Would You Like Ice with That?

Ice – Kingsway Dr 02-25-2022

Weather forecasts for SE Missouri had something for everyone in a week’s time. We had warm temps, single-digit temps, 4 inches of rain, thundersleet, freezing rain and snow.

There were reports of trees down and power outages scattered all around, but 1618 Kingsway dodged a big bullet (so far). Trees and bushes got a beautiful decoration of ice, but wind that could have caused serious problems didn’t materialize.

Frozen flag

Ice – Kingsway Dr 02-25-2022

When I looked out the front window the night the rain was freezing, I was surprised to see my American flag looking like it had been starched, then ironed flat. It was frozen into a solid sheet.

By the next morning, it was still mostly frozen, but there had been enough wind to create cracks in the coating.

The only casualty (so far)

Ice – Kingsway Dr 02-25-2022

I did a quick walkaround and saw a few small branches down, but this bent-over bush with the split trunk may have been the only fatality.

Still, though, the temps will be below freezing for another day, so there may be other trees and bushes that’ll crack under the continued strain.

Green covered with ice

Ice – Kingsway Dr 02-25-2022

Some grass and mosses were turning green under the warmer than usual winter, but they got a serious shock when they were covered with sleet, snow and ice.

I was surprised to see half a dozen robins wading in my front yard the day when the rain was coming down the hardest.

I ordered a generator

I bought a 3000-watt generator after Hurricane Hugo in 1989. It sat in my backyard shed unused except for annual test firings until the 2004 hurricane season when three storms passed over us, leaving us without power for multiple days.

After the first storm of the series, I ordered a 7,500-watt generator and added a kit that would allow it to run on gasoline, propane or natural gas. I also put a tap on our electrical service panel that would let me power most of the house.

Florida hurricane supplies

We keep all our hurricane supplies in a shed in the back yard. They include aluminum panels to go over the doors and windows, the generator, spare oil and filters, mounting hardware, and tarps (up to and including 30-footers). 

Here’s a link to more detailed disaster planning that might be helpful even if you aren’t in the tropics.

We’ve been through the drill enough times that we can have the house battened down in an afternoon, with the help of Matt and Grandson Malcolm.

The smaller Hugo generator went to Son Matt, who used it at his house.

He rewired his house and bought a bigger generator, which made the old one surplus again. I reclaimed it and have it parked under my basement stairs in Cape “just in case.”

I had the electrical panel in Cape house upgraded from a four-fuse 60-amp box to a modern service panel. That started me thinking about a generator big enough to feed the whole house, if I was careful to balance my load.

Tri-fuel generators are hard to find

I dithered for months, but the ice storm caused me to pull the trigger. Once capable of running on gas, propane and natural gas are hard to find. I’m going to have to drive to Marion to pick one up the first week of March.

Even if it sits silent for as long as the Hugo generator did, it’s worth the comfort of knowing its there. (I think I paid $300 for the 3,000-watt unit. Three hundred bucks spread out over about 10 years was painless.)

Pretty ice photos

You can take a tour of my yard by clicking on any image to make it larger, then use the arrow keys to move through the gallery.

My old high school teacher and pilot used to repeat the old adage, “There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots; there aren’t any old, bold pilots.”

I spent a lot of time in the ink-slinging business being a bold photographer, but now that I have achieved the status of an old photographer, I’m not quite as bold. Not too many years ago, I roamed Cape shooting weather photos. This gallery was all taken without backing the van out of the driveway.

Here are some links to weather pictures and stories when I was younger and bolder.

 

 

 

 

Snow Comes to Cape

The weather folks have been teasing us all week telling us that a big snow storm (they call it an “event”) is coming. We had a little God Dandruff scatter for a few minutes earlier in the week, but Wednesday was supposed to be the biggie.

I had to go to the Jackson Walmart to have some prints made. As I backed out of the driveway, some fairly sizable flakes were getting organized, but I wasn’t worried. Just as I closed the car door, I noticed how the flag was nicely backlit, and some of the flakes were popping out. (You can click on the photos to make them larger.)

Rose bush looks like cotton field

Since I was already almost to Jackson, and because I had some time to kill, I decided to have a combo, slaw, fries and a Mr. Pibb at Wibb’s.

By the time I finished, there was serious snow on the road. I got behind a slow driver going up the steep hill next to the city park, and I kept thinking, “If this guy don’t dial some giddy-up, we’re going to spin out here.”

There wasn’t a bread and milk freak-out going on at Walmart when I picked up my prints, but a lot of baskets were filled with snow melt.

Hwy 61 between Jackson and Cape was covered. I got in behind a snow plow (at a safe distance), but parts of the road were still slick. Even going up Kingsway Drive kept my traction control popping on and off.

I looked at the rose bush in the front yard, and was glad I had a nice, warm house to hide away in.

Memories of snow and smack

I’m pretty cautious about driving on snow and ice because I learned at an early age that just because you can go doesn’t mean you can stop. Jim Stone, Carol Klarsfeld and I were checking out the sights on a steep hill near Bertling when we came around a curve and saw a car on our side of the road.

