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Thursday, January 19, 2017

We were in Burlington today - Fred visited Bill Rossi while I had an appointment with my eye specialist - no shot(s) today!!!  We were surprised at how little snow there is in Burlington.  The ground was bare in lots of places along the way, and in the city there were a few spots where snow had piled up from being plowed, but mostly it was bare streets.  

Weather here is spring-like - more like late March or early April than mid-January.  Regardless, I can't help feeling uneasy.  There may be a big, nasty surprise lurking just off the present weather charts.

Is everyone ready for the big inauguration tomorrow?  I hear promos that coverage will start at 9 a.m.  An elderly woman in the doctor's waiting room today said to me, "Think of all that money they could spend on something useful."  Well, she's right, but think of all the businesses getting a boost providing services to produce this ceremony.  Curious, I tried to find out how much money we were actually talking about.  According to information published by the N. Y. Times, it will likely be in the vicinity of $200 million.  Congress gets to pay about $1.25 million, for the ceremony itself, and the rest is covered by private donations.

I recall that during the campaign Mr. Trump declared he wouldn't be taking any pay while on the job.  Turns out, he's not the first to do that - George Washington, J. F. K., and a few others also declined the salary; however, the way our government is set up they pretty much have to take it.  If they are serious about not wanting to be paid they can donate the money to charity, which is what several presidents have done in the past.  This will be interesting.  

Curious again, I found this site listing the wealth (in today's dollars) of our presidents.  

Right now, Woody is requesting some attention, having been left alone for most of the day.  If he didn't have a pesky habit of knitting in my hair at night, he could probably sleep on our bed on special occasions like this, but since he has failed to understand boundaries every time we've tried, he's officially banned from the bedroom at night - door closed, no meowing or scratching allowed.  He has learned to respect the closed door thing, but every night he makes a game out of racing us to the door when it's bed time, and frequently makes it past us to hide under the bed.  It's easy to trick him into coming out, though.  All it usually takes is a belt trailing past the end of the bed or some unusual noise in another part of the house he can't resist investigating.

We learned last night that granddaughter, Tangeni, who has been wanting a pet - preferably a cat like Woody - most of her five years, is now going to realize her dream.  It can't be a cat because sister Jo-Ann is allergic to them, but Tangeni and her dad will be picking out two fish and setting up an aquarium.  The fish already have names - Bill told me, but I don't remember.  I'm sure we'll be formally introduced the next time we visit.  We had a fish tank  when the boys were young - one, "Big" out grew several aquariums and was part of the household long after the three boys had moved out on their own. I think we had him 8 or 10 years.  He flipped out of the large tank we had for him a few times (it had a top, but he was BIG) and we heard the commotion and each time we were able to return him to the water unharmed.  But one day made the leap when we were at work.  End of story. He was a legend.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

I received from Andy Rudin a link to a story on billy barr.  No, I didn't forget to capitalize his name - that's the way he wants it.  I read the article and it was very interesting.  I don't mind being alone - sort of; but I'm sure I would never have managed being in the back country of the Colorado Mountains all by myself - ever!  I do understand his fascination with recording weather and other natural trends.  I've done a little of that, but decades of it?  Amazing.   My once-a-day recording of precipitation pales by comparison.

After I finished the article, I searched the internet as I often do when I find something or someone that interests me, and I found a short video made of billy barr.  I enjoyed hearing what his voice is like and seeing more of his home and surrounding area. 

As usual, I trudged out a little before 9 a.m. to measure snowfall this morning.  Fred had already been out shoveling and snow blowing, so I had very little snow to clear - when he shovels the deck, he is careful to leave the patch where I measure snow. 
It's been warmer today - mostly in the high 20s and low 30s.  We got 3.5 inches of snow during the night, and have had snow showers today, but not much buildup.  So far, no rain.  We're due for a warming trend tomorrow, I guess, but hopefully it won't take away too much of the snow cover.  I saw 13 inches at my back yard stake this morning - but I haven't actually gone out and poked a yard stick into the snow to get a more precise measurement.  Maybe this weekend . . .

