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.

Rocky Mountain VERY High

Not the drug kind of high, we enjoyed the elevation kind. This afternoon, we went to get more groceries, thanks to the Caso rental car. Being easily amused, Kathleen and I enjoyed looking at exotic Utah groceries, like peach and raspberry Coca-Cola. We tried the peach tonight, and it was actually pretty good.

That’s Park City down there.

After fueling up on a fancy coffee (and getting more mugs), we asked if we could take a little ride before the next snowstorm came. So, we took off to explore the Deer Valley area.

Mountains everywhere.

C. kept heading higher and higher up the roads. There were so many beautiful condos, giant houses, and spectacular views. Kathleen and I were like little kids looking at the scenery.

That’s a huge resort below.

Eventually we got to the end of one of the long and winding roads. We got out to take pictures. We were WAY up there. The temperature had steadily gone down as we ascended. And a gale wind was blowing. We were so high up!

You can see the wind whipping our hair.

But it was so beautiful. The ski slopes up there look really scary. All the houses are ski in and ski out but with the lifts not working yet, I’m not sure how one would get back up.

I believe this is the highest up I’ve ever been.

We did see a lot of people getting ready to ski, but I think they were going down cross-country trails. I hope. Plus, we saw a cool inclined train thing (funicular?) going up to the St. Regis resort way on top. That would be a fun place to stay, if funds were available.

See the little car going up? Cool.

We thoroughly enjoyed the huge trees and vistas all the way to Mirror Lake (where we took pictures a few days ago). I even saw a buck in the woods, but no moose. My heart was full of beauty!

Fancy house view with art.

By the time we got back down, we realized we’d made a circle around Park City. We didn’t even try! The snow had started falling, so we headed back.

Right outside the Caso condo this evening.

It’s beautiful out, but I think we wisely decided to cook in the other condo tonight. Theirs is also cozy! It will be a good night for a bath and more coziness back at my empty place. I’ll miss Anita, but I do have a couple more days for fun with the family.

Right outside my condo.

Plus the snow will make it easy to avoid crowds. There’s plenty of mountain fun with all this space!

With Friends Anything Is Fun

Today is Anita’s last day with me in Utah. I just have to say it’s been great. One of the best things about hanging out with your long-time friends is that you can enjoy yourselves without doing much at all. We did a lot of nothing this week.

It was a bit bright outside, so our selfie didn’t come out perfect.

We did have a lot of fun, don’t get me wrong, but since we didn’t have access to a car most of the time she was here, we spent a lot of time just hanging around the Canyons Village resort area. All the walking was a blast, and it sure used up a lot of energy. That meant we got to enjoy a lot of food, too! Thank goodness the pho and ramen restaurant finally opened, so we could eat there!

Anita, hungry for a beef bowl. Our friend the red crane is always present.

The shopping and sight-seeing was also fun, and we sure were grateful for the family visitors for taking us around. Yesterday we did a bit more shopping, and Anita got some great coral Zuni earrings. I’m so glad she got to have fun, while Kathleen and I were drooling over a huge jewelry selection AND Navajo blankets. Not bad ones!

That is one gorgeous building in downtown Park City.

My favorite thing she got is a huge cactus-shaped birdhouse thing. It’s going to be her “travel pillow” so she can get it on the plane. It is stuffed with excellent newspapers from Nepal!

Our new cactus friend. Note that I just HAD to buy some flowers to liven this place up.

The best part was just hanging around in the condo, eating our random foods, watching the snow, the birds and the one giant black cat that hangs around here. It was so good having someone to watch election coverage with and talk about things.

So many lovely statues in Park City.

And of course, the four seasons of Schitt’s Creek were a blast. Neither of us had laughed so much in a long time.

This is where we stopped. No watching until I get back to Austin!

She got out while the weather was still great, which is good, since a snowstorm is a-brewing. I’m sure the rest of us will figure out something fun this evening, though!

The intent of this post is just to say treasure your friends, and make the most of times you get to spend together. Usually Anita and I are both working a lot, so just hanging out was a real treat. Relaxing, truly relaxing, is rare, and I am glad we got to do it together. Only she and I would laugh when I pompously declare that I just realized that for every mountain, there is a valley (that’s after I looked at a team photo in the newspaper stuffed in the cactus and wondered where people played soccer in Nepal, with all those mountains).

