A Cold, But Magical Day

The precipitation finally stopped this afternoon and the sun came out for a little while before it set tonight. I went outside to get rid of the snow where it doesn’t belong and then took some photos. This photo of ice sparkling on my silver maple really caught my attention. Unfortunately the photo doesn’t do it full justice:

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The ice and snow was pretty on my lilac shrub:

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This shrub needs a serious pruning – I’ve never pruned it – the previous owners planted it *way* too close to the house and I threaten to take it out every year and never do. It does either need to come out or get a major pruning this summer.

Here’s the Rose-of-Sharon again with snow on top of the ice weighing it down even more than yesterday:

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I also like the little icicles hanging from my clothes line in back of this shrub. And here’s some ice and snow on the plants I leave in my garden:

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And now I know why I bolted out of bed from a sound sleep at midnight last night. I heard someone walking their dog across my lawn. I hate that with a passion . That’s what the road is for!
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(Why I hate it is if *they* get hurt on my property it would be *my* fault). Time to put in some Rosa rugosas around my property this summer! Not only are they really prickery, but I *love* the smell of the roses. Here’s a young one just starting to blossom in May of 2005.
26May2005 062 Rugosa Rose-Rosa rugosa_1

Ohhhh, I can’t wait to see color like that again!!

Enough Snow, The Elusive Hawk, Echinacea Seeds & Bird Story

Okay, I’ve decided I’ve had enough snow. I had to shovel a path down my driveway because my plow man wasn’t coming this afternoon – hey there was only 2 15/16″ of snow and the contract says 3″! Where I shoveled the sun dried the driveway. I was sooo tempted to shovel the rest of the driveway, and then around 3:30 he showed up. Now it’s a sheet of ice where he plowed. Argh.

And then I opened the box with the roof rake and it was all in pieces, so I had to assemble that. Easier said than done. The first piece was not lining up right. Urrrrrr – it makes me so mad when you can’t screw something together because someone can’t manufacture something correctly. As I was doing this my friend called and he said I had it backwards. Noooooo, it wasn’t backwards, I know how to read directions! So I got out my trusty metal file and the little metal pieces were flying all over the place (when I get irritated I get really strong). I finally *made* it fit and the rest of it went together fine. Of course my friend figured he was going to get zip attention from me so he hung up (he knows I get very focused on a task at hand and no one can interrupt my train of thought).

So the roof rake works good! The sun was out yesterday afternoon, and the snow was already beginning to form into ice, and I saved my roof (and me) from that strife – yay! I now love my roof rake.

Oh, and Susan and Mary! While I was raking the roof I saw a hawk flying around way above!!! I dropped the rake to go get the camera, but the hawk was gone by the time I got outside again. I *will* capture that elusive hawk in a photo someday *soon*!

Now the Echinacea / bird story. Mon@rch had a posting entitled “Can Birds Learn” the other day, and it reminded me of a bird story. I leave the seed heads of my Echinacea and hyssop plants for the birds, and they swing around on them picking the seeds out of the seed heads all fall, winter and spring. This past June the new plants were growing quite big, but a pair of Goldfinches were still munching away at the seeds. I figured it was time to cut the old plants down. I got the worst scolding of my life from the Goldfinch pair as they watched from my silver maple tree. I have never heard such nasty language from birds directed at me. I felt bad and left the seed heads on the ground for them in my garden. I know, I know I should have stopped cutting the dead heads. But what’s a gardener / birder to do? Here’s a photo I captured yesterday of one of the Echinacea seed heads:

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I wonder when I’ll be allowed to cut these down without getting a major bird scolding.

March 5-7 1971 Blizzard Photos from LaFayette Rd. LaFayette, NY

Because I’m buckling down tonight for tomorrow’s test (I know, it’s about time), I’m posting another one of my Dad’s blizzard stories. I remember there’s some other great photos from this blizzard – and I will scan them in sometime and show you. One I remember is my Dad’s company car sitting in the driveway covered to the top with snow, and our cat Domino walking on top of the snow next to the top of the car. For now, my Dad was focusing on the amazing snow plowing equipment to clear the roads.
Written by my Dad, January 2006

The first photo was snapped on the 5th of March, 1971. The snow had stopped falling during the night. The morning was spent plowing out the driveway at 2615-2617 LaFayette Rd. The roads were unpassable, the result of excessive snowfall and some wind. This day was sunny and when the driveway was plowed the ice and snow started to melt. Clearing the driveway was aided by the road being shut. Most of the snow was pushed across the road, up and over the guard rail and down a steeply sloped field. The near hill, in the background is called “Irish Hill.” The far hill is the ridge from Pompey north. Sweet Road runs the ridge north from Pompey to the Town of Manlius.


