Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Journal: Wednesday, 12/31/08

Sunday, 12/28/08:

Weather Summary:  High = 56ºF.  Low = 27ºF.  A new cold front finally arrived and put and end to the gusty south wind we'd endured for the past couple of days.  Mostly sunny.

We walked the woods/pasture loop on our afternoon hike.  Not much going one there.  Some sections of our normal path are getting churned into a muddy mess by the cows.

Monday, 12/29/08:

Weather Summary:  High = 70ºF.  Low = 34ºF.  A beautiful, mild winter day.

Chainsaw:  The chain was getting dull so I'd decided to remove it and take it into town for sharpening on my next trip.  For the time being, I'd replace it with a used chain I'd gotten sharpened toward the end of last year's cutting season.  That was my plan, and that was eventually what I did.  The problem was:  I'd forgotten where I stored the sharpened chain.

The hickory that fell in our yard last Saturday.  Saying it fell on the clothesline wouldn't be correct.  It was the center clothesline support.

At first, when I couldn't find the sharpened chain, I convinced myself that I must have already used it.  I decided to move on to Alternate Plan B:  Find the best used chain among my collection, install it, touch up the teeth with a file and hope it would get the job done until I could get a chain professional sharpened.  I proceeded with Alternate Plan B up to the point of actually installing my best-looking used chain, then I suddenly thought of a another place to look for the sharpened chain.  I found it, discarded Plan B and reverted to Primary Plan A.  I installed the sharpened chain, cleaning and lubing my chainsaw in the process.  Then, I topped off fuel and bar oil, cranked up the chainsaw, made a couple of cuts and readjust the tension on the chain.  With the chainsaw ready to go, it was time to start cutting some wood, except by this time it was too late in the day for starting on that job.  I stored the chainsaw and accessories away and we went on our afternoon walk.

Tuesday, 12/30/08:

Weather Summary:  High = 63ºF.  Low = 41ºF.  South wind build for most of the day, then slowly switching to the north as a weak cold front moved through our area late in the day.

Sawed up the dead hickory tree that Saturday's strong south wind had blown down.  A few sections of the trunk may be usable as firewood, but most of the tree is too rotten.  Jo and I got a good start on removing the small limbs and other rotten sections from the yard. 

Past generations of Ozarkians tended to simply toss all trash off the nearest bluff. While Jo and I refrain from that practice, I see nothing wrong with transporting tree limbs and such the shortest distance possible.  We tossed the hickory limbs into the woods at the edge of the area I keep mowed.

The oak tree that took out our power lines when it fell up by the gate.  It's still laying across the road, but Jerry Joe eventually shoved it out of the way with his tractor.

PM Walk along the woods/pasture loop: Saw a bald eagle soaring overhead. We don't see many eagles up here on the ridge. There aren't a lot of bald eagles in this immediate area and most of those stay down in the valleys along the creeks and Buffalo River.

Wednesday, 12/31/08:

Weather Summary:  High = 50ºF.  Low = 36ºF.  Mostly clear with a blustery north wind blowing.  A nice day, but kind of chilly unless you could get out of the wind.

PM Walk:  On the bench road section of our walk we encountered a large group of cows coming along the road from the opposite direction.  We decided to give the cows the right of way, figuring that if we didn't, the cows would probably reverse course and we'd end up herding them all the way back home.  Since we didn't want the cows back at the house, we detoured through woods and let the cows proceed on their merry way.  That plan worked, but when we got back to the house, both Jo and I discovered we'd picked up hitch hikers.  Both of us found deer ticks still crawling around looking for a place to call home.  Neither of the ticks lived to see 2009, but will be recorded as our last ticks of 2008.

Nature in the Ozarks: A Mouse in the Woods -- Eeeek!

Jo and I did absolutely nothing out of the ordinary for New Year's Eve.  Jo watched a little television, took a nap on the couch and then got up and went to bed.  I was on the computer all evening.

So long 2008!


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Journal: Saturday, 12/27/08

►  Gusty south wind and intermittent light showers continue. No storms on the radar map yet. Temperature holding at 66ºF/19ºC @ 1:45 AM.

►  Strong south wind blowing ... gusts to 45 mph (72 kph) ... showers off and on ... .6 in/1.5 cm rain thus far ... 66ºF/19ºC @ 11:00 AM.

►  Checked the rain gauge.  Only .6" rain has fallen thus far.

►  The intensity and frequency of our rain is increasing, and as hard as it is to believe, the south wind is gusting even stronger.  Haven't heard any thunder yet, so we're obviously not experiencing thunderstorm yet.

►  Thanks to our extremely strong and gusty south wind, I can remove "Cut down dead hickory tree between house and studio" from my To Do list. However, now I must add "Install center clothesline support post" to my To Do list.  I've been needing to cut down that dead hickory for a couple of years -- or maybe longer -- but just haven't gotten around to it.  Had I cut it down, I could not have placed it in a more safe location than where it fell.  It was very rotten and just snapped off a couple of inches above the ground.  Now, I need to clean up the mess it made.  Unfortunately, the tree was too far gone and none of it is suitable for firewood.

