Friday, February 28, 2014

Hiking weather!

Friday morning, still dark outside.  I am eager to see the sunrise and see what the weather is like outdoors.

Yesterday I emailed my friend Heidi and suggested a day hike on this, the one day in this fortnight in which we may have temperatures above freezing.  Yes, the temperature may be warmish (40*), but we are to enjoy some sort of precipitation as well.  The forecasters can't seem to make up their minds if it will come in the form of liquid or solid, and, if solid, whether it will float gently from the heavens, or simply pelt us and dent our cars.

And so I wait for daylight to plan my day.

My friend Heidi is not Swiss, and we have no mountains to speak of, so we will make do with the rolling hills of the Tall Grass Prairie:

 But here is some dandy hiking music for the morning coffee:    

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thursday Haikus

Pissants and puffins!
That wombat gave me something.

Lightning, rain, sleet, snow
Everything today, plus sun.  
I have a headache.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Rural News

Lots of excitement and surprises have appeared in rural Kansas this week!
 Firstly, I must show how poor Martin is dealing with cabin fever:  (not too well?)  That's our 120-gallon aquarium Martin is straddling.

The next photo shows my huge surprise this afternoon. Ducks suffering from cabin fever decided to lay on a nest of eggs. The past few weeks have been so bitter, I let them set, this being my mindset:   

A) Eggs were not thought to be fertilized.
B) Eggs were thought to be frozen at some point in the past few weeks of single-digit and negative temps.
C) What harm will it do where the ducks sit (and set, apparently)?

What do I know?
What does that groundhog know?!!

Wednesday, late morning, I got a phone call from a farmer/ rancher down the road: they are in the midst of "lambing week" (50 ewes!).  They have a family funeral in Chicago, and will be gone about a week: could they bring down a ewe and her lamb, a case of "failure to thrive"?  
And later that day, another pair showed up in our barn aisle.  So I am bottle-feeding and monitoring milk production and all things sheepish.  It is really fun, except for the watching-the-clock routine for the next feeding.  With human babies, we are reminded by their howling when sustenance is needed.  But the barn is out yonder, cold and snowy, and so I set my kitchen alarm to remind me of tiny woolly things with hungry stomachs.  
 And lastly, a photo of our ducks, seeing their first liquid H2O in weeks and weeks (that is to say, outside of the heated water bucket in the duck barn, which only minimally managed to keep the water thawed, thanks to the single- and negative digit temps this past month.)
 The snow has become crusted ice, albeit still many, many inches thick.  No more XC skiing for me.  *sigh*  I guess it's back to the Rec Center and the indoor track for me.  The highlight for that, I suppose, is that I love to be in the midst of college kids.  They are VIBRANT.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


I just wanted to see if I could make this work on here.
Now I shall have to write a story...

Elements:Earth and Art

I am thoroughly loving the cold and snow.  I have been going out in the elements frequently each day.   The necessities include animal care - food and water for canine, feline, duck and wild bird  lives in the single-digit whiteness we are calling February.  Additionally, I have been enjoying my once or (most days) twice-daily cross-country ski jaunts out in the snow.  I explained my XC-skiing to a neighbor last night - call it endorphins, call it anti-cabin fever, call it whatever you like, but I am very happy in the evenings, feeling physically exhausted and thirsty and hungry after an hour or more of skiing.  It's how one feels after a full afternoon of downhill skiing: worn out and satisfied.  So many people complain about the cold (and it HAS been cold!) and the snow.  I do quite happily with the elements if I make them play to my favor.  (Disclaimer: I sing a whole 'nother song in corny Kansas in August, I will be the first to admit; talk about being a shut-in!)

A day before these inches and inches and inches of snow fell upon us, I made a trip to the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City.  I love that place. I REALLY loved it on my last visit, when I discovered the wonderful climate-controlled atmosphere that it employs - as do all art museums, by the way.  In order to keep ages-old paintings, manuscripts, and other worthy art in good stead, museums keep the air temperature at an even (slightly warm?) keel, and they keep the humidity at an awesome level.  (Awesome, to me, the one with desert-like air in her propane-heated home, which, I should mention, is hardly heated at all by normal folks' standards.)

I felt like I had wandered into a tropical rainforest; it was different from our home!

OK, most people would probably not even notice a change in climate, but it really was the very first thing I noticed when I walked through the door from the underground parking lot.

While I was there,  breathing in all those warm, moist air molecules, I enjoyed a new exhibition of French Impressionists.  And I learned of an artist I was not familiar with:  Jules Breton.

