The Watering Hole; Thursday February 26 2015; Weird Week Weather-Wise

It’s been a weird week, weather-wise, both in Colorado and across much of the country. Here at the foot of the Rockies, we literally went from temps in the 70s and 80s — and a completely thawed lake — to heavy snow and temps near zero, then back into bright sunshine and warming days, then back to more cold and more heavy snow.

Following are six photographs that pretty much summarize the weird weather’s week. It begins on Thursday the 19th — a bright sunny and warm day at the local lake with a scene that definitely doesn’t look like mid-winter. It’s a lake view on an incredibly still afternoon. The water was glassy smooth and after looking at the photo, I thought the reflections of the bare and leafless trees looked better when the scene was inverted — a touch of Monet, maybe? Oh, and that white stuff at the waterline is the remnant of the snow that fell a couple of weeks earlier.

Beckwith reflections 899The next day, Friday the 20th, not too much changed. It was cooler, and by afternoon the wind had picked up. Something was definitely in the air, though, and the weather forecast was looking pretty grim — this time they got it right. The following five shots show the progression of the storm; in order to avoid freezing my delicate shutter finger, each and all were taken through my front window.

First, Saturday morning, the gathering storm as it wrapped its arms around Mt. St, Charles, a 12.000 ft peak in the Front Range, the Wet Mountains.

Mt St Charles 904The snow started falling Saturday afternoon and was still coming down on Sunday morning, with close to a foot on the ground by 8AM. In the photo below, note the two almost buried cars, parked on what was once a passable road.

Snowy day 909Monday morning, the sun was out, the sky was blue, and the snow was covering everything in sight, trees included. The Front Range was still shrouded in an ice fog, however, and remained that way the entire day.

Snow scene 917Tuesday morning, the fog had dissipated and the sky over the mountains was crystal clear, and COLD!

Roundtop & St Charles 926The sun was still shining on Wednesday until around noon when the next weather front started coming over the front range. Dark clouds hailed the front’s arrival over Mt. St. Charles.

Mt St Charles 929Within the hour the Front Range was completely immersed in low clouds and fog, and by mid-afternoon the snow started to fall here. By seven PM Wednesday night, several inches had already fallen and the wind was blowing it all over the place; visibility was down to a few feet at best.

The bad part of the story is that, according to the National Weather Service, it’s likely to be Monday-next before things calm down again. So here’s some advice to everyone living east of the Rockies: don’t put your snow shovels away just yet!

I guess Emily Dickinson sort of summed it all up some 160 years ago when she wrote this little gem:

The Sky is low — the Clouds are mean.
A Travelling Flake of Snow
Across a Barn or through a Rut
Debates if it will go —

A Narrow Wind complains all Day
How some one treated him
Nature, like Us is sometimes caught
Without her Diadem.

Sure am glad all that climate change bunkum is nothing but a giant hoax. I mean hey, if it was for real, then various corners of the country might be getting some really goofy weather now and again!


The Frozen Hole, Saturday, February 21st, 2015: M-m-m-more S-s-s-snow?!

It seems like more than half the country is getting hit by more snow, ice, and other nasty cold stuff through this weekend.

We humans are just not designed for this. So, everyone stay warm inside and have a look at lots of animals who were much better designed for snow than we are. As usual, thanks to The Weather Channel for gathering the pics in this slideshow. While they do include some of my favorite ‘snow’ animals, such as the snow leopard:
snow-leopard-normalI think they were a bit remiss in not including others of my favorite snow-loving animals, like the Arctic Fox:
Arctic-fox-Wallpaper-arctic-fox-muzzle-eyes-snowAnd not a single one of Arctic Hares, either:

Arctic Hares High-Fiving

Arctic Hares High-Fiving

But I have to say that my favorite ‘wildlife-in-snow’ themed photo that ISN’T in the slideshow is this one:

"Hey, maybe one of you two cubs is small enough to reach in there..."

“Hey, maybe one of you two cubs is small enough to reach in there…”

This is our daily Open Thread – if you’re reading this from somewhere with no snow, please think warm thoughts towards the rest of us!

Watering Hole: Tuesday, January 1, 2013 – New Year’s Day Traditions

The new year has several traditions in southeastern Pennsylvania and one of these is the Mummer’s Parade down Broad Street in Philadelphia.  The parade begins in South Philadelphia and moves up Broad Street to City Hall.  It is a fun filled event with many spectators lining the street.

There is a history to the mummers which dates all the way back to ancient Rome where  laborers marched all day wearing masks in celebration of the Festival of Saturnalia.