Can you believe January is nearly gone?  Seems like we just had Christmas, and here it is almost a month past.  We'll be mowing lawns again before we know it.  One harbinger of spring is seed and garden catalogs.  I was reminded of that because one was put in the Joe's Pond Association mailbox by mistake, so it's here on my desk until we can get it back down to the post office.  The photos of perfect vegetables - tomatoes, peppers, summer squash - give me a little twinge that says, "Maybe I should plant a garden this year."  But if I do, it will be a tomato plant in a tub, or something simple.  The idea of a garden always appeals to me until I remember all the work it takes to make it successful.  And the even more work it takes to preserve the harvest if it is successful.  When I get real again, I prefer farmers' markets or the grocery store.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

There isn't much to report except we got about an inch and a half of very light, fluffy snow early this morning.  It was cold and blustery for a while, but then the sun came out a little while, too.  Tonight is cold again, 10 above; but true to the recent weather pattern, tomorrow is supposed to warm up and there may be snow or rain Tuesday into Wednesday.  There's still plenty of ice left from the last rainy period.  The back roads are very icy under the sand, and because it's been so cold there hasn't been much impact from the salt the towns have laid down.  The main roads are fine.

 This top picture was taken January 13, 2016, but it could have been taken this morning. The next one was taken on January 13, 2015.  It looks like we had quite a bit more snow that year, and what a pretty day!  The next one down was taken on January 14, 2014.  We were having a "January thaw" that year!  I went back a few more years, but didn't find any very unusual snow pictures in my files.  I was surprised at how many years I took pictures on almost the same dates, though.
 I was contacted by someone from Lyndon State College last week asking if I would be interested in gathering data about ice storms.  Apparently there is a new program associated with NOAA and with CoCoRaHS that I've been reporting precipitation for since 2009.  I'm not enthusiastic about the prospects of measuring anything more than I already do, but on the other hand, it might be interesting, depending on what method they come up with to do it.
It's still in the planning stages, but I may get more details later on.  I can't imagine how one could get a good measurement - ice isn't as cooperative as snow.  I'm sure they'll figure something out.

We've heard lots of gun shots during the day today.  They seem to be coming from the woods below our house - or perhaps across the pond in the area of the channel.  I'm guessing it's rabbit hunters.  Sometimes we can hear the hounds as they are running the rabbits, but we weren't outside that much today.  I heard shots when I was getting the snow measurements this morning, and there were more this afternoon. We used to have lots of rabbit hunters in the area, but not so many recently.  We haven't seen many rabbits, either.  Perhaps there isn't enough cover for them since we and our neighbor had some logging done.  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Today has been cold and blustery, and it's getting colder.  I can't tell what the wind chill temperature is because my wind gauge is frozen.  It's high on the roof of our house, so not easy to get to, therefore it'll stay frozen for a while.  It doesn't make much difference - the wind is blowing hard enough so I'm pretty sure the wind chill is below zero even though the air temperature is 15 degrees.  It will be a cold night.
Fred just went to check Jamie and Marie's driveway - it was very slippery this morning when they went to work, but Marty Larrabee was coming to sand it, and Fred wanted to see if it had been done before Jamie and Marie got home.  It was well sanded and much better.  Fred got some pictures while he was out there - too bad cold doesn't show up in these, but you can see the sky was looking a bit threatening - those clouds have been scudding by along with swirls of snow most of the day.  We had some snow showers earlier, but later this afternoon the sun peeked through and the wind picked up even more.  It could be a wild night.  The top picture is looking southeast down West Shore Road.  The sky was pretty clear in that direction - all the storm clouds were coming from the northwest, as you can see looking in the opposite direction in the bottom shot.  In between is Jamie and Marie's driveway, nicely sanded.  Jamie said it was a little tricky getting down their steep driveway this morning.  Fred has a solution for ours, as you can see. He kept wheel tracks clear of snow and used salt when it started to freeze last night.  Now it's rough and crispy, but not glare ice, and the wheel tracks are down to the hardtop, so we're in fairly good shape.  Jamie and Marie's driveway is crushed rock and was snow packed when the rain came.  The snow pack turned to ice and not enough of the rock poked through to give much traction.  

Keep your animals inside and safe from the cold tonight, and if you have elderly neighbors, or know someone living alone, it's a good idea to just check in on them to be sure they are ok.  The forecast is for this weekend to be sunny and cold.  

According to my back yard measuring stick, we lost about half our snow pack in this last warm spell.  The stake shows 9.5 inches now, down from a high of 18 inches.  I have no doubt we'll replace it.  In the meantime, we're making ice.