Category Archives: Weather

Summer Guests

First week of August, our quiet little lives will be interrupted by five visitors – Husband’s son and his fiancé, and their (combined) three girls, ages 15, 12, and 9. Though I’m pretty relaxed when having just one or two guests, I tend to get somewhat anxious with lots of company, and am trying to think ahead – prepare now so it’s a bit more manageable while they’re here. (You can also read this as: I like to be in control of things.) Since our place is just 900 sq. feet, and we would be practically on top of each other if we all tried to stay here, we’ve arranged with a friend two blocks away to sleep in her guest room – let them have the house – on the nights they are with us. (They will spend some time with other family.)

Average temps for this time of year are around 83˚ F., and we do have A/C if needed. We have enough beds, if we include futon, and bedding. I’ve deep cleaned recently, so can do a surface cleaning before A-day (A = arrival). We can stock the fridge and pantry. We have been exploring places in the area that this family might like to visit.

I’m sure there are things I could prepare ahead of time. Several of you baboons have had grandchildren – or other family members or friends – visit you, and probably have some coping mechanisms for when you have guests for more than an afternoon.

Any ideas that might help things run smoothly?

Got any visitors coming this summer or fall?

Independence Times Two

As the parent of a 23-year old, I am constantly reminding myself that it is my job to raise her to be independent and that it’s her job to grow up and forge her own path, separate from mine. Knowing this and living with the reality are two completely separate things.

We have two traditions on Fourth of July – the small neighborhood Tangletown Parade and the larger Richfield Parade. The first is walking distance from our house – kids on decorated bikes and trikes, dog with red and blue bandanas do a short parade down to the park where there is music, food and games.  Richfield has a more traditional parade with politicians, marching (& riding) bands, some military and local businesses.  And, of course, candy for kids.

I was a little disappointed when YA got up early and then started talking about going to the Mall with her boyfriend, but then I reminded myself that I could go without her and it would be OK. So I was surprised when she said she wanted to go to the neighborhood parade (and happy).  Of course, then it poured rain and neither of us went.

As I was getting ready to go to Richfield, she told me that the boyfriend still wasn’t ready and she wanted to go to the parade with me. Woo hoo!  Two stadium chairs, ice water, phones and umbrellas (which protected us from the sun and eventually the rain) and we were on our way.  It was a fine parade, with some planes flying in formation (a first) over the parade route three times and a giant grocery cart (also a first).  About 75% of the parade had gone by when the rain started and YA said she still wanted to stay until the end.  So we sat in our orange stadium chairs under our umbrellas and continued to wave our little flags at the remaining paraders.

It was nice to spend the day with her, especially after I had steeled myself to do the parades alone. I guess I have a year to steel myself for the next Fourth of July.

Have you ever had to declare YOUR independence?

A Storm and a Hero

Today’s post comes from Crystalbay.

Two weeks ago, a windstorm hit Crystal Bay. It was the first straight line wind in 45 years. At  65 mph, these winds are as ferocious as a tornado, only without a funnel. It was pretty exciting for me until I saw my lawn chairs blown from the lakeside yard all of the way back to my garage. The wind’s strength picked up a 100-pound canoe and deposited it in my neighbor’s yard.

This summer, I rented out both sides of my dock because I really need the money and don’t have a boat anyway. I’m likely the only resident of this whole lake who doesn’t have a boat. I digress, but in my divorce settlement 12 years ago, he got the boat with no dock; I got the dock with no boat.

I watched as one of my renter’s boats listing in the water like the Titanic before it went down. The other boat became partially submerged. The force of the waves pulled the iron frame beneath the largest dock section off of the lake bed. And, my neighbor’s tree fell on the roof. This was their second tree to fall on the cottage in two years.

 

As with every high-anxiety situation, I turn to my take-charge, grounded son, Steve. He’s learned how to catch up to my runaway panic and calm me down within five minutes. He not only seems to have all the answers, he often takes over resolving situations with ease and confidence. I doubt I’d be able to continue living here without his occasional interventions.

I made my panic call after the tree came crashing down on the roof.  Within half an hour, Steve was up on the roof with a chain saw in the dark, cutting off the canopy of branches. The next day, he came out with two of his workers, and they devised a plan for taking the largest limbs without a crane. Which is exactly what any tree service would use. The guys used ropes tied around the large logs and eased them down over the roof. Steve laughed and joked with his guys the whole time. Unique challenges have always energized him. After three hours, the job wasn’t only finished, but all of the logs and debris cleaned up.

Before he left, he nailed a rope swing platform securely, unclogged a bathroom drain, screwed in a piece of plywood over a hole in the foundation, clipped a dozen overhanging tree branches, hung a new hammock, replaced a large bulb in the lakeside socket, and calmed the dock renter’s upset about having his boat underwater.

My son is my hero, my rock when things seem to be spinning out of control.  I got a registered letter from the city yesterday notifying me that there was a complaint filed against me for renting my dock. The ordinance says that people cannot have a boat at their dock unless they own it and live on the premises. Within hours, Steve had consulted the city planners, explaining my situation. He figured out a solution that will allow my dock renter to stay. He’s also figured out a way that repairing the storm-damaged roof will get maximum dollars in an insurance claim.

Everyone needs a “Steve” in his/her life whether a good friend, a mate,  a sibling, or an adult child.  Someone who will have your back in a crisis and be a calming voice in the storm.

Who has your back?  Who is your hero?