►  1:30 PM:  Our power went off.  There was no flickering or surging off and on a couple of times.  The lights -- and every other electrical devise -- just went off as if someone had flipped a switch.  We checked an found that our telephone still worked.  Since the power line and telephone line down to our place run on the same poles, we concluded that the power outage was effecting this general area and was not some damage between us and our nearest neighbor.  Therefore, we didn't immediately call and report the outage.  However, after our power had been off for about forty minutes, Jo did phone in the problem.

►  I saw the biggest salamander I've ever seen out in the yard in front of the house.  It had to have been seven or eight inches long and as big around as my thumb.  I didn't even realize they grew that large.  Unfortunately, it was raining and I could not take the camera out into the yard to photograph the salamander.

►  2:00 PM:  Our new cold front seems to be beginning its arrival.  Our wind is becoming more variable in direction and the temperature is dropping slowly.  Evidently, this is going to be one of those fronts that just sloshes in and does not produce a dramatic change in our weather quickly.

►  3:00 PM:  Power restored.

►  4:00 PM:  The rain intensity and frequency had tapered off enough that we risked a walk to the gate.  Only one brief shower occurred while we were walking.  At the gate we discovered the reason for our power outage.  A tree was laying across the road just past the gate, and judging by where it's roots were located, it had to have hit the power lines on it's way down.  Also, even though the trunk is still across the road, some of its limbs have been removed with a chainsaw.  What I cannot figure is:  How did it fall and take out the electric lines without taking out the phone line too?  It must have gotten hung up as it fell and not have fallen completely down to the ground initially.  I'm glad it didn't bring the power and telephone lines together as it fell.  We've had one computer modem fried in that manner in the past.  Now I've got two fallen trees to clean up, and the one up by the gate must be removed before we can drive out.

►  5:00 PM:  The sky is finally beginning to clear.  The sun is breaking through the clouds low in the west.  It looks as if clearing is going to be a slow process.

►  The sky is pretty much clear now.  I can see lots of stars.   (42ºF/5ºC @ 7:00 PM)

►  Chilling down now that our new cold front has fully arrived. Clear, calm and 32ºF/0ºC @ midnight.

►  We received another one inch of rain this afternoon, giving us a total of 1.6" for the day.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Journal: Friday, 12/26/08

►  Our temperature fell after sunset, but then started heading back up around nine o'clock. A strong and gusty south wind is pumping in warm, moist air. 72º is our forecast high for Friday. And, thunderstorms are forecast with the arrival of a new cold front Friday night. (44ºF/6ºC @ midnight)

►  Awoke to overcast skies, strong and gusty south wind and intermittent fog/drizzle/mist. In a word: Funky. Our weather will be unsettled like this until the arrival of a new cold front clears things out, and NOAA has pushed that event back until late Saturday. (57ºF/13ºC @ 10 AM)

►  Walked up the road to the gate. Rain began when we were at the point farthest from the house. A dripping good time had by all. (63ºF/17ºC @ 4 PM)

►  Temperature continues rising. It's now colder inside the house than out. NOAA bumped our chance of thunderstorms up to 100%. (66ºF/19ºC @ 9 PM)

►  Today I was very successful at not getting much of anything done.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Journal: Thursday, 12/25/08

►  Midnight:  Clear, calm and 29ºF/-1.5ºC.  I hear no sleigh bells.

►  I am tired of waiting and will soon go to bed, but first I'll consume some milk and cookies.  (Clear, calm and 27ºF/-3ºC @ 4:30 AM)

Nature in the Ozarks blog post/photo:  Christmas Eve deer in the woods.  Seen along the bench road while on our afternoon walk.

►  A beautiful Christmas morning going here.  Clear skies, calm wind and 40ºF/4ºC @ 10:30 AM.

►  I think I'll go try out the new 2-cycle oil Santa brought: Fire up the chainsaw and cut some firewood. (Mostly clear and 49ºF/9ºC @ noon)

►  Cut a truckload (small pickup) of firewood while the neighbor's cows watched. (Cows think I might be bringing hay.)  Jo and the dogs arrived about the time I was finishing up.  Jo often helps get the wood I've split loaded into the truck, but this time she was too late for all that fun.  That was just as well because with the cows so close, the dogs would have been a problem if Jo were helping me.  Jo, Rusty and Bucket completed their walk to the gate while I drove home and started unloading the truck.  When Jo got home, she helped with that.

►  Tamales for supper with pecan pie for dessert. The tamales weren't too bad for store-bought. Jo's homemade pecan pie was scrumptious.

