Posts tagged winter

Winter is still here

Yesterday morning I went to work with about three inches of snow on the car and ground. I whisked off the back and front windows of the car and backed out.  Once I got to my building where I teach and after an hour, the temperatures were warm enough that there was no snow left on the top of the car. Being that it is April 13th, one would think that the winter snow would go away FOR GOOD!

One guy on social media showed a picture of his wearing a hat and down jacket, he wrote: “April 12 winter, I am wearing down.”  He let his readers know he made a play on words.  I wrote “I am weary too.”  When the weather is stuck on winter, you have to start getting creative and just laugh about it. Soon enough we will be mowing the lawns, but for right now, we are ALL tired of putting on our extra wraps and dealing with the snow.

Supt. living room pre 1900

The above picture is from the main dining room of the superintendent’s place at our campus. It shows the luxury of fine dining in the early 1900s.  It was anything but that for many of the early settlers.  Some of the things I have uncovered about early life on the prairie shows that the pioneers had to have a strong resolve to get through the long, tough winters.

The following is what I found out about early prairie living:  “I cannot remember that we ever had in our home the sacred precincts of a parlor—musty, dank, and revere, closed to everyone but the occasional guest—for we lived each day as best we could, using the entire house. We did not live in the kitchen as was usual with most pioneers.

“The kitchen was in the old part of the house and served as the dining room. Another room in this part was used as a shed or storeroom in winter and as a kitchen in summer. In one corner of the main kitchen stood a large iron cook stove at the back of which was a reservoir for heating water and for melting ice and snow. Wooden homemade cupboards stood against the walls, and in the center of the room was a walnut extension dining table covered with marbled, white oilcloth when not in use and with a red and white tablecloth, or, on occasions, a white one, at meal time. Heavy wooden chairs, painted brown with yellow stripes, were set around the edge of the room. The floor was made of wide, white pine boards, and it was kept scrupulously white and clean in spite of grease splashed from fried pork and dirt brought in by the men of the family on their shoepacks and overshoes. For lighting, we used kerosene lamps most of the time, but, had candles also. The majority of the farmers made much use of candles, employing kerosene only for lanterns.

“Many of the early settlers did not have the pretentious home, comparatively speaking, that we had. A large majority of the newcomers were young married couples with small children, so that a one-room shanty was all they required. A single room of small dimensions served as kitchen, bedroom and parlor all in one. All of the furniture, with the exception of the stove and a few chairs, was homemade. A pine table, benches, beds, a trunk or two, a couple of chairs, and a wooden cupboard comprised practically all the furniture. Sometimes a good-sized family lived in one of these small one-room shanties. Two beds, foot to foot, stood across one end of the room. Under the beds were stored during the day the bedding for two other beds to be made up on the floor, and in this way six, eight or ten persons slept in one small room. Sometimes there was a small attic, probably just high enough at the peak so that the average person could stand upright in it. A ladder led to the attic, where the boys and men slept. When I have visited some of the small homes occupied by large families, I have marveled how everyone was accommodated with sleeping quarters. At threshing time, the extra men slept in the straw pile barn, haystacks or granary.”

As my Grandma would often say, “We have so much to be thankful for.”  We do, even while we wait out these winter like days in April!

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Quiet winter morning sunrise

While U.K. is getting slammed with two feet of snow and the eastern part of the U.S. is getting pelted with rains and storms…we have a tranquil morning to enjoy. Not for long though because by Sunday and Monday we will be deluged with more snow and blizzard conditions. Such is life here on the open prairie.

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I realize that most all of us are sick of winter but if you make a sport of it like x-country skiing, then it isn’t so bad.  The temps have been melting the snow so icicles are forming and the snow is not quite the right quality to ski on in the warm afternoons.  This morning might be a good time but I have other errands to run, it will have to wait.

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I need to share what the skiing trails look like from our second floor window looking north. It really is wonderful to be out while the trees are all flocked with what the fog leaves behind from the night air.

