treeskin: (Default) hot, dusty, and perilously dry. The cracks in my yard are wide enough that the kids are starting to trip over them, and most of the flowers have stopped blooming from heat stress. I'm still watering, but just part of the garden, the new trees and shrubs, new perennials, or places where I want to dig and do earthwork soon.

If you're curious about the technical specifics of the drought, go here:

And download the July 17 State Drought Report. It's scary reading. The map of the counties that are already federally declared agricultural disaster areas is on page 2; the map of drought conditions is on page 5. The discussion of the state of public water supplies, and the reservoirs that feed a lot of the towns out here, begins on page 6.

It's anxiety-inducing.

My mom lives in central Kansas. Out there, they've given up on the soybean crop, and are cutting the stunted corn crop to make cattle feed. (It's not good feed, but it will keep them from. Starving, for a while.) A friend's parents live and farm in southwest Kansas; they've sold off their cattle because their water supply was running out, and their pastures were too dry to graze livestock.

A climatologist being interviewed on public radio this week said that this may be a multi-year drought in much of the Midwest and Great Plains. From reduced snowpack in the Rockies to low water flows in rivers to "dramaticly falling levels" in the Ogalala Aquifer, the outlook is alarming.

The take-away message from all this is be careful. Watch how much water you use. Think about ways to conserve, or harvest rain.
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...that the squirrels have stopped digging for maple seeds, and are draped limply over tree branches.
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I felt all virtuous about shoveling a path for By for when he got home, until I dashed out with a bag of trash, and found my path filled in with an inch of snow.

We have had rain, mixed rain and sleet, mixed sleet and snow, snow, and mixed rain and sleet and snow, all today, inches of everything, and I'm quite sick of winter.
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52 degrees today, 73 degrees tomorrow, 30 degrees on Monday. Ah, spring in Kansas!

On the bright side, the snow is out of the forecast. But we're in for more rain. before the snowmelt has soaked in or evaporated.

Must plant peas today or tomorrow. (In a raised bed, 'cuz that spot doesn't dry out until May, otherwise.)

The monsters were cooperative, so I got some sewing done. One doll dress, from half of a vintage floral-print hankie, and another dress taken apart and a seam straightened. And then, after the kids went to bed, I cobbled together a crinoline skirt for a 6" doll, to go under the hanky dress, to show the skirt off better. All by hand, because the hanky fabric probably isn't up to machine sewing, and it's easier to drop a needle and thread to chase the kids.
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It's already over 70 degrees here, and what little snow that was left yesterday evening is gone. In its place, large puddles of *cold* standing water.

We are outside enjoying thw sun, because the kids don't care how wet they get. I have seeds for cold-weather lettuce and peas in my pocket, in case I get as far as clearing that bed and doing some early planting. Or I may just sit in the sun and knit.

Daffs and snowdrops are up, and some crocus. Hopefully the snow that's supposed to come next Monday doesn't do too much damage. Oh, and my magnolia has a satisfying number of big fat flower buds on it, even with the winter we've had.

It is Day 2 of potty training for The Miss. She's still very excited about getting to wear big girl pants. I'm excited about the prospect of only buying diapers for one kid.

I've been listening to all the news from the middle east and fretting. Mom's first cousin and her family (several kids and grandkids now) live in Saudi, and none of the family here have heard from them since the unrest in Egypt started.*crosses fingers*
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It is over 50 degrees today, so we are out in shirtsleeves and snowboots. The yard is a patchwork of slumping snowdrifs that may still be 2' deep, and soggy brown grass.

The Miss is thrilled, and soaked from bouncing all over the snow like a puppy, and covered with sandbox sand beyond.

The Bug is still not convinced that cold and snow are good ideas. But there are snow-free patches of yard for him to bumble around, so that's okay. Still can't keep shoes and socks on the little devil.

I am WAAAY more awake than I have any right to be. The Bug was up every 5 minutes between 3 and 4am, then every 10-15min for an hour or so, then 2 or 3 times an hour. Somewhere around 5-ish, By took over and sent me to bed, but the boy still woke me every hour. Bleh.

The stuff in the greenhouse is doing great. Got in there to water...all the rosemarys are fine, ibcluding some tiny seedlings, and a few marjoram plants. Still have a couple sprigs of a very pretty red-leafed sedum, too, that was not supposed to survive 40 degrees. Yay!

