My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant


Friday, April 12, 2013

SkyWatch Friday: Ukko

These are almost a month old now, but SkyWatch Fridays just don't roll around fast enough to fit in photos of our everchanging skies this time of year! :-) 

Lots of folks in the US (including us) were - and are being - affected by that most unwelcome, vicious Spring party crasher, wild and wacky Winter Storm Walda. But before Walda there was was Winter Storm Ukko (named for the Finnish god of the sky, weather and thunder), a badass in a black hat that rode into town on St. Patrick's Day. Ukko didn't stay around these parts for long before galloping off to wreak havoc in the Northeast, but like "Saturn" two weeks earlier, it blasted us with sudden 40 mph winds (and 55mph gusts) and sideways snow that lasted all day and most of the night. Even blew away a neighbor's new trampoline, and sent another's big grill rolling across their patio. Here are some photos I took as the storm rolled in...


Looks pretty dire, doesn't it?


This creepy cloud, reminding me of the "Smoke Monster" from Lost, deserved a closeup!


I love how the morning sun lit the wildly flapping flags against that ominous sky...

See what other skies are up to around the world at... 

44 comments:

  1. Those are some amazing shots! Very grumbly brooding looking clouds...yet in good light! so interesting... but I'm glad no one was terribly hurt! Thanks for sharing miss Laloofah :)

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    1. "Grumbly" is a great word for those clouds - and the entire sky! In fact, it rather suits the spring we've been having in many parts of the nation (and people's response to it!)

      Miss Maya, I simply cannot let a bird loving soul such as yourself miss the Red-Winged blackbird post that came just before this one. So I thought I'd mention it. :-)

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    2. Oh YES!! Thank you for reminding me! I saw the Red-Winged blackbird, then your "grumbly" clouds and must have gotten distracted...all to exciting!! The Red-winged Blackbird was so cute - I love the ones of him spreading his wings and vocalizing he is the kind of the world!! Beautiful captures... :) I really cannot resist those birdies *sigh*

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    3. I'm glad you enjoyed them, I thought of you when I was working on it! :-) Those Red-winged boys really do express a "king of the world" attitude when they're making their calls! How can the ladies possibly resist. :-)

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  2. Although I miss having beautiful sunrises and sunsets, I'm not sure I miss mean, threatening skies — especially since I have you to capture them for me. Spring is a fickle season to be sure, but I hope you have some gentle weather before summer!

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    1. I'm happy to be your proxy when it comes to viewing threatening skies. :-) I'm sure there will be many more where these came from, we get some doozy storms out here in the spring and early summer. In fact, I already captured an amazing one last week - future SkyWatch Friday fodder! :-)

      BW was reminding me recently that spring in Wyoming routinely does this - gives us some lovely, warm, sunny weather early (like in March), tricking plants and people into thinking winter is over, even letting us get a start on our tans. Then it turns on us and between the ensuing snows, rains, cloud-cover, cold and winds, we're lucky if our bare skin sees the sun again before Memorial Day. But at least I can still get some good photos out of the deal! :-)

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  3. I did think of you when I heard about the storm battering your state and saw footage on the weather channel.
    Spring should be calmer than this!

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    1. Awww, it was nice of you to think of us! We always have to shake our heads at how Wyoming's weather - even if it's the most dramatic in the nation - usually gets ignored by the national weather reporters. Not until it moves into a more populated area like Denver, Rapid City, or Chicago does it make any national news. And then the meteorologist often stands in front of Wyoming to point to the weather system that so recently wreaked havoc here to point to it now that it's hovering over Omaha. :-) Guess they think there's nothing out here of any interest but the poor doomed cows and sheep, and some tumbleweeds!

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    2. I think people in Saskatchewan, up here, have the same 'being ignored until the weather moves to where the rest of the country lives' feeling. Sometimes, I think both of our countries are just too big for our collective britches.

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    3. .... and I came here to tell you that the little duck in my photo is a Barrow's Goldeneye.

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    4. Thank you for coming back to give me the name of that beautiful little duck! He reminded me of a cute little tugboat passing by an elegant yacht. :-)

      And I think you're probably right about our nations' bigness relative to the size of our national britches ! :-)

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  4. My goodness that is an angry looking sky, but nice to see the clouds breaking and the blue sky peeping through. Great photo's.

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    1. You know, I had to go back and look at my photos again to see what "blue sky peeping through" you were talking about! But you are right - it was there in the background the whole time, showing through what looks like rips in a dark shroud. I'd say you are clearly a "glass half full" kinda woman to notice the bits of blue sky in all that stormy chaos! And it's a good reminder that no matter how grim or alarming the skies can look from ground level, the sun is always shining in clear blue skies behind the clouds. (At least in the daytime!) :-)

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  5. what an amazingly dramatic sky... fabulous photos!

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  6. lol @ the Lost smoke monster cloud! It does bear a strong resemblance to it! ha!

    Those are quite the ominous looking clouds. We've been having some dark skies lately, but nothing close to that. Beautiful captures of them!

    I especially love the last one with the flags. The sun really lit them up perfectly.