►  Our temperature fell after sunset, but then started heading back up around nine o'clock. A strong and gusty south wind is pumping in warm, moist air. 72º is our forecast high for Friday. And, thunderstorms are forecast with the arrival of a new cold front Friday night. (44ºF/6ºC @ midnight)

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Journal: Wednesday, 12/24/08

►  Heat wave.  Foggy, gusty south wind and 49ºF/9ºC @ midnight.

►  A little light rain during the early morning hours.  Only .3" in total for yesterday and overnight.

►  Mostly cloudy, but patches of blue sky starting to show through ... northwest wind ... 53ºF/11ºC @ 10:30 AM.

►  We are in the process of receiving a new cold front.  This one is neither supposed to drop the temperatures too much nor be messy.  (47ºF/8ºC @ 11:15 AM)

►  Clearing with the arrival of a new cold front progressing very slowly if at all.  (44ºF/6ºC @ noon)

►  Today ended up being a great day with lots of sunshine.  Too bad good weather isn't going to last long.  (43ºF/6ºC @ 4:30 PM.)

►  There's no meteorological excuse for Santa not finding our place again this year:  Clear skies, light northwest wind and 32ºF/0ºC @ 8:45 PM.

►  Midnight:  Clear, calm and 29ºF/-1.5ºC.  I hear no sleigh bells.

►  Weather Summary:  High = 54ºF/12ºC.  Low = 29ºF/-2ºC.  Temperature @ midnight = 29ºF/-2ºC.  AM = Temperatures continued rising gradually throughout the morning.  Skies remained overcast.  .3" of rain fell in the early morning hours.  PM = Skies cleared in the early afternoon leaving us with a beautiful, sunny day.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Journal: Tuesday, 12/23/08

►  Damp south wind kicking up. NOAA says freezing rain is on the way. (23ºF/-5ºC @ midnight)

►  Temperature holding at 23ºF/-5ºC @ 4:45 AM, but south wind gusting to around 30 mph/48 kph makes it feel a lot colder.

►  Don't think I'll be spending much time outdoors today: Overcast, gusty south wind, intermittent sleet and freezing rain, 28ºF/-2ºC @ 10:30 AM.

►  The last of our tomatoes picked right before first freeze are gone. Some went into a pot of black beans cooking on the stove; others went into the compost

►  Jo is making peanut butter cookies. She had the batter completely mixed before remembering she'd left out the peanut butter.

►  Jo's cookie dough is chilling. She's actually baking peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies

►  Temperature has finally risen to 33ºF/.5ºC @ 3:00 PM. Now we have just gusty south wind and drizzle. Hope the ice on the porch and steps thaws quickly.

►  We attempted a walk up the road, but didn't make it very far -- still too slick. 34ºF/1ºC @ 4:00 PM.

►  Ice gone.  Gusty south wind and drizzle remain.  43ºF/6ºC @ 8:00 PM.

►  Heat wave.  Foggy, gusty south wind and 49ºF/9ºC @ midnight.

►  Weather Summary:  High = 49ºF/9ºC.  Low = 22ºF/-5ºC.  Temperature @ midnight = 49ºF/9ºC.  AM = Temperatures rising, but still below freezing.  Received a light wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain.  PM = Temperatures continued climbing though midnight.  Rose above freezing mid-afternoon.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Journal: Monday, 12/22/08

►  Heading down to our coldest night thus far this winter.  (Clear, moderate northwest wind and 12ºF/-11ºC @ midnight)

►  Down to 8ºF/-13ºC @ 4:30 AM.  I don't even like saying "single digit temperatures" much less experiencing them.

►  Sky becoming mostly cloudy.  18ºF/-7ºC @ 11 AM.

►  Jo made a routine trip into town.  She waited until early afternoon to depart, giving our temperatures a chance to warm up a bit, but they still did not get warm enough for the Nissan pickup to start.  I had to give the battery a little boost with the battery charger before it would crank.

►  Cut firewood this afternoon. The neighbor's cows came and watched but never offered to lend a hoof and help.  I'm cutting alongside the road where Jerry Joe cut some trees in early fall.  On one hand, these trees are very easy to access and I don't have to tote the cut sections very far to load them into the truck.  On the other hand, most are not the straight, limbless specimens that make for easy splitting.  They are also still very green.  Most are fairly small in diameter.

►  I cut the sections short to aid splitting.  Where there were a lot of limbs coming off the truck, the sections I cut were more like discs or chunks -- only six inches or so in length.

►  Getting a fire started with green wood is extremely difficult to impossible.  That's the reason I really needed to start cutting more wood before we used all the seasoned firewood on hand.  Once a fire is going good, green wood will burn.  You just have to load up the stove with wood.  The wood on bottom burns which dries out the wood on top so that it will burn.  Gravity does the rest.  The only trick is that you must anticipate the heat output you will want from the stove two or three hours in advance.

