Monday, March 30, 2009

More Snow in North Dakota

We woke up to another white winter wonderland. It started snowing last night and continued throughout the night.

These photos were taken this morning around 10am. As you can see, the snow was still falling as I was taking the photos. It has remained snowing all day. The wind is currently blowing snow around as well.

Weather reports indicate there was between 12-16 inches of new snow today depending upon which side of town you're on. It was 16 inches at the Bismarck Airport and 12 inches south of town. We're very close to breaking the record for total inches of snow in one season. We are at 98.5 inches now with the record at 101 inches in one year. Reports indicate we'll break that sometime during the night.

My younger son came home for the weekend. He planned on leaving early this morning, but now will try to leave tomorrow morning if the roads are clear. Since this storm is heading the same direction he wants to go it will be a wait and see scenario as to when he'll be going home. It looks like he'll have to travel further north then east to by-pass most of the snow covered roads.

Concerns with the flood waters rising again are in the news. They say it is a blessing this moisture came as snow and not as rain or it would be flooding right now. It is supposed to warm up later this week, so the potential for flooding is still there. It may just be delayed.

My husband and son were busy outdoors snow blowing and shoveling snow from our driveway and sidewalks. They also worked up and down our street to assist the neighbors with their snow removal. While they were outdoors, I spent time cooking up spaghetti and a carrot cake and doing a bit of clean-up in the kitchen.

These snow pictures show off the yard so different from what it normally looks like. It's hard to see over the piles of snow in some places. I have a large clay pot in the front that showcases an extension to plant at too levels. Last week's slightly warmer temps made it somewhat visible for a short while. Now with this snow it it completely covered once again.

I suspect it will be quite some time to wait for all this snow to melt. Hopefully it warms up gradually and more of this moisture is absorbed into the ground, more than what runs off directly into the river.

Thankfully we have not lost branches from our trees. I noticed there was one very large broken limb hanging, but entrapped, among other branches above the end of the driveway. I don't know if that happened last night with this snowstorm or a storm earlier this winter. Our lilac bushes are fairly well covered in snow, but seem to be okay.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Updating Links

I spent some time tonight updating links on the sidebar to the right. I love to check in with other bloggers and have acquired quite a list of favorites. Those listed here are some I enjoy visiting most often. There are lots more in my favorites that I check out from time-to-time. It can take up a lot of time to stay up on other blogs, but I usually find something uplifting and refreshing after visiting a few each day. I am planning on updating my own blog more often once I start working my own business. I'll also be working on a website to feature some of my products. That should keep me busy as I begin to devote more time to building a customer base.

There's not a whole lot new going on to blog about for now. I'm still recovering from my recent illness, working to regain my strength. The weather has been very "wintry" lately. We were just being teased by those few days of warmth recently. The flooding here in North Dakota has affected many here in Bismarck and across the state. A federal disaster was declared today. While I've been recuperating from being sick my husband has been busy filling sand bags the last several days. He's feeling tired out, but is glad he's participating in the effort with so many other volunteers. We made the national news broadcasts. (To all my family, we are fine.)

We are all looking forward to spring and having the grass and garden plants start growing again. I have a green indoor plant on the kitchen table. It reminds me spring will come . . . it's just around the corner.

With all the snow we've had this year it's no wonder the flood water has risen so high. There is still so much ice jamming the rivers and causing it to back up across the riverbanks. They cut the flow of water at Garrison Dam, but probably cannot do that for long since they are not generating electricity when they do that. Those cities further down stream will be seeing a lot of water coming their way over the next month or two as well as this ice is cleared and the water can flow downstream more. They used dynamite to blow up the ice jams (4 ft thick in some areas) two different times today and another scheduled for the morning. They had Blackhawk helicopters from the National Guard dumping huge buckets of salt across the frozen river jams to help clear and open channels to increase the water flow. It's the same big buckets they use to dump water on forest fires in the dry heat of summer.