The next four photos were taken on March 6, 1971. The county used a rotary plow to open the road. Note the neighbors to the north out in the road, checking the progress. Snow-p3 Snow-p2

The next photo of the rotary plow is looking south down the valley, toward Apulia Station. The three standing together watching the rotary plow moving toward them are my children Nat, Pam and Todd. Snow-p1

The next photo, taken on March 6, 1971, is of a Walter “Snow Fighter.” It has a “V” plow with a 14 foot wing on both the left and right sides of the truck. The truck has 4 wheel positive drive. The outside wheel of the rear duals were removed for snow fighting with tire chains on the remaining four wheels and the dump body loaded with heavy solid concrete balast. These machines could move snow!


This last photo was taken on March 7, 1971. This photo witnesses the capability of these Walter plows to lift and move the snow. This photo was taken from inside our car on LaFayette Rd. travelling north just beyond the Crow Farm homestead. It is evident that more snow will be removed to widen the passage to normal width. Snow-p5

Susan, Mary, another car photographer! I remember him taking this photo, too. I wondered at the time what the big deal was, but now I’m glad he captured these photos!
And the temperature today in my town was 60 degrees F and rainy. No coat would have been needed if not for the rain.

The Weather

Usually people talk to me about the weather when they have nothing else to say. I personally don’t care what the weather is, as long as I can do what I want to do and go where I want to go. But the weather has been very strange lately. So I’m gonna talk about it.

When I was growing up, my Dad and I went downhill skiing at least twice a week for one of our many winter activities. His rule was December was for building the base of snow on the ski slopes so we couldn’t ski and take the chance of harming our skiis (no matter how much snow and beggin’ on my part) until January 1st – yay! The chemical snow (snow making) wouldn’t kick in until early March, when the snow started melting and they had to patch certain spots on the ski slopes. And I hate chemical snow, because it doesn’t feel right under my skiis, and it makes my face burn. So I’m wondering, how the heck would this work now? We have absolutely no snow, not even a little flake on the ground (okay now we have two flakes, it snowed overnight and I wrote this post yesterday). Do they make chemical snow now, even though it isn’t cold enough for real snow?

December of 2003 was a real hard December – very cold and snowy (how well I remember it because I was taking outdoor classes and had to buy very warm clothing), but on January 3, 2004 we went for a hike at Hi-Tor. It was 65 degrees F that day – a perfect day for a hike. You can see the ice on the cliff face near the water falls:

And if you turn around 180 degrees you can see Canandaigua Lake in the distance through the trees:

No snow anywhere. So the rule of snow in December building the base for January skiing has been tossed out the window. It would have to snow quite a bit for me to want to go down any ski slope now. I’m glad I haven’t invested in new ski equipment, I would be disappointed – or would have to travel far to find some good skiing. By the way, I love the Finger Lakes region of NY, and the Bristol Hills is one of my favorite places to hike, although I have lots of fav places. What about you? Where do you like to hike? Do you like to snow ski – either downhill or cross-country?

P.S.  Sorry for the yucky photos – these were taken with my old original digital camera.

1947-8 or 1948-9 Winter Photo from driveway on LaFayette Rd. LaFayette, NY

I’m not dreaming of a white Christmas or anything, but this lack of snow at this time of year in my part of the world is quite unusual. And while I don’t want a blizzard like Denver had, I would like a little snow at Christmas. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas without snow. So here’s another short story from my Dad showing my Dad as a young man and some of the huge piles of snow we used to get in the place where I grew up.

Written by my Dad, January 2006
LaFayette, NY

The driveway had drifted to a depth of 3.5 feet +/-. This is the result of some “new snow” together with an intense wind. Shoveling by hand was effective, but labor intensive. The “shoveler” pictured here (my Dad) has not suffered as he is 75 years young and still going. The address above is about 5/8 of a mile north of the south termination of LaFayette Rd. at Route 20.


1947-48 Blizzard Photos from LaFayette Rd. LaFayette, NY

My Dad has some really cool old photos of blizzards in LaFayette where I grew up, and he wrote some words around some of these photos.  As I’ve been busy with other things today, I decided to add what he wrote about the winter of 1947-48.

Written by my Dad, January 2006
Date: Winter, Jan-Feb 1947 or 1948 Location: LaFayette Rd., LaFayette, NY

This first photo was taken about 6:30 PM. This snow was the result of a blizzard and LaFayette Rd. had been unusable for about three days. It was an area-wide storm and the total of Onondaga County was “shoveling” out. Earlier in the afternoon I had ventured out of the house, down to the road to see if the County was able to plow yet. Indeed, about 1.5 or 2.0 miles north on LaFayette Rd. I could faintly hear and see the twin plumes of the “Sno-Go” as it chopped, augured and blew the offending snow into the fields. It took three to four hours to cover this 1.5 to 2.0 miles. The County of Onondaga was exceptional at keeping the roads clear to aide the dairy farmers in getting their milk to the creamery in Onatavia. Onatavia is about 3/4 mile east, as the “crow files,” of the cross-roads of Routes 11 and 20 at LaFayette, NY. Snow-f1

