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Missing: Winter

I am someone who enjoys winter. I like the cold temperatures. I love walking outside and hearing the crunch of the frozen grass and leaves underfoot. I love taking the dog out early in the morning bundled up in a wool throw and seeing my breath in the air. I love sitting on the couch with a fire in the fireplace and a cup of hot chocolate next to me. But this winter, I haven’t experienced much of that. Winter hasn’t really showed up to my part of Maryland.

1st Snow of the Winter

1st Snow of the Winter

We’ve had some cool temperatures and a few days in the teens, but most days have been in the 40’s or 50’s and last weekend we were in the 70’s. We had the windows open and I thought about putting on a pair of crop pants, but it is still February. Last year I wrote about the 37+ inches of snow that we received from the blizzard that dumped it all in one night. This year we had snow twice. The first snow was only about 1.5 inches. The picture to the left shows the snow from that “storm”. I use the term “storm” because all of the Weather people were making the storm out to be something major. Turns out it wasn’t much of one and they were even more bummed than me. The second snow was just a dusting. Neither of them covered the roads, so there wasn’t really problems from them.

The school children are upset that they haven’t used even one snow day. Of course they will get out of school earlier than they usually do, but when you want to play in the snow and there isn’t any, well, I can understand why they are upset. Also upset are the landscape companies that rely on earning money by plowing businesses during the winter. Some say that plowing is 50% of their income, so without it, they may not be able to continue. Most of all, a mild winter usually means that the summer will be especially buggy. Not a good thing for me. I am a bug magnet. If it bites or stings, they find their way to me. I’m not looking forward to being their snack.

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Road Trip Time

Okay, we have been having a rather strange winter. We have only really had one measurable snow fall so far and that was in December. Most of the days have been in the low 40’s, so we have been able to take more weekend road trips around the area. Because of my fascination with the eagles in Florida, my husband decided to take me to see some for real. We recently made the trip to Conowingo Dam in Maryland, which is only about an hour from where we live. It is an area where eagles nest along the water which is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.

We were there for less than 5 minutes when we heard shouts of “Eagle!” and one was flying overhead, eventually landing in a nearby tree.  We saw several eagles, as well as blue herons and sea gulls. I took some pictures with my phone. My husband looked at all of the people around us with these huge cameras and lenses more than a foot long. He looked at me and said, “You’re going to need a better camera.” As of yesterday, I’m the proud owner of a Canon EOS Rebel T6. Now I just have to figure out how to use it. Until then, I’ll leave you with the eagle from my cell phone.

cd-eagle

(Photo taken by lenalee-2017)

All Through The House

When I was planning what goodies to make for the holidays, I asked my husband and son what they wanted. My son wanted his usual oatmeal cookies and my husband wanted his usual sugar cookies with vanilla frosting. I usually make one or two new cookies each year, so I found two recipes that I wanted to try. One was for German chocolate sugar cookies and the other was for a cheesecake cookie. Both sounded delicious. In addition, I usually make white chocolate covered pretzels and chocolate fudge too. Yes, we do like to indulge a little extra during the holidays.

I planned to try to get all of my baking done in one weekend, but coming down with a cold that lingered for several weeks made it a little difficult to bake everything in one weekend. I kept wanting to take a nap, so I started with the cookies and made 10 dozen oatmeal cookies, which were placed in individual baggies with a dozen each so I could ration them for my son. Normally he would just take the container with all the cookies and he would come back a couple of days later with the empty container. So this year, I am making them last. He has grumbled about it, but that’s normal.

I then made 9 dozen frosted sugar cookies, which my husband has been rationing. He said I made them earlier than I usually do, so he wants to make them last. Next up were the German chocolate sugar cookies and they were actually easy to make and taste so yummy. They do not have a strong chocolate taste, but are just chocolate enough. Even my husband likes them and he is not a big dark chocolate fan. I will definitely keep this recipe to make again. I went to gather the ingredients for the cheesecake cookies, but didn’t have enough brown sugar, so I decided to make those next weekend for a New Year’s eve treat.

After work yesterday, I came home to a large box on the front porch from my mom. It was a box of Cheryl’s Gourmet Holiday Cookies. Faced with all the additional cookies, my husband said he didn’t think we needed to make the chocolate covered pretzels this year. I did make the fudge though. I love a cup of hot chocolate with a piece of fudge in front of the fire. The hot chocolate melts the fudge and it is so good. If it were snowing that would be even better. We don’t have any snow this year yet, but I know it will be here before long.

fudgeAnd now, I think it’s time for a little cookie break. Happy Holidays everyone!!!