Washerwomen of the Breton Coast
 The Wounded Seagull

Monday, February 10, 2014

Snow Day(s)

What do we do with winter?
We shovel...

 We blow bubbles and watch them freeze...

We shovel...

We play with the dog...

We watch for sun dogs in the sky!

We gaze past the banana trees, out to the icicles growing longer and thicker each day...

I wonder what tomorrow brings...

Monday's Olympics

It is 11* in rural Kansas this morning, and while I wait for the temperature to climb three more degrees for today's high, (and then I head out for my morning XC ski jaunt), I am watching the Sochi Olympics online.  In fact, I am watching speed skating on the BBC network.  What is really, REALLY nice about this is that I am getting to watch the complete speed skating competition, each and every competitor, (not just the Americans), and the BBC doesn't even break away from the ice rink during the 20-minute break between rounds - they film the people in the stands, the warm-up room, the eight-piece marching band playing "I'm Getting Married in the Morning" as they march around the ice...and I can actually get a feel for the atmosphere in the arena.  I really like the sportscasters, too.  They're pretty dry and matter-of-fact.  No heart-rending sob stories of life difficulties.  No segues to childhood homes and gyms and dramas.  Just the facts, Ma'am.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Sochi Olympics

The Olympic venue has gotten so out of hand, with hosting countries spending billions of their own currencies to keep up with what seems to be expected of them. 

Such a waste.

Such a waste, also, is the media hype pointing out all the things seemingly going wrong in our host country's venue.  Not just in our Winter Olympics 2014, but in years prior as well.

Media hypesters (Is that a word?  Did I just coin a new 2014 soundbite??) need to mind their manners and not point out every little thing they find wrong about Russia's Olympics.  We are guests.  We certainly might not agree with any political points with Russia, but these are the Olympics, not politics, and, again, we are guests.  It's an international sports venue.  Stop pointing out the same posted toilets and manholes and cups of water.            

I would like the media to stop being rude guests. 

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

American Gothic: 30 years

We were planning on Japanese cuisine to celebrate our thirty long years of wedded bliss, but Mother Nature stepped in last night, in a great white way.  The phone rang at 6:30 this morning. 

"I'm not getting it.  Don't get it." I said.

I assumed it was some customer (orchard grower) from China.  For some reason they never seem to accurately gauge Central Standard Time.  I get calls anywhere from 2:00 am and beyond.  It used to be unsettling when our kids were high school and college-aged, getting a call in the wee hours of the night.  Even more unsettling when, in a sleepy stupor, I could not make out the language or accent of the person calling.

From the living room I heard a booming male voice (note to self: turn down the volume on that answering machine.), explaining that he was so and so from US Department of Agriculture (Manhattan), and all offices would be closed today.

So one would think that this would be a snow day for that Spouse o' Mine, but he reckoned that the halls and offices would be empty, thus giving him uninterrupted work hours, and off he went, into the quarter-mile visibility of white.      

After lunch I went out and performed my third shoveling of the day (I learned in our Michigan years that a quick shovel of fluffy flakes every few hours beats a massive, liquid-laden shovel at the end of the day, hands-down.  The snow had not abated one whit all day, and the wind had picked up.  The drifts were drifting more and more.  So I called that Spouse o' Mine and gave him the rural road weather report; he might like to start home, or else plan to spend the night at some farm or ranch down the road.

We opted to take a snow-check of the Japanese cuisine, and instead, took our XC skis out of the tack room and headed for the Wabaunsee Nordic Ski center.  Also known as our pasture.  It was a good time, with my best friend.

Monday, February 03, 2014

My Gosh.

Where did the time go? 
I met a grad student when I was twenty.
And now I am fifty-three and have been married to the grad student for thirty years. 
Two countries, nine homes, three kids, and a whole lot of miles cycling together.
It goes so fast.
My parents called today.  They have been married 64 years, last month.
So fast, so fast...

A Funny:

My daughter Gillian's post from Cape Cod strikes me as hilarious today:

Answers, Anyone? 

Frightful? Delightful? Stay tuned...

This morning in rural Kansas, the temperature was -1ยบ and sunny.  We have about 4" of snow on the ground, and this is what the forecast holds for Wabaunsee Road tonight and tomorrow, and perhaps into Wednesday:

 Yes - that red blob encapsulates Wabaunsee Road.  Although the forecasters are calling for inches and inches of snow ("Maybe even a foot!"), I suspect that those who think they are in the know want to make sure we Kansans don't pull a Birmingham this week.

We shall sit back, XC skis at the ready, and wait.  For a dusting?  A Storm of the Century?  Who in the world knows, with weather forecasting as iffy as it is nowdays.
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