I informed my father they were working at about Crow’s Farm, where I had first heard and seen the clearing effort. Included here are four photos as the “Sno-Go” approached in the dark. My father had asked my Mom to prepare a supper for the drivers. In the second photo you will see the machine at rest just after they had eaten – note the meal basket on the snow. A tremendous machine this Walter Sno Fighter with the augers and blowers in front and the power to drive the augers and blowers coming from the engine mounted in back of the cab. Snow-f2

The next photo is a shot from the back while drivers were finishing their meal. Snow-f3

The next photo is the machine and men back to work. In this photo I am able to make out the two plumes of snow being blown to the east side of LaFayette Rd.


Roof Rakes for Snow

I try very hard to buy local, but when I run around to 50 (okay four, oh alrighty then, three) different home supply stores to look for a roof rake to keep the snow off of my home’s roof this winter, and I get the answer, we don’t carry them, we don’t have them yet, what’s a roof rake, blah blah blah, then I go to the Internet. And I found Roof Rakes online, at no other than roofrake.com


While I hate paying for shipping, I have wasted who knows how much in gas and time, and I don’t have to pay tax because it is out of state. I’m sure it has to be a nightmare being a retailer and trying to keep up with peoples’ demands, but it seems that I’m always heading towards the Internet for my various needs. Oh well. I tried! I did however pick up some birdseed and some reflectors at one of the stores, so all was not lost!

Do you use a roof rake to keep the snow off of your roof? This is the first winter I’m trying one and I’m curious if they really work.

Miss Kitty Behaving Badly, Snow

I introduced Joy the cat to you quite a while back (I have since nicknamed her Miss Kitty) – in case you weren’t around in those days, Joy is my parents’ cat (well, my Dad’s cat) and she lives in their barn / garage to keep it free and clear of the rodents – so she is a worker cat. And she takes her job very seriously. Even though she’s lying down here, she’s on the alert, listening to the sounds of outdoor activity through the wall.
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My Mom works out at the gym in the afternoon and gets home around 6:00 PM. Well, the first week my Mom started this little Miss Kitty would NOT let her pull her car into the garage. In her little kitty mind it was an Intruder alert, intruder alert. Of course, my Mom didn’t want to run over the cat, so she had to go in and get my Dad to get *his* cat out of the way. And it ticked her off because she can’t stand having some cat control her life.

Last week on our way out to the museum, Mom and I opened the garage door, got into the car and left. No dilly dallying, just normal stuff. While we were enjoying ourselves at the museum, Dad went out to give Miss Kitty her afternoon snack and brushing. He looked all over the barn and garage for her, and finally saw her looking *in* at him from the outside. Little Miss Kitty had snuck out while Mom and I were backing out of the garage. See this summer Mom gave little Miss Kitty a taste of the outdoors by bringing her out in the garden while we were there – on a leash –

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which she immediately got herself out of and then proceedd to trot past me towards the fence.

Now when we go out, I have to stand outside to make sure Miss Kitty isn’t coming out, and sure enough, yesterday she was headed out while my Mom was backing out of the garage. FOILED cat, FOILED. I’m sure she’ll figure out some other way to sneak by us in the future. I still love this little kitty even though she has been behaving badly. Oh! And I have to take a photo of her because with her winter coat she looks *huge*! She looks like she’s been blown dry her fur is so puffy – it’s so thick and sticks straight out. P.S. even though she lives in the barn / garage, she has her own wood stove, a heated bed, and her food is heated in the microwave and her water changed quite often. No need to worry about this cat – she is very well cared for and loved.

It is snowing so lazily this morning it is a nice way to enter the snowy part of the season – nice and slow. Let’s see how long this slow snow will last!

Bare Naked Trees

Even though I’d rather have the leaves on the trees, I really appreciate looking at the forms of various trees this time of year. Here’s the Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata) in my backyard:

And here’s a little more snow on my deck from yesterday morning: 03Nov2006-001

Not enough to get the skis or snow shoes out yet, but I’m sure that will be soon. Winter seems to be knocking on the door a little early this year.

Here’s Something to Cool You Down!

The temperature is supposed to reach 100 degrees F today, with a heat index of 110. I know that is nothing compared to the south, but for my part of the north, this hasn’t happened since 1953. So I decided to get out some of my winter photos to help cool you down. This was taken on February 28, 2004 while I was hiking on Stid Hill in the Bristol Hills, NY:

Doesn’t that water look nice and *cold*!!

Here’s some turkey tracks in the snow, taken the same day on the same hike. You can see where they dragged their wings on the snow, along with part of the human footprint, too:


And here’s another looking back down Stid Hill and across to other Bristol Hills.


I hope these help you stay cool today!

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