Tell your friends you care about them! (Hey, friends, I care about you!) Write me!

Climb a Mountain and Turn Around

It’s finally sunny so I can get more cheerful snow pictures. Anita and I ditched the television and got in a morning walk while Kathleen worked.

Snow Anita!

We went a new way and found some great views and fancy houses.

Fancy houses ahead.

We even found a ski slope with signs. We had a ton of fun. I even fell down a couple of times and slid. Whee! The views were so great and the air so crisp!

Nobody came down the ski slope. I don’t know how they’d get up there. No ski lifts.

I don’t think my sunglasses ever got so dark as they did up there. That alpine sun was bright! I must say Park City is a lot of fun, even with just the two of us in the deep snow.

Our resort is across from the crane.

Let’s see what else happens today!

Winter wonderland.

Hiking Late in the Day

We didn’t get out until around 4pm yesterday. That meant the sun was going down and the snow melt in the paths was starting to freeze. But we persevered.

We did find a snowman, so at least someone else had fun.

We walked along dirt roads and golf paths, and it was not bad. We were rewarded with some beautiful views!

Close as we can get to a sunset view, since we were on the east side of the mountain.

I’ve noticed my breathing is getting better and better, so I must be getting used to the altitude. I’m still enjoying how much exercise I’m getting and know it’s helping me deal with challenges that pop up.

Waiting for spring

Anita and I really enjoyed our day of indulgence, though. Usually I want to go and go during vacation, but we decided to just rest and indulge. We watched two movies (the new Borat movie and Knives Out, both funny).

Nice colors.

I even made all the food yesterday. There was a great chef salad for lunch and soup and biscuits for dinner. With all the COVID cases rising, I’m probably not going to eat out much more.

There’s the sun. I could not get the snow to look white in this light.

We spent all night, and I mean all night, binge watching the television series Schitt’s Creek, which I’d been wanting to see for a long time. Anything with Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara in it must be seen by me. I am also quite a fan of Chris Elliott, so I just sat there and laughed for hours. Why not? We can get all serious again in a few days.

Icicles amuse me, too.

Today I have a couple phone calls, but I predict more hiking in peace and television fun. Safety first.

Yes. Exercise in the Cold Is Fun. So Is Personal Growth.

Where did the real Suna go? I’ve been thoroughly enjoying getting lots and lots of exercise since it got cold way up here in the mountains. Like, I volunteer to climb up snowy hills. I pant a bit and go higher. I stand around and think about going even higher or driving to a better hiking place (we may rent a car tomorrow and go somewhere).

When the sun came out it was so beautiful.

Today we went to get more groceries, which was also fun. If there’s a blizzard I’ll be fine. And Anita got lemon for her morning beverage! We’re good! Then we took yet another walk. I just can’t stop. I think I’d never seen so much dry powdery snow before. The crunch crunch crunch is really invigorating! It’s even addicting.

When you get away from condos, it’s nice here.

I think I may need to learn to criss-country ski at some point, though my legs are already yelling at me.

Okay, some of the condos can look nice.

Folks, I never liked exercise as much as I do now. I wonder if taking turmeric and CBD oil has made my body feel better, so I enjoy moving more? Now physical exertion is fun.

Also, though, I never liked being out in the cold much (sorry, Illinois years). I’m from a warm place. What’s up with that?

Plus snowflakes! They are so pretty. Yes, I took a picture of snow.

In Illinois, it was often SO cold and windy, and I had to stand around waiting for the bus, or walk a mile to teach a class too many times when my breath was freezing as it came out. This week, it’s cold, but really pleasant. I’m glad I’ve had this experience.

Look! Clouds hitting the mountain.

All this glee isn’t something I’ve felt in so long. I get that way in Texas when I’m with Apache or out looking at new plants. The key really seems to be living in the moment. Just being present and experiencing what’s going on right around you truly brings joy.

Sun and snow. Good.

What a lesson at such a good time! Most of my life I’ve read about living in the moment. I’ve tried to do it. This year has been hard, so hard, but I think I’ve benefited by making so much progress on being here, now.

What’s out there that can invigorate you? How are you growing in this season of transition?