March–Out like a lamb?


After a rather stormy winter, we’ve had a couple of days in the 70s, or near to them. Of course, we’ve had those before, with snow storms shortly following. And it’s not impossible that we’ll have a snow storm yet. In past years, Kansas City has seen snow in April, and on the rare occasion, even into May.

I don’t really expect this to happen, but with the weird weather we’ve gotten this year, polar vortexes and all, who knows? If we do happen to get another snow, I doubt it’ll last long. Most of the time, even the worst of our snow is gone within three days, except where it is piled in parking lots, and on north slopes.

The trees have started budding, the grass is starting to turn green, various places flowers are starting to bloom. All in all, signs of spring.





Deceptive Sunshine


Of the six to eight inches of snow they were predicting, we have maybe two, and it’s stopped snowing. Not that it can’t start up again.

The sun is shining
Through the cold.
Soon it will snow.
This grows old.

How much snow
Will this storm bring?
The snow will pile
Over everything.

Freezing Rain.
Freezing Ice.
Soon that may come.
Won’t it be nice?

The last winter storm
Piled snow up high.
I sure hope
This one passes us by.

Walking the Dog in the Snow


Our dog’s always been a cold weather dog. I think part of it is the thick black fur coat he wears all year long. In the summer, he suffers, and sneaks down to the basement to sleep on the cold, hard, concrete floor. He still does that in this weather, but not nearly as much. And he’s never quite figured out that he doesn’t need to sneak, we don’t care if he goes downstairs or not.

So, he’s really been enjoying the weather we’ve been having the past couple of weeks. I’ve been taking him out for long walks (2-3 miles) every morning. For the most part, he prefers to stay on the plowed road, but when I take him through the park, he’ll sniff at all the footprints he can find (even if they’re his from the day before), sneeze, then bounce all over the place.

Since we’ve had that broken water main on our street, they’ve been putting a lot of salt down on it. I don’t know what they put in the salt, or even if it’s really salt at all, but it hurts Rocky’s feet to walk in the melted salt water. He would look up at me piteously when we walked that stretch. Once we got up to the road that was just plowed, not salted, he was fine, and would return to his happy bouncy self. Even he eventually figured out what was causing his feet to hurt (whether or not he knew why), and started walking on the snow in that section, which was much easier on his feet.

It’s funny, you’d think that a 2-3 mile walk through the snow in temperatures twenty degrees below freezing would be as tiring for him as it is for me, but after the walk, he’d be all bouncy, and I’d have to “Grrr” at him to get him to calm down. This involves me standing in one spot, and saying “Grrr” to him, while he runs from one end of the house to the other, crazily. Then he comes back, and I say “Grrr” again. Apparently this is a really fun game. After a few minutes of this, he eventually gets himself a big drink, then goes and lays down, and can sleep the rest of the day comfortably.

Sometimes I wish I could do the same.

Wild Winter Weather


We’ve had more than our share of weather this past week.

Last Tuesday, there was a major winter storm predicted. Last Monday evening, they decided to go ahead and cancel school, even though the weather was fine, and the roads were clear at that point. Jonathan’s work told everyone to either prepare to work from home, or be ready to stay the night if they did come in. He decided to work from home.

Tuesday morning, we got up, and things looked fine. I was beginning to wonder if perhaps we’d missed the storm, though it was still early. By the time I was ready to walk the dog, though, the first flakes were beginning to fall. By the time we got back, the snow was falling furiously.

It was difficult to tell how much snow was falling, since the wind kept blowing things into drifts. And it was cold enough out, that the snow remained a fine powder, not clumping at all. It came down steadily all day, and into the night. Our neighbor cleared out the driveway twice with his snow-blower, and we kept our walkway swept, but by the next morning, no one could tell. I think, though, we got about a foot of snow out of that storm. Maybe.

They called off school again Tuesday night, for Wednesday. That made sense, since everyone was trying to dig out. Jonathan again worked from home, the kids swept the walks again, and shoveled the driveway. Since it was no longer snowing, that lasted longer. That afternoon, things had cleared up enough, the road had been plowed even, that I felt secure enough to go out and do some writing. I had a little trouble on some of the roads, but was fine most of the way.

Thursday, they also called off schools. I wasn’t entirely sure why. But Jonathan had a doctor’s appointment that morning, so I took him in to it, so I could drive him to work afterwards. While we were there, the nurses and receptionists kept talking about all the traffic jams, and accidents there were on the roads, and how far everything was backed up. Not just one of the highways, but all of them in the area were really backed up. Hearing that, it suddenly made a lot more sense for the schools not to be in session.

After the doctor’s appointment, we got on the highway to take Jonathan to work. The traffic on the highway wasn’t stopped, but it also stayed between 10-15 mph. So it took about half an hour to do that five minute stretch of road between the doctor’s office, and Jonathan’s work downtown.

Going back home, I decided it’d be better to chance it going over Broadway Bridge, than taking the highway. I could see that Broadway Bridge was backed up, but only the bridge, not back down-town, unlike the highway, which had been backed up as far as we could see it.