Of the new outside things, I'm pretty sure the yellow echinacea made it, and the new wisteria. The 'Chocolate Chip' ajuga looks alive, what's not under snow, which is cool, because that wasn't supposed to be hardy. And the new arborvitae hedges look okay, except for the last one in line, which has the look of being nibbled on by rabbits.
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The BoyChild was up at 4am, and 4:03am, and at 4:07am, and 4:10am, and....yeah. Until 5-ish.

And to top the morning off, we woke up to frozen pipes. By set up a propane heater, pointed into the crawl-space under the house, and they were running again in less than an hour, but still. More stress than we need right now.

And why did the pipes freeze? besides the gawdawful cold, that is....he fixed the perpetually dripping kitchen sink, and so the water wasn't moving constantly through the pipes.

It is bright and sunny, but still very cold, and I've already settled firmly into a "bah humbug" mood for the day.
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We got 1.5" more snow last night. Because it was Tuesday, you know, and it always snows on Tuesday.

Mom and Sis are snowed in for a second day in a row. They've got 12", and it's blowing. I know, that doesn't sound like much, but that's more snow than Mom usually sees in a year, for the third time in a month, with dangerous-to-life-and-limb wind chills. Even if they could make it through the snow on those back roads in school buses, they can't keep the buses warm.

So Sis is scowling at the snow and trying not to strangle her boys, and Mom is going to spend an indulgent day quilting.

It is not as chilly here today, and The Bug has refused socks, even though his little toes are COLD!
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Well, I was overly optimistic about the depth of the snow on the driveway. Sure didn't look that bad! Byron shovelled the deck, sidewalk, around cars and the parking/turn-around spot, plus a path to the shop. I managed about 30' of driveway, 10' wide, through knee-deep drifts. He's out doing another stretch of driveway, hopefully all shallower snow. There will have to be shovelling in the morning if he's to get to work, at least at the end of the drive. He checked it, and said that's 3' deep.

Edited to add: my darling spouse thought to carve a path to the compost bin, and took the compost out. Yay husband power!
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We got off lucky yesterday, compared to a lot of people. 8" of snow, nasty wind, but the wind's already stopped today, and it's clear and sunny and bitter cold. The snow plows have been up our road, and left enough snow on the road surface to give traction on the ice underneath.

By's headed out later to start digging out the cars. We got lucky there, too. There's a big snowdrift around two sides of the car, but it's mostly clear behind. There'll be a couple spots down the driveway that always need shoveled, or the car high-centers and gets stuck, and the snow-plow pile at the bottom. Most of the big drifts aren't in the way of getting in and out.

We spent some time this morning taking pictures of the snowdrifts from inside; the new windows are clear enough to get away with that. Yay!

My mom is home today, because it's even colder there, and Sis's kids are home from school, though Sis has to work. A farmer down the road from her plowed a lane up to the main road, so she could get out.

By's folks are enjoying 50 degrees today. **sigh**
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It is snowing hard enough that we can barely see the dark-barked plum tree that's only 25' from the kitchen window.
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Radio just announced that a 70-mile stretch of I-70 is closed in central Missouri. Wonder how the main roads are faring west of us....
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We definitely have the blowing and drifting snow. Not sure how much is actually falling, but the drifts are starting to get impressive and the wheel tracks in the driveway are covered and smooth, so we've got a few inches.

Midmorning, I scuttled out just long enough to sweep the drift away from the back door. I probably need to do it again, properly bundled against the wind this time. The cold wind is enough to suck the life out of you today, and it's supposed to be worse later.

The husband just summed it up: "it looks downright inhospitable out there."
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We've been upgraded to a blizzard warning, from 6am tomorrow until 6am Wednesday. From "blizzard-like conditions" -- as best By and I can figure, it has to do with wind speeds, which are now expected to hit 40mph while the 12" (or more) of snow is falling. Good times.

As a hedge against terribly cold snowy weather, there is a fresh batch of bread in progress, a big pot of spaghetti sauce on the stove, and there will be cider mulling the crockpot later. All of which can be eaten/reheated easily over a camp stove if we need to. And if not, well, we'll enjoy in comfort.
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According to the most recent update of the National Wearher Service winter storm warning, we're gonna get hammered. 12-16" of snow now, very high winds, severe wind chill, and dire warning that people should have alterante heat sources available.