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For now I’ll leave my faithful readers of my blog with this sunup photo from this morning. Sometimes I have to wait for about 5-10 minutes to get it just right…but it is worth it!

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Stormed out today

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe snow is falling, light and fluffy and with a LOT of it as promised it will be wonderful for x-country skiing.  However, we are supposed to get 30 mph winds so that will make it a virtual white out.  I hope to get most of my classwork ready for Tuesday classes and then I’ll go out in this winter wonderland.  However, we might be blocked in with too much snow.

Fortunately, we have good neighbors 1 1/2 miles down the road that bring their big tractor to push the snow out of our driveways.  I gave a rose bouquet to the wife of the wonderful neighbor since it was Valentine’s day that he did it.  Before he showed up, I had asked my husband to snowblow our yard as a Valentine’s present.  Then, the tractor came.  My husband brought me to a nice Sweetheart dinner in town before we went to a jazz band concert.

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Stormy out means we are socked in for the day.  We went into town for church but it had been canceled.  The highways were not plowed out but we could still navigate okay.  Someone else had come in from 30 miles away and got back home safely.  We had our adventure, best to stay inside where it is warm.

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Sunrise to Sunset

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYesterday I could have taken photos of the winter sunset after a gloomy and cloudy day. I had already taken quite a few photos of the amazing sunrise.  Bookends of glory within between of somber moods of cold.  My sister and brother came up to see about working at the shop, helping my dad de-clutter his massive inventory.  They both stayed over night at our place last night.  What was remarkable after they ate a late night meal, was that my sister was trying to help me make the bed for my brother. What happened next started a series of things that wasn’t meant to be!

She reached to the one far corner to tuck in the sheet and boom, the big double bed caved in.  Inexplicably Ken slept through that noise.  My brother was finishing his meal downstairs and he heard the crash just above him. Soon he came up to see what our dilemma was.  We finally took the mattress off, the bed frame apart except one of the pieces because it was stuck.  My brother tried to bang it apart without being too loud, that didn’t work.  Finally the three of us (50% of us siblings in one room) decided that the mattress could go on the floor and my brother could sleep that way.  He did.

Today, my husband who had slept through ALL of the commotion was able to bang out the frame and we put the bed back together. To make extra sure that this over 100 year old bed would NOT fall apart again, he torque screwed the horizontal planks in with four screws.  This old bed and dresser has been in our family for over a century. I hope that others now can sleep in it without any more drama.

So, back to the sunrise. It was a glorious beginning of a day. Today it all ended well.  Sadly our football team we were rooting for in the 30 degree F. temp lost again. 62 – 20.  That is the end of their season where they have lost all ten games, it has to be a real downer for the team players, some of them are my former students.

Anyway, the sun will come up…tomorrow.

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Mid January in the Heartland again

img_20170112_123055201Okay, we have finished ONE week of classes and have had several blizzards after returning from Arizona where it was sun and fun filled with grandkids.  Now we are bracing ourselves for the brutal, long and cold days. Yet there is beauty in all of this as these pictures show.

I went to a funeral the other day for a man who was a pillar of our community, he would have lived to be 100 years old if he could have made it to July of this year. Not to be…I was there for his daughter who was a classmate of mine.  There were four of us who graduated in the same year who came to support our friend Judy.  My folks were there and it was a nice military tribute to a man who had seen much. Someone alluded to the boating accident he was in where he was fishing with two gals and another guy. The boat couldn’t get started again and so the two girls jumped out but went over the dam. The other guy perished too. But not Russ, he was in good physical shape because he was in the military and was on leave at the time.

