Sunday, January 22, 2012

Snowed In


After I posted the last blog post, here is what happened the next few days.

I hardly got sleep that night. It sounded like small bombs dropping all around us.
The crunching-crackling-creaking sound that would last for about 3 seconds or so... followed by a loud POP... a loud crackle-scratch... and BOOM-thud, as the branches and trees fell near and far. I dreaded what I would find as the light came in the morning and feared where the next succession of noise would find it's destination.

some of the results of the night before
The power went out that morning at about 5:30 and I had been awakened by another pre-recorded call from the schools, reporting another closed day.

I was kind of expecting it, with the way the weather was forecasted and what I gathered from watching the news. I was, of course hoping it would stay on. But, with all the trees around here and the ice and snow expected, there was bound to be a break somewhere. So, the day before, I had filled up a jug of water and did laundry, brought in some wood, which would later prove to be not enough.

the coop
We had doughnuts and milk for breakfast. I started a fire to keep the house warm and cook.

powerlines in ice
I went out to check on the chickens and the world was covered in ice.

 Check out the post before this to see what the coop tree looked like before loaded down with hundreds of pounds of ice and snow.

I remembered that the forecast said it was not supposed to warm up till Friday. So, I carefully ventured out to the wood shed to get at least a few more bundles of the maple I split a few weeks ago.
orchard in ice
Listening very carefully for the sound of the fall and ready to drop everything and run out of the shed along my path of escape to avoid the falling snag that loomed above the shed (hopefully). I managed to get 3 bundles and called it good-enough for today.

cooking soup for lunch
We didn't have a space-heater and there was only a half-tank of gas in our little generator. So, I opted to use the generator only once a day to charge up anything that needed it and to re-cool the garage fridge and do anything else that needed electricity. I was not about to got out to the rock-shed and get the measly little gallon in there (that would require to traverse along a path of tree-bombs with no escape route).
The crashing of branches and trees continued through the day and into the night.


Day 2 - Friday

Another sleepless night of branches and trees falling.
This morning I make delish mesquite-smoked turkey, egg and cheese toasted sandwiches in the fire. It takes WAY LONGER to cook in a fireplace with no cook-top (a wood stove would be SO NICE! And would heat way better!)

The snow and ice are still all over but it is supposed to heat up today (mid 40's).  the van is coated with about 1/4 inch of ice sheet.

fallen orchard
This morning the orchard fell.
 I wanted to take most of the trees out anyway except the big apple.

 A glimmer of hope shone briefly with the sun over the mountain this morning and for about 10 minutes it was beautiful to see the sun glint through the ice.

 Did I mention my husband was out-of town in D.C. for a business meeting since Tuesday morning? Yeah. Just me and the kid and 5 pullets. He was supposed to come back yesterday but, got stranded in Detroit till tomorrow. Luckily (if that's' what you want to call it - in a way) he works for a great company that takes care of their people and they took care of his extra hotel at the airport, food and transportation. And, the International car show was still going on, something he has always dreamed of going to! So today, he is getting to spend as long as he wants (no having to drag our  "not-so-enthusiastic-about-cars-ness" tired bodies around) without distraction at the biggest and best car show in the world! And, gets to sleep in a nice warm room, food cooked for him, hot shower, running water, hotel (although he said he would rather be home in the storm with us). Awe..... how sweet.

Here is a short video with sound of the crashes.

The crashing of the trees continues - although not so enthusiastically today.

our slushy gravel road
It snowed, then warmed up enough to put a nice layer of ice on top, then sleeted, then snowed light soft snow, then freezing rain that soaked into the snow and sleet and formed a nice thick layer of ice on top, then snowed wet big flakes on top of that before it started to melt. yeah.

After noon, there is slush all over the roads but the main ones are clear and neighbors said it is ok to get up and down our hill as long as you dodge the tree limbs and go single file. We have some great neighbors with cool equipment. I saw a snowplow with treads and a guy on an ATV with a tiny plow runs up and down pushing branches to the side. Folks with chainsaws and cones helped clear the big stuff and mark dangers. And someone banked the paved hill so it was less-likely to slide off the cliff.

We had lunch and let the fire go out and got out of there! It took over a half hour for the van to warm up and for me to de-ice it.

The 2 towns we went to had no power. Just the major stores like Wal-mart and Safeway with big generators.

It did take us a while to get there because of all the detours and u-turns at road closed signs, back-tracking and dodging downed trees and powerlines.

We got some water and a few other things, touched "civiliation" again and headed back before it got dark to get things done.
detailing the duck and hen

generator gourmet consolidation
I had to plug up the generator again to charge things and cool down the garage fridge (where I had transfered all the perishables) and cook dinner on the waffle iron. Sabrina made improvements to her snow duck.

I fired up the fire again to get the chill out.
That night the clouds in the sky lit up from underneath like fireworks from the powerlines.

a huge branch almost took out the line to the pump
Saturday 21st

Yeah! Decent night sleep - no crash and booms. And my Hubby gets to come home today!

