snow

Do April spring snow showers bring May flowers?

Here at my house it has been April snow showers for the last two days and all I can say about the whole mess is this quote from a friend of mine named Miranda, ” Go home spring  you are drunk”.

Christopher with April 10th 2016 snow man

Christopher with April 10th 2016 snowman.

 

While  spending sometime outside this morning in 20 degree weather with little Christopher,I keep thinking that I am so glad we have not ordered our new front doors yet.That it will be about 45 more days before we can even think about installation. I am glad that I planted my seeds and they are warming in the window in the livingroom and I have not tried to plant anything that would freeze.

Ah spring we all love to hate you!

Categories: Christopher, gardening, snow, spring, weather | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Snowy Farm Mornings With The Mares

The one thing that I still miss about the farm is the silent snowy mornings. Moving to town has its advantages in snowy weather… streets get cleared a lot faster and the grocery is a lot closer but something is just not the same, let me explain.

My horses on in the top pasture on a snowy morning.

My horses in the top pasture on a snowy morning.

When you own livestock you never get a snow day. So the mornings for me always started early even in the cold. I would get up early, like all farm families do, so I could get the feeding done before work and school would take the day.

Dressed in my coveralls, hat, and gloves, I head out of the back door of the farm-house. I cross the back porch and hear the first crunch of the snow on a step. Walking my way to the barn across the yard I look for them but can not see them in the top pasture. Even though the barn doors are always open the herd of four quarter horse were never in the barn until feeding time.

Even if they heard me tracking slowly through the snow they never moved. They stand at the farthest point away from the barn on the top of the hill. I holler at the top of my lungs”Here Girls!” and get no response. Just the quite… no cars or trucks, no snow plows (sometimes for days), no other person for miles was outside on a 12 degree morning. I reluctantly fill the feed buckets with two heaping scoops of sweet-smelling grain. I Complain to myself about walking up the bank into the pasture to looking for them.

You do it to make sure that everything is alright if they do not come in. Horses trapped in fences, cases of colic and babies born in the open all happen when humans are not looking. Today was not going to be one of those days. I open the gate with the frozen chain and hear it bang as I swing it through the snow and across the frozen ground and into the pasture. The hill blocks my view. No knickers or neigh for me to hear from the group, just my snow boots crunching up the slope to the orchard trees.

Annabell in snow at the farm in Jane Lew

Annabell in snow at the farm in Jane Lew,West Virginia.

Past the orchard trees, I finally see the huddled mares in the upper corner of the field. Snow only ankle-deep and they still do not want to move. “Come on Girls!” I yell again, this is ridiculous I think as the wind blows the quiet snow in my eyes.  I give in and walk to top of the hill and discover I am out of breath and breathing hard. The steam I blow matches the clouds that surrounds them. They breath in and out almost in time and the moisture from the four 800 pound bodies rises into the air. They see me and two heads turn as I finally come close enough to actually touch the snow-covered beasts.

Their winter coats are such good insulation against the cold that snow flakes dance on top of the longest hairs of each animal. Icicles form on the whiskers of each damp muzzle and each wet eye lash. The mares do seem to mind the cold and seem more at home in the winter snow.

Daisy with skippy in snow

Daisy with Skippy in the snow on the Jane Lew farm.

For the small herd, standing and sleeping is more comfortable than slipping down the hill to the barn. I can’t blame them, they have stood together most of the night and have melted some of the snow on the ground . I sneak up close to the oldest mare and slide my gloved hand across her back and talk softly and she murmurs back to me. I get close and feel the warmth of her 100 degree body against me. Warmth and friendship, could life get better for her?

The others push closer to me, nose to nose, they breathe me in and I, them. The smell of the mare’s breath and coats is warm, round and deep. It is the smell of the summer dirt, fresh-cut hay and dark warm stalls.They smell of old barns and fresh shavings,of carrots and cookies, of sunshine and creek water. I kiss each nostril in turn.

Hidden in my coat pocket is a lead rope that I slide around the old mare’s neck. I clip it under her chin… more imagination than rope. I lead her and she willingly follows me down. The younger horses gallop back and forth across the field, bounding, bouncing, jumping and twisting.

