Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tornado Warning

 I woke suddenly, rolled to my other side, disturbing a cat or two, peered at the lighted display of the digital clock.  A few minutes past 4 a.m. Something seemed not right. I lay still, realizing almost at once that the 'not rightness' was the glow sifting down the hallway.
If one of us treks the few yards to the bathroom, or even out to the living area of the house at night it is seldom necessary to flip on a light as several small 'night lights' are strategically positioned.
I waited drowsily, expecting to hear J.'s feet padding back to the bedroom.
What I heard was a slash of rain against the window panes and the loud whine of the wind.
After a moment I swung out of bed, shoved my feet into slippers. Poking my head round the bedroom door I discovered the light source.  J. sat, unclothed, at his desk peering at the laptop screen.
"Whatever are you doing?" I inquired with some asperity.
"Didn't you hear the phone? There's a tornado warning."
I wallowed in a mental fog, attempting to make sense of this pronoucemnt.
[I tend either to not sleep, or to fall into a heavy stupor. The hearing in my left ear is badly affected by tinnitis....has been for about a decade.
I concluded that although I hadn't been aware of the phone, its ringing was likely what woke me.]

"I'd been awake listening to the wind when the phone rang," J. explained.  "Its the automated set-up which alerts everyone in the county.  It looks like the storm will be here in 10 to 15 minutes."

"Oh," I said, none too cleverly.  "Shouldn't we be dressed?"
J. a bit testy: " I didn't stop to dress before answering the phone!"

I made use of the bathroom, gathered up the jeans I wore yesterday, found a heavy battered hoodie that is my favorite early morning garment. Dazedly, I made the bed, even as a part of my mind told me that it hardly mattered whether the quilt was straight and the pillows plumped.  If the roof should be lifted from the house or the building itself hurled from its foundation, an unmade bed would be of little consequence.

J. thumped about, opening the drawer for clean underwear, and left the room fully dressed and obviously far more in his right mind than I.
"Take cat food downstairs and get the cats down there."
I hastened down with the canister of kibble, filling the spare dispenser I keep there, brought up and filled a water bowl. The boy cats trekked back along the stairs with me, intrigued.

J. rattled in the kitchen, gathering up cat bowls, a spoon, an unopened tin of wet food.
Aware of something unusual but possibly beneficial, cats trooped after him, watching as he set a row of dishes along the staircase.  I picked up the two old cats, Raisin and Eggnog, thrusting them into the stairwell and closing the door. Chester and Mima, always the dimwits, disappeared under the bed.  Futile to even think of rounding them up.
Outside wind now thundered and roared through thrashing tree branches.
Sitting on the edge of the bed to pull on wool socks and my shoes, I flinched as hail struck windows and outside walls with a clatter. The phone rang again: M. a mile down the road checking to make sure we were headed to safety. I knew that G. would be in a panic, herding her 3 cats and the 2 dogs into what she refers to as 'the safement.'
I picked my way downstairs, avoiding the train of felines, stood looking muzzily around the big room with the rocking chairs, my cutting table, my sewing machine on its walnut desk.
I followed J. into the back of the basement where a door opens into the outside cement stairwell.
A trickle of water appeared under the door.
Reading my thoughts J. stated, 'The drain isn't plugged; its the force of the wind blowing
rain down the steps.'
 He opened the inner door a few inches letting in the scent of rain and wet earth.
Even as we watched it seemed that the flailing of the tree branches above was slowing somewhat.

Testing the weather after the storm.

The shelves in the basement are laden with canned fruits and veggies.
I mentioned the need for bottled water.
I thought of the warm jackets, a leftover from Wyoming years, hanging in the closet near the door.
Candles on top of the big wooden cupboard. Fuzzy throws on the backs of the chairs.
One could hole up in the finished side of our basement quite cozily!

I swtiched on the radio, moved the tuner past buzzing sounds to find a local station.
A generic storm warning segued into a county-wide assessment.
"The storm is approaching the Sano district in eastern Adair County," came the newscaster's voice.
"It's past us then!" said J. "That burst of hail 10 minutes ago is all we'll get."