I have this picture in my head, of a big nasty cloud squatting above us chanting "doom on you! doom on you!" Which means I either need a nap, or less kid-vid.

By's got a couple of things he wants to do outside tomorrow before it gets awful, and we need to make sure our phones are fully charged against power outtages. Otherwise, we're set.

Edited to add: I forgot to add that now the NOAA is calling this storm "historic". Didn't they say that back in '93, when it started raining?
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In case anyone's curious, my new granite counter-top is a baker's wet dream! Rolled out pumpkin cinnamon rolls on it this afternoon. No sticking, easy clean-up, just the right height! Wheee!

In other news, we are bracing for yet another round on Winter Weather Doom (tm). It's supposed to start this evening, with freezing rain and sleet all night and most of tomorrow, with .1-.25" ice accumulation on everything by tomorrow evening. Then snow and high winds, with anywhere from 6-12" by Wednesday morning, depending on how the storm tracks.

When the National Weather Service uses phrases like "A POWERFUL AND ANOMALOUS STORM SYSTEM", "CONSIDERABLE BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW AND NEAR BLIZZARD CONDITIONS", and "BRING TRAVEL TO A HALT"....well, you just get groceries early and plan on staying put until it's over.

Part of the battening down is starting and moving the truck, so it won't be stuck in the ice. (Which is where the truck spent the last snow). Also, making sure the van starts (just sat too long, so it spent yesterday on the charger). And then putting a tarp over the car before the ice starts, so it's easier to get into after the ice has passed. We've got plenty of food, and candles for light (tea lights in baby food jars work great!), and ways to prep food if the power goes out.

The Sock Report: I've been working on other things (mostly, keeping The Bug from tearing the house to pieces), so no socking lately

The UnSock Report: Finished the striped afghan for The Miss, about a week ago, and she is happy with it. It turned out big enough for By to use as a lap blanket, which is a bonus. Have another afghan, in a "make it up as I go" pattern, in progress for The Bug. His without fringe, because he doesn't seem to like fringe as much as The Miss.
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I'm blaming it on the weather, but that whole getting to bed after midnight every night for two weeks thing has probably contributed.

We're going to lose our apricot crop (in the school orchard) tonight or tomorrow night. ISilly tree has been blooming since last Saturday, and it's supposed to hit 24 degrees (or colder) the next couple of nights. No help for it. If it were only getting down to 30 or so, well, we've got stuff we could drape the tree it, it's small enough.

The peaches are iffy too, they're budded out already, and 'Belle of Georgia' isn't the most cold-tolerant variety. **crosses fingers** And two of the apple trees are trying to leaf out, so we've got to watch those. Damn global warming, screwing up the weather and confusing my trees.

Did manage to get 8 flats seeded last night, even with the time spent hunting obscure cherry trees. Today, I've GOT to make myself sit down and grade, and do class stuff. Which, I'm sure I don't need to add, I really don't want to do. Nine weeks to finals....nine weeks to finals.....
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The further south I drove this morning, the more snow was on the road. And by the time I got into tow, the blowing snowflakes had visibility down to half a mile or less. I'm SO not looking forward to the drive home tonight, and I'm hoping they close school tomorrow. With it being the week BEFORE finals, and the first real snow of the season, and 6" predicted, they might. **crosses fingers**

Drive careful, folks.
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The rain gauge out in the rose garden says we got 1.75" last night. Guess we won't be doing outdoor things today.
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Ran the heater the whole way in to work this morning--first time this season. The rain's making me cold and creaky, enough that I hold it stays most of the work daya, so I can stay in and knit.

Not much to update, otherwise. I think I'm coming down with something--I was sneezing a lot last night, and woke up stuffy and tired. Hopefully the "sounds like a frog" stage of this head cold/whatever holds off until after Monday.

Got some knitting done last night. Finished the first pattern repeat on the Lily of the Valley shawl, and it's about 3" deep (slightly stretched). Not bad for 2 hr's knitting, at that gauge. I've got T's kilt hose in the car, in hopes of a rainy day. I need to frog a bunch out of those, and re-knit.


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