Max is so Helpful

Max is so helpful! He runs outside anytime we go out to plow the snow. He hangs around outside most of the time. There was enough snowfall last night that the first thing Peter had to do was plow. He uses the tractor we purchased from our sister & brother-in-law when they moved down south. This piece of machinery is the biggest blessing to us in the past few years. It makes a lot of the work done around here much easier on us.

But I wanted you to see this video that shows how helpful Max really is while Pete does the plowing during winter. I’m sure Pete appreciates his standing right in front of the blade where he can’t even see him. He even seems as though he is saying,

“Yep, I’m right here waiting on you Dad”.

“What! Do I have to move?”

Okay then.

He jumps out of the way at the last minute and runs alongside. Max is a crazy dog and we love him.

Dashing Through the Snow

08SledRoad07One of my favorite songs is, “Dashing Through the Snow“! What a delightful white wonderland snow creates for us to play in. Don’t stay inside and miss it, an everchanging painting outside. I love winters with snow through each day. Magical, cold hard water on the lakes, and soft flakey water falling from the sky. A quiet and majestic coating on top of everything.08SledRoad43

Winter moisture is so very therapeutic to our planet. Cold precipitation gives us clean water replenished, and makes the insects decrease the following spring. Yay!08SledRoad11

You can see that this love of the Inland Norwest is introduced at an early age. We start by catching snowflakes on our tongues, and graduate to walking and eating handfuls of snow. Here is one of our grandkids learning from Grandpa not to eat dirty snow.

08SledRoad21FYI-Here is the definition of toboggan |təˈbäɡən|
noun
a long narrow sled used for the sport of coasting downhill over snow or ice. It typically is made of a lightweight board that is curved upward and backward at the front.
toboggan
verb [ no obj. ] (usu. go tobogganing)
slide downhill over snow on a toboggan: my kids love to go tobogganing in the park before Christmas dinner | we tobogganed down a steep hill nearby.
DERIVATIVES
tobogganer |təˈbäɡ(ə)nər| noun.
tobogganist |-nist| noun
ORIGIN
early 19th cent.: from Canadian French tabaganne, from Micmac topaĝan ‘sled.’ Isn’t is amazing what you can learn from books?

I still think sliding down a hill is one of the very finest things you can do in your life. Pete and I, both, plan to ski till we die because it is a truly real natural high. As I age, the winter activities get less radical, like, I tend to be much more careful on a runner sled, toboggan, or any kind of ski. I actually check out the route before I go because it is nice to be sure you will avoid where your car is parked. Sorry, it is a family joke.

Loving the snow!

Icicles

icicle 1Icicles are nature’s chemistry wonders in action. I looked to my right as we walked out of the church today. Sunlight sparkling through perfect icicles right there was a surprise. They were shimmering all over and looked as clear as glass. Visions of children’s swords and popsicle memories abound. Here is a great children’s craft to make your own icicles.

Icicle is a noun, meaning, “a hanging, tapering piece of ice formed by the freezing of dripping water” in the dictionary. Amazing transformations, when you think about it, isn’t it?

icicle 2When I got a little closer the glass-like beauty intrigued me to the point that I wanted to photograph it from different angles. It is so amazing that the cold fluffy stuff melts and drips, then creates a different rock-hard form as it travels down. Soft and blowing fluff, transforming to water liquid drops, hardening to rock-hard, and finally melting into liquid drops again. Water has an eternal journey to the oceans.

icicle 3As I changed positions I also noticed the brilliant blue sky in the background. I simply crouched down to allow inclusion of that beautiful blue sky. A gorgeous shot appeared proving beyond a doubt that winter is a magical time of year. If I can keep my eyes open, I can discover all the beauty in the little miracles outside. This looks like a wonderful painting to me.

Grandchildren & Trampolines

trampoline 01trampoline 03We were fortunate to have some time with our daughter and her family this weekend. We picked huckleberries grown-ups only, which gave us time to visit. When the kids were picked up from their fathers, we went up to a different mountain and picked again. The mountain seems dry and pickers had beet us to our patches.

trampoline 02These are the two youngest jumping on the trampoline before they had to head home.

trampoline 01What a blessing it is to have children in your life.

Nelson Creek Burn

The Nelson Creek Burn was a short 600 feet away from our own property last year before it was stopped. Many of us were evacuated and feared total loss but the fire crews are amazing and saved all the homes. Some outbuildings were lost but there was no loss of life other than wildlife. The charred stumps and burnt-out stumps are a good source of charcoal. Visibility between where the trees were is unusually open.