 

 

The Weather Isn’t Cooperating

When we decided it was time to redo our deck, I was hoping that it would prove to be a relaxing way to end the day after work or in other words, help with the stress that comes with everyday life. The deck is finished, we have chairs and the weather has not cooperated at all in terms of being able to enjoy the deck.

Last Saturday morning, we picked up our gliders and even though the temperature was in the 50’s, I couldn’t wait and sat on the deck, bundled up with a fleece throw and watched my husband and son work in the yard. Since then, the weather has turned to either rainy or too cold. Last night, we had rain, then the wind picked up and there were strong thunderstorms. They were strong enough to set off car alarms and break off branches and flowers. During the night, the temperatures continued to drop and when I went to let our pug out this morning, there were snow pellets on the deck and chairs. The day looks beautiful now, but the temperature is in the 30’s and the wind chill is in the 20’s.

This week is supposed to be cooler and they have a chance of snow flurries in the forecast for several days. That means no relaxing on the deck just yet. It’s coming…soon…fingers crossed.

It’s Spring And We Have Snow Flakes

I think this sums things up quite nicely…

Cardinal

From Snow To Spring Breezes

Snow at Home

Snow at Home

View From Work

View From Work

The weather forecasters are saying that we may have seen the last of the snow for this winter. The snow that came through last Friday was one that didn’t accumulate on the sidewalks or streets, but made the trees look absolutely beautiful for most of the day. Last night was probably the last night to enjoy a fire. This week the temperatures are supposed to be in the mid 70’s. We will be going from using the furnace to having to use the air conditioning if the temps go up much more.

Growing up, I can remember sleeping with the windows open and using a fan in the hallway to keep the rooms cool. The only time our windows were shut were if you were leaving home for the day or if a storm was coming. And even then, the windows were kept cracked to keep the air flowing. Our house had a huge air conditioner at the back of the kitchen that was only used when the temperature went into the 90’s and it was usually turned off at night. I don’t remember it being too hot to sleep. I’m sure it was, but we were better able to deal with it as a child than we are now as an adult. I’m not able to tolerate the heat as well as I could before.

Gone are the days when I could open the windows to let the breeze air out the house and keep the house cool. Now, when we open our windows, I spend most of the day sneezing from the pollen and dust that comes in. But spring is coming so I will stock up on Kleenex because I want to enjoy the weather as long as I can before the air conditioning is on for months on end.

Under All That Snow…Flowers

Dafodil

We are finally seeing the last of the snow melt from the massive storm that hit the mid-Atlantic a few weeks ago. We had a few small snow events that added a couple of inches since then, but those melted off the roads and didn’t create much of a problem. You can still see the occasional pile of snow, mostly along the highways and pushed off to the sides in parking lots. It is still winter and still cold most days, although the temperature is slowly moving upwards and today we are supposed to be near 60 degrees (Fahrenheit), which isn’t too bad for February.

But as the snow slowly disappears around our house, underneath the snow, the first flowers of spring have begun to poke up through the soil. The daffodils and tulips are starting to come up and they will surely grow bigger with all the rain we have been having. Last week it rained several days in a row, very heavy at times, and what is left behind is grass that is mostly brown and puddles of mud everywhere. It is at this time of the year that you begin looking for signs of spring and the flowers are a sure sign that it will be here eventually. Of course there is snow in the forecast for the end of the week, but since the daffodils and tulips started growing underneath three feet of snow, a little bit shouldn’t make much difference. Here’s hoping we might have some pretty flowers for our Easter table.

 

35 Inches of Snow…and Another Snow Day

The blizzard finally ended early Sunday morning. We woke to a total of 35 inches of snow, close enough to 3 feet, so I’m going with 3 feet. The wind caused the snow to drift in some places to 4-5 feet. To put the storm in perspective, my area of Maryland usually gets an average of 22 inches of snow in the winter. In this storm, we received about one-third more snow than we get in a normal year. That’s a lot of snow.

The good news is that we didn’t lose power. I heard one report that there were about 200 homes without power in the entire state, so that made the storm much more bearable. I think if you have to go through a true Nor’easter in the wintertime, having electricity makes it much less stressful. I did notice that I cooked more than I usually do. On the weekend, we usually have Sunday breakfast, which is where we go all out and cook a big meal. Saturday we usually have cereal and coffee or toast, something simple. But being off, we cooked a big breakfast every morning. I also baked a cake, which is not something I do very often, mainly because we are trying to eat healthier. I guess being snowed in makes me want to cook. Of course, the guys were burning calories removing the snow, so that counted for their increased appetites.

