Saturday, February 26, 2011

In which the weather outside is still frightful and I am all purple

The weather is still disrepaired here in the Swamp.  

HOWEVER, the I.R.S. processed my taxes (finally) and my Big Fat Tax Return appeared in my checking account last night.   Y'all know what that means:   time to buy building materials!

Jim and I hustled off to the lumber yard today and bought an entire "unit" (44 pieces) of plywood.  I have never spent so much money for mere potential.  Ever.  Criminy.  The good news is that we can start cutting the boards to size tomorrow!  Since the barn roof is in place, we have a large place to work out of the rain, hurrah!

The bad news?  We cannot PAINT (and thus cannot MOUNT) the walls until the temperature rises above 50 degrees.   Look at our backyard:
Do you even remember what 50 degrees looks like?  I vaguely remember the color, growing out of the ground, not just the normal moss-growth on the Swamp-dwelling people.  Bah.  There isn't 50 degrees in our forecast for at least a week.   Bah, bah, bah.

However, here's something I can say nice things about:  Purpleness.  

It's so warm, it's cool.  Dig the insulated purple overalls (locally referred to as "cuvvies") with the matching insulated purple jacket?  Oh, yeah.  I'm a huge fan of Carhartt gear, but they haven't quite got the hang of purple yet.  "Raspberry" isn't "purple", y'all, anymore than "dirt" equals "chocolate."   Right? 

Jim's enterprising brothers teamed up with Santa Claus in December and got me really-o, truly-o purple cuvvies and a jacket from Rods! 
I was hopeful, but slightly skeptical.  Could they possibly wear as strongly as Carhartts?  Could they possibly keep me warm and dry, even in the cold wet Swamp?  Guess what?  They can--and they do!  I'm loving these garments.  They are "work-wear sized," which means they don't cling or bind...and they fit over my jeans or my riding breeches or my jammies.  The pockets are big enough for tools, a flashlight, my camera, and a fistful of horse cookies.  (The pockets also keep my stuff dry, which is important to people who want to use the camera or the horse cookies a few hours later!).  The hood fits over my riding helmet.  Machine wash + dry.  I saw a teeny bit of shrinkage at the first washing, but not after that.  I've pretty much worn them every day since I unpacked the box under the tree.

And hey: they're purple.  Eat your heart out, Carhartt.   (they come in pink, too).  Here's the link.

Speaking of purple, and a little closer to home, here's another great shopping discovery:

Purple insulated thermal gloves with rubberized palms!  Wahooooo!   I got these at my local farmer's co-op, but I see that the brand is "Bellingham"...uh, as in my hometown?   Sure enough:  the gloves are from a commercial fishing company based in Bellingham, WA.  How cool is that? 

I admit:  I bought these gloves because they're purple and because my hands were cold that day.  But I've returned to the feed store and bought a bunch of extra pairs of them because they actually keep my hands warm and relatively dry (i.e. dry if you get rained on but not dry if you immerse them in a water tank to retrieve something your goofy horse tossed in).  The rubber palms make it easy to hold onto a leadrope with one hand and open the gate clip with the other. And they're purple, which is important.  And also under $10, so I can buy lots and not feel bad when I lose the left one. 

(always the left, don't ask me why)

I love them.

The LFS Marine store online is a little wonky, and I found plenty of Bellingham gloves on the website but not the purple ones.  Blue, black, and dayglow yellow (Jim got those, because they are difficult to lose), but not purple.  Me, I'd contact the LFS store if your feed store doesn't have these amazing gloves. Here's the link to their contact info. 

As for me:  well, the delusionists at the National Weather Service seem to think our weather will improve soon.  Slightly.  Probably.  Well, kinda. 

Can we all just think warm thoughts for a few hours?  Maybe that would help. 

Warm thoughts...and purple clothes.  It can't hurt, I'm thinking.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

In which we all sing a childhood song about the cold, wet, white weather

The more it
(tiddly pom)

 The more it GOES
 (tiddly pom)
The more it GOES
(tiddly pom)

And nobody KNOWS
(tiddly pom)
How cold my TOES
(tiddly pom)

 How cold my TOES
(tiddly pom)

The poets at Haiku Farm wish to thank A.A. Milne and Winnie the Pooh for making up this entirely appropriate hum.  

In which we visit my old stompin' grounds and do a bit of stompin'

There was a holiday from work and a day off from school AND it wasn't raining or sn*wing, so we loaded everybody--and I do mean everybody--into the rig and headed north.
The kids brought bicycles, and I gave them a good map and some directions for stuff to look for.  Their destination:  Fairhaven, the historical district of my hometown.

