of Fiona in the picture.

…but Drew is getting ridden at last. He’s getting better at cantering in the round pen, but he still has issues with his back, thanks to being ridden way too young by people who were too heavy. I’m glad he is well cared for with the trainer and she isn’t rushing him. It will take as long as it takes to get him in shape to be a partner to me for as long as possible.

Look, he’s being ridden!

I’m looking forward to a couple of reasonable and not-too-cold days coming up. I’ll have to do a lot more walking during my lunch hours and before it gets dark. Things are looking up in the visitor department, too, so I’ll have some friends to hang around with.

Right on Main Street

This is a delightful place, other than kids moving in an hour or two ago, right across the hall, who run back and forth and screech constantly. I like being surrounded by quiet, ancient people. OMG I AM OLD.

Coping with Chaos!

In my bullet journal this morning is an entry saying:

Blog without whining

Suna

All right then. Today Lee and I are camping in the bedroom, where it is warm. Penney has discovered the space heater and has freed up Lee’s lap.

Happy dog, and coffee station.

Meanwhile, Carlton is under my layers of blankets and knitting. Oddly enough, I haven’t knitted much, due to checking in on people who have things much worse than I do. We certainly can’t go anywhere, as we now have a pretty layer of ice!

Carlton and shawl project, with Harvey butt.

I’m grateful to helpers today! Kathleen’s cows got more hay, and I have no idea how they got it there, unless they did it last night. And Ralph is heroically caring for the horses. He deserves a medal. I will eventually creep over to the chickens with warm water and food. I’m hoping they are still there.

Still, we cope.

Anita and Kathleen are both still without power. I’m grateful for Anita’s gas fireplace and Kathleen’s endless supply of candles.

Meanwhile, one of my coworkers has come down with gall bladder symptoms. For gosh sake! They already have no power and certainly can’t drive to a doctor. Another colleague had water coming through her entryway light fixture, and we ALL know water and electricity don’t mix! And, word just came in that an Austin neighbor has water pouring into their garage. No whining! At least it’s the garage and not inside!

Cameron residents don’t have to worry about water pipes bursting at the moment, since the water is off. Too many water lines burst. I’m just hoping my poor sister muddles through, since we can’t get to her! I appreciate all the news my friend Lynn sends, since she gets all the alerts.

And newsflash! Pamela reports no mail because no mail trucks have arrived in days. Lee says they also have computer trouble. At least the weather has downplayed that potential conspiracy theory generator.

Once again, though, I’m impressed with how people are supporting each other and staying in touch. My friends and family are being so kind and caring about sending me news! Now I gotta go check in on more folks.

Take care! We’re coping!

Shiny Wonders

What a weird day it’s been. I couldn’t work, because everyone in Austin is having power outages. I felt so cold. I felt sick. Then I felt better! The weather was horrible, but by afternoon, with the sun shining, it felt okay out! The dogs had cabin fever, so we went and played. So you get another post of snow photos.

Penney loves snow. It’s yummy.

We went out and checked the chickens and cows. Everyone was fine, even Springsteen, who was trying to disguise herself as a statue, was sitting with the others.

I just had to take pictures of the shiny trees and happy dogs. It’s beautiful, as long as you have power and the wind settles down.

All the dogs really enjoyed themselves after begging me to go out. Penney bounced and flopped and dug her nose in. She and Carlton ran and jumped in the woods. And Alfred was in his element.

I had fun, too, once the wind went down. The sun was so bright I needed sunglasses, though. I found bunny tracks and could see that the armadillo had peeked out of his hole. And the spring is still flowing in the woods.

Tonight will perhaps be the coldest night ever here. And more freezing precipitation is on its way.

But this is Texas. Warm front next week!

Frigid-Pocalypse! The Cold!

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.

Blurry, since there’s no way I was going out to actually get this shot up close, but it WAS pretty this morning.
Here’s the farther-out view.

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!

Chickens, cows, and all are still there. The pond/tank froze for the first time!

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).

Sunrise through the screen. It’s cold.

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.

Frigid.

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!

Whee! Penney’s feet don’t want to touch the snow!
All the frolicking did not last long.

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.

From what I can tell, nothing’s been down our county road today.
Rather accurate depiction of me.

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!

Freezing Fog? Graupel? The Weather Just Keeps Coming!

After enjoying all the snow on Sunday, things thawed away yesterday, leaving really big puddles to slog though as I went to care for the horses and chickens. The chickens were pretty funny wading away and looking more like ducks. I enjoyed watching how the water flowed as it made its way to Walker’s Creek, which was more flooded yesterday than right after it snowed. Anyway, sunset was nice.