►  Damp south wind kicking up. NOAA says freezing rain is on the way. (23ºF/-5ºC @ midnight)

►  Nature in the Ozarks blog post/photo:  My World -- Frost flowers.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Journal: Sunday, 12/21/08

►  Chilling down.  23ºF/-5ºC @ midnight.  A northwest wind gusting to 30 mph/48 kph doesn't help with keeping warm.

►  Time to throw a couple more logs on the fire and go to bed.  (Clear, gusty north wind and 15ºF/-9ºC @ 4:30 AM)

►  Nature in the Ozarks blog post/photo:  Today's Flowers -- Beach False Foxglove.

►  Not planning a picnic, but not too bad out if you can stay out of the wind.  Sunny, north wind 10-15 mph (16-24 kph), 21ºF/-6ºC @ 10:30 AM.

►  Temperature climbing under sunny skies.  27ºF/-3ºC @ noon.

►  I mixed up some gasoline for my chainsaw this afternoon, but that was as far as I got in preparing to cut some firewood.  Usually I've done quite a bit of firewood cutting by this time, but this year I didn't need to because we had a lot left over from last year.  Still, we hardly have enough to last through the entire winter so I need to get working on that project.

►  Temp climbed to around 20ºF/-1ºC during the heat of the day, but is falling fast now that the sun is setting. (23ºF/-5ºC @ 4:45 PM)

►  Really burning through the fire wood.  Blustery wind, clear sky and 17ºF/-8ºC @ 8:15 PM.

There were a few icicles on the waterfall just below our house, but not as many as I expected -- nor were they as large as I thought they might be.  The waterfall was catching a lot of direct sunlight.  The icicles were melting enough to fall even though our temperature remained below freezing all day.

►  Heading down to our coldest night thus far this winter.  (Clear, moderate northwest wind and 12ºF/-11ºC @ midnight)

►  Weather Summary:  High = 30ºF/-1ºC.  Low = 12ºF/-11ºC.  Temperature @ midnight = 12ºF/-11ºC.  Clear skies and a fairly gusty north wind all day.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Journal: Saturday, 12/20/08

►  Not too bad here at the moment: Light south wind, clouds starting to build and 40ºF/4ºC @ 4:00 AM.  Bedtime.

►  Let the caffeine consumption begin.  (Overcast, moderate south wind and 47ºF/8ºC @ 10:30 AM)

►  Overcast and moderate south wind continue. Wood stove going to take the dampness out of the air. (53ºF/11ºC @ noon)

Sometimes it's amazing how quickly dogs can learn something you aren't even trying to teach them, something you don't even want them to know.  We have two windows on the north side of our house:  A small one in the bathroom and a full-sized window next to the kitchen table.
From the kitchen table window, one can see the garden, the gate at the end of the trail coming down from our upper pasture and the bird feeder (made by Jo) hanging just outside the window.  Long ago the dogs learned to occasionally look out this window to see if there were any cows at the gate or deer in the garden.  If critters were seen, the dogs barked.  Rusty and Bucket don't care anything about the birds at the feeder or even -- surprisingly enough -- a squirrel in the bird feeder.  Jo and I use this window for watching and, occasionally, photographing the birds and deer.  We don't care anything about the cows unless they've gotten out and are in the yard.
Now Rusty and Bucket (especially Rusty) are learning that if Jo or I is looking out the kitchen table window, there may be something outside for them to bark at, so they rush over and look outside too.  If they see critters at the gate or in the garden, they bark.  Their barking will scare away deer in the garden and their rushing over will frighten birds at the feeder.  If Jo or I were trying to take a photo, too bad.  Our subject is gone.  What's worse, the dogs are beginning to learn that one of us picking up the camera might mean that a barkable creature is outside and is reason enough to rush over to the window.  Dogs!

►  The wind has shifted to the north and is blowing briskly.  Temperature is beginning to fall.  Overcast skies remain.  47ºF/8ºC @ 3:00 PM.

►  Back from walking the pasture/woods loop.  We had a close encounter of the cow kind that got the dogs all upset.  Nothing serious.  She was just heading down a relatively narrow section of trail as we were going up -- probably didn't get within ten feet of her, but that's too close for the dogs to keep their cool.  Both Rusty and Bucket were off their leashes at the time, but I saw the cow first and we were able to get them releashed before they noticed the cow.  (37ºF/3ºC @ 4:30 PM)

►  Skies clearing and the temperature is falling fast.  Forecast temps revised downward. (27ºF/-2ºC @ 10:15 PM)

►  Chilling down.  23ºF/-5ºC @ midnight.  A northwest wind gusting to 30 mph/48 kph doesn't help with keeping warm.