I put on the brakes, but gravity was not on our side. We slowly crashed into the other car with my tank of a 1959 Buick LaSabre station wagon. My car suffered so little damage I didn’t bother to take a photo of it. The other guy was less lucky.

OK, I’ll go take a look

After pacing around in the kitchen for a few minutes, temptation overcame good sense and I grabbed for a jacket and headed out.

I learned as a Missourian photographer, that there are a few places in Cape that are like shooting fish in a barrel when it’s time to come up with some weather or wild art.

Capaha Park and the train is one of them.

A heavy, wet snow

This may be one of those great snows that turns out to be very pretty, but probably won’t stick around long. Roads that were pretty treacherous when I set out were already plowed or in the process of being plowed by the time I headed back.

This was taken near the new pavilion in Capaha Park that overlooks where the pool used to be.

Next stop: SEMO

It took two passes to shoot this picture of Academic Hall. When I got right in front of the building, I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a bus coming up behind me. I figured I’d better keep going to give him room.

Then, I saw him turn off.

When I made my second pass, I managed to get off a few frames before a car showed up in the mirror again. What are those fools doing out on a night like this?

A swing and a miss

I felt like I had to shoot something along Broadway. These trees and utility pole caught my eye, but I’m not overjoyed with the result.

Oh, well, you can strike out 7 of 10 times at bat, and still make a million bucks a year.

Main Street decorations

Some other folks had posted pictures of Main Street’s decorations on Facebook before the snow, so I actually got out of the car to shoot this.

Lady Liberty and Freedom Corner

This situation looked better than it photographed. I’m including it because it was the second time I got out of the car.

As I stepped off the curb, I thought, “Please don’t let this slush be deep enough to fill my shoe.”

It wasn’t.

I was acutely aware of the possibility, because the night before I was pricing a pair of old-fashioned galoshes that I could slip over my shoes when confronted with mud, slush or snow. When I saw the price, I decided my toes could get pretty chilly before I’d spring for overshoes.

I decided that I had cheated death enough, so I hung it up and headed home. My meanderings didn’t produce any great art, but it felt good to check snow off the year’s bucket list.

 

 

What’s the White Stuff?

The gravel in the driveway was getting a bit thin, so I put about a dozen 50-pound bags of it down several weeks ago. The recent rains exposed some more muddy spots, so I bought another five bags.

The irony is that Dad used to buy gravel by the train-load, probably for what I had just paid for about 20 bags. Anyway, while I was spreading the gravel, I noticed specks of white flying by. I didn’t think it was the fireplace belching ashes, so I watched more closely. Sure enough, some of the pellets were turning into flakes.

You can click on the photos to make them larger.

The Bolton House across the street

I decided I needed to bring in more firewood, so I hauled the wagon outside, then went back inside to piddle around for a few minutes. Suddenly, I saw people in the area posting on Facebook that it was snowing.

Son of a gun, it WAS showing. Snowing enough that the ground was white and I had to empty out the wood wagon before I could load it.

Walnut waiting to become firewood

When I bought Mother’s house from my brothers, I had a list of things that needed to be taken care of. One of the first was to chop down two maple trees that Mother and Dad planted when they bought the house. One of them was so hollow that it was a wonder that it hadn’t fallen on us or the neighbor.

I asked the tree trimmer to cut some dead walnut limbs that were about to fall either on the driveway or the roof. He looked this tree over and said, “You’d be better off to let me take it down now instead of having to come back in a year or so.”

I hated to see it go, but he does this for a living. I let him haul off all the big pieces, but had him leave pieces small enough that I could cut them to fireplace length without having to split them.

Shed in a Box

In 2013, David, Mark and I built Mother a Shed in a Box to park her riding mower in. It was a lot easier for her to do that than to wrestle tarps over it.

It’s getting some stress tears in the tarp top that I’m going to have to patch up with tape as soon as it warms up.

Mother loved having these spinners in the yard so she could tell how hard the wind was blowing. This is the last one left, and it’s only a matter of time before the elements get it, too.

Gradually returning to nature

There was an old tree at the corner of the yard that died many, many years ago. Mark said not to cut it because there were holes in that indicated that it was home for all kind of critters.

Old age and gravity finally won out. It’s gradually becoming compost to feed other plants.

 Needles and flakes

The tiny ice crystals lodged wherever they could. Fortunately, they weren’t accompanied by damaging ice and sleet.

A study in green and red

The holdover red holly berries add a festive touch to the cold. It’s 18 and falling at midnight (feels like 8 degrees), and it’s headed for 11 at 6 a.m. I don’t want to know the “feels like” temperature.

Old McKendree Wearing White

Old McKendree Chapel in snow 02-09-2016It dawned on me the other day that I had photographed Old McKendree Chapel in just about every season, but never when it was dusted with snow. Since I was already as far as the Benjamin F. Hunter Cabin, it was only right to venture down the lane to the chapel, its grounds and across the road to the cemetery.

Other stories

I covered the history of the chapel in this tale when I feared the Methodists had set a trap for a backsliding Lutheran.

When I ran across photos of the chapel from 1962, I was disappointed to see how many of the huge old trees had succumbed to old age and the weather.

Old McKendree Chapel photo gallery

Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery.