Saturday, April 22, 2017

more wet days

We finally hit 65° on the hill-top (Portland too) on Friday - but heavy showers today render it a near-mythical memory already. I had figured that next week would produce another above-normal month here - but I did not see with the science-geek eyes of uWa professor Cliff Mass. His link below notes a pending atmospheric river with several unusual features, coming soon to a coastline near us: it's wide, moving fast and of Filipino origins. This is not a typical time of year for such things anyway, so it's both impressive & depressing to see more grey and wet days ahead.




Friday, April 21, 2017

first mowing of '17

A single beautiful day broke through the clouds today, and we reached 65° for the first time. Portland had not hit 65 before today either, which broke a long-standing record for the latest to reach that temperature! I did not get a chance to relax thoroughly in it, but I did get to sit on our large, loud mower and get the level areas mowed. The tires slipped when attempting a hill but I managed it once I learned to lean over the slipping wheel. It's no surprise I would slip, as over half the lawn is in fact moss.. but in the end the place looks much better.

I hate using my cell-phone camera, but it did a decent job of the late-day sun on our local volcano. No blooms on this particular rhododendron, but others are beginning to blush.

And now, back into the showers. April will probably reach its normal amount of rain, like every month except January.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

regaining contact

Our cell phones have been almost useless this past year. Our home is quite remote, so it's no great surprise - yet the degraded signal is a problem.  Both calls and texts have been missed, and some text replies arrive a day too late to be of much value.

We recently picked up a signal booster, in our case a WeBoost 3G device for residential use. First tests were not great, but eventually I rigged up a test-spot with a consistently decent signal. Today I crawled under the house and rerouted a coaxial cable that once went to a satellite dish. I pulled it to the other side of the house where cell towers are most prevalent, and mounted the antenna high on the side of our home. Once the inside antenna was set up, both our signals​ was pretty much at maximum strength!

So we have improved from a home where two indoor spots gave us occasional signals to excellent reception in several rooms and our deck as well. Much better!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

damp days

Numerous sites around us have already reached their water-year totals for 2017. Put another way, if it stops raining now we would still be above normal in September! Our site agrees with this as we are 3" above our computed Oct-Sep average right now, and another inch should fall through tomorrow. Quite amazing, and difficult to bear - even for the Pacific NW this has been an exceptionally cloudy stretch of months.

If you're seeking geekier details with charts and stats, the CliffMass blog is where you should be!

Our season has turned, however, with crocus daffodils and our first hummingbird sighting. The days are longer, though still wet and grey. You can watch it rain longer with the extra daylight though, and no doubt the rain-drops are a bit warmer.

 This too shall pass!

4/20 update:
from fox12 weather 'blog,  speaking for Portland:
"WE’VE NEVER GONE THIS FAR INTO THE SPRING SEASON WITHOUT HITTING 65 DEGREES."
Ouch/brr..

Saturday, February 18, 2017

memories of March

We have now gone a few weeks with no snow; however next week's forecast is now hinting at a little bit more, later in the week. Of course it would be forecast for the day of an appointment that has been cancelled twice by snow.. we shall see about that! They are only expecting 1" but that's what 'they' always say at first.

I recall several late-season snows in Portland that painted the West Hills white - and since we live at 750' those would now be us. Even mid-March photos from my office showed snows just a few hundred feet above my fifth-floor perch! It's therefore prudent to be prepared for a last, brief burst of white in the coming few weeks.

We now have modern cleats for all four wheels of the SportTrac. That will not keep us from slipping sideways off our own driveway, but it's handy once off the steepest part. The Fiat has also shown its worth this cold season, enduring many trips that it should not have been forced to take.


Some day soon we can begin planting our garden, basking on the porch, and looking at the winter of 2016/17 as a distant memory. 
Not yet.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

a stunning turnaround

After a white season like we've had, it was quite surprising to see how quickly the year's largest snowfall disappeared. Five days ago we had 13 inches on the ground - and on the trees, which broke many of them and tilted others beyond recovery! Today we are down to small piles wherever I shoveled it into mounds. It was pretty nearly gone by Thursday morning but now it's barely a memory.



All vehicles are back on top of the hill where they presumably belong. Plenty of firewood is now available for the coming seasons.. assuming I can get our chain-saw to work again. Plenty of scars will remain to remind us of this winter.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

why do I ache so?

Let me count the ways! 

  1. Shoveling a long path downhill, to remove icy slush (heavier than snow)
  2. Carrying bundles of firewood uphill from the point the Fiat gets stuck - that location is just below where the Explorer is stuck from trying to go down the un-shoveled path!
  3. Chain-saw and hand-saw removal of several trees, the big one 8 inches in diameter! (I had help)
  4. Walking back and forth to the mailbox, once on snowshoes.. yes it's uphill both ways, in the snow!
  5. Removing snow from the cracked porch awning that I built four short months ago, and
  6. Trimming and fitting a long stick to support the cracked section!

No doubt I've missed a few points here. Yes I should hurt - I don't believe I have ever shoveled thirteen inches of snow at a time, not to mention how long a walkway I carved from the Big Garage past the house and down to the cars. Oh yes: I also shoveled around our mail-boxes, as the local plow made them almost completely inaccessible for little mail-trucks (I suspect they had to back up to reach them).

Task #3: missed the car, but not by much! The pine in back is a lost cause.


I found a few extra g-free ales in my garage refrigerator.. those won't last long!