►  Weather Summary:  High = 54ºF/12ºC.  Low = 23ºF/-5ºC.  Temperature @ midnight = 23ºF/-5ºC.  Our skies were overcast all day.  The wind shifted to the north and became gusty during the afternoon.  Temperatures dropped slowly and steadily.   Clearing occurred after dark permitting a rapid drop in temperature.  According to NOAA we have a north wind blowing at 10-15 mph and gusting to 30 mph.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Journal: Friday, 12/19/08

►  The sky is clearing and our forecast calls for a mostly sunny day. I reckon I best go to bed or I'm liable to sleep through it. (60ºF/15ºC @ 5:00 AM)
►  .7 inch/1.7 cm in our rain gauge this morning. That includes everything from the sleet that fell a few days back to the rainfall overnight. Most is the rain that fell from around 11 PM Thursday until around 4 AM this morning.

►  Rapidly removing layers of clothing. (Mostly sunny, light and variable wind, 61ºF/16ºC @ noon)

►  Jo took advantage of today's nice weather by washing the windows.  Now we should be able to get better photographs through them.

►  Jo took a break from window washing to chase the neighbors cows out of our yard.  The cows took off up the hill when Jo came after them brandishing a squeegee.

►  We finally got all our show paraphernalia unloaded from the van.  We started on that chore last week but were forced to quit when it started raining.  Then, there were several days of bad weather and we just didn't get back to it until today.

►  We were able to take our walk across the pastures and through the woods today.  A good part of the land encompassed by our pasture/woods walking loop is actually owned by our neighbor, Jerry Joe.  Jerry hasn't  had any cows on that land in several months -- until recently.  From our perspective as hikers, it's a shame he chose to move them onto it now.  Being there during our recent rains and freeze means they've made a muddy mess out of all the paths and trails -- and not all the mess is just mud.

►  Weather Summary:  High = 68ºF/20ºC.  Low = 36ºF/2ºC.  Temperature @ midnight = 40ºF/4ºC.  AM and PM:  A beautiful, mostly sunny day ... light north wind.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Journal: Thursday, 12/18/08

►  Melt water dripping off the eaves has been joined by drizzle.  (35ºF/1.5ºC @ 2:00 AM)

►  Blog post on Nature in the OzarksEchinacea and Ice:  By Jo

►  I'm tired of fighting with this computer that keeps wanting to reboot. I never told it to go ahead and install that %$#$% Microsoft update, but now I must keep telling it not to restart. I'm going to bed.  (Still drizzling and getting warmer.  39ºF/4ºC @ 4:30 AM)

►  Drip, drip, drip:  Melting continues.  Overcast, light south wind and 43ºF/6ºC @ 10:30 AM.

►  SkyWatch Friday blog post of the Stephens Inc. building in downtown Little Rock on Hodgepodgery.

►  A very drippy kind of day.  First, there was all the snow and ice melting this morning.  Then, there was the fact that everything was cold while the air became warmer and damp.  Condensation was rampant.

►  Over in Jo's studio, her 8' fluorescent light fixture stopped working.  We used a test light to determine it was still getting electricity.  Jo ended up lighting her kerosene heater and letting it burn while we went on our walk.  When we returned, her light worked just fine.  All the moisture had caused a bad connection somewhere within the light fixture and the heater dried it out.

►  Back from a walk to the gate and back. Rusty and Bucket left as dogs, but returned as mud balls. (Overcast and damp ... moderate and building south wind ... 51ºF/10.5ºC @ 4:45 PM)

►  We had debated upon whether to walk in the woods/pastures or take our walk up the road.  We knew the road would be muddy, but also knew we'd get soaked from the waist down if we walked through the tall, wet grass in the pasture.  We finally opted for the muddy road.  Part of the problem is that the surface was disturbed by the bulldozer a few weeks back.  That loose dirt froze and heaved while our temperatures were below freezing, then turned to mush when it thawed.

►  South wind building. (45ºF/7ºC @ 9:00 PM)

►  Very strong and gusty south wind is blowing rain completely across the porch again. The prelude to another approaching cold front. This front isn't forecast to be as messy as the last -- just cold. Temperature rising rapidly at the moment. 53ºF/11ºC @ 11:30 PM.

►  Weather Summary:  High = 56ºF/13ºC.  Low = 35ºF/1.5ºC.  Temperature @ midnight = 56ºF/13ºC.  AM = Overcast ... a little foggy ... very damp.  PM = More of the same with rising temperatures and off and on rain showers beginning late.

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Skywatch Friday: Stephens Inc.

Stephens Inc. building in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas. A contrail is reflected in its mirrored surface.

Thanks to all the fine folks who make SkyWatch possible. Please click the logo above for more information about or to participate in SkyWatch Friday.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Journal: Wednesday, 12/17/08

► It looks as if our cold snap is broken. Temperature is gradually creeping upward as the night progress. Our forecast calls for messy conditions with temperatures above freezing for the next couple of days. (Overcast, calm and 32ºF/0ºC @ midnight)

► Temperature hovering right at the freezing mark at 4:00 AM. Still overcast and calm.