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    1. I was hoping someone would appreciate that cloud's striking similarity to the Smoke Monster! :-) Which reminds me, you wanted to know what we thought of Lost's last episode. I owe you that, and a couple of other things via email! I promise to make it a priority next week. Too many distractions this week - it was a weird one.

      Thank you, as always, for your lovely compliments on my photos! I'm glad you enjoyed these. And you wouldn't believe (or maybe you would!) how many photos I took of those flags before I was able to get one of them unfurled enough for the Wyoming flag to be recognizable! They were flapping and twisting so crazily. But the way they were illuminated was just too perfect!

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  7. Nice shots -- looks much like our skies did on this week. Thought we would see a tornado with all the rain, wind, and dark skies. But we lucked out. Maybe spring will arrive in your area soon. I think? ours is here at least the flowering trees think so. -- barbara

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    1. I'm glad you dodged the tornado threat - the large hail and tornados you can get in that part of the country are scary as hell. I hated those storms when we lived in west Texas and will take a big spring blizzard over that ANY day!

      Bet your flowering trees are lovely! Our aren't doing that yet, and it's just as well given the single-digit temps that Walda brought with her. Even the tough little croci that had bloomed are looking raggedy-ass. I was worried about our rose bush, which had put out some tender wee leaves, but it's looking pretty darned good! It helped that it's a wilder, more "aboriginal" variety rather than an overbred, sissified cultivar (lol) and that it's on the south side of the house.

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  8. Dire-looking is a good way to describe these clouds....mercy!......especially Smoke Monster. I still think it's so strange that now both of us live across from a school. I'll take some pics next time we have nasty clouds above the school and we'll compare ;-).

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    1. I know, I'm glad we had yet to watch Lost when that sky was hovering over us, or I'd have probably found that cloud a lot less entertaining and a lot more creepy! :-)

      I think it's quite a coinkydink that we both live across from a school - and an elementary school at that - too. Especially given that when you moved into your current location while we were still living on our 10 acres on the mountainside, I thought, "Living across from an elementary school would be my worst nightmare!" (Well, not really my WORST nightmare. Living across from a nuclear dump site, a slaughterhouse, a city dump or a feedlot would be my WORST nightmare, while living across from a cemetery is my dream location! Beauty AND the quietest neighbors ever... But I digress...) And now here we are. And you're right, it's usually not that bad. I can put up with their 15 minute recesses - I often don't even notice them. The traffic during drop-off and pickup times is what I notice more. And the school announcements, which are broadcast inside AND out (I can only hear them if I'm out front, though) and which I find quite entertaining! It's nice to know who had a perfect attendance record. :-) And the principal who makes the announcements is obviously a frustrated radio DJ, because he really gets into it!

      Anyway, you're on - we'll have an Above The School Cloud-Off Photo Contest one of these days! :-)

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    2. You're right...there are many things worse than living across from an elementary school, and you hit most of them ;-). The double-parking during mornings and afternoons is the worst things we can think of. Plus, backing out of the driveway at that time is a bit tricky.
      Funny about your announcement broadcasts. They used to do them across the street until we complained a little......it was a bit loud......and they didn't even know they were doing it. A little techno glitz, I guess, so is was corrected. The principal was no DJ either ;-).
      I missed a photo op earlier in the week when we had some nasty rain, wind and hail, but it's April in Ohio and I'm sure there will be other chances to do the dueling photos ;-). xoxoxo

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    3. We don't get the double parking, but when there is some school district-wide event taking place over there, we end up with tons of cars parked in front of our house (so far none have had the audacity to park in our driveway, but I won't be surprised if it happens!), which still feels strange and intrusive to me, even though it's a public street! I still have a rural home mindset, I guess. :-) I know what you mean about trying to get out of the driveway during kiddo drop off and pick up hours, which is why we back into our driveway and garage so pulling out is much easier. But of course the backing in can be tricky!

      Funny about the techno glitch! So far the announcements haven't been loud enough to complain about, but good to know that might fix it if they ever are! The principal is a really nice, upbeat and enthusiastic guy, and you can tell he enjoys doing the announcements. I do think he's a frustrated DJ of a morning show in a major urban area. LOL

      I'm not sure if I'll be able to top these photos or some of the sunset ones I've posted before, so I'll just wait to see what you come up with to enter in our competition! Btw, we had more 50+ mph wind gusts yesterday, along with sleet and snow. Just like on the mountainside, we keep having to haul in wind chimes and door mats and fun yard decorations. Wyoming and her wind - most tiresome!

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  9. Clouds, dark skies, and sunshine. Interesting combination. - Margy

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    1. Always. And with our horizon-to-horizon skies, we get that combo pretty often! Sometimes there's even a double rainbow!

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  10. Dark, white, fluffy, or threatening - all clouds are magic and you post some wonderful examples. Thank you.

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    1. I couldn't agree more, Ellie! And sometimes our sky is filled with each example! :-) Thank you for your compliment - as always, I'm happy that you enjoyed them!