Horses Playing in the snow

Horses Playing in the snow

Play time for the young and feed time for the old. I walk her through the gate to the barn, each following her lead without a fight. Her head lowers into the bucket and she blows out the air in her lungs as if to sigh. The rattle of those buckets is the only sound for miles. The sun rises to the shifting sounds in my barn. I toss hay into each stall as the last of the gain gets lipped out of old buckets.

My chore is almost done. The water is thawed and waiting when they finish their meal. The gate is locked up tight. I am alone again in my walk back across the large yard. My cheeks are cold and frosty but my heart is warm. I think to myself…. “Love You Girls” as I hear the squeaky snow under my boot.

 

Categories: Country life, Farm work, Friendship, Horses, Jane Lew, Memories, snow, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

What I Saw on The Way to The Grocery Store.

I know most people do not get excited to go grocery shopping, but every once in a while I just enjoy driving the back roads to shop at a little tiny grocery store in the country. I stop at this store for a lot reasons, one is they have a ten pound meat sale every month and they still cut their our own meat. I know that sounds like a silly reason but when you get tired of buying Wal-Mart and Kroger prepackaged meats and start thinking about butcher controlled quality and quantity it is a big deal. So I drive out of my way ( 18 miles) to a family owned I.G.A. in the middle the woods in a town called Rock Cave. But my trip was a little more beautiful today then normal. The sun was out and the fresh fallen snow was beautiful so I took the my camera along for the ride.

I headed off with an idea of taking a new self-portrait  for the “About Me” portion of the blog and getting a load of groceries. What I did not expect was to take an hour chore and 36 mile drive into a 5 hour 80 mile photo adventure that included shopping and meeting some wonderful strangers along the way.  Who knew that I would see so many beautiful things on my way to the grocery.

As I left Buckhannon I stopped at a local church to enjoy the snow-covered cemetery yard. Some thing about a church with a cemetery just speaks to me.

Reger United Methodist Church Buckhannon. WV

Reger United Methodist Church Buckhannon. WV

Then through French Creek to a huge southern home with hay roles in the front yard. You know you are liven in the county when you bail the front yard.

French Creek house with hay bales  fadeout

French Creek house with hay bales fade-out

Then to Rock Cave to see a house that a friend of mine said they were tearing down. The cabin for years had white vinyl siding and today I finally got to see what was underneath.

Log cabin along Rt#4 Rock Cave, West Virginia

Log cabin along Rt#4 Rock Cave, West Virginia

The temperature was running about 15 to 18 degrees as I stopped at every interesting place along my journey. So it was fast shooting and trying desperately to keep my digital camera working in the cold.

full front view of cabin on rt#4 Rock Cave, West Virginia

full front view of cabin on rt#4 Rock Cave, West Virginia

After filling my hatch back full of staples and meat at the I.G.A. I then drove down the road to a wonderful cattle barn. Not as old as the cabin above but just as wonderful. I thought sepia would make the barn more interesting.

Cattle Barn in Walkers Vill, West Virginia tinted to look old

Cattle Barn in Walkersvill, West Virginia tinted to look old

Then off to Napier an unincorporated town where frozen water falls formed along the rock walls everywhere.

Rusty Ice along the road

Rusty Ice along the road Napier. WV

Water falling on icy rocks at Napier. WV

Water falling on icy rocks at Napier. WV

Then finally to where I thought I might get a nice portrait for the blog. I wondered around Falls Mills Park for a while just looking at the water and the beautiful snow before trying to get this photo. I took several shots to get this one but in the end I think I got some thing I can use.

Self Portrait of JoLynn Powers at Falls Mills, Braxton County. West Virginia

Self Portrait of JoLynn Powers at Falls Mills, Braxton County. West Virginia

Lovely how the fresh snow makes the water look such a beautiful color.

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

I drove on further from home and ended my journey at Heaters, and Flatwoods, West Virginia about 46 miles from my home one way. Here I found a lovely house that I would say is the typical farm-house of West Virginia. Built during the 20’s and 30’s there are thousands of these homes hiding in our hills. This one is also has a working cellar in the back. I love old stone construction so I had to get a photo of it too!