► Just barely above freezing with no noticeable melting yet. Remaining upright outdoors is still quite a challenge. (Foggy, calm and 33ºF/.5ºC @ 11:00 AM)

► Jo is into spurts of "spring cleaning". No, she isn't such an enthusiastic housekeeper that she just cannot wait until spring for major cleaning projects. On the contrary, let's just say we fell a little behind with housekeeping while heavily engaged in doing shows. Dust bunnies rule!

► Melting ice is beginning to drip off the eaves of the house. (Overcast and foggy, calm and 34ºF/.5ºC @ 1:00 PM)

► Walked up to and around our upper pasture. Not a slick as yesterday, but we still didn't want to venture up the road or down the trail on the pasture's north side. We were surprised by how much more frozen fog was clinging to trees and weeds at that slightly higher elevation.

► Weather seems to be stuck in a perpetual funky mode: Overcast, foggy, drippy, dreary BUT temp slightly above freezing. (33ºF/.5ºC @ 9:00 PM)

► I was wrong about our cold snap being broken. It was only bent a very little. Our temperature hovered within a few degrees of freezing all day.

► Weather Summary: High = 35ºF/1.5ºC. Low = 30ºF/-1ºC. Temperature @ midnight = 33ºF/.5ºC. AM = Overcast ... very light south wind. PM = About the same as during the morning with drizzle beginning near midnight.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Journal: Tuesday, 12/16/08

►  Sleet showers continue off and on. We’re beginning to get and accumulation of the crunchy stuff. On bare ground it’s melting and refreezing enough to become awfully slick. (21ºF/-6ºC @ midnight)   

►  Fallen Tree blog post on Nature in the Ozarks.

►  Our temperature has actually crept up a couple of degrees, but now a freezing fog/mist is putting and icy glaze on all exposed surfaces. I'm trying very hard to keep my surfaces unexposed when venturing outdoors. (22ºF/-5ºC @ 4:00 AM)

►  "Stay off the beaten path" is good advice for walking across our yard today. One can travel from Point A to Point B by crunching through the grass, but a layer of sleet glazed with freezing fog makes the paths treacherous. (Overcast, calm and 27ºF/-2ºC @ 11:00 AM)

►  Earlier this PM I finally got a good enough look at the tiny ball of fluff that's been flitting around on the porch to determine it's a Winter Wren. (Overcast, calm and 29ºF/-1ºC @ 8:30 PM)

►  Great Taste Is Everything:  Photo post of Yarnell's Ice Cream truck in the loading dock area of Statehouse Convention Center on Hodgepodgery.

►  No new icy precipitation in the past several hours.  Temperature holding at 27ºF/-2ºC @ 1 PM.  May be our high temp for the day.  (Wrong!)

►  Our afternoon walk was pretty much just a bit of wandering around in the woods, but the dogs enjoyed getting out.  The road and all the trails and paths were too slick for standing.  (Overcast, light south wind and 29ºF/-1ºC @ 4:30 PM)

►  South wind is bringing in warmer air.  Temperature is all the way up to 30ºF/-1ºC @ 10:00 PM.

►  Weather Summary:  High = 32ºF/0ºC.  Low = 20ºF/-6ºC.  Temperature @ midnight = 32ºF/0ºC.  AM = Overcast ... a little freezing fog during the early morning but then precipitation stopped.  PM = Overcast ... wind switching to the south and temperatures slowly beginning to rise as the evening progresses.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Journal: Monday, 12/15/08

►  Definitely time to rekindle a fire in the wood stove.  (Overcast, blustery north wind and 32ºF/0ºC @ 1:00 AM)

►  Made a trip over to Jo's pottery studio to apply our freeze protection regimen:  Letting the water faucet on the sink drip and putting a heat lamp on the toilet in the bathroom.  The house's front steps were wet when our temperature dropped below freezing.  The freezing mist they've accumulated since then hasn't improved their condition.  They are slick!  I had to crawl down and them back up to keep from slipping.  (28ºF/-2ºC @ 2:00 AM)

►  The turbine vents are really starting to squeal as the freeze up.  It's a good thing Jo is not a light sleeper.  (25ºF/-3ºC @ 4:00 AM)

►  Overcast, blustery north wind, sleet falling off and on with little accumulation thus far.  (20ºF/-6ºC @ 10:00 AM)

►  ISP finally back up at 11:00 AM after around 30 hours offline. Perhaps I should find an ISP for whom providing Internet service is a full-time job and not just a part-time hobby?

►  Overcast, blustery north wind @ 21ºF/-6ºC @ noon. Intermittent sleet falling. Hey, sleet is better than freezing rain since sleet doesn't tend to stick to trees and power lines. I have no idea what the wind chill is, but it's COLD.

