After a long, warm fall and early winter, it’s hard to get used to below zero temperatures that feel a lot colder because there’s a biting wind blowing.
I enjoyed not putting on 17 different layers when I went out to feed the horses in the early morning and not shivering for the first few miles of my drive to work while my car’s engine warmed up. And I can’t say I missed the crunch of snow under my boots or beating the chickens water pan on the ground to break up the ice. Meanwhile, I liked not having to worry about frozen pipes in the house or frozen eggs in the chicken coop.
Still, I realize this is North Dakota and it is January. I’m grateful that the weather didn’t turn “normal” until near the end of the month. As we approach February, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Â Â Â After a week of cold and rainy weather Sunday’s sun and warm temperatures were welcomed with open arms at our house. One of the good things about several days of nasty weather is that when it gets nice again we really appreciate it.Â On Sunday it wasÂ a joy simply to be outside whether working or playing.
Â Â My family and I spent much of the day after church outside, planting garden, mowing, horseback riding and bike riding. I also made some yummy rhubarb dishes with our first picking of the season. We capped off the evening with supper on our open porch, listening to the birds singing and watching a swallow trying to decide whether to build a nest on the overhang.
Â Â Â It sounds like today also is beautiful. I haven’t been outdoors since I came to work this morning, but co-workers who have report that it’s another great day in the neighborhood. After supper (which will include rhubarb sauce) I plan to head outside and spend some time reveling in the evening sunshine. The nice thing about daylight savings time, now that my internal time clock is in sync, is that it’s light outside for several hours after I get home.
Â Â Â Â Sunshine is a rare commodity these days. Although, it appeared earlier today like the sun may break through the clouds, that hasn’t happened. In fact, when I went outside during my lunch hour it was darker than it was when I came to work, and it was spitting a few drops of rain as well.
Â Â Â Â It’s hard not to get dejected by the gloomy weather because it just seems to go on and on. Meanwhile, it’s been so cold that it’s taking forever for the trees to leaf and the flowering trees to bloom.Â Even the grass isn’t growing as fast as it usually does this time of year. OurÂ horses have been looking longingly over the pasture fenceÂ Â for the last few weeks and have done a good bit of chewing on the boards. I think they’re trying to eat their way through the fence into the pasture.
Â Â Â On the bright side, the forecast promises better weather beginining tomorrow. TheÂ outlookÂ is for sunny days with seasonable temperatures for the next week. I’ll take that even if it means we’ll probably have to start mowing twice a week. I wouldn’t mind feeling the warm sun on my back when I’m pushing the lawnmower around the yard.
Â Â Â TheÂ weather during high schoolÂ track season, likeÂ during footballÂ ,Â often is challengng.Â Conditions can range from 45 degrees and blustery with a snow/rain mix falling, to 90 degreesÂ andÂ gale-force winds, to 70 degrees and calm. That means that, depending on the conditions, I may be wearing a winter coat and gloves, shorts and a t-shirt or short-sleeved shirt and blue jeans ,when I watch my son compete.
Â Â This seasonÂ the weather has been so coldÂ that several meets were cancelled so I haven’t had to worry about how to dress to stay warm. While I was disappointed that I couldn’t watch my eighth-grade son run, I was glad that he didn’t have to freeze on the track and I didn’t have to huddle under a blanket on the sidelines or in the bleachers.
Â Â Yesterday, Brendan’s outdoor track season debuted on a near-perfect day; temperatures in the mid-60s, warm sunshine and fairly calm conditions. Watching Brendan’s events was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon . After competing and watching meets in conditions that were much less favorable, I appreciated the lovely April day.
Â Â The weather tomorrow may be another story, but I’m not going to worry about that now. I’ll track thoough the season one day at a time.
Â Â Â Â Just when we thought spring may have finally arrived, Mother Nature playedÂ a mid-month April Fool’s joke on us.
Â Â Â Â As I write this blog, snow is falling fast and furiously outside my office window and the ground is covered with a couple of inches of the white stuff. I haven’t been home for several hours, but I think it’ safe to say our yard also has a fresh blanket of snow. At least the previous snow finally had melted so it shouldn’t pile up too deep.
Â Â Â Â Earlier in the week, when the temperatures were in the 60s, our yard really greened up and I thought we might be mowing in a week or so. I planned to rake spots in our yardÂ where the leaves were too matted down to be chopped up with the mower.Â Now I’ll be shoveling snow, instead.
Â Â Â On the upside, although spring snows are very disappointing, this one likely won’t add much precipitation to the river and cause additional flooding problems. And, as one of myÂ co-workers who looks on the bright side noted, the fresh snow has made everything clean and white again.
Â Â Â Another weekend, another threat of snow.Â
Â Â Â I’d like to think that now that we’re into April, we don’t have to worry about snow any more, but that would be naive for a native North Dakotan. Around here we know that it can snow in the merry month of May. In fact, there are only a month or two of the year when it hasn’t snowed.