Farm house at Heaters WV

Farm house at Heaters WV

 

root cellar behind house in Heaters West Virginia

root cellar behind house in Heaters West Virginia

Finally I reached the interstate junction and thought I better eat and head home from my grocery trip. It had taken almost all day to explore a long winding road and the things along it . I finally stopped to get a hamburger and fries when I discovered on the way back to my parking place that a Crow had taken up a resting spot next to my car. I think he was wondering why I did not have anything to offer him.

crow in snow

crow in snow

I hit the highway and headed home thinking about my car full of goodies and great day spent really looking at the wonders of where I live.

I am going to keep trying to do photo projects like these in the future. I just need to learn to slow down and see all the wonders around me.

 

Categories: Appalachian Mountains, Braxton County, Buckhannon West Virginia, photo review, snow, traveling, West Virginia, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

This is What Our Valentines Day Usually Looks Like!

Why do I always do this to myself. I think,”How wonderful, my husband and I will have a day together, sleep in and eat a nice meal and shop” for our Valentines anniversary. Yet, February is a terrible month do anything other than snuggle under a warm blanket together and hope that some one has had the energy to put a pot of hot soup on the stove.

Three days ago I was outside with Paige and Christopher playing in the yard and enjoying one of the sunny days we got this month. Well today lets just say that they dismissed school early due to blizzard conditions and the temps at 5 pm will head south into the teens. Then later tonight -10 is forecast and I am thinking of bringing the bunnies in to the laundry room again for a couple of days.

Christopher digging in flower bed

Christopher digging in flower bed

Paige digging flower pot on porch

Paige digging flower-pot on porch

Flowers budding in flower box

Flowers budding in flower box

So, as I head out to pick up Christopher early from school ,I am thinking that my Valentines date may in include a snow shovel and an extra blanket on the bed.

flowerbed covered in snow

flowerbed covered in snow

 

Snowy Pine tree in the back yard

Snowy Pine tree in the back yard

 

I seem to forget that every February is this way. We have these negative temps at night and these crazy, warm, sunny days. The winter has not really left us as I brush another layer of snow off my car. I fight the wind as it blows so hard that it whistles between the houses and tress.  Then during a still moment I hear the song birds chirping so loudly that it distracts me from my chore. I look up into that snow-covered maple and think that some of them have already returned from the north and are celebrating. Singing and playing at our feeder the Chickadees and Finches swoop and dive. I think they are laughing at me as I grumble and groan. They know that the sun will shine and melt the snow and that in a few short weeks I will be wishing that it was just dry for St Patrick’s Day.

Hope all of you have a wonderful Holiday and share it with people who you love and make you smile.

 

Categories: container garden, snow, Snow day, soup, Valintines, weather | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Snowdays can be Fun Days Too!

Afghan Fort with Christopher and the bunnies in the house

Afghan Fort with Christopher and the bunnies in the house

Do you remember the joy of “Snow Days” as a child.  Some how I had forgotten how much fun my mother made those days. We were all home together and the house was a total mess. We eat hot soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. We  build furniture cushion forts and had all the pets inside the house. When it warmed up to at least 20 degrees we  all headed outside to play in the fresh Boulder, Colorado snow. Shoveling feet of snow off our drive way and helping the neighbors pull cars from the snow banks of snow. Then heading back inside for hot coco and cookies. Taking our snow-covered clothes off and tossing then over the heating registers to dry.

Christopher painting his snow bunny

Christopher painting his snow bunny

The boys in our neighbor hood always were starting snow ball fights that lasted hours and the girls were always trying to get them to stop long enough to go sledding at the local park. We built snow men and my friends dad built a snow woman one year that had all of us laughing. Even my mother thought she was funny…that was rare.  Then if we were lucky it was a cartoon afternoon. In warm sweat shirts  and fuzzy socks with long naps on the couch.

Have times really changed that much? The addition of the computer and X-box has given us more time to play games and surf the internet. But that little voice of my sons still asks when can we go out side, can I have hot coco when we come back inside and if we are having bean soup for lunch? hummm sounds like my own questions coming back to me from a new generation.

I am learning to accept the mess on the floor and colored markers and paper on the table as a sign that all is fine on this snowy day. We make valentines for the family and the glitter is everywhere, the floor, the table, our hands and  even my hair. The next mess in the long line of ones that I will clean up at the end of our day fourth snow day.

