Monthly Archives: April 2014

When pigs fly

The old adage “when pigs fly” could apply today, but for a completely different reason. Rather than indicating a nearly impossible event, it could easily describe the stuff flying through the air from this morning’s strong winds. What few leaves I raked out of  the front yard gardens are probably in Canada by now. Empty trash and recycling containers wound up in different locations and sometimes different yards. My house is well sheltered with a side hill and large trees, and I rarely see wind speeds over 15 mph on my anemometer. This morning I saw sustained winds of over 20 mph. I’m sure the unsheltered areas saw wind gusts of nearly 50 mph.  That would be fast enough to get the obnoxious pig in the GEICO commercials airborne. He might need the extra insurance to save his bacon.

My neighbor to the southwest, He Who Yells At Owls, lost two large limbs from his giant silver maple. His displeasure easily carried above the cacophony of chain saws and an industrial wood chipper courtesy of a tree service. Fortunately his house and my chain link fence emerged unscathed. His back yard has a couple of nice divots because the top two inches of ground is soft. I don’t think a standard golf divot tool will fix those holes. I lost several small branches, but none over an inch in diameter, and not enough fallen wood to use my chipper. That comes later this week when I prune the shrubbery. The branches will go on my wood pile. I have a half kitchen cord of wood that will probably last another three years at current consumption. The apple tree I must remove soon will add almost another half cord.

In the meantime, my neighbor to the east is acquiring large amounts of firewood. My guess is he has about three cords of wood split and stacked behind his shed. No doubt the city will eventually tell him to get rid of most or all of it due to ordinance violations. What is curious is their house does not have a fireplace or wood stove, though perhaps one may be installed. We are allowed recreational fires, but not on the order of the Great Chicago Fire.

The winds of change are upon us. After Nature’s unpleasant late April Fool’s joke last Monday dumped over a foot of snow on the northern metro (I was spared and only picked up ½”), the Twin Cities are getting a strong warm front howling through from the south. Three days of slightly above normal temperatures will give way to three slightly below normal days with chances of rain. At least the dreaded four-letter “s” word is not in the forecast. Easter Sunday and Monday may yield badly needed 70° temperature readings, calm to gentle breezes, and an appearance by that curious bright and warm thing in the sky.

Most Christian calendars list this Sunday as Easter. Easter is a time of hope and rebirth. I hope you get a chance to spend this time with your loved ones, that your weather is pleasant, and that you find a rebirth of joy and happiness. Thank you for remembering Lucy last week and for your kind emails and comments.


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“You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” (two years)

Barry White’s 1974 love song referenced in the title still describes how I feel about Lucy two years later. I know many of you love her, too. Please take a moment to remember her today. For those of you lucky enough to have a special someone who is your everything, give him or her an extra hug and be thankful that person is still in your life. My thoughts and prayers are with those of you who have lost loved ones.

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Stuck in a rut

Yeah, it’s been one of those winters that started early, acted badly, and overstayed its welcome. The weather forecasts sound like a broken phonograph record, a tale of five days of below normal temperatures, a one-day sharp warm up, a one day sharp drop, and a skip to the beginning. This last round left an unwelcome seven-inch dumping of snow, numerous traffic accidents and snarls, and several million short-tempered people. It has been a season of hoping that the snow is finally done falling for the season and then having that hope smothered under several inches of slush.

The constant weather disappointments test resiliency. Resiliency has its roots in hope. We have all heard the adage “Hope springs eternal”. Dante Alighieri in the “Divine Comedy” imagined a warning on the gate to Hell including the phrase “Abandon all hope, you who enter here”. Hell is a metaphor for losing all hope. People’s attitudes change for the worse as hope dwindles.

There may be light at the end of the tunnel, and it may not be a snowplow’s headlights. A slight threat of snow Sunday night gives way to a slight chance of 70° on Wednesday, at least according to the latest four-minute entertainment piece, er, weather forecast. I think they’re about to get one right for a change. Road crews have alternated between emergency pothole repair and snow removal these past few weeks. People in Minneapolis and St. Paul have played a game of constantly moving their street parked cars to accommodate valiant but futile snow removal efforts and may enjoy a break from shovels and tow trucks. Vehicles and bridge surfaces will enjoy a salt-free diet again. Ducks trying to land on lakes will not skid after bouncing off ice, but gracefully set down on water. Perhaps humans will molt their winter outer layers, too.

If the weather permits in your area, get outside and enjoy nature. Enjoy time with those you love. It may help give hope to someone who needs it.


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Filed under literature, rebuilding, weather