►  We started out intending to brave the sleet showers and take the dogs for a brief walk up the road, but the road proved to be too slick for walking. We walked to the upper pasture instead. (21ºF/-6ºC @ 4:30 PM)

►  Hooked up our free (almost) converter to see if we could pick up a digital signal on the rabbit ears TV antenna we've been using for the past 20 years. FAIL! It looks as if there's and outdoor antenna or else no television in our future. (21ºF/-6ºC and sleet @ 7:30 PM)

►  Sleet showers continue off and on. We're beginning to get and accumulation of the crunchy stuff. On bare ground it's melting and refreezing enough to become awfully slick. (21ºF/-6ºC @ midnight)

►  Weather Summary:  High = 36ºF/2ºC.  Low = 20ºF/-6ºC.  Temperature @ midnight = 21ºF/-6ºC.  AM = High temperature occurred at midnight as temperature was still falling ... blustery north wind.  PM = Sleet showers continued off and on all day ... temperature remained in the low twenties ... wind finally laid after sunset.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Journal: Sunday, 12/14/08

►  South wind continues rocking and rolling, pumping up warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico.  (49ºF/9ºC @ 2:00 AM)  After the arrival of a new cold front forecast for tomorrow, we will get the warm, moist air back as cold air and ice.

►  Weather:  Same song; second verse.  Strong and gusty south wind with gradually increasing temperatures.  52ºF/11ºC @ 10:00 AM.  Precipitation varying between drizzle and a light rain.  Our gradually increasing temperatures are forecast to come to a screeching halt late today when a new cold front moves through our area.  Below freezing temperatures and a "wintry mix" of precipitation is forecast for the next couple of days.  The gusty south wind is blowing rain all the way across the 10' wide porch that runs the length of our house.  The wet porch ought to be interesting once the temperature drops below freezing.

►  ISP:  Also, same song; second verse.  Ozzie is down again this morning.  I'm really glad I don't have a business that might get some last-minute Christmas orders online.  Wait a minute!  I do own a business that might get a few last-minute Christmas orders online.  Grumble, grumble, grumble.

►  Jo washed a load of white clothes and hung them in front of the wood stove to dry.  The stove doesn't happen to be going at the moment, but I'll surely rekindle a fire later today.  (53ºF/11ºC @ noon)

►  Afternoon:  Overcast persisted, but no rain or drizzle fell.  We took our afternoon walk up to the gate and back since it was to wet to walk in the woods.  With the overcast, strong wind and damp air, it wasn't a very pleasant walk, but we got the job done.  57ºF/13ºC @ 5:00 PM

►  In addition to our routine chores and computer housekeeping, Jo and I have gotten quite a bit of show bookkeeping done.  Ozzie has still not come back online.  61ºF/16ºC @ 10:00 PM.

►  Wind has shifted to the north and the temperature is dropping dramatically.  Light rain falling.  46ºF/7ºC @ 10:45 PM.

►  Midnight:  Light rain falling ... moderate to slightly gusty north wind ... 36ºF/2ºC.

►  Weather Summary:  High = 61ºF/16ºC.  Low = 36ºF/2ºC.    AM = Overcast ... strong and gusty south wind ... light rain or drizzle.  PM = Overcast ... no precipitation ... strong and gusty south wind switching to north around 10 PM ... Rainfall today = .3" ... Rainfall this month = 1.0".

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Journal: Saturday, 12/13/08

►  Piddled with more computer house keeping and tagging photos until I got bored with that and went to bed around 2 AM.

►  Still no Ozzie (ISP).  Mostly cloudy, strong and gusty south wind and 40ºF/4ºC @ 10:00 AM.

►  My ISP is down, my television station has reverted to fund raising this weekend and the weather is lousy and forecast to get worse.  I am not a happy camper.  (41ºF/5ºC @ noon)

►  Now that it is time for me to get off the computer and move on to other things, my ISP has finally come back online after taking an 18 hour break. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

►  The sun is trying to break through the clouds for the first time today. Based upon our weather forecast, I don't hold out much hope for its success. (Mostly cloudy, strong and gusty south wind and 45ºF/7ºC @ 2:00 PM)  (I was totally wrong.  Skies cleared to partly cloudy for the entire afternoon.)

►  A few more hours of partial sunshine than I expected this afternoon, but clouds are now returning. South wind is still very strong and gusty. Winter storm warnings are still in our forecast for tomorrow evening. (43ºF/6ºC @ 5:00 PM)

►  Weather Summary:  High = 50ºF/10ºC.  Low = 39ºF/3ºC.  Temperature @ midnight = 49ºF/9ºC.  AM = Strong and gusty south wind ... mostly cloudy to overcast.  PM = Strong and gusty south wind continues ... partly to mostly cloudy during the middle of the afternoon.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Journal: Friday, 12/12/08

►  Mostly clear, calm wind and 33ºF/.5ºC @ midnight.

►  Bedtime. Mostly clear, calm and 32ºF/0ºC @ 4:00 AM.

