Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Freezing Rain; Snow; Cold! Journal Post 16 Feb, 2021

The sun made a cautious appearance on Sunday, Feb. 7th, at noon, high temp for the day 34 F.
The rest of the week sank into gloomy dark weather, with squalls of freezing rain.

Grass and fallen leaves were coated with ice before the snow began on Monday evening, 15 February.

The sprawling sage plant in the raised bed has blackened with repeated frost.
I will be surprised if the lavender in the pot revives with warmer weather. The feathery leaves of feverfew--in the raised bed and the galvanized tub--have stayed green until this latest onslaught of cold.

A zoom shot from the front porch, looking through the wall garden toward the wonky fence.

Note the tracks of cats, birds, maybe a rabbit below the raised bed--since I can't remove the repeat of this photo.

Snow has sifted down steadily since Monday afternoon.  There is now a coating of snow over a layer of ice making for difficult walking.
A beam of weak sunlight slanted through the east windows during breakfast--hidden behind a layer of steely clouds before I fetched my camera.

Certain small chores need to be done each day regardless of weather--cat litter boxes cleaned, kitchen waste taken out. I pulled on my tall green wellies, bundled up in an old down jacket, wrapped head and neck in a fluffy scarf. I skirted the back porch to drop off the compost bucket, then picked my way past the trellises along the rail fence. 

Green leaves have clung to the shrub roses, leaves which appeared after a late October pruning.
With below freezing temps predicted for at least the remainder of this week, I fear all the plants which had seemed lively will need heavy pruning and a fresh start when spring arrives.
Standing at the east window earlier, coffee mug in hand, I watched a sparrow, feathers fluffed against the cold, trundle along the edge of the wall garden, bouncing through the tangle of nepeta, under the roses, disappearing over the wall. On the back porch later, I surprised several sparrows skittering along the edges of the porch, the prints of their tiny feet creating a trail of embroidery through the thin drifts of snow.

I would like to feed winter birds, but the 'barn cats,' Willis and Sally, are avid hunters; Robert and Nellie when they are outside crouch to watch any birds that unwisely peck their way along the drive.
Feeling sorry for the sparrows, I crushed some 'frosted flakes' of cereal that had spent too long in the pantry and scattered it along the edge of the porch.
Robert and Nellie have gone out and back in numerous times today, disgruntled with the cold and the crusty snow underfoot.

Icicles edging the bird house near the top of the lane.

I crunched up the drive to the common lane which serves the three houses here; by the time I reached the steep dip above the pond I was walking warily. There was no sure footing on the gravel of the lane, crusty snow over a layer of ice.  I picked my way down the slope, trying to walk on the grass verge, even clutching at the icy barbed wire fence to keep from sliding.

The mailbox when I reached it, was coated in a layer of ice. I thumped on it with gloved hand, freeing the latch. The 'flag' was frozen tight. I found a short length of splintery board at the edge of the derelict barn on the opposite side of the lane and used it to pound the ice from the flag until I could raise it.  At that, I would doubt the mail carrier can make his usual rounds, all on twisting narrow back roads. I suspect that each time he braked for a mailbox he would slide past--or risk crashing into the box.

Willis steps daintily toward his dish on the front porch. We have to bring the water bowl in several times per day, bash out the ice and serve fresh water. Snow blows into the kibble feeder.  I've put one out that dispenses kibble through a bottom slot--maybe that will be less apt to clog with snow.

The downstairs living room is cozy when I turn on the heat. Cats come down to sit companionably on the broad windowsill to watch drifting snowflakes--and bouncing sparrows.

I am resolutely working on this long packed away project. Quilt blocks deliberately made from worn shirts, after the manner of great-grandmother Eliza's quilt. 
I'm not really admiring this. Eliza's quilt had many tiny calico prints, a few muted checks and plaids. The shirts I collected [while in Wyoming] were of brighter colors, the plaids impossible to match from one triangle to another.  
I was determined that this would be a 'make do' quilt such as the original, not one I would send off to be professionally machine quilted.  I had the light blue chambray for the sashing, the backing is cut from a king-sized sheet--the fitted mate to it long since worn out. I'm using a thin poly batting recommended for machine quilting.
It took a bit of experimenting to set up my Janome for this task. I found the extension table for it, fitted on the walking foot and discovered a serpentine stitch. 
The process is termed 'quilt as you go'--something I've felt I should try, but didn't want to use on a finer quilt. I chose to put my 36 blocks together in 9 groups of 4--less hand finishing on the back of the quilt.

The process works, after a fashion.  Its a killer strain on shoulders and neck! The layered pieces have to be guided with a hand on either side of the seamline being followed--and I found it difficult to keep the walking foot directed down the exact center of the seam. 
This quilt when finished will be the sort that one might throw over a chair on the porch or spread on the ground for a picnic, fold across the sofa to catch cat hair.  A work of art it is not!
With 8 more units to quilt, I'm expecting to be heartily tired of the thing--but too much work went into the careful piecing of the blocks to abandon it.
I can consider it a useful challenge during these days of feeling house-bound by the inclement weather.



  1. Weather much like mine and more on the way. I have two cats who also like to stalk the birds, so I feed cautiously.

    1. Michele; I think you live farther east in KY than we do. My Goggle page persists in feeding me weather reports from Pulaski County, Harlan, and today from Memphis, TN, all supposedly from my internet address!
      We keep a well-stocked pantry and freezer at all times; milk and eggs come from the Beachy Amish store a mile or so down the road. Not much any of us can do but hunker down.
      I'm pondering a relatively safe way to feed the birds.

  2. Your quilt blocks are so nice and precisely pieced. I am not surprised that all of your points are perfect. We had a day of badly needed sunshine, but the temps remained very cold. Another snow storm is knocking on the door as I write.

  3. Also thank you for the link to the Margaret Gallagher story. Take care and enjoy the snow!

  4. It looks so COLD! I can't even imagine having to live in that kind of weather.

    Your quilt is another lovely creation of yours.