We went for a short walk to see how the land is doing. This video shows the extent of the devastation but it also shows the green coming back up this spring. Grasses and lots of wildflowers growing like mads. Wow!

Boom Boom

Shoot 01 Guess what we were doing this morning! We tire of spending days on end inside. We worked on pistol skills, murdering tin cans. It was a blast literally.

I read through the neighborhood Facebook page and got a good laugh. The roads are so slick that all of the people moving out here from town are totally in shock. They haven’t figured out yet that in northern Spokane County the road department does very little.

FYI. We are not a real high priority on the list for road services in northern Spokane. If you need to go anywhere you are pretty much on your own as far as snowplowing, sanding, and road grading to get there. Carry a shovel,  traction sand, and chains in the car during winter. Sometimes, you’ll wish you had a tow strap too.

Shoot 02

The people in town (Spokane) consider it normal to have services for snow plowing, sanding, and de-icing whenever the conditions are unsafe. Unfortunately, we in the rural areas get taxed for non-existent services. We don’t get the services, or if we do it is very sparingly.

We love to live so far out of town because we can put targets up and obliterate them legally on our property.

Roads are Slick

Road are Slick 01
corner of Nelson & Jackson Rd in Elk

Beware Slick Roads

The roads are slick out there. Every winter I go through this ritual of noticing the breaks in the berms on the side of the road. It can be rather entertaining as you make bets on how many there will be. Is someone still stuck out there in the snow that may be needing help? You know, dial 911 and hope you are in a spot that has cell phone service. I’d sure hate to be someone in a car upside down or something like that.

Road are Slick 03The first clue in this typical slide-off is the presence of multiple yellow signs. A clear right turn arrow followed by three separate little yellow arrowheads pointing to the right. But, you can see that this driver simply assumed that those signs did not apply to him or her. Making no adjustments in their driving to compensate for the road conditions, they drive straight through the bank of snow in front of them. Yellow caution signs apply to everyone.

You know that they put those signs up only after enough people have slid off the road at the corner, don’t you?

A lot of people (transplants) have moved into our rural area from large cities in warm climates. Others move from nearby towns (Spokane) who are surprised at the lack of road plowing services when compared to the city streets. Welcome to our winter reality. C-L-U-E-L-E-S-S but in for a quick education from Mother Nature in the Inland Northwest.

Road are Slick 02Winter will teach you to use common sense, it is a requirement. Every year winter is cold, with snow and ice and we are required to get ready for it. Snow tires, chains, shovels, snowblowers, de-icer, antifreeze, blanket, shovel, emergency kits, and even a chain saw sometimes. Some cars get around better than others in the winter. Count the Subaru’s in the local parking lot.

The most important winter safety gear?

A human who adapts the way they drive for the slick roads.

How many slide-off tracks did you see on the way to work today?

12º Farenheight

glove Handwarmers

Not Balmy

Today has a balmy 12º Fahrenheit high for temperature. When it is this nippy outside we get out the heavier ski gloves. Then we add these 2 little heat packs, that are warm little angels that fit into our gloves giving us a much more comfortable experience outside as we do our chores. It doesn’t hurt to throw a few of these hand warmers and toe warmers into your car emergency kit during the winter either. Get them at Costco.com you can find them by just searching for Little Hotties Hand and Toe warmers, it is a purchase you will not regret. By the way, another really handy thing is an extra pair of dry socks in the car, You never know when you can get stuck outside in the winter, and a little warmth comes in so handy when that does happen.

snow 02

Winter Chores

You can see that the layer of snow is only a little. Thought I’d share a little bit of down-home knowledge from people who have lived through quite a few winters up here. In the Inland Northwest we clear out the walkways, then the vehicles, and let’s not forget the satellite dishes so we can still get internet and dish. Make sure the generators are fuelled up and full of fuel and cover anything needing protection from winter that is outside.

snow 03

The weather station predicts that we can anticipate more cold weather for at least a week along with single-digit temperatures.  Which means ICE. So, our goal is to clear out everything we can before it starts again. It is so much easier to move snow than ice. It is not balmy as we step outside. But, the cold doesn’t seem to bother us if we stay ahead of the chores.

Remember that any little inch of exposed skin in these frigid temps is a good candidate for frostbite. Believe me, frostbite is quite ugly or even gross and is massively painful. It is a sneaky bugger that acts a lot faster than you would think. Cover everything up and stay warm. For heaven’s sake, do not stay out in the cold if you are wet. Layers are absolutely miraculous. They can be removed to prevent overheating and the multiple layers will actually keep you warmer.