As for the snow, my husband and son shoveled and blew us out over two days, which was the right thing to do. My husband, after 20 plus years in the military, tackled the snow with a battle plan. Shovel early and shovel often. If you wait too long, the snow will overtake you and you will be fighting a losing battle.

It has been amusing to see the neighbors and their approach to dealing with the snow. Some of our neighbors waited until the last snow flake fell and the sun came out, which warmed the snow and made it much heavier, so snow blowers were pretty much useless. Others seemed to be playing the drinking game. Shovel or blow a row and take a drink. Shovel, drink, shovel, drink, drink, drink. Several have driveways that still aren’t completely open, but are instead rather crooked and you can tell not much thought was put into clearing away the snow. As long as one car can get out, that is all that matters. Mother Nature will have to do the rest…unless more snow is on the way.

Hot ChocolateBoth my husband and I are off work again today. The roads are still being dealt with and the Governor would prefer if people stayed off the roads. I’d prefer that too. It is a beautiful, sunny day and it makes you want to go outside somewhere, but really, it’s cold and the fireplace is cozy right now, so I think I will make some hot chocolate and curl up on the couch. Stay warm where ever you are!!!

And The Snow Continues….

Our Back Deck

Our Back Deck

Blizzard part 2…the first round of snow came through during the night and with the winds, the snow totaled over 12 inches. So with the drifting that is taking place, there are places where the snow is up to our window. What is strange is that one of our windows that is two stories up has snow halfway up the window. It blew from the roof, but it just adds to the trapped inside feeling. Hmm, might make a good plot for a story.

Anyway, the son shoveled a path on the back deck to the yard for the pug to have a place to potty. But, believe me, he will race outside, squat anywhere and race back inside. He won’t go far to potty. The husband is currently using the snow blower to try to uncover our driveway. He is probably wishing we bought a bigger one. I did ask him that the last time we got a big snowfall and he replied, “How often do we get this much snow?” About every two years I think. We didn’t even use the snow blower at all last year. The plows haven’t made a pass on our street, but since we live on a little cul-de-sac off a long and twisty road, I don’t expect them to come anytime soon. Once they do, they will make one pass, just enough to pile the snow high and block the driveway back in.

According to the weather people, the worst is still to come today with another foot or more expected…and it is supposed to be heavier and wetter, so more shoveling and blowing are in the future. At least we still have electricity and the internet, so we aren’t suffering. It does amaze me when you know you can’t go out, you start to feel like you need to go somewhere, but when you have the freedom to leave the house, we want to stay in. Another of life’s little moments of hmmm.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend wherever you are in the world. And if you’re on the East coast, stay safe digging out!!!

Waiting For The Blizzard…So Why Do I Want Ice Cream???

Snowblower1

We haven’t had much of a winter so far. Christmas was close to 70 degrees F and we haven’t seen any snow. All that is supposed to change today as we are waiting for a major storm that is supposed to start as snow and then become a blizzard. When the weather forecasters first mentioned snow earlier in the week, it was supposed to be 1-3 inches, which became 6-8 inches. Then as late as yesterday morning, it was changed to 12 inches. Now, they have declared that my area of Maryland will get 20-24 inches of snow and winds in excess of 65 miles per hour, so in other words, we will have a blizzard. They named it Winter Storm Jonas. (Side note: Maybe it should be called Hercules or Goliath. They sound more fierce.)

I had been scheduled to be off of work today. My plan was to run a few errands and get some things done around the house to free up the weekend. My husband found out yesterday that his office would be closed today because of the storm. Then our county’s Emergency Management Agency began sending out messages about the blizzard and telling residents to make sure they have a plan in place since we are expected to lose power for several days. They have even asked for the National Guard to help once things get really bad. Needless to say my plans changed as we have to get ready for the blizzard. So my husband and I made the trek to the store this morning and joined the other people buying their essentials, which seemed to be milk and toilet paper. Those are two things I always have in the house. I wanted snacks, like chips, cookies and ice cream. Yes, I know it’s cold, and we might not have heat, but I want ice cream.

Anyway, we went over our list of things that we might need if we are trapped in the house for a few days. Logs for the fireplace? Check. Extra jugs of water for ourselves and our pug? Check. Extra batteries for the cell phones and flashlights? Check. Zero degree sleeping bags to keep warm if we have no heat? Check. Camping equipment to heat up soup and coffee? Check and check. Extra books downloaded on the Kindle? Check. Real books for when the Kindle’s battery runs out? Check.

Looks like we’re ready. Of course I hope we won’t need any of it, but it started snowing about two hours ago and the wind is picking up. I think it’s time for a cup of coffee and some ice cream.

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