Â Â Â Â Â Â I’m a little nervous about this latest snow forecast because theÂ weather watchersÂ are hedging a bit on how much and where it will fall. It seems like when they really hpye the storm, we don’t get any, so I’m hoping that the opposite isn’t true this time.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Whatever happens, I’m going to make sure I get outside as much as I can this evening and tomorrow. It’s supposed to be sunny both today and Saturday, and I want to catch some rays. They aren’t warm enough toÂ tan,Â but they can sure do wonders for lifting the spirit. There’s nothing like walking down a country roadswith my children, husband and dogs to brighten my day and put life’s challenges — including ugly weather — in perspective.
Â Â Â Just when there were some bare spots in our yard and the muddy driveway had dried, we got about 6 inches of heavy, wet snow dumped on us Tuesday night.
Â Â Â Â I know that relatively speaking, we lucked out with the storm. Less than 10 miles away, the snowfall amounts were double what we got and 25 miles beyond that, they were more than triple.
Â Â Â Â Though IÂ know that we fared better than our neighbors to theÂ south,Â ourÂ snowfall still was pretty disheartening because it seemed like we had made good progress toward spring during the previous week. The warm temperatures had melted the snow off of our flowerbeds and I was looking forward to seeing crocuses and hyacinth poking through the ground soon.
Â Â Â Â Â Â With temperatures predicted to only climb into the 20s and low 30s for the next several days, there probably won’t be much melting going on. On the bright side, the skies are expected to be sunny.
Â Â Â Â Meanwhile, I know that even in North Dakota there is a limit to how much longer snow can fall.Â ByÂ my calculations it can’t be more than six weeks before the temperatures will be too warm for snow. I guess you can viewÂ that asÂ good news or bad news, depending on whether you see the glass half empty or half full.
Â Â Â For a change, I’m looking forward to the weekend’s weather.Â It seems like it’s been weeks since the Â weather on either Saturday or Sunday — or both — wasn’t cold and windy.
Â Â Â Â If the forecast pans out, temperatures will climb into the 30s — above zero — this weekend. It should be a good weekend to get out and go for a walk and do some repairs on the fence that the horses have been chewing onÂ when they’re bored.
Â Â Â The warm temperatures also should result in the melting of the ice dams on our roof. I just hope the water rolls off andÂ over the gutterÂ instead ofÂ making its way through the roof and into the house. I noticed a couple of places on our porch that were leaking last week when the temperatures warmed.
Â Â Â I’m not too worried about those spots because putting new ceiling tiles in the porchÂ seems to beÂ an annual rite at our house. I’m more concerned about the upstairs ceilings. So far, so good, this winter. Maybe if these dams melt without causing damage, we can keep on top of snow removal from the roof so more ice dams won’t form.
Â Â Â Â I’m not going to get my hopes up that the warm-up signals the end of winter, but I figure every day is one day closer to spring, and eventually the warm weather will be here to stay. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy a taste of what’s to come.
Â Â Â Â Â For me, a Â day like today with gusty winds, blowing snow and sub-zero temperaturesÂ represents winter at its worst. Any of the three would be bad enough on their own, but when combined they pose a triple threat to my physical and mental health.Â After walking a few blocks to pick up some lunch during the noon hour, I felt like a wind-whipped ice cube, and it took me a good hour to warm up. Someone commented to me shortly after I returned about the “awful weather,” and I agreed with her. I wanted to add that what makes it even worse is that it’s only early January and a long way to spring, but I didn’t want to add insult to injury.
Â Â Â My inclination is to go home after work and stay inside until I have to come back here on Monday morning. However, with animals to feed, children to ferry about, church to attend on Sunday and several other obligations to meet this weekend,Â that’s not going to happen. Instead, I’ll don several layers of clothes and face the elements as best, and as cheerfully,Â as I can.
Â Â Â Â My first challenge will be to get home safely. There’s a winter weather advisory posted because the snow and blowing is reducing visibility. My drive home yesterday was pretty challenging, not onlyÂ because of those conditions, but because it also was dark,Â so I’m going to try to leave today before the sun sets. On that bright note, I’ll sign off and wish everyone a good, warm weekend.
Â Â Â As the day wears on, the chances of getting hit by not one, but two winter storms appears more likely. I can’t say I’m looking forward toÂ them.
Â Â Â While I enjoyÂ being comfy and cozy inside while theÂ wind is blowing and the snow is falling outside, I don’t like theÂ aftermath of the storms. More snow means sidwalks to shovel, driveways to clear and roofs to rake.Â
Â Â Â Â ButÂ the storm will comeÂ (or not) no matter what my feelings are on the subject andÂ my family and I will get prepared for itÂ by making sure we have plenty of milk, bread and the fixings for some crock pot meals on hand.
Â Â Given my tendency to eat during storms, I guess it’s a good thing that there will beÂ physical work involved in digging out.Â Still, I wouldn’t mind if the storms veered off another direction and I could get my exercise by walking down snow-free country roads.
Â Â For now, though, Â I’ll try to enjoy today’s nice weather and not fret about what tomorrow might bring.