Mummers tradition dates back to 400 BC and the Roman Festival of Saturnalias where Latin laborers marched in masks throughout the day of satire and gift exchange.  This included Celtic variations of “trick-or-treat” and Druidic noise-making to drive away demons for the new year.  Reports of rowdy groups “parading” on New Years day in Philadelphia date back before the revolution.  Prizes were offered by merchants in the late 1800’s.  January 1, 1901 was the first “official” parade offered about $1,725 in prize money from the city.

The Mummers parade is a celebration of the New Year but is serious business in Philadelphia.  Clubs work on the costumes and practice all year for their one day in the sun (…wind, rain or snow).  There are many lively discussions over the scoring by the judges and adherence to the complicated set of rules the marchers must follow when being judged.  String Bands are judged on their musical presentation as well as the costumes.  Seeing and hearing a String Band performing live in the parade is a one-of-a-kind experience.

I present to you lots of men in kilts.  May this put a smile on someone special’s face  🙂

To bring in good luck for the new year, we Pennsylvanians enjoy our pork, sauerkraut, and mashed potatoes.  Everyone has their own recipe for this meal.  I cook a pork loin in the crock pot along with the sauerkraut.  The seasonings that I prefer are nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and clove.  These spices sweeten the sauerkraut.  As for the mashed potatoes, my most recent recipe includes horseradish added to this dish.

As Pete the Cat would say, “Because it’s all good.”

Happy New Year!  May the new year be a good year.

This is our Open Thread. What are your traditions?  Speak Up!

The Earliest Nor’Easter EVER: Before and After

Two weeks ago, the Northeast was enjoying a fairly normal, if a bit rainy, autumn. Temperatures were mild and the foliage season went as usual, if somewhat dampened.


Then the earliest Nor’easter ever hit.


The storm reached our village around noon on Saturday, October 29th, starting with innocuous-looking, barely visible flakes. Despite the moisture of the ground, they began to stick pretty quickly: to the ground, to the trees, to the wires overhead. We lost power just about 4:00pm – luckily, I was able to immediately light the gas stove and, with enough daylight left for me to see in the kitchen, I threw together a lamb stew. While that was cooking, the destruction began outside. The first ‘victims’ were the bird-feeders, about 15 feet off the deck. Wayne managed to dig one out and hung it on the surviving shepherd’s hook.

When Tree Limbs Attack

When Tree Limbs Attack

When the long, windy night – filled with the sounds of snapping limbs, cascading snow, and the thudding and scraping of branches on the roof – was over, the house was surrounded by a forest of branches.



We were lucky: the roof was intact, the deck was unharmed, and no windows were broken. Unfortunately, there are thousands of homes and businesses without power even now. NYSEG and other utility trucks, along with local and NYSDOT highway crews, have been out in force all week, but there is still an incredible amount of tree damage and debris left to be cleared.

Update: Of course, the snow can transform a still-unfinished garden into something a bit more wondrous-looking:

Garden Gate

The Watering Hole: December 25 – Christmas Bird Census

From December 19, 2010 until January 5, 2011; the National Audubon society is conducting a national bird census.

Here is my contribution:

Great White Egret 12/24/2010

Photo by WaltTheMan © 2010

The picture was snapped at 2:27 PM EST on December 24, 2010 at the juncture of Palmetto Road and 5th Street near Crescent Beach in Saint Johns County Florida.

This guy (or gal) was not in my feeder, but I walked (about ½ a mile) to where he (or she) was roaming. These particular birds are actually very tolerant of humans around here. If you are interested, you could nab one of these creatures for Christmas dinner. Be advised that, like bald eagles, they taste a bit fishy.

What have you observed this season?

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to add your thoughts on this, or any other topic that comes to mind.

The Watering Hole: December 9 – Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Picture by WaltTheMan at 7:15 AM on 12/08/2010.

The above pair of egrets are looking at the water in a drainage ditch and apparently debating the wisdom of entering the water. At the time the picture was taken, the temperature was 34°F and the wind was blowing at about 15 mph. In any case, the frogs and land crabs are probably in their snug little homes, cuddling up together against the frigid weather. Geckos, their summer prey, are off selling insurance.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to add your thoughts on this, or any other topic that comes to mind.

It may look pretty but…Friday’s Open Thread

All new posts will be below this one.

Well,this is just swell.

I opened my garage door to what I thought was a couple of inches of snow, backed out of my driveway and promptly got stuck in the skirt.  Those couple of inches turned out to be almost 10″ and since the plows had done their thing, even my AWD couldn’t handle it.

Thank goodness for neighbors!  Two of them helped me rock my way out of forever stuckedness.

How are things in your neck of the woods.