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


Friday, October 4, 2013

SkyWatch Friday: Hello Snow, Goodbye Flowers!

We were under our first Winter Storm Watch of the season last Friday night, and although it just rained here in town (thank goodness), Saturday's sunrise revealed a dramatically altered landscape in the higher elevations...


We'd covered our herb garden since the temps fell below freezing, so though we lost most of our Italian basil, everything else, including our flowers, was spared. We had several beautiful days this past week, enjoying more long walks with the dogs and even some basking in shorts and bare feet on the patio. But Autumn in these parts is a fickle lass, and so along came Winter Storm Atlas yesterday. Not a mere Watch this time, but a more dire... 

Winter Storm Warning

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BILLINGS MT
405 AM MDT FRI OCT 4 2013

A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW REMAINS IN
EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT MDT TONIGHT.

* TIMING...HEAVY SNOW WITH SOME BLOWING SNOW WILL CONTINUE FOR
  MUCH OF THE DAY. SNOW WILL TAPER OFF BY THIS EVENING.

* SNOW ACCUMULATION...TOTALS OF 8 TO 15 INCHES...WITH THE GREATEST
  AMOUNTS ALONG THE NORTHEAST SLOPES OF THE BIG HORN AND PRYOR
  MOUNTAINS.

* WINDS...NORTHWEST 15 TO 30 MPH. HIGHER GUSTS ARE EXPECTED FROM
  ABERDEEN HILL TO SHERIDAN.

* IMPACTS...SNOW WILL STICK TO SOME TREES AND POWER LINES. THIS
  COULD LEAD TO POWER OUTAGES.

* TRAVEL...THE COMBINATION OF HEAVY SNOWFALL...POOR VISIBILITY
  AND GUSTY WINDS WILL CAUSE VERY DIFFICULT TRAVEL CONDITIONS ON
  INTERSTATE 90 THROUGH SHERIDAN COUNTY. 

Did Mother Nature somehow forget that we're only two weeks into Autumn? She's as bad as Walmart, who started putting Christmas stuff out in September!

The storm started as rain Wednesday night and it rained most of yesterday, then turned gusty and started snowing around dusk. The mountains aren't visible this morning and I got a face full of blowing snow and sleet when I opened the front door, so here's what it looked like from our back door at about 7 this morning...


The trees and shrubs are covered in thick clumps of ice and frozen snow, and I fear we've probably lost our Linden tree (pictured above) and the Amur maple in our front yard. :-( Our two Russian sages are flattened, our Barberry is bar-buried (haha) under a drift, and it goes without saying that our flowers and herbs are history. I think Josie's expression this morning sums up all our feelings about this cruel turn of weather...


But we feel really badly for the folks in Boulder and Laramie Counties, CO, who although they're not getting the worst of this storm, are still getting snow, wind and freezing temps just three weeks after suffering from devastating flooding. And just south of us and to the east in South Dakota, they're under blizzard warnings calling for gusts of 70mph and up to 18" of snow! So it could definitely be worse. 

Aware of what was headed our way, I harvested some herbs for drying, cut some flowers, and took some photos of how things looked when Fall was Fall and not Winter! The trees were only just starting to change color (and some weren't even doing that yet), so we won't be enjoying anything like the gorgeous Autumn we had last year. Anyway, here are some "before" photos to end this post on a prettier, more season-appropriate note!

Our Russian Hawthorne's pretty red berries 

One of our two Burning Bushes in its crimson glory
(A Russian Sage with its lavender flowers is visible in the background)

Portulaca (Moss Rose)
Our portulaca went absolutely crazy this summer, looking more like a shrub than a flower! 

BW's daisies 
BW couldn't wait to plant daisies in our front flowerbed and chose these fancy ones at the greenhouse; next year we plan to add at least one more variety.

Memories of Summer
The lavender, Gazania, Viola, daisies, marigolds and mums 
that I snatched from the jaws of death to enjoy for a few more days.

Enjoy skies from all over the world (as well as all over the calendar!) at...

My friend Joanne is coming from Michigan next Thursday to visit for a few days, and though there won't be any pretty fall foliage or flowers for her to enjoy, we've still got lots planned to keep us busy - including Sheridan's annual quilt show! So I'll be back in a couple of weeks (she said with the best of intentions!) :-) Have a great weekend, everyone!

19 comments:

  1. Wow love the shot of the mountains. Still wearing shorts in Florida. Sometimes I miss snow.

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    Replies
    1. They are pretty with the snow on them ~ prettiest with green grass down here at my house to contrast with the snow up there! :-) Glad to hear it's still shorts weather in FL, I'd be disappointed to hear otherwise. I mean, it IS Florida! (Miss the snow? I'll send you some, we've plenty to spare!) ;-)

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  2. Josie is right! Winter is a cruel mistress! I'm glad you were able to make the most of your flowers and herbs before they were gone. We've still been squeaking out warmer temperatures here, but I know that weather is fickle. I hope you'll have a wonderful time with Joanne!

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    Replies
    1. Hey, Cadry! I've missed you, so glad you stopped by! (I know I'm dreadfully behind on my visits to your blog - if this storm's timing and ferocity is any hint of things to come, I should have many winter days with which to catch up!) The ample warning of this snow did give us time to do a thorough storm drill. I put everything transportable inside the heated garage (so at least I still have my pots o'flowers to set back out when it's warm enough), mow the yard, and harvest the herbs and some of the flowerbed flowers. When the storms go around us, as they often do, I look and feel like an idiot - but this time I look like freakin' Einstein! LOL

      I saw that there were tornadoes in your part of the country yesterday, part of the supercell that spawned our snowstorm, but hope they were well away from you...