Willis ensconced on the butcher block.

He loped upstairs, remarking happily about his foresight in having driven both trucks up to the shelter of the barn late last evening.
'You might as well make coffee,' I suggested, still listening to the radio.
The storm was moving rapidly eastward, approaching Russell County where we have friends.
I offered an unspoken prayer for their safety, gratitude for our own.

The boy kittens had unearthed a battered catnip mouse and were smacking it about the room.
I removed Charlie-cat from the nest he was making in a neat pile of quilt fabric, stacked the fabric in a zippered bag and placed it on the ironing board near my completed quilt blocks.
Eggnog, my dear old girl, meowed anxiously from the stairs.
'It's alright now, ' I told her, following the smell of coffee.
J. had the TV on and sat in front of it sipping coffee,
'Yours is ready, I put in the sugar and cream.'
 I thanked him, prowled the kitchen with mug in hand, looked out at the still black landscape beyond the glow of the yard light.
J. had switched to a news channel.  Having explained to me that the high ridges in our western end of the county provide a bulwark against most advancing tornados, he began to expound on the
news show in progress.
Too much--I don't do mornings--particularly not withTV and running commentary.

Downstairs again, I kindled a fire, settled into the small green-painted rocker drawn close enough to feel the growing heat. I drained the coffee mug, sat quietly, realizing that I felt mildly unwell.
My body seemed heavy, my mind working sluggishly.
Small constant tremors zinged along my shoulder blades.  I was aware of every tired and aching muscle.

I stepped to the sewing table, switched on my machine. Neatly arranged on an open instruction book were the pieces for a quilt block, placed there when I stopped sewing on Sunday night.
One unit hadn't been cut for the block.  I picked up chunks of fabric, laid them back down, considering.
I recalled a phrase from my childhood: my mother's friend, the head organist at church, had encouraged another woman to play for a church service.
Commenting several days later, Mrs. Y. had stated sadly, "Eleanor's manner with the hymns reminds me of elephants walking through water."
Standing at the table, peering at my ruler, hardly daring to slice into cloth, I decided that my brain this morning had the same lack of momentum--elephants lumbering through mud, indeed!
Hot oatmeal porrige might help.
We had now been out of bed for two hours.
To my surprise, though the lamp glowed softly in the living room, J. was not there.  I tip-toed to the bedroom door, peered in at the comfortable hump under the quilt.
Downstairs again by my fire I ate slowly, a bowl of dry cereal topped with yogurt and cream.
After a bit I swept the floor, whisking up bits of thread and cat fluff, assisted by Nellie and Edward.
I stitched, pressed, cut pieces for two more quilt blocks.
I worked slowly, an hour passing before I heard J. stirring above.
I prepared his breakfast, pointed out that Willis had draped himself over the butcher block in the middle of the kitchen, something he hasn't done before. Clearly the cats were well aware that our day had started with disruption.
The kittens milled about the sliding door and I opened it to the mild wet air.
J. spotted wild turkeys in the field across the creek, several more were foraging on the corn ground.
I popped bread into the toaster, went out to snap a few photos, plucked a wet door mat from the grass and slung it onto the edge of the porch.
Pebbles the Horse trumpeted, sensing the possibility of grain.

It was scarcely lighter at 8:45 than it had been at daybreak.

Rain continued to slant down, soundless now, the wind gone to rest.

We had forewarning yesterday of storms to come.
It was too warm for January, even for January in Kentucky.
There was a restless wind which gusted at times, whirling through the dooryard.
D. helped me rescue a heavy quilted bedspread pegged out to dry on the line.
I suggested we drape it across two lines, putting on a few extra pegs.
When I fetched it in late in the afternoon I found that D. had made a parade of clothes pegs down the length of the quilt.