The amount of snow to melt this year means we'll be enjoying higher lake levels and water levels this summer. That will be good. It's just the current crisis to get through with flooding for now. I am glad our house sits higher like it does. We are not having to deal with it directly here at home. It is involving and affecting lots of businesses and people across town. The mall was closed today, the schools were closed, many businesses were closed, many streets were closed. What a time of it!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Upcoming Changes

I will be taking a new direction in my life soon. I will be directing my attention to building my small business. In a few weeks I will be moving on from my current place of employment to go it on my own. This is something I am looking forward to. I will also be devoting a large part of my time to refreshing and learning more info on building and designing websites. Changing my everyday activities around will be a bit of a change. Instead of reporting in at "work" I will be reporting in at "work at home". Things will be different for me -- I'm excited about the new changes.

On another subject -- I just received notification I am the newest member of Sisters On The Fly. I'm Sister #1129. It is a group of women (over a thousand strong) who love getting together to participate in small groups in outdoor activities like vintage trailer camping, fly fishing, horseback riding and "having more fun than anyone". These are all things I like to do in the summer - usually going out with my husband to local rivers and lakes for boating and fishing. We don't have a vintage trailer -- y e t ! I am hoping to locate one that I can refurbish later this summer.

Another group I have recently joined is MaryJanesFarm Farmgirl Sisterhood. I am now an official member - Farmgirl #520. This is a group of women who celebrate the farm life even if you don't own a farm. I'm a "farmgirl at heart" and fit right in with the easy-going, down home way of life. It's about simplifying, getting back to basics, and learning to live a more organic, self-sufficient healthful life.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Taste Testing for Better Flavor

Taste testing eggsAfter enjoying the opportunity of tasting some real honest to goodness farm raised eggs we've become enamored with that excellent home-grown flavor. We have decided we no longer like the bland taste of pale yellow flavorless eggs from the grocery store. We have our hearts set on finding a source for eggs with that tasty good old fashioned flavor. As yet we have not located a local source of fresh farm eggs, so we're still shopping at the big box mass market grocery store. Meanwhile we've been taste testing other brands of eggs hoping to find some that come closer to that farm-fresh flavor.

Here we are sampling Eggland's Best, Sunny Meadow Farm, and Eggland's Cage-Free eggs. We agree that of these the Cage-Free are the best so far. Once we have some farmer's markets start up this spring I'm going to ask around to try to find a local source of farm-fresh eggs that are full flavor. I cannot wait to pin down a source. We're likely to find more fresh farm flavors with veggies and fruits, too. I'm looking forward to that as well.

Close up of my heart pincushionI found a free pattern on-line to make this Heart Pincushion from The Pattern Basket. One day last week I had some time to sew with a friend. This was my project for the day -- to sew up two of these pincushions. One for my friend and one for me. It went together fairly smoothly, but it sure is surprising how long things take to make. I had it in my mind they would only take an hour or so. What with all the chatting and visiting, these two pincushions took the whole afternoon. That's okay, though. We had a good visit while making them. In fact it turned out to be a very pleasant day. It's always fun to spend time with a friend.

Blogging about my heart pincushionMy friend picked the pink color fabric. Then we selected the dark blue print with pink accents to go with it. I changed it a bit from the pattern instructions. I quilted both the top and bottom pieces instead of just the top. Then I could not find the plastic pellets for weighting the pincushion so I used glass marbles, used for flower arrangements, instead. A handful of those shiny glass marbles was plenty to weight them. I think if I make any more of these I will do them in a smaller size. It is pretty large as far as pincushions go. It could easily be made smaller for a nice, handy size pincushion.

When looking again to re-locate the source of this free pattern I ran across this site with a tutorial for a similar 1800s Heart Pincushion.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Word Clouds

I found out about this cool site the other day. It's called Wordle. You can enter in any written information, link to a blog or any other web site, and the program creates a word cloud. It calculates the frequency specific words are used then displays them in varying sizes and orientations to offer you a visual image of the written words. It's kind of cool.

I'm feeling quite a bit closer to normal now. Most of my symptoms of the passing sinus infection have subsided or are minimal. I am working on the energy part of the equation. Can't say that has reached full maximum yet. I'm thankful it is considerably better.

Tomorrow I will be quilting/sewing with a friend. I am looking forward to that. I've been away from any socializing long enough. It'll be fun to get in some sewing time as well.