As the story goes and what I heard from the speaker at the funeral was that he remembers climbing and climbing stairs and when he awoke he was on the shore of the river bank. He believed that the angel had brought him enough strength to keep climbing to the surface. I had found this story out in the obituaries for the two sisters and the one man who drowned in this accident. I talked to my friend Judy to find out what she knew…she told me her mother had told her about this mishap that everyone in town knew about. However, what is interesting is that everyone in town knew him as the hobby shop guy, the one who had all the games to sell. He told jokes and did little pranks and had earlier been involved with several of the movie theaters.

img_20170112_101659283Well, it was fun to have my friend Suzi stay with us after the funeral, she got to see our sundogs. Yes, we were stormed in the next day so we sat and sang songs together. Good use of our time.  So, today was the last day of teaching for the week, my husband and I went to a Chinese restaurant to celebrate our first week of teaching. My friend Suzi joined us and then she went off to spend time with her family.  She came for the funeral from Florida but also to see her 93-year-old dad who is failing quickly.

So, looking out our windows upstairs and downstairs was quite a scenery shot for my friend Suzi from Florida.  I wanted to share these with you so you can see the beauty of our winter scape even though you might not feel the very cold temps of minus 20 F. Only the few can stand this. I am just glad my car started right up this morning despite the cold. I had baked some pumpkin bread and blueberry scones that I brought to my students.

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In the winter, there are better places to be enjoying

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter a delayed start in the cold climes where winter has finally descended in snow and cold, we ended up in warm Arizona on Saturday evening.  While we were waiting in the airport I said that we were delayed while using up time on Facebook. My friend asked which airline I was flying, turns out he knew someone who was delayed at our destination because of a suspicous package on the plane. They were all de-planed before they boarded and ended up at our terminal with the plane we were to take back from whence they started. Small world.  Of course the clerk behind the counter at OUR location didn’t suggest that it was a security risk but only told us about our 1 1/2 hour delay. In truth we were 2 hours delayed but it was so warm and sunny at 4:00 p.m. that we didn’t mind. The three hour flight was uneventful.

We wanted to get to Mesa so that we could celebrate my 97 year old aunt’s birthday that very day.  Missed seeing my one cousin but got to have a nice meal at Olive Garden with my other cousin and his wife.  We stayed at their home and saw how they had really made a nice new place for my Aunt Alta.  When we had heard they were converting their garage and part of their living area into her little place, I was thinking rustic.  Turns out that they used top of the line everything and she has a cozy little home that is a doorway away from her son and daughter-in-law…and ALL the grandkids and her great grandkids as well. She is a rich lady.

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So after going to church the next day with Alta to help her celebrate her 97th b.d. with her church family, we took off for parts south of us to be at a place where we have stayed for the last four Decembers.  This way we get to see Laura and Steve with their four year old Andy and also 40 year old Liam.  We went out to a Mongolian restaurant last night but the night before we went to a farm festival with walls and walls of haybales and many more Christmas lights and decorations. We took a train ride and then we had good talks on our way there and back.

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Our time to celebrate but I am still in high gear mode from home and have been sending out e-mails and other information because they had been put to the side while I was in the throes of teaching and finally getting grades submitted.  I realize that my students are still probably taking their final exams this week but I push to get papers done earlier so that they have the freedom to study for their other courses once their final presentations are done.

My 35 students had chosen different topics for their fourth research paper and I learned a LOT from some of them.  I’ve read before about horse slaughter and how that is a good thing rather what the options are for dying or older horses since the law passed in 2008.  Another student wrote about land and oil rights in North Dakota, another about raw milk. Every semester I get a student athlete who believes that college football players should be paid and there will usually be other topics that are controversial as well. One took on the electoral college which is a relevant theme now with our elections being over, but he did NOT show the counterclaim to his claim that this should be abolished.

In any case, this should be my vacation and I am enjoying the outdoor pool and also the hot tub but I can’t seem to get into that mode of relaxing and unwinding until some other projects are completed.  Okay, I should really enjoy this place that I am at right now because it will be all too soon that I will be back again to the cold temps and grading more student papers for next semester.

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