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  3. The porticula is gorgeous! So sorry you already had a snow storm:( Am glad you took some preparations. Your first pic of the snowy mountains is beautiful but I don't have to live in the weather you're facing!) - have a great time with your Joanne:)

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    Replies
    1. I've always loved portulaca since we had it growing wild in our front yard in Texas! It's a sun and heat loving plant, so it goes without saying it didn't bear up well in several inches of snow and ice. But we'll plant more next year - it obviously loves the south side of our house! (And deer and grasshoppers leave it alone). I know, the snow is lovely to look at from afar, but up close and viewed from the handle end of a snow shovel or from behind the wheel - not so much.

      Thank you! Jo and I always have fun together. (She'd leave a comment if she could, but as an unfurloughed civil engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers she is crazy-busy right now - I'm actually wondering if she'll be able to make the trip out here, though she's assured me she can).

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  4. It's just not right that it's snowing already! I laughed when I saw the picture of Josie. The look on her face says it all!

    We have a small burning bush. Aren't they just great? I'm looking forward to it getting bigger. The moss rose is gorgeous. I don't recall ever seeing something like that. So pretty! I've also never seen daisies like that. The petals are really cool!

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    Replies
    1. I'll couldn't possibly agree with you more!! It's insane. What, six months of winter weather isn't enough? Now we have to endure SEVEN? Bah, I say. Josie has the most expressive face, especially when expressing a) contempt or b) displeasure (and she's showing both in that photo!) At the shelter her nickname was Jean Harlow because of her dramatic expressions - I think "Bette Davis" would have been better! LOL

      Oh, I love moss rose (see my comment to Jesh above). It's such an easy keeper in rock gardens or containers, and makes a nice ground cover - though this one grew freakishly big for that! It comes in a pretty rainbow of colors, too. And yes, I LOVE burning bushes! We have two of them, the one in the photo is on the south side and the other is on the island in the front yard. It was only just turning color. Funny how their timing was so different! This one in the photo was just planted this spring, replacing one that died last winter. The Parrots next door have several large ones that were just gorgeous - they looked fluorescent! Be curious to see if they made it through the storm and temps. And those petals were a surprise to me, since it just had buds on it when we bought it! They were about to bloom when we left for our vacation, but got snipped off by someone during our absence (deer?) We'd given up on them blooming this year, but one of the two went crazy, and just in the nick of time. So at least we got to see what the flowers look like!

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  5. Oh my. When the weather turns it really turns doesn't it?
    I hope that some of your trees survive. And suspect they will.
    How are you? Less sore?
    And I loved Josie's expression. I may practice it for myself. I can think of a few tradespeople I would like to use it on...

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    Replies
    1. Yes it does - our weather has a definite flair for the dramatic! I hope our trees survive too - I went out yesterday afternoon and shook the hell out of them (they were covered in big chunks of ice as well as the wet, heavy snow) and though I lost a lot of twigs and leaves in the process, I think I probably saved the trees. They looked a lot better afterward and we didn't lose any branches. I went around town yesterday and got a lot of photos of the storm's aftermath, which I'll try to post this weekend. It was devastating!!

      I was feeling very good till I had to shovel the front stoop, the cause of my original injury a few years ago, and man were my trigger points squawking at me about it last night! But today I feel pretty good - and I thank you for asking!
      Josie's expression is a classic. You have my permission to print it out and tape it to your mirror for practice. :-)

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  6. Snow does seem to be hitting the midsection of the country early. Neighborhood kids will have to go out on Halloween on snowmobiles. The snow came but it gave you an excuse to cut all those lovely bouquets of flowers. Stay warm -- barbara

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    1. It's definitely early! Halloween is normally when we get our first big winter storm, but last year it was nearly 70º on Halloween night! There is no "normally" anymore. (And don't be giving the neighborhood kids any ideas! I don't miss the sound of snowmobiles or four-wheelers one bit, one of the advantages of moving to town!)

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  7. Good grief! That's all way too early for me. Wow.

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    1. It's way too early for us all!!! (Good to see you, veganelder!!) :-)

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  8. Wow - snow! But it looks gorgeous. Love your dog covered in the snowflakes.

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    1. Ha - getting a "wow - snow!" from someone who lives in Sweden is quite something! :-) It does look gorgeous up in the mountains, but wait till you see the damage it did in town. Will try to post some pics later this weekend if time allows...

      Josie looks good decked out in snowflakes, doesn't she? Though she looks unconvinced...

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  9. Yup, Tess's expression seem to sum it all up. And thanks for saving everything you could before the big blast and hanging on to Summer & Fall as best you could......very pretty! Steady as she goes, Lass ;-).

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    1. LOL, Tess actually loves the snow - it was Josie whose expression matched ours! :-) And Willow wanted nothing to do with it either. She hates even walking across grass that has dew on it! I was definitely going to cling to the last vestiges of summer as best I could, I wasn't ready to surrender my herbs and flowers without a fight! I was glad to see the rosemary, thyme, and some of the African basil made it through the storm and even harvested some of each for our dinner yesterday!

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  10. Looks like you skipped fall! Lovely arrangement though - Stay warm and happy! ;)

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SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

  • INFERNO ~ Dan Brown
  • MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD & EVIL ~ John Berendt
  • MY NOTORIOUS LIFE: A NOVEL ~ Kate Manning
  • ONE SUMMER: AMERICA, 1927 ~ Bill Bryson
  • QUIET: THE POWER OF INTROVERTS IN A WORLD THAT CAN'T STOP TALKING ~ Susan Cain
  • THE BEAUTIFUL CIGAR GIRL ~ Daniel Stashower
  • THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY ~ Erik Larson
  • THE SHADOWS, KITH AND KIN ~ Joe R. Lansdale
  • THE TIPPING POINT ~ Malcolm Gladwell
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"