I got on the bridge, and saw that there’d been an accident (I don’t know how long before, the police cars were there), right before the overhead supports on the bridge began. It looked like a car on each side of the median had crashed into each other. I don’t know how, when neither one had jumped the median. But after that, the road was entirely clear. On our side. Going  the other way, the traffic was backed up past Briarcliff. But not all the way to Vivian.

Friday, school started two hours late, but otherwise, back to normal.

We had a flurry Sunday afternoon, but we maybe got an inch out of it. Hardly noticeable, on top of the 12 we already had. The roads were still clear by the end of it.

So, Monday, work and school like normal again.

After Christmas Musings


We had a quiet Christmas with our family this year. We had Christmas with my folks a couple weeks back, before they left town for warmer climes, so we didn’t have anywhere we had to go.

We did go have dinner at church, they provided ham sandwiches, and everyone else brought side dishes. It was a fun little potluck, only enough of us there to fill two tables. I think other years they have had a lot more people there.

The snow from last weekend is mostly gone now. On Christmas it was still everywhere, though so covered with animal tracks that it wasn’t quite the blanket of white that you usually think about. Now it’s mostly left on the northern slopes. And roads like ours are still mostly snow-packed. Though even those are much melted.

We’re seeing more and more deer every year. It’s getting so that they come out in the daylight, not just in the early morning, late evening. Christmas night, I saw three of them, which scattered before I could show them to the family. Then a few minutes later, we all looked out the window, and there were six of them, digging through the snow and leaves to get through to whatever grass they could find. These ones didn’t scatter, until the dog stood up to look through the window, and barked at them. They scattered, and disappeared into the woods at that, but not as if they were in any great hurry.

First Real Snow of the Season



This weekend we had our first real snow of the season. Two inches of the fluffy stuff somewhere between Saturday evening and Sunday morning. This was on top of the icy drizzle/rain we had all afternoon Saturday (Saturday morning was fine, we made sure to get out and do our errands before the rain started up).

Our road did apparently get plowed while we were at church. I say apparently, because it was rather hard to tell. Should the sun come out, and it warm up a bit, it should make it easier for all the snow pack to melt off.

We’ve lived in our house about ten years, and last year is the first time we ever had a snow-plow go down our road. I’ve gotten stuck a few times trying to go up (or down) the hill, just given up and parked at the church parking lot at the bottom (or top) of the hill, etc. One time, even the postal delivery person got stuck (and they use chains).

Usually, this far after the storm, they’ll have the primary and secondary roads cleared off. Our road being a tertiary road (or lower. What’s the next “ary” word?) might get a swipe with the plow, or otherwise left to fend for itself.

Today, however, when I went out, the primary roads were almost clear, but it looks like they just barely plowed the secondary roads. I just took them slowly, and had no problem. Of course, though, I might have problems trying to get back up our hill, rather than just trying to go down it.

Sunday was supposed to be the Church Christmas pageant for the kids. The choir didn’t even have an anthem prepared for it. They still had service, but canceled the children’s program. We had to quickly come up with a choir anthem, and our choir director was one of those people who couldn’t get out because of the storm. For a little bit we only had one person on each part, then a few more people came up before the service, and we had two people on each part (which was much easier). We scoured the hymnal, and ended up singing “In the Bleak Midwinter”.

Somehow, the line “snow on snow” seemed particularly appropriate.

The children’s pageant has been rescheduled for January 5th. Hopefully the weather will cooperate by then.

Wintry Weather (Again)



We have a winter weather advisory today, and partway through tomorrow. So far, we’ve just had rain, though. Cold, icy, wet rain.

It started this morning, while I was walking the dog. I was going to be cutting the walk short before the rain started, I was hoping to get back inside before it got too bad.

It wasn’t really that cold out, but cold enough that it started freezing on various surfaces, and I started slipping. I didn’t fall, fortunately, but I was trying to go slow and be careful. The dog didn’t help any, he just wanted to pull me on. (If I were trying to go fast, he would have wanted to stop at every blade of grass and mailbox for a smelling session. Go figure.) This was on the north slope of a hill, going down, of course. I hate going downhill if there is any sort of slickness at all. A lady on the other side of the street came out with her trash, and put it by the side of the road, and then slipped and fell. If I hadn’t had Rocky, I would have gone to help, rather than just asking if she was all right (she was). But I’ve seen how Rocky tries to ‘help’ someone who’s fallen. He tries to encourage them to get up by first jumping on them, then grabbing an arm and pulling on it. At least he did a couple of years ago. Haven’t had much opportunity to see if he’s figured out any better method since then. I did keep an eye on the lady until she was up, and got into her car.

The water construction guys were working even in this weather.

Some places were slicker than others. I noticed that the slickest spots seemed to be within a couple of feet of places where the previous snow hadn’t been completely cleared off. I think that must have been connected somehow. The church parking lot was just glazed ice. As was our driveway, and front steps. But we got home all right.

Rocky looked completely bedraggled when we got in. Until he shook himself off, of course. Then he just looked fluffier than usual. There were ice-crystals in his tail fur before we came in. His tail is so fluffy, though, I don’t think the ice came anywhere close to his skin.