Things are melting from the rain and wind last nite.
Power still out but hope for turn-on in a few days because the clear roads.

Apples and his family even came over to look for food - they survived the storm. He even got closer - about 2 feet this time.

Hubby got home for lunch.
He kept the fire going most the night.

Sunday 22nd

Power came back on about 2am. this morning. YEAH!!!!!!

  I took a shower 1st thing! Never felt so good to take a shower!

tops snapped off

We put out the fire - Yeah! I am so sick of tending the fire and house and everything else smelling of smoke.

We cleaned the house! Feels so good to get back to the modern conveniences!

This house is just not equipped properly for power outages.

orchard down
We walked the property line along the street to see what needed to be done. There was a neighbor "crew" cleaning up the branches along the roadside already and we pitched in along our line. And we made notes of some areas that we needed to keep an eye on.

Then we carefully walked the west side of the property (where we could). The forest paths were blocked with debris and will take months to get cleaned up again. (and we just took the past summer cleaning up the place). Oh, well... more firewood for next year.

Here we go again!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snow Days

I got back from my sister's house just in time for the snow.
Photos from Tuesday

As I write, we currently are up to 8" here at my house in the foothills of Mt. Rainier.
School canceled for 2 days in a row and possibly tomorrow as well as freezing rain is predicted and warm up not until the day after tomorrow.

The next morning the bottom branches of the tree were down to the middle of that coop.
Photos from today:
Luckily, we still have power (the trees were just trimmed by the power company last week - thank you!).

So, what do you do? It gave us a chance to work on the dreaded science fair project, clean house, watch the news online while blogging :-)

And, make snow ice cream (recipe)! I have not had a chance to make this since mom made it when I was a kid in New England!

The only prints in the snow were ours and shrews, the deer aren't  out.
The pullets won't even go out.

This morning a neighbor kindly stuck a plow to the 4wheeler and plowed the gravel road. :-)

Monday, January 16, 2012


Usually, I would not write about family on my blog in detail. It is bit to personal, I feel, for me to be sharing about my extended family to the whole world. But, in light of a recent addition, this is too good to keep bottled up.

The birth of a child is something to share with the world!

My sister, her husband and my niece. Happy birthday!

I am the oldest of 3 children and the 1st of them to have a child. My girl has been the only grandchild for 8 years. Until a week ago, when my 1st niece was born to my sister!!!! I am so excited!
(my sister's blog:

She is cute and cuddly and everything a baby should be. I was so happy to be able to live close enough to go see her so early in life and look forward to visiting her as often as I can.

Proud Daddy

I could hold her all day.

Monday, January 9, 2012

splitting wood

All these logs sitting around, needing to be split. So...

image from Lowes website
I went and got a TrueTemper Splitter at Lowes
I liked the angle of the splitter head and thought I would give it a try.
I tried it on ... 
freshly felled Alder and it split like a hot knife in butter.
Maple was less easy and also had more knots.
Cedar was not working at all as it was still fresh - i will try next year after it has cured a little. 
It only got stuck for the regular reasons (knot, bad aim etc...) and was easy enough to get out. The product is light weight wich is good for endurance but I wish it had an extra 5 lbs for the cedar. It is like a cross between an axe and a wedge. It came nice and sharp and after the alder below and about twice as much maple, it needs a go at the sharpening wheel.
I am by no means a professional at splitting. So, my review is just from my beginner experience. And from only a day. 
For the price and what we will be using it for, i think it is a right fit. 
We don't use wood for heat (only in power out situations) and for "perking up" an especially gloomy day (very rare). we mainly just try to make use of every resource we have to it's fullest. The trees are only felled if they pose a risk to our buildings or are close enough to the house and are declining. The ones out in the woods we keep for wildlife snags.


Mom and Dad
Christmas time with my family. (I have to give credit for some of the pics my mom took.)
Sabrina and a gift from her Uncle Jon and aunt Kristen.

My parents came up and we all went to spend Christmas with my sister and her husband in Oregon.

Bridge in Sumner, Wa

Then we came back and did some touristy stuff. 

Seattle Underground tour was fun. 
Seattle near "Skid Row"
Under Seattle's Sidewalks

Old bank under Seattle
Underground Seattle
On the Harbor Steps

Mom's photo at Etta's
 We ate at Etta's (Etta's was ok - not great) and bought a famous triple coconut cream pie (the pie was wow!)

In the Post Alley
Bought local sustainable Salmon at the Famous Pike Place Fish Market. The mongers there were great! 

My two-faced baked salmon - it is cooked that is it's beautiful color!
Then we made an awesome meal from the salmon (my salmon was way YUM! - much better than at Etta's. - sorry chef, but I can throw down a mean salmon ;-)

Me & Dad at Rendezvous
Baylor vs. Washington in the Alamo bowl at Rendezvous Wine and Brew in Enumclaw, Wa.
Rendezvous was Great! Great atmosphere. Excellent, friendly service. Good food at good prices. By far the best "local" eatery we have been to yet!