The time is headed toward noon, the heavy rain has slowed to a persistant drizzle.
My wits have [somewhat] reassembled themselves.
I need to put on my boots and deal with litter boxes.
The kitchen wants a bit of tidying, then I'll return to the warm and cozy space downstairs to play with my pretty fabrics.
J. has gone out to his projects in the shop.
The cats have all found comfy spots to recover from their early morning--Teasel in the linen shelves, Bobby and Edward on the bed, Nellie [where he shouldn't be] on the buffet.  Willow has collapsed on the sofa and Charlie is asleep on a cushion near my cutting table.
The two old lady cats dream near the fireplace.
It may be that before this grey day ends I'll be tucked up for awhile in the old rocker while the fire crackles soothingly.
We have been safe, 'in the hollow of God's hand' while yet another storm has passed by.

Bobby and Edward

Teasel on her blanket in the linen cupboard



Monday, January 28, 2013

Checking In

I have been on a binge of quilt making.  It was good to make a fire downstairs and spend afternoons and evenings of the coldest weather happily cutting and stitching.
I have had a great deal of feline 'help'--the cats are lured by the warm fire.
Paws and whiskers too near the rotary cutter or the sewing machine needle are a bit of a worry.
I like it best when my 'assistants' decide to take a cat nap.

The sun came out long enough on Saturday to start melting the ice that encased branches, blades of grass and coated the roads.
This morning the air was milder and it appeared that maybe we would have sunshine.
Above is the look of the sky at about 7:15.
I drove into town at 10 as the chiropractor's office rescheduled my appointment missed due to the storm on Friday.
I felt the day was warm enough to lighten some of the clothing layers I've been swaddled with during the cold spell.
Accordingly I put on a long-sleeved T, a 3/4 sleeved thin pullover and a denim shirt.
As I left the driveway, rain began to spatter.
I considered backing up, unlocking the house and fetching a warm jacket, but hated to waste time.
When I came out of the doctor's office rain had begun in earnest and was slanting in on a cold wind.
I felt chilled to the bone merely crossing the parking lot to my car.
In Wyoming I always kept a spare jacket and/or down vest in my vehicle.
Here, I've grown lax.
I had a number of other errands to do and wasn't relishing the thought of darting back and forth from the car in the blustery weather.
I often stop at the charity shop enroute, and today had the brilliant idea to purchase--for 25 cents-- a heavy zip-front cardigan.  It is of the type that G. will say, "Oh, Mother, you mustn't wear that in public!"
Style-savvy or not, I bundled myself into it and completed my errands without shivering!

This is J.'s latest acquisition.
He and M. drove to Tennessee today to purchase the antique buggy.
I'm not sure of his intentions for it.
I don't suppose we are about to give up our vehicles and ask our old horse, Pebbles, to haul us about.
The man has 'wheelin'-dealin' blood in his veins which cannot be subdued!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Iced In!

A clock of turkeys were undaunted by the icy conditions.
They browsed in the corn field then made their way around the upper barn and pecked about in the back field for over an hour.

It is difficult to get a decent photo of them.  Usually they scurry into the woods when I step outside.
Note the 'tom' in this group.

The concrete apron off the carport was slick with ice, so we crunched through the herb bed to bring in wood and go about chores.

Ice on the nandina.

Tips of a nandina shimmering with ice.

J.'s photo of ice on the truck.
It was not a day to be on the roads, and there was no reason for us to brave the ice.
Schools and county offices, the library, even the chiropractor's office [where I had scheduled an appointment] were closed.
Today has dawned bleak, but with a bit more light slowly appearing in the grey sky.
The forecast is for a rise in temperatures until we hit a balmy near 60F by midweek.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sunny and Cold

Our weather in south-central Kentucky has been cold this week--temperatures barely climbing above the freezing mark during the day and below that at night.
The sun has been bright but a sharp bite of wind has made it less than pleasant to linger outside.
I shivered taking the above photo as the sun came up on Monday morning, hastily aiming the camera toward the line of bare trees that line Big Creek.
I scuttled in to the fireside and wrapped my paws around a warm mug!