Slogging along!

It was at least pretty when the sunset reflected in the mush.

Overnight it got really cold (for here). The cold weather combined with the very moist ground led to something I don’t recall experiencing before, freezing fog. It was really eerie looking this morning. The sun was having a hard time peeking through, and all the areas that had turned green or brown were white again.

The fog was starting to lift

The frost was very heavy on the grass, and truly looked beautiful. I wish I could have stayed for a long time taking pictures of the frost on tree branches and such, but I had to go to a company meeting. Boo hoo.

As if that freezing fog wasn’t interesting enough, there was another kind of frozen precipitation down at the other farm near Yorktown (the farm Lee inherited from his dad), where Kathleen and the family are right now.

Kathleen was baffled by this stuff, but then she found out it’s graupel.

Graupel, also called soft hail or snow pellets,[1] is precipitation that forms when supercooled water droplets are collected and freeze on falling snowflakes, forming 2–5 mm (0.08–0.20 in) balls of rime.[2]

From Wikipedia – check the links to learn more

I guess the frozen fog and the graupel both are types of rime. I would attempt to summarize what rime is, but think I should probably just let you see what Wikipedia says. I had no idea there were so many kinds of ice (or I forgot, since I have not taken a weather class in a long time).

Rime ice forms when supercooled water liquid droplets freeze onto surfaces. Meteorologists distinguish between three basic types of ice forming on vertical and horizontal surfaces by deposition of supercooled water droplets. There are also intermediate formations.

  • Soft rime is less dense than hard rime and is milky and crystalline, like sugar. Soft rime appears similar to hoar frost.
  • Hard rime is somewhat less milky, especially if it is not heavy.
  • Clear ice is transparent and homogeneous and resembles ice-cube ice in appearance. Its amorphous, dense structure helps it cling tenaciously to any surface on which it forms.

Both rime types are less dense than clear ice and cling less tenaciously, therefore damage due to rime is generally minor compared to clear ice. Glaze ice is similar in appearance to clear ice but it is the result of a completely different process, occurring during freezing rain or drizzle.

Well, that was informative.

I’ve had lots of experience with freezing rain, and have seen graupel before, but only a couple of times. The freezing fog was a first, though. Isn’t it amazing how Mother Nature always has something surprising to share?

Lee took this picture of the house in snow after it got sunny. You can see the snow is already off the trees.

How’s your weather? Weird? Good? Bad, but in a non-interesting way?

Cozy Transition Shawl

I’ve interrupted my planned cadence of knitting projects to finish with the leftover yarn from the afghan. I have a long-time friend who’s transitioning from male to female, and I wanted to make her something to feel cozy and loved in while recovering from surgery at the end of the month. The yarn happens to have colors pretty close to the trans flag, which is a nice coincidence.

The only image on my stock image site that has the trans flag on it. Plus a Harvey dog! Image by @arty_kat via Twenty20

I figured a shawl would do the trick, and that it would work up quickly in the bulky yarn. Ha ha, that WOULD have been true if I hadn’t started the darned thing three times. That’s to be expected if you’re making something up, of course. The first time, didn’t like my cast-on, so I ripped out a few inches.

The second time, I set off to make a stockinette stitch (smooth on one side, bumpy on the other, for those non-knitters who made it to the third paragraph) triangular shawl. I got into the third stripe, but started doubting myself, and thought maybe I was increasing wrong, because the straight side didn’t look like it was straight. I ripped that all out (it’s called “frogging” because you rip-it, rip-it).

All annoyed at myself, I looked for a pattern on Ravelry for a simple, triangular shawl, so I’d be sure to make the right shape. Of course, when I found them, I realized I hadn’t screwed up before. Sigh. But the good news is that I found a pattern with a little texture in it that might look good with the stripes, called LaLa’s Simple Shawl. I knew I’d have to adjust the pattern, since as the shawl gets bigger, the stripes will get more narrow. Here’s what it looks like so far:

Bonus Carlton head! You can see it has some garter stitch and eyelets (that look like lumps right now).

Sure enough, by the time I got to the white stripe, I was having to add more yarn from the other ball. That’s just fine, because I have the yarn. Once I finish the next color, the purply-pink, I will switch it out and do one stripe in stockinette and one in garter until it’s the right size.

Stitches in extreme close-up

I am hoping to have enough yarn left by the time it’s long enough to bind off in a cute picot (little sawtooth kind of shapes), which will look nice and make sure the shawl is flowy. We’ll see.

This is a picot bind-off. Image from this article in Knitty 2006.