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    1. I'll say! We do get some drama- and beauty queen skies here! :-)

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  12. Love a stormy sky... Grey has a color-language all it's own. And the patch of blue is just enough to let hope in. Beautiful - Really beautiful!

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    1. So do I, Bea. And I love how you worded your observation about the blue bits of sky. :-) Thank you!

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  13. Gorgeous! I love the stark contrast between the darkness of the clouds and the brightness of the sky.

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    1. I know, there was a lot going on in that sky with light and colors (and, though you can't see it, WIND!) Not your average overcast sky. :-)

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  14. Oh man, what skies! I love storms, but I wonder who was on the receiving end of that trampoline...sounds like it got pretty wild!

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    1. We wondered that too! We have no idea where it ended up, and it was two weeks before a trampoline reappeared in their back yard. We don't know if it's a brand new one, or they were able to retrieve and salvage the original. Imagine looking out your window and seeing that your new trampoline suddenly isn't there! Or looking out your window and seeing that a new trampoline suddenly IS there! :-) It was definitely wild.

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    2. P.S. It's nice to see you, Rose! :-)

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  15. Magnifico cielo.... sembra che debba per succedere qualcosa... le nuvole sono così minacciose e nello stesso tempo magnifiche nei lori colori.
    By Myriam :))

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    1. Molte grazie, Myriam! I love seeing a comment in beautiful Italian on my blog, though I have to admit that beyond "magnifico cielo" I needed to use an online translator. :-) It was indeed a sky full of both beauty and menace, and right after I took these it unleashed its wind and snow!

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  16. I wasn't a huge fan of Walda on Saturday assuming that's the storm that brought us snow. Thought it wasn't a storm for us - just more snow! Mind you I love snow from Dec - March. Not such a fan in April. The snowmobile trails close 1 April!

    I've never seen "Lost" so it was good you provided the video clip of the smoke monster. 1. I agree your cloud was very much like it. 2. I'm not sure I'd care for a show that had staring contests between people and clouds!!! :-) Clearly a sense of the fantasy is required. Is it Science fiction or pure fantasy? Do they have a semblance of a logic explaination for a smoke monster?

    I digress...

    Those are indeed very dire looking skies. I'm always amazed when such a dark sky can still have a little opening in it for the sun. And it's especially fun when that little bit of sun is on me!! I liked that in your case the sun was on the flags - very patriotic!!



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    1. It's hard to keep track anymore, they seem to just keep coming and piling on top of each other! But I think Walda did kick some Yupper butt. And I agree, April snow is not nearly as welcome as December snow!

      If I hadn't been writing this for a global audience, I probably would have skipped providing the Smoke Monster video. I don't think there are many folks left in the US who haven't seen "Lost" yet - we were definitely very late to that party. That said, I won't be recommending it to you. It's a hard show to describe or to categorize, with lots of allegory, complexity, creativity, flaws - and definitely requires suspending a need for logical explanations! Not exactly SciFi, though it certainly has those elements. We found most of it fascinating and entertaining as all get-out, but it got really unwieldy with unique plot devices (flashbacks, flash forwards and "flash sideways!"), tons of characters, and an awful lot to keep track of (I often failed and just gave up trying. A second watching would probably be useful, but since the suspense of each episode was a lot of the fun, I won't be doing that for quite a while!) Without giving too much away (I hope), in later seasons it veers between credible and earthy and fanciful and otherworldly. And though not required, I think a knowledge of mythology and comparative religions, and the history of scientists and inventors, that's greater than what I possess would provide a richer experience. Anyway, we still haven't given it a star rating on Netflix, because we still can't decide! Loved most of it, were confused by some of it, and were disappointed with the ending. I frankly think it would probably drive you crazy. MIssy, however, would probably love it though I'd be surprised if she hasn't seen it already!

      I agree, the darker the skies the more dramatic and surprising the little glimpses of sunshine or bright blue sky behind it! I thought that the way the sun hit the flags against that dark sky made for a very striking photo, but any implied patriotism was unintentional on my part. :-)

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    2. P.S. You asked if the writers of "Lost" had a logical explanation for their Smoke Monster. Well, just because they didn't (it was a manifestation of Evil) doesn't mean there isn't one!

      BW and I were looking up the meaning of "London fog" (typically the term for Victorian-era air pollution) and found this fascinating, disturbing article about London's "Great Smog" in 1952:

      The "London Fog" that Killed Over Ten Thousand People

      This is the part of the story that jumped out at me and made me think of your question: "The resulting blob seemed, to some people, to gain a kind of sentience. Visibility on December 5th fell to a few yards. By December 7th, it was one foot... It made it impossible for cars to move, and so they were abandoned on the roads. By December 6th, five hundred people had died."

      I'd call that a real Smoke Monster!

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  17. Thanks for taking the time for your very detailed reply. I had a feeling "Lost" wasn't for me but it's good to have confirmation. I do seem to be the only one that never watched it!!

    I especially liked reading abou the "London Fog". How horrible(yet fascinating). Talk about the perfect storm or in this case lack there of. I'm glad it got environmental action going but how awful for all those people!

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SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman
There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"