Monthly Archives: February 2018

The February Lacewing Reprise

Last year about this time — late February — I was sitting outside on the steps. It was morning, a few hours past sunrise. In my peripheral vision came tiny movement. I glanced that way and was startled to see a lacewing struggling across the snowy slope of the snowbank to my right, a mountain of snow that is the result of snow coming off the second story roof immediately above.

“What are you doing, emerging right now?” I wondered aloud.

I reached over and nabbed the struggling creature who was somehow functional despite it being below freezing. I stuffed “her” under the cantilevered kitchen overhang where, not trusting the heat tapes alone to protect the plumbing from our vicious winter north winds, I had wrapped and insulated it for winter, stuffing a heat lamp under there just for good measure. It’s warm under there all winter — well above freezing. If she was to have any chance at all, it would be there.

Never thought another thing about it. It was a fluke, I figured.

Sunday morning, Feb 25th, 2018, a full year later, a couple hours past sunrise, I was again sitting on the porch steps, sipping a cuppa to take a break from chores and demands for attention by animals and humans. And what do I spy in my peripheral vision? Yep. A lacewing struggling across the snowy slope of the snowbank …again.

Obviously, it was not the same lacewing. But, considering the timing, I’ll bet she’s a close relative. Nabbed her and stuck her under the cantilevered overhang, down where things stay warm and cozy till the weather moderates. Hope she makes it. More, I wish they’d fix their emergence clock. Obviously, it’s not timed properly for North Idaho.

 

End of the Week Update

This week has been fraught. Just fraught. Everything was a crisis, everything was a scramble to get done in time, and I managed to just squeak through by a just keep pounding away at it determination, all with almost no sleep. Today, after the last flurry of frantic, I crashed for five hours this afternoon. Then, I got up and sat outside in the cold, letting the crystalline snowflakes coming down outside land on my upturned face. The feeling was wonderful after such a numbing week.

Today is Mom’s birthday, Mom who unexpectedly died October 13th of complications from a twisted intestine, which itself was the result of having an appendectomy when she was just nine years old. Today, on Mom’s birthday, I finished up the memorial service program for Elaine’s funeral and got it to the printer, saw a proof, and then did all the other jobs and chores still pending with their own deadlines. Elaine was one of Mom’s friends — a family friend, actually.

I think the whole winter has just been one overwhelming hurdle after another. Everytime I think I can maybe get my life back, something else happens.

Anyway, sitting out in the cold with the snowflakes hitting my face was a small recess. It felt good to just sit and let the cold seep into my bones after such a hectic time. I know more “hectic and frenetic” is just around the corner, but the time out felt wonderful. It was sorely needed.

Here’s what the memorial service program looks like. It’s a trifold, top is the outside, back, and inside flap; bottom is the inside.

Family Friend Elaine Tormey Has Passed

I got a phone call Sunday morning last. Family friend, Elaine Tormey, who Mom spent untold hours with on projects and talking about their projects — making quilts and clothes and other things, Mom doing embroideries for them, Elaine sewing them up — passed away. I’ve spent the last few days helping Patrick with preparations for her memorial service, which takes place March 3rd. I’ll be playing flute at the service, the intro and outro, along with a lady accompanist named Laura. This has been a winter of death and passing. More later when I get my feet grounded, again.

The Hammer Has Fallen

Overnight
Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Steady temperature around 26. Blustery, with a north wind around 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.
Sunday
Snow, mainly before 10am. Patchy blowing snow after 10am. Temperature falling to around 19 by 4pm. Blustery, with a northeast wind 16 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Sunday Night
A slight chance of snow between 7pm and 10pm. Patchy blowing snow before 10pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 5. Wind chill values as low as -11. Blustery, with a northeast wind 16 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Washington’s Birthday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 21. Wind chill values as low as -12. Northeast wind 7 to 11 mph.

Hammer Down

“Wait five minutes, and the weather will change.” That’s the North Idaho old saw. Unfortunately, it’s neither superstition, nor ignorance. It’s quite canny.

All of January, just about was balmy. Like spring. Dangerous for us.

I kept saying: It’s going to drop the hammer down on us in February. Well, February came and no hammer.

Two days ago, it was sunny and 56 degrees — unheard of for February in North Idaho, except in winters immediately after (I was told by nodding, knowing old timers, all long dead, now) Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and, witnessed first hand, after Chernobyl and Fukushima. But, hey! No worries. Those last two were just the after effects of nuclear meltdowns.

Now comes the hammer: Yesterday, it was 18°F, as it is today, too, with a wind from the north, the wind chill putting us down to 3°F they tell me, though my little, local weather station gives me a different take — -3°F. Despite that small six degree discrepancy, it’s C-O-L-D.

Strong north winds suck the heat right out of this house, despite its heavy insulation, and my winter wrap on the foundation. Couldn’t get it above 65°F in here, and the cats got grumpy. So, I had to go out to the wood shed, grab the big wheel barrow, load it, haul it, stack it in the porch rack, then start the wood stove. Now, the cats are all toasting and roasting around the barrel stove, blissfully baking their tummies.