These two city kids couldn't wait to bicycle out of the woods (about 3 miles, if you stay on the trail and don't get lost...) and into the little town where they could walk around and oogle the quaint little shops.  We don't have a lot of quaint shops in Arlington.  Arlington is a practical place, where you can buy plumbing supplies and building supplies and farming supplies, where you can go bowling or get a burger or even a bowl of vegetable soup, where you wave at neighbors and clerks in the stores will ask you how the barn-building project is progressing.  Quaintness, however, is in short supply.  I'm good with it, but the kids sometimes feel deprived.

We could have dropped them off close to town, but that's no fun.  We all started and returned at the trailhead--room for bikes and horses and anything else you want to bring. 

Willy took pictures while they were still in the woods,
but once they got to town, I think they were too busy revelling in paved sidewalks and interesting shop windows to bring out the camera!

Jim and I took the horses in the other direction, out the Interurban Trail to the south. 
The Interurban is built on an old railroad grade that connected Bellingham with Mt Vernon and other coastal towns.  The trail currently stops at the Clayton Beach trailhead about 7 miles from town, but I know that trail groups and recreational groups like the City and County and State parks service folks are busily land-swapping with private landowners to increase the trail-usable space accessed by the Interurban.  When I still lived nearby, I did some trail scouting for Whatcom County Parks, and some of the trails we poked through 12 years ago are now on the map!

This waterfall

was cause for tremendous worry and consternation.  The mares were finally convinced that walking past it on a perfectly flat, dry trail would probably not kill them.  When we passed it going home, they gave it The Ear of Danger, but that's all. 

We took a snack break
at the Clayton Beach trailhead, consulted the map,

and headed uphill for a bit more strenuous workout.

On the way up the hill, we ran into weather.  Yes, that's sn*w in Fiddle's mane.  Bleck.

Even with storm clouds moving in, the overlook is beautiful.  We could see Lummi Island and part of the Canadian San Juan Islands.

Roundtrip: about 14 miles.  And, oh.  So much fun.

In which Jean solves a technical problem and I award her a GOLD STAR

Jean is a genius!

The weird formatting came from >something< in the post about broken weather...some strange bit of HTML that I couldn't find.  By deleting ALL the formatting, my sidebar once again appears

(drumroll please)


Um, except I've deleted bunches of it while mucking around.  Including a lot of my favorite blog links.   If you are a blogger and your blog should  be on my sidebar and it isn't, please leave a note in the comments with a link and I'll put it back in.

Fortunately, the weather is still broken, we've got 8+ inches of heavy, wet sn*w on the ground here at Haiku Farm, so I'm stuck at home until the Swamp warms up a me LOTS of time to re-un-fix the sidebar and it's missing parts.

Thanks, everyone.  And especially, thanks to Jean!

In which if I HAD much hair, I'd have torn it out by now--please help me!

Blogspot has spontaneously re-located my SIDEbar to the BOTTOM of the page.

I didn't change anything to make this happen, but I've been trying to put the sidebar back on the side and I'm just boggled. When I get into the LAYOUT page, all the stuff shows up on the side, but when I look at the blog, it's all down at the bottom again.

I even DELETED everything in the sidebar, hoping to add it back, but the )*&^*() keeps sinking to the bottom again.

Ideas, anyone? My other blog is still fine, but there aren't any horses on that one.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In which our weather is broken, so we stop and take a closer look

This was outside yesterday:


One of my primary reasons for living in the Swamp is that we rarely have to shovel the weather. This week is apparently one of the exceptions, because we got a few inches of the nasty white stuff yesterday, and overnight we got a bunch more.

(NOAA said that we would get a half-inch of shovel-able weather yesterday. We got 2 inches. Overnight we were supposed to get another inch. We got 3 more. They're predicting another 3 to 7 for today. Should I expect 6 to 14? or 9 to 21? I think the National Weather Service has been watching too much Star Trek, and is using a reverse Scotty Factor to under-predict sn*wfall in the Swamp).

Footprint rollcall:

me (above)

Jim (below) Luna and Mimsy (above)
a wild bunny (above)
the Minervas Louise (below)the neighbor's cat

the goats (above)
Fiddle and Hana (below)

the kids (above)
the big truck (below)My little truck is snuggled into an out-of-the-way parking spot until all this nastiness melts. It has good tires, and 120-pounds of bagged sand in the bed, but it does not have four wheel drive...and it does not do well in slippery road conditions. So, I'm stuck at home for a while--um, using the reverse Scotty Factor on current weather predictions, I'll be here 2 to 6 days!
Blah.At least it's pretty.