The warm spell [into the 60's F] the previous week brought buds out on some of the dooryard trees--not necessarily a good thing.

Another look at a chilly sunrise.

Hoarfrost glitters in the neighbor's pasture as the rising sun splashes gold on the farther fields.

The cats are obsessed with the activity of the moles in the dooryard.
Either there are hundreds of moles in residence just below the surface of the sod, or a lesser number of them stay very busy creating a network of tunnels.
This was a zoom shot which makes a neighbor's home appear much nearer than it is.

Pods of the trumpet vine rattle in the wind.

This tree, another of the maples, doesn't show signs of premature budding.

Pebbles, alert to the possibility of a handout.
Her winter coat is thick and rather scruffy.

I've taken advantage of the cold days to finish this quilt top. [Not the best photo with flash.]
I put together 5 of the double star blocks and decided that the effect of a whole quilt was going to be 'busier' than I wanted as a bed covering.
Gina pounced upon it as just the thing to embellish her 'rose room' aka 'guest bedroom', so I finished 
it to her liking.
I discovered a lady about a 20 minute drive away who offers machine quilting in several different stitching patterns at a very reasonable cost. 
It is what I consider neat 'everyday' quilting rather than the more artistic and creative quilting that the Wyoming shop featured.
G. and I enjoyed the time we spent prowling about in the little local shop.
There is a good selection of sewing supplies, quilting tools and notions as well as a small but nice quality selection of cotton fabrics.
The price for quilting includes the lining and batting!  Only one choice of batting--poly, which isn't my first preference, and a choice of a cream or white lining--but the pricing allows me to keep producing quilts that will be neatly finished.
G. is quite inspired to attempt some sewing/crafting projects.
She attacked the big downstairs room today, [which always alarms me] but she does have a knack for gathering up my supplies and stowing them more tidily than I manage.
I'm continuing with the double star blocks, but with more controlled placement of colors and a different 'setting.' I am definitely 'on a roll' of quilt making--and have been neglecting my blog and a certain amount of housework as I huddle over my cutting table and sewing machine.

J. meanwhile, builds a fire in his shop when he goes out to feed Pebbles.
By the time we have eaten breakfast his space is warm and he can continue with the restoration of his several current tractor projects.

The potted rosemarys have spent the winter on the front porch quite happily.
I didn't want to risk them there on these coldest nights of the season, so they are crowded in the dining area near the sliding glass doors.
I'm enjoying their scent whenever I--or the cats--brush by them.
There is noticeably longer daylight which is heartening during this time of cold.
There is plenty of firewood in the shed, shelves and freezers full of food.
A friend stopped in this afternoon to share a fat historical novel she had just finished.
We sipped tea and talked of families, pets and projects.
It has been a cozy sort of week.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Hibernation Weather Projects

It has been a week of dour weather--cold, rainy, chilly, biting wind.
Other than a foray to scrounge in the charity shop and pick up salad makings at the market on Tuesday, I have been 'holed up' in the basement family room.
I've built a nice fire each afternoon, replayed the Outlander books CD's as I worked.

Last evening I had the 25 blocks completed for Gina's quilt and we did 'layout' on the king-sized bed.
I've long thought it would be nice to have a 'design wall', but as my quilt projects tend to grow to large dimensions it would really take a 'wall' to hold them and a stepladder to reach the upper rows.
G. wanted to have her 'favorite' of the blocks all in the center row.
I pointed out that we needed to balance color placement in both block designs and their backgrounds, so she quickly began shifting blocks until we had achieved a nice arrangement.
I marked and stacked the blocks and headed downstairs.
I finished the vertical 'sashing' strips; next session will be 'cornerstones,' horizontal sashing, and finally the borders.