Bonding over Books

This morning at the library, as I was picking up my held books, I overheard a budding friendship in the next aisle over. Two five-year olds had an extended conversation about what books they were getting, visiting their grandparents, puppies and like all good Minnesotans, the weather.

I met my best friend on April 16, 1983, in a small room 4 floors below the IDS Center. It was my first day at the soon-to-be-opened B. Dalton IDS. Since I was new to B. Dalton, there were several training modules that I had to read through and then take corresponding tests. Sara was transferring over from another store and needed to do some paperwork as well.  We talked while we worked, about books and pets and husbands and boyfriends – probably the weather as well.  Then we went to lunch across the street at Eddingtons where we discovered we also shared a deep love of bread and cheese.

We’ve been friends ever since, through weddings, divorces, parents’ deaths, kids, home purchases, health issues, money issues – you name it. I can only hope that the kids at the library this morning can continue a friendship that started with books!

Where did you meet your BFF?

The Wind Died Down

Last Friday, Husband and I left Jamestown, ND after playing hand bells at an Eastern Star convention. (That is a post in itself! ) We left about 7:00 pm.  It was still pretty light, as far north as we are.  By 8:00 we ran into the worst rain storm I have encountered on the road.  We could see the storm coming for miles, a rotating cloud of blue black, with white wind clouds on the fringe, threatening hail.  We learned later that the wind was blowing at 70 mph in this storm. The storm hit with a hard punch, and the rain was torrential. I pulled over and put my emergency flashers on,  since I couldn’t see the road, anything that was in front of me, or any exit from the interstate. It took a good 20 minutes for the storm to diminish and for us to cautiously proceed on our way home.  I found I  was only 20 yards from an exit, but it was obscured by the rain and wind. We saw a pickup and trailer in the ditch not far from where we pulled over. There was no hail, I am happy to report.

We have lived with the wind for 30 years out here.  It is a force to contend with.  Our house is perpetually dusty.  On Saturday, the wind blew steadily at 35 mph with gusts up to 45. The tomato and pepper plants  tossed all day.  They were wind whipped and twisted. They amazingly recover every time this happens.  We chose to stay indoors and dust and clean.  It was so unpleasant to even step outdoors.  One of my secretaries said they were branding calves on Saturday and they had to close the barn door because the wind was blowing dust all over the food for the people helping them.

The wind finally died down on Saturday night. It was such a relief.  Sunday was calm, and we watered and  recovered from the gusts of the days before. In  Giants In the Earth, Rolvaag writes of women going mad with the wind in Eastern South Dakota.  I can relate to them.

Tell about memorable storms. Tell about stories and poems of the wind.

Another Spring Planting in the Books

Today’s post comes to us from Ben.

It went pretty well; no serious mechanical issues and, once I finally got going, wasn’t delayed by the weather for more than a day or two.

I planted oats on May 6 and 7th. Then it rained for a few days but that’s OK because I was dealing with commencement at the college anyway.

Then I did anhydrous fertilizer on the 17th. Had college events the 18th and 19th. Started to plant corn on the 20th and finished on the 23rd. (Well, really the 24th, but the field I planted on the 24th is at the neighbors and it’s for the deer so it doesn’t really count).

Started soybeans on the 24th, did get rained out for a day and finished on the 28th. Now all that’s left is cleaning up machinery and putting it away until next spring.

There was the one incident with the valve on an anhydrous tank but it was pretty minor. Spilled really very little. No one was in danger and no property was harmed.

There were 3 fire trucks, our local ‘CAT’ (Chemical Assessment Team) the Incident Command Vehicle, two sheriff deputies, Gold Cross Ambulance, The “Incident Commander” and his car, a call to the State Department of Agriculture, another call to the state Duty Officer, a visit from the local anhydrous dealer, six fully clad firemen, and, a few days later, an inspector from the State Department of Agriculture.

Everyone was very nice and very professional and the firemen gave me a Gatorade when it was over.

But really. It was just a little vapor from a valve that hadn’t sealed.

And no breeze so I couldn’t manage to get ‘up wind’ and just enough leakage that I wasn’t comfortable trying to get back up there and try to tighten the valve myself.

I thought if I could just get 1 guy with a respirator, they could close the valve tighter. It wasn’t supposed to turn into a big deal.

But anhydrous is dangerous and can’t be taken lightly. Just today I talked with a guy whose brother got a burst of anhydrous and inhaled just a little. He’s got a couple small, minor burns (freeze burns) and was hospitalized for a couple days because of issues with his throat from inhaling that bit. He’s lucky too.

I pushed my luck a couple times this year. And I wasn’t even trying! But that’s a story for another day.

 Had any experience with the fire department?

Sugar Loaf in the Cool of the Morning

To stay cool this Sunday, we got up early to explore the trail up to the base of  Sugar Loaf ,  Winona’s major landmark rock. Nice woodsy switchbacks on the way up, well groomed trails esp. at the base of the rock, and of course, the higher up we got, the more spectacular the views. Besides seeing downtown and East End Winona, we could (once we got high enough) see West Burns Valley, and some of Pleasant Valley. There are lots of valleys around here, and I still have trouble keeping them straight. We even saw the barn and silo of the “hippie farm” Husband live at in the 70s.

Here are some of the sights:

On the way down (9:30-ish) we met several people headed up, and thought “You’re going to be warm up there”.

How have you been staying cool this weekend in the 90 Plus temperatures?