My goal is to get finished by next weekend, which is plenty of time. I hope to see the recipient in a few weeks. If not, I can mail it to her.

I hope this description of trial and error gives any of you who are not very confident knitters the courage to just give things a try and start over again if they don’t work out. Sometimes you get something a lot better than what you started out trying to do!

Snow Update

This isn’t enough for a whole blog post, but I wanted to share that the roads in Milam County were fine, and I made it to work. We lost a big tree limb at the office, but it didn’t hit any cars or the building, so that’s good. The power was out at the Bobcat Lair house for 7 hours, but Anita and Pickle survived.

The sun is now busy melting the snow!

Best Day for Unusual Snowfall Is Sunday

Hooray! The minute I wrote that the weather was boring, it started getting interesting. While we do get a dusting of snow here in Central Texas, today is the first time I’ve ever seen it really snow. It’s been as pretty as when I was in Utah!

Here’s the woods next to the house.

We got around 4 inches as the day went on, and at times it snowed pretty hard. I’m so glad I didn’t have to work today, because all I did was look out the window

Around midday

The most fun, though has been going out and playing with the dogs. Here’s the best one.

Alfred discovers snow. It’s barely covering the ground here.

Penney and Carlton acted like the snow was a big present for them. I’ve never seen them happier. Here’s the first time they went out.

Whee!

Harvey finds sheltered spots to pee, then comes back in. Not a snow dog. The others sure are. I took Penney and Carlton out in the woods, and the joy all three of us felt was enough to erase all my stress.

Continue reading “Best Day for Unusual Snowfall Is Sunday”

Boring Weather Update

Hmph. So many local people I know are posting photos of their kids seeing their first snow and such. What do we have at the Hermits’ Rest Ranch? Rain. Sleet at best.

Yep. We managed to get right between the snowy parts. There was some “wintry mix” earlier, because I see white stuff outside and there is some ice on the metal roof. and the precipitation is falling at an odd angle.

Squint your eyes and you can see white.

All is not lost, though. the temperature is going down. We may well get some pretty stuff to enjoy. And I don’t have to drive today!

Glad to have a closet organization project to work on in between knitting and reading my next fascinating book.

My cute organization boxes! Better than a line of shoeboxes!

I’ll be back with something more interesting than this slice of my Sunday morning later today. So far, all I have is watching murders of crows fly back and forth and looking at sleet. I have confidence we will get our rare mid-Texas snow!

How to make it snow

Blog that you’re pouting about a lack of snow. This is less than 5 minutes after I first posted.

That’s snow.

When’s a Good Time to Finish a Warm Blanket?

I know! I know! The ideal time is when there’s a winter storm warning for later in the day, with a forecast of snow! I got the bulky-weight afghan I made for my relative long enough to cover them (I added 5 inches to the length, since I had plenty of yarn).

Finished blanket before blocking

Now I just have to block it, which will happen this evening when I get back to the ranch. I started a little bonus project with the leftover yarn, which I’ll show you later.

Those of you who want the pattern will find it on the Caron site. And those of you who want to see more color possibilities can visit this page. The yarn is available at Michael’s in the US.

Exciting Saturday Activities

That heating unit above the window is doing its best.

Speaking of being at my office, here’s a newsflash. Old houses with no insulation are cold when it’s cold outside. I’m really glad I put my desk in the middle of the room, because the exterior wall is brisk and has draughts. Duh. I knew that. So, I just bundle up and fire up my little fake fireplace heater. The mini-split unit is belching warm air, but the exterior cold is too much for it. I also discovered that a warm meal helps, so I got chicken and dumplings from Dairy Queen. Well, it was warm, at least.

The scary-eyed kitties have shed their Christmas décor, the better to stare at me.

Now I just need to finish taking all the Christmas stuff down and replacing it with hearts and such. That requires going outside, ugh. While I’m at it, I’m going to spruce up my closet. Away with the 50 shoeboxes! In with organizers!

I am NOT complaining that I have a boring and domestic weekend ahead of me. Boring seems really good, and hiding in my house watching snow sounds way better than witnessing mayhem.

These two will be rotating who sits on my lap the rest of the day. Not bad.

Speaking of Warm Blankets

I also put the really warm blanket on Lakota, the old horse. I am hoping I did it right. I took three tries to figure out the front from the back. Lucky for me, Lakota was patient about it. All the other horses and Fiona have thick winter coats, so they are fine.

I also managed not to step in that horrid mud puddle while blanketing him.

I wish all of you a calm respite, since I don’t think things will be completely calm for a while.