 G. insists that she cannot use a tape measure or ruler.
[I think she likes to have me measure and cut things and therefore doesn't tackle it.]
She found a Shabby Chic sheet in a rosebud pattern that is good for her upstairs decor.
In a Sunday afternoon sewing session we split the sheet lengthwise and I cut it to allow for a good hem and the rod pocket.
I pressed up hems and G. borrowed her father's reading glasses to peer at the stitches.
She claims not to like my state-of-the-art sewing machine, but I slowed down the speed and told her to have at it.
Going into the back basement entry for a stick of firewood I found that water was seeping under the bulkhead door at an alarming rate. [It was raining torrents.]
We bellowed for J. and D. who were upstairs watching TV [go figure] and they
hove to with buckets, brooms, mops and plunger to unclog the outside drain and sop up the mess.
The three boy kittens came to offer help and encouragement.
Ignoring the uproar, G. and I went on with our projects, while the kittens trouped happily in and out with desperately muddy feet.
Nellie and Bobby assist in cleaning up the wet that came in the back basement door.

Devin 'plunging' wet leaves from the drain--with feline encouragement.

 G. was so pleased with her curtain making that she appeared yesterday, delivered by son Devin who was lugging her sewing machine and a great stack of torn jeans.
G. has wanted a very basic machine--no bells and whistles--and we found one--a Nelco--at Goodwill several months ago for $15.
It is almost identical to a Sears Kenmore which I purchased in the early 1970's.
A bit of online research revealed that the machines were a fairly short-lived venture by an entrepreneur who had been a distributor for Necchi/Elna.  
Whatever the history, this is a well-kept, sturdy piece of equipment.
It has zig-zag, a manual button-hole setting, several utility stitches.
Best of all, It seems to have inspired G. to take up some creative sewing.
I"m trying to convey the theory that attention to accuracy makes for a better finished product and makes for less frustration along the way.
At the moment, G. is pleased with what she calls her raggedy jeans patches and the hems on curtains.
My bins of fabric have been hauled out and I sometimes have to snatch back some cherished bit!

As with everything we attempt these days, we are greatly aided by the kittens.
Bobby McGee has to be pushed away from the fascination of the sewing machine needled going 
up and down.
We fear for kitten toes which swipe at the rotary cutter.

Little Edward investigates a pair of jeans being hacked up for patches.

G. has commandeered a pair of son D.'s jeans as her own and stitched on a patch.

 Bright sunshine today, although it was a few degrees below freezing when I stepped outside 
shortly after 7 a.m.
This flock of birds settled on the lawn, taking flight when I opened the door, camera in hand.
They were robin or starling size.
I didn't get a close enough look to identify.
All three kittens were in awe of them, merely eyeing them from the safety of the front porch.
We had a cat/bird disaster yesterday morning when Bobby caught one of the bluebirds who boldly perched on the cat yard fence.
I tell myself that cats will be catly in behavior--but, dear me, a bluebird!
I took advantage of the sunshine to peg out sheets and towels.

Pebbles took advantage of her fence being down.
Sometimes the deer who are constantly moving through the pasture catch a hoof in the electric fence wire and it goes down.
Pebbles is quick to see an opportunity but is utterly docile when J. tells her she must return to her quarters.

 I was ready to start a cooking/baking binge this forenoon when I discovered a leak beneath the kitchen sink.
J. returned from an errand to find that I had hauled out sundry damp articles and spread them across the floor.  He got his tools and began to operate on the drain fittings.
Edward has volunteered to oversee the repairs.

Edward, peering into the hole created by removal of fittings, has one arm up prodding about.

Household maintenance is hard work.
When we returned from the hardware store with what J. needed to repair the sink drain, Edward had collapsed in blissful repose after his labors.
The sink has been 'fixed.'
The laundry needs to be brought in from the lines.
And it appears that I must recover my interrupted momentum and tidy the kitchen in preparation for making bread and soup.
I am firmly resisting the lure of the quilt blocks waiting downstairs on the table!

[This post was created using blogger's repaired/revised posting format.
It worked well, but I'm pleased to have Live Writer as an option.]

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Words for Sunday’s Weather



Sheltering [enlarge to see the juncos in the branches]