Houston has set a record this year. 24 days in August over 100 degrees. So glad I could be here for that one. I have curtailed my lunchtime activities. I finally figured out that driving around in a hot car just makes me sweaty, tired, and cranky. Much easier to eat in the air-conditioned cafeteria.
On the weekends, I try to go to the pool for an hour...if I can take it. Usually I have to get in the pool four times, just to cool off, although it isn't very refreshing. The pool is usually deserted. No one goes out until after 4pm.
It is extremely dry in Texas too. It has only rained three times since I moved here in April. And then just for a few minutes. Lots of grass fires just outside of town.
There was a tornado warning in the area today. I headed for shelter at Dad's house. It seemed like it took forever for the storm to arrive. But when it did, there was a whoosh of wind. I looked out the window east to my house. The two trees that I have left were taking a beating. In less than ten minutes it was all over. The window well leaked...again. But I don't know if 80mph winds can be considered normal conditions. The biggest damage was to our barns. The track for my barn door got pulled from the barn itself. Another barn door got pushed off its track. And then a third barn had damage to the door on the north, the south side, and the roof. Lots of shingles off the houses too.
Guess we were lucky. There were tornadoes in other areas of the state.
Today it was 60 degrees and breezy. The kind of day that spawns tornadoes and thunderstorms. You know, a typical Indiana spring day. After the February that wouldn't end, this is nice.
If you stand outside very long, you hear the chirping of birds everywhere. I have also spotted several geese flying north.
The gravel road is full of potholes and is a real mess. I'm hoping the wind will blow dry the wet spots. I've seen it look a lot worse in March.
The snow is almost all gone now, just a few spots on the north side of buildings and in the woods. So even if we get another batch of snow, it's not going to stack up. It will probably just be slick and messy. Also, it is now visibly apparent where the snow plow pushed the snow. There is lots of gravel in the grass. I'll need to get that raked back into the driveway before mowing season. A little gravel is a small price to pay for your freedom during the long, cold winter.
I'm getting really tired of winter (have I mentioned that?). I clean off the sidewalks, and then it snows again. I clean off the sidewalks, and then the wind picks up. This last batch, we got six inches of snow and a 25 mph wind. Great. Now, I'm snowed in....again.
So who do I call when I'm snowed in? My brother. He's got a bobcat. Watch this cool video of him clearing off my sidewalk. You have no idea how long it would have taken me to dig that out, even with a bobcat. And the great part? I get to stay in where it's warm and film him. He also cleared out my driveway (again) so I could actually get out and go somewhere. Thanks, Bro!
This week we have had some really frosty mornings. The lows have been down around the 0-10 degree range. It makes for a really pretty scene in the early mornings. Once the sun comes out the frost starts falling from the trees, and it's just like it's snowing again.
It's almost enough to make me forget how much I hate winter.
As predicted, the wind really whipped the snow up. We got about eight inches. There were some drifts that were hip deep. Check out the photos in the photo album in the right sidebar or click here.
Another big problem was that we had a shift change at 9am on Saturday morning for Dad's home healthcare workers. Lowayne needed to get home; she had been with Dad all week. Johnson was driving in from Indianapolis. I knew there was no way he was going to make it down the road. A little after 9am, Johnson called and said he would be running a little bit late. A few minutes later he called and said he was stuck. To his credit, he made it to four miles from the farm.
I told my brother and off we went to rescue Johnson. My brother had the snowplow and I followed in his truck. My brother's dog Ava followed us over there barking at and chasing the snowplow. When we got to the other side of Fayette, there was a young lady in a Chevy Avalanche off in the ditch. A truck was pulling her out as we drove up. When the road was cleared we found Johnson down the road a mile in the ditch. Luckily, he had hooks on his bumper. A quick yank on the chain and we had him out on the road. We caravanned back to the farm. My sister said it was quite a sight: First the snowplow, then a pick-up truck, then a car, and bringing up the rear was a barking dog.
My brother then dug out the driveway at Dad's. I told Lowayne we had about a 15 minute window before the wind blew the road shut again. I led her out in my brother's 4WD pick-up. It was like a riding a broncho bull down our gravel road. Lowayne's family was concerned that she would be stuck on the farm. She assured them: "My guys will get me out."
Johnson had been stuck earlier and a farmer pulled him out. He was eternally grateful that we came to get him.
Just because the roads are clear in the city is no indication of what they are like in the country.
The snow started falling about 10am; big flakes coming out of the east. We were supposed to get eight inches. As I was doing my work, I noticed that I dropped my VPN and couldn't get connected again. I suspected that I lost my internet. I went to Google and it was not found. A snowstorm and no internet. Bah! I wondered if it could be something stuck to the dish on the east side of the roof. I went outside and sure enough, the wet snow was sticking to the dish. I backed the old beater truck to the corner of the house and cleaned off the dish and the feedhorn (the part that juts out like a microphone) with a broom. My signal was restored.
Later on, Dad's satellite signal was out. I discovered ice on the feedhorn there too. A couple of whacks with an ice scraper, and he was back in business.
About an hour after I got my internet back, I lost my power about 3pm. It did not come back. I went down to Dad's. I noticed my porch light came back on around 2am. I just went ahead and stayed at Dad's. The wind howled all night.
I told Dad we were expecting a big winter storm. His reply: "Are you scared?"
My good friend Gail and I left Houston Thursday night after work. It was 70 degrees. We were bound for Ft. Worth, where her daughter and granddaughter live. From there we were going to head north to Tulsa. A major winter storm was hitting Oklahoma as we drove to Ft. Worth. When we woke the next morning, there was a bit of freezing rain hitting Ft. Worth, but we figured we could drive out of it. We knew Oklahoma City was already getting hit and the snow was just starting in Tulsa. So we went east and came towards Tulsa from the south on US75. There was spitting snow all the way. When we stopped at the McDonalds on the Indian Nation Turnpike, the snow was coming down in big flakes.
As we passed under I-40 I noticed there was no traffic going in either direction. Not a good sign. We pressed northward as conditions deteriorated rapidly. Finally we were crawling along at 30mph. Still there were spinouts and many large pickup trucks stuck in the ditch.
We followed a pickup truck that must've been having problems with their windshield wipers freezing up. The passenger crawled out the window and sat in the window while he pounded on the wipers. Okies on Ice....they're crazy.
We finally arrived in Tulsa about 4pm. It took up seven hours to make a four-hour trip. I dropped off Gail and I slowly headed to my friends, the Nelsons. I said I was not moving again for the rest of the night. They ended up with about 8 inches of snow. Here's some photos:
I have never had a snow bury my cement pig Oreo before, but last night's high winds did the trick. Oreo is completely covered up. Then my brother came along and plowed out the driveway and sidewalk with the tractor. Neither one of us is sure if he hit the pig with the blade or not.
Maybe I'll find Oreo again in the spring.
Before and after pictures below (click to embiggen).