“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It's relatively warm now, but another cold blast is coming.



Outside this morning it's forty two degrees.  We've had several days of warm weather, up into the 60's by afternoon.  December is usually a cold month though, and some more chilly weather is expected by this weekend.  The picture above was taken at a waterfall near our place just before Christmas in 2008.


This is a short cut through the national forest. I use it if I am going over the mountains and heading South. It saves some miles, though not a lot of time.  When the snow and sleet is coming down, at least it's pretty out in the woods. This is one of two streams you have to ford.



When it gets cold here, the water draining off the mountains over the rock faces of the road cuts makes icicles.  Some of them get to be over six feet long, if somebody like me doesn't come along and break them off.


If it stays cold long enough, the lakes and ponds freeze over.  Not to the point where someone my size can walk on them, but the little lake where I walk sometimes gets two or three inches of ice all the way across it. People think the South is always warm, but not so in the mountains.


I have several fire pits at different places around my land.  When the weather warms up to shirt sleeve temperatures, I like to sit out there and smoke my pipe, drink a little coffee, and listen to the radio.


Those brief interludes of warmth are rare.  Most of the winter here, this is a more representative picture.


Keeping the trail down the mountain open in winter is a challenge. If we get wet snow and wind, I can be sure that I'll be clearing the trail of blow downs.  It was relatively easy when my son was home, but now it's harder since it's just me. My wife will come down to lend moral support but I don't want her anywhere near the chain saw so that's about all she can do to help.


We used to take out a lot of these storm downed trees with a cross cut saw , just to learn how to use the thing. There's a skill set you need to use the old cross cut saws. It's not just like using a hand saw. Now that my son isn't here the cross cut saw stays up on a peg in the tool shed, it's not a one man show.



When my very old ferrets were still living, they had their own kerosene heater to snuggle by. Especially at night, when I put their blanket down by the heater, you might find all 7 tucked in there enjoying the heat. Ferrets are not really winter lovers. They like warm weather better.


This picture was taken around Christmas, in 2012.   We get some big snows by late December, but that seems appropriate. This is a cove a couple of miles from my house. The dogs and I go down there so they can run around and get out of the forest for a bit.

34 comments:

  1. I'm with the ferrets. Not a winter lover.

    We have a lot of trail maintenance here as well. Always something to keep you busy when you have land!

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    1. I like winter alright as long as I can stay inside.

      You're right about keeping things in order. After every storm, I have to walk down the trail all the way to the hard surface road, an hour or so before I want to leave, to make sure I can get out.

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  2. Recently, the local pet rescue had a couple of ferrets that had been surrendered when the owner had her first child. If I thought you'd been willing to meet halfway, I'd have brought them to you, but I know you can't just up and leave the mountain at the drop of a hat.

    matt

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    1. Matt, did they find a home? If not , I'm sure I can work something out. I don't want anything to happen to them.

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    2. Harry, if I can find out anything about them, I'll let you know. Its been a few weeks. Hopefully they found homes already. If not, we'll figure something out.

      Matt

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    3. Thanks, Matt. If they have a home, I won't worry but I want to reassure myself they weren't killed. If they still need a home, I can find them one. As a last resort, I will try to have them shipped to me.

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    4. Harry, I found out late this evening that they did find a home for them.

      Matt

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    5. Matt, I've been having trouble responding to your comment. I'll try it again. I just wanted to say I'm glad they found a home, and I would have done something to help them out if they needed it, even if it came down to shipping them down here .

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  3. Harry,
    Winter isn't so bad.......
    I don't like the ice because when driving people around here don't know how to drive on ice. You might as well play bumper cars, lol

    It's beautiful in the pictures you posted. Is that part of your driveway with water running from it?

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    1. No, Sandy. That's up on the side of the mountain next to mine. We go up there sometimes for the view in the evening.

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  4. I love winter, I love cold and I love snow.

    I HATE people who can't drive in it but who nonetheless feel the need to get out on the roads before me and shut traffic down by crashing.

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    1. That's not a whole lot of a problem here. There aren't many full time residents, those that are here have appropriate vehicles and a lot of experience.

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  5. Harry, you really do look like a mountain man! Thank you for sharing these pictures of your place. I really like the fire pits around the land. What a great idea, one that would be a bit dangerous around here. How old do ferrets get to be?

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    1. Inger, I like to walk my property line , though I used to do it more often than I do now. I would build a fire pit out around the corner pins and rest there, maybe make a little coffee. I have three here right around the buildings and those are what I use for the most part now.

      Ferrets can live to be as much as ten years old, but most live five to six years. They suffer from cancer at a much higher rate than other animals, though I don't know why. In the U.S. they are subject to adrenal disease, because the U.S. federal government stupidly requires that they be neutered, spayed much too early in their lives. In Europe, where no such asinine law exists, adrenal disease is much less common.

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  6. The ice formation is beautiful although I hate to see winter coming in so early for us. Be safe!

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    1. I am beginning to suspect we are living in the sequel of "Little Ice Age." I expect History Channel to break out their old two hour special on the Little Ice Age any day now.