Oddly enough, he didn’t need me to “Grrr” at him this morning. After he got his customary cookie, he just found a comfortable spot to lie down, and went to sleep. I think it’s because he knows there’s a storm coming.

Ramblin’ Thoughts


It’s much warmer today than it has been these past few days. Why, the temperature might even make it above freezing!

That, and the fact that the sun is shining means that the little bit of snow that was sticking to the roadways will do a great deal of melting today, which always helps.

It’s good to see a clear blue sky again, after several days of grey clouds. It probably won’t last long, it being Missouri and all. It might snow again this weekend.

I’ve always liked looking at a clear blue sky through tree branches, whether they are covered with leaves or bare. It’s always been a soothing sight, especially when the sky is really blue (which usually means looking straight up at it, rather than along the horizon). I haven’t done that much looking up lately.

When I’m out walking the dog, I’m usually looking down and out, keeping an eye on him, the footing (especially if there is snow, ice, or puddles on the ground), and traffic.

Lately, of course, I’ve also been watching the water construction workers, on whatever stretch of the long walk they’re working that day. Even in the cold, blowy, days that we’ve had, they’ve kept working. Got to admit, that’s a hard job to do, even in warm weather. It’s got to be a real pain in cold, wet weather. And, I’m sure, when they finally finish in our area, and finally get the water switched over to the new pipes, they’ll just have to move on to the next area, and start over again, new.

The dog and I usually walk two, maybe two and a half miles every morning, depending. It takes us about an hour, if I rush the dog. He tends to have two paces, run as fast as he can, or stop and smell everything. I want him to go somewhat in between. I don’t think he understands that. What’s the point going for a walk if you’re neither going to run nor smell everything out there?

So, we get back from our walk, and I’m tired, but he’s energized. I’ve figured out that I’ve got to chase him around a bit (which mostly involves me standing in one spot saying “Grrrr”, while he runs around crazily) for him to work off that energy, and be able to settle. Once we’ve done that, though, he’ll sleep for hours. It must be nice being a dog.

Cold Weather


It’s gotten cold and snowy here the last few days. Not as bad as some other places, we probably got half an inch, at most, unlike the foot or more that I’ve seen people posting on their Facebook pages. Also, not ice, and not negative degrees, like I’ve seen other people posting about.

Still, trying to take the dog out for his long walks when the temperatures is in the teens isn’t much fun. It’s better when the wind isn’t blowing, but still.

Now, he’s a cold-weather dog. He just loves the snow (as long as it doesn’t pack between his toes when he’s walking, that’s no fun at all), and his furry coat means he doesn’t care much about the cold. He tends to suffer in the summer when it’s hot, though.

While we were out walking the other day, we went by one house where instead of the snow, one tree, two bushes, and a whole bunch of grass, were covered in ice. I had to look twice to make sure, then I saw where there was a steady stream of water coming up from the road. Suddenly, it was clear to me. Sometime during the night, a water pipe had burst, and geysered for a while, before making the break in the water pipe big enough to let the water stream out without spraying.

The water leak was already marked with orange cones before I got there, as well as being not too far from where they’ve been working laying the new water pipes (but far enough away that I was pretty sure they didn’t cause it), so I didn’t bother reporting it. And it was fixed a couple of days later.

With the snow on the ground (little as it is), the white PVC pipe that the water-construction people have left sticking up from the ground at various points are a lot harder to see. And I expect that once we get snows that really require plowing will run into and break most of those. I don’t know what those pipes are supposed to be marking, but I’m assuming that they’ve been marked on a map somewhere, and there will be enough left in the ground to figure out where they were when they need to take care of it.

Fall Weather Again


Well, that cold front that moved through earlier this week has moved on again, leaving weather cooler behind it, but not nearly as cold as it was for those couple of days.

I’m wearing my un-zipped winter coat when I walk the dog in the mornings, though I could probably just get by with a wind-breaker jacket. I also don’t need the hat and gloves any more. Of course, this being Missouri, you can’t count on this weather lasting. Probably get another cold front coming through before too long, with snow behind it.

Rocky would love that. He really loves the snow. Of course, his heavy fur coat helps. He doesn’t care too much about old crunchy snow, but when it’s fresh, he’ll bound through it and snuff in any footprints he sees, which makes him come up sneezing.

I don’t think he cares for rain, though it doesn’t bother him as much as it does me. His thick coat protects him from feeling the wet until he’s been out in it for a while. Of course, then he has to shake himself off once he gets out of it. And then the whole house will smell of wet dog.

For all the fun he has playing in the creek when we let him, he sure doesn’t care for getting wet other times. Like when he’s getting a bath. We have to trap him in the bathroom to get him to even consider going in the tub, and then he’ll just stare at us with those eyes of noble suffering, while we try to move him around so that we can clean all of him. Can’t help feeling sorry for him, though it’s probably at least as much of an act as when he stares at us while we’re eating, with eyes that say he’s such a good dog, and he *never* gets anything to eat.