Christopher with Home made valintines

Christopher with Home made valentines

Finally at the end of this day of snow, soup and glitter we start a warm bath and add lots of toys. Bubbles float and fly around the bathroom. I ask Christopher “How was your day, did you have fun?”The reply is a warm happy smiling  “YEA!” I smile and acknowledge that I am feeling tired. That this snow day was fun for me too. I spent time with my favorite little person doing the things that he loves most of all. I honored my mother and my childhood friends with time in the snow playing and getting pink cheeks and drinking coco from mugs.

Tonight I will again clean up the messes left from the play dough,  bird seed from the feeders we filled,  the plates and cups from another round of soup and sandwiches and the snow ice cream we eat in front of the T.V. but in the end it is worth the messes. It is worth the glitter every where to think that someday he will look back on these cold snowy days and smile and think of the fun we had together.

snow ice cream in bowl

snow ice cream in bowl

Snow ice cream

1.  4 cups fresh clean snow… no yellow snow!

2.  3/4 cup milk

3.  1/2 cup sugar

4.  1 Tablespoon vanilla

put snow in large bowl add milk, sugar and vanilla. mix until smooth.. taste and add more of sugar or vanilla to taste.

Categories: About me, child care, Christopher, Colorado, family fun, Personal art work, snow, Snow day | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The advice I gave my Daughter in law about winter driving that applies to so much more

Photo of Boulder Colorado thanks to Alex Smits Photography.com

Photo of Boulder Colorado thanks to Alex Smits Photography.com

Growing up at the foot hills of the Rocky Mountains in Boulder Colorado where is seems that winter lasts 6 months of the year, we all got lots of practice driving in snow and slush. I admit, I was a very timid and stressful winter driver in my youth, but I did learn something after a few winters under my belt. The most important and what I shared with my daughter in law this last week was learning to NOT be a white knuckle driver. I am not sure if this a common expression or is just what my mother called it. The white knuckle driver is one who  holds the steering wheel so tight that the knuckles on the back of you hands turn white from the grip that you have on the wheel. Where you are so afraid of what is happening on the road that the tension is visible all over your body. Most young drivers experience this while learning to drive and it passes only to return when winter weather reappears. So when I am feeling stressed behind the wheel in the winter, I still to this day, I take a deep breath  and play this song in my head to remind myself what to do.

38 Special… “Hold On Loosely”

If you choose not to see the video  I still want to share with you the chorus with you so that you understand what is that I am trying to get at.  ” Just hold on loosely, but don’t let go, if you cling to tightly to her, you’re gonna lose control”. This is a simple way for me to force myself to slow down, take a deep breath and stop white knuckling my way through life.

snow covered road by Jeff Cook.

snow-covered road by Jeff Cook.

38 Special  wrote and preformed the song with a love affair in mind, but I like to take the idea and expand it to life in general.  How often have we all smothered our loved ones, our children or choked off other opportunities in our lives because we were to afraid to just let life happen. We are terrified that we would not be able to handle the results of a life lived in the present. We do not believe in ourselves enough to handle what life was giving us. I was guilty of this much of my youth.

I wanted all the details of everyone’s lives. I had to check in with my friends a million times a day. I worried that if I wasn’t part of what was happening then something terrible would happen. Well guess what, terrible things happen everyday, all across the world, in my town and yours, to people we love and those we do not know at all and it happens with or without us. The reality is that we really have very little control over the weather, our friends, family or at times our own health. So it is by choice that I have tried to stop letting worry control my happiness.

Instead of worrying about everything that happens in my life I have learned, as the song says,” To Hold On Loosely, But Not Let Go”. To allow for the bumps in the road and the twists and turns that we all experience without totally losing my way in the world. Age gives you insight to realize that there is really nothing that you can not over come in your life if you are willing to just Hold On, Not Give Up and Try Again.

So to my Daughter In Law I said  “Try not to white knuckle all the fun out of life by trying to control the things that you can’t”. Don’t lose your balance and happiness because the fear of losing something or someone.We all lose it is part of life, but you can keep your sense of happiness if you just remember to ” Take a deep breath, go slow and hold on loosely but don’t let go”.

I am sure that our conversation about winter driving made sense to her it is easy to understand The  other part about not doing the same for her family, friends and future may have made her think that I was just crazy, I just hope when the time comes in her life that she will think back on this song and find some solace there.

toms truck on a snowy road near old house

toms truck on a snowy road near old house

Categories: Colorado, family memories, music, rock music, snow, winter driving | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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