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  7. Seems a day or two after you get the weather, we get it up here in Maine. Been fairly warm for about two days here, then last night the temps dropped bellow freezing and we are getting a load of rain and snow tonight. I definitely envy your distance from neighbors. Just about had it with mine. Thanksgiving night the neighbor's kid decided that he had to go out and beat on the frozen snowbank with a plastic shovel at 4 am and wake us all up. I swear I can't get far away enough from these cerebral pigmies.

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    1. There are some houses over on the other side of the Ridge line from me, but they are unoccupied and I can't see them from my house anyway. Lots of summer places here were simply abandoned to the banks in 2007 and 2008, and it's amazing how fast they are simply decaying into ruin. But homes in the woods are like that, if you stop taking care of them they fall apart.

      During my military career I sometimes lived in apartments off base, and I was always amazed at the low level of cognitive ability some of the other residents displayed.

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  8. It's getting kind of cold here this week. I'm much more of a summer person, but I do like the Christmas spirit. I know around February I'll be so ready for summer.

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    1. I tend to be the same way. I like winter, but especially if it's a severe winter I tend to be ready for the summer. Then about mid summer I get tired of the heat and humidity......

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  9. I love that picture of you holding those icicles. That's a pretty cool shot.

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    1. Almost all the roads here are cut into the mountain sides. The rock faces have water seeping over them, so when it freezes here you get vast frozen waterfalls.

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  10. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)

    Likes a little cold for me.

    It was sunny and in the 80's here in South Texas on Sunday and Monday. I did not go out much because I was sick with a head cold which is starting to clear up finally.
    I got to the point where I have been hacking up tar balls from that BP oil spill. 'Have you ever tried surfing in a crude oil.

    Well' it ain't pretty. That's for damn sure:(

    I could drain all the oil out of my truck and then wring the oil out of my rash guard (a shirt surfers wear) and board shorts into the engine and I wont have to change the oil out for another 3000 miles.

    I tried to leave a commit on kymbers site about her 'Hippe Vandura' but I think she blocks out Texans because we are obnoxious and we want to 'purchase Canada' so we can have a giant ice machine for ice from up north making ice to keep our beer cold in the hot and humid summers.

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    1. Sounds nice there. At least you can get some more surfing in. I haven't seen a post by Kymber in awhile, though J did one not too long ago. Several people have remarked by email that they tried to leave comments on my blog and could not do so. I have no idea why, I am just hoping it fixes itself, as is so often the case with blogger. You can send an email to the tech team that does blogger, but all that happens is you get a computer generated email saying they are aware of the problem and working on it.

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  11. Some great pictures. My brother and I always used to fight with icicles and pretend they were swords, break them off the old tin barn we used to have!
    I like the rhythm of the two man crosscut saw, my brother and me helped fell a massive oak tree with one and felling axes some years ago. It was a great experience and interesting to feel how it was done all those years ago, couldn't pick my arms up the next day though!
    i be t it's hard keeping your trail clean. Hung up trees are never easy.

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    1. I bought the cross cut saw in 1999, as Y2K was coming up and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get gasoline for my chain saw. I actually like using it better than the chain saw, as it's safer and there is a good feeling of accomplishment when you cut up trees with it. When I cut wood with a chain saw, all I ever feel when I am finished is relief that I got through another episode without getting cut up myself.

      The trail winds a long way down the mountain. There are very heavy concentrations of trees the whole way. It's inevitable that some of them come down in storms, or just out of being rotten, but it usually seems to happen when I am in a hurry to go somewhere.

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  12. I know it is super cold, but boy is it pretty there in the winter.

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    1. Sol, it really is pretty and it's peaceful as well. There seems to be less to bother about.

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  13. Notwithstanding the obvious cold, you live in a very beautiful part of the US.

    Yeah - physical (labour) work gets tougher each year LOL Never thought I'd get to that stage either, but I guess it's a reality of the advancing years. Still feel 32 though...

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    1. It's very scenic here, Dani. There are places where you can look off into the mountains and it seems like you can see forever. I'm slowing down some, but as long as I take it easy and don't get in a big fever to finish a job I can still maintain the place.

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  14. We don't have any waterfalls near here. The closet natural one is 7 hours away.

    The plane was an origami plane. I got lost within the first few steps. My husband loved doing it. He thinks better with 3D than I do.

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    1. We have several near by. There's a big one within walking distance of the house.

      That's a great plane. I tried to learn origami in Japan when I was stationed there, but no luck, I just couldn't visualize what it was supposed to turn out to be.

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  15. Thank you so much for posting photos of your winter. I have never experienced conditions as cold as that. Cant say that I am keen to either lol! All that ice brrr!!

    I used to have a pet white rabbit that loved sleeping by the kero heater. I have photos of him stretched out enjoying the warmth :)

    xTania

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    1. Tania, I want that monitor lizard! Not for myself, because I'm not really a reptile fancier, but my daughter would dote on him. She will have to come to Australia and capture him and some of the other lizards you showed, and smuggle them back into the states!

      When it gets below zero here for extended periods, it gets rough. We aren't really set up to do that, and it didn't happen often but now it seems like it is happening more and more.

      I'm sure glad you are back to blogging.

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