Where I live is more beautiful than where you live! Just kidding … well … not really …
Either someone put up their Christmas decor a wee bit early and the weather took them seriously, or it decided to dress up as Old Man Winter for Halloween. This wasn’t a hint of Winter … it was a full on, 5 inches and 10 degree Fahrenheit, real deal Winter Weekend. Five days out, and it’s just starting to warm up enough to begin the melt down.
It’s not exactly unusual to get a “Halloween Snow” in Eastern Washington; my childhood friends and I remember crunching through a scant inch, sometimes a little more, rubbing together frozen fingers while trying to grip our candy buckets and not fall on our bums. We were so cold! But we refused to wear a coat over our costumes … because what was the point of dressing up then, right? All this for candy and treats … most candy, that is. I wasn’t a fan of black or orange jelly beans and could never understand why people spent money on anything other than chocolate …much of which was pilfered by my mom … so the more chocolate the better!.
Last weekend’s storm, tho’ … I can’t think of any October snow that could hold its own with this one. Every since COVID showed up in February, every month following has had something insane happen … attempts … I imagine … to not be forgotten against the backdrop of a pandemic. Who knew months were so competitive.
The first two tree pictures (above) are of our flowering cherry plum (my friend calls it our “Plerry” tree) First pic is “early storm” … the second one is morning after”. I went out three times to knock snow from branches … hate to think what would have happened had I not done that.
Moving back home recently provided a whole new perspective on winter weather. It was one thing to experience local winters as a kid. Besides freezing, I remember sled rides and snowmobiling. There were snow angels and being the first one to stomp across a snowy field. Hot buttered rums (sans alcohol for us kids) with the neighbors and daring each other to lick one of the glimmering icicles hanging from the eaves of the house.
Now there’s winter as an adult … an adult in a 100+ old house. The lesson of this crazy early snow is that cheap heating oil may not be the bargain we hoped for.
Our home is heated with a forced air, oil furnace … thus stove oil. I learned last year that when temperatures start dipping below 30 degrees you have to mix the diesel with kerosene to keep the fuel from clouding up and turning to gel … very bad for the furnace. Thankfully, we did not learn the hard way.
Our fuel guy, takes care of all that stuff, BUT when I called him in September to fill our tank, I said, “put in the cheaper stuff. We’ll go for the mixture (more expensive) when the temps drop in Nov. “
“Not a problem,” he responded. “Lot’s of people do that.”
Probably wouldn’t have been a problem in a normal year … but … we all know. There is NOTHING normal about 2020.
So My Guy and I faced a nearly full oil tank (fully exposed to the elements as it sits at the back of our house) in danger of freezing fuel that could damage our furnace. After a $600 dollar repair at the end of last winter, that didn’t sound like a good idea to us. We next discovered that an additive wouldn’t do us much good either. Unless we have a way to mix it in, it will just sit at the top of the tank.
So … we bought heat tape (didn’t even know it existed until today) and the equivalent of a poodle noodle to wrap over the top. Waaa Laaa! Insulation for the pipe that lets the fuel into the house. Here’s hoping it does the trick.
The upside of our storm is that it’s stunning outside. The downside is that trees all across town took a terrible beating. The day following the storm, I watched pickup after pickup creep off the slippery hill behind our neighborhood, truck beds brimming with branches that were being hauled to our town yard waste site. Leaves had just begun to turn color and very few had fallen yet. So with the weight of leaves and heavy wet snow, followed by a strong wind that came at the end of the storm … our trees couldn’t hold up.
Most of these photos are the morning after the storm. It’s truly a photographers wonderland around here. Thankfully, I managed to get out on the one sunny day before the storm and capture some fall color on a frosty morning … before the snow robbed all the tees of their leaves… but those pictures have been pre-empted by these. I haven’t had time to process and edit them, so a future post is all in the making.
I kinda hate to end with pics of broken trees (photos below) but they’ve reminded me of some things. In a world … and a year … where everything feels frightfully tentative … I’m reminded that I don’t get to choose my storms. Storms will come. And I … I will either lock myself away … or I’ll look for the beauty in a storm. Then I’ll clean up and carry on … find something new out of what remains. That’s what we humans do.
As my father would have put it, “How’s the weather faring where you be?” Are you enjoying a beautiful fall or are you enduring one of the storms that seems to have sprung up around the edges of the country?