►  Looking good here in the Ozarks on this Friday morning. Clear, calm and 44ºF/6ºC @ 10:00 AM. NOAA says it isn’t going to last, though.

►  In honor of this last day of predicted sunshine for a while, Jo washed two loads of clothes and hung them on the clothesline.

►  I really must make a trip into town for provisions today.  Jo has only one apple left in the crisper.  Jo gets very cranky when she runs out of apples.

► I made the trip to town Friday afternoon with no problem, except for that giant sucking sound of money leaving my wallet.

►  Our ISP went down early this evening, so no Internet for me.  Boo!  Hiss!

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Journal: Thursday, 12/11/08

►  Sunny … light north wind … much melting of frozen fog and sleet off trees, roof, etc. going on … 33ºF/.5ºC @ 10:30 AM.

►  Jo is making hay while the sun shines. Actually, she’s getting clothes washed and dried on the clothesline while the sun shines.

►  I need to get moving and make a trip into town — not that I really want to go. (43ºF/6ºC @ noon)

►  Trip to town postponed until Friday at the request of my contact for picking up our bulk food order. Talking me out of making a trip into town is so-o-o easy.

►  Back from out first walk across the pastures and through the woods since late last spring. We’ve had enough cold weather to make the trip safe and hunting season is over.

►  Mostly clear, calm wind and 33ºF/.5ºC @ midnight.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Journal: Wednesday, 12/10/08

►  Freezing fog has "progressed" to sleet. Nice. Blustery north wind and 28ºF/-2ºC @ 3:00 AM.

►  Sleet still falling. Trees beginning to creak in the gusty north wind. (27ºF/-2ºC @ 4:30 AM)

►  Sleet fell overnight. Overcast, moderate north wind and 30ºF/-1ºC @ 11 AM.

►  If the temperature climbed above freezing today it was just barely and very briefly. Overcast, gusty north wind and 30ºF/-1ºC @ 5 PM.

►  Sky clearing. Now the temp is really going to drop. 28ºF/-2ºC @ 8 PM

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Journal: Tuesday, 12/09/08

►  In the process of receiving a new cold front. Rain (.7") and light thunderstorms overnight. Possibility of rain persists until this evening according to our forecast, but sky is clearing at the moment. Temperature is suppose to begin falling for remainder of the day. 64ºF/17ºC @ noon.

►  Clearing skies reverted to overcast. Cold front has finally rolled in with clouds and fog. Temperature dropping. 58ºF/14ºC @ 2:30 PM.

►  Not a very pleasant PM walk. Foggy and blustery north wind. 43ºF/6ºC @ 4:30 PM.

►  Nasty out. Blustery north wind with a light, freezing mist falling. 31ºF/0ºC @ 7:30 PM.

►  Our porch got wet during blowing rain showers earlier today. It's very slick now. (30ºF/-1ºC @ 11 PM)

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Journal: Monday, 12/08/08

►  Heading home:  Jo and I slept a little late (me later than Jo) and approached loading and leaving for home at a leisurely pace.  Our only deadline for the day was picking up Rusty and Bucket before Puppy Park's 3:00 PM check out time.

►  Getting our personal stuff loaded back into the van -- and still leaving room for the dogs -- proved to be a little bit of a challenge thanks to THE GIANT BAG OF PACKING.  Prior to Showcase, a glassblower friend emailed and asked Jo if she wanted a bag of packing.  He has a couple of sources for recycled packing material -- mostly thin sheets of foam -- and had accumulated more than he needed.  Jo said, "Sure", figuring we could always work in one bag of packing even though our van is always fully loaded when we do a show.  Little did she know that this one bag was about the size of a Mini Cooper.  I got most of our belonging loaded and then working together Jo and I squeeze the bag of packing in between the load and the roof of the van.  When we finished, I could have rolled the van and none of that part of our load would have been able to move.

►  The weather had been beautiful all weekend, but was taking a turn for the worse by the time Monday rolled around.  It was clouding up quickly when we left the Little Rock area.  On the way home we did a little Wally World shopping in Conway and picked up Rusty and Bucket in the outskirts of Greenbrier.  By the time we got home mid-afternoon the skies were cloudy.  The house insulation was doing a good job of holding in the cold air acquired over the weekend.  The outside temperature was in the mid-fifties, but mid-forties prevailed inside our house.  It took a while for the wood stove to take the chill off the inside air.  It always does.  Still, we have returned from Christmas Showcase to a house that was much colder inside.

►  About all we managed to get done after arriving home was unloading our personal stuff from the van.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Journal: Sunday, 12/07/08

►  Sundays are almost always the slowest days at an art fair.  They take a long time to get started and tend to die early. Today was no exception.

►   The show closed at four o'clock.  Jo and I spent the next three and a half hours or so packing and loading.  Functional potters are almost always the last folks to leave a show.  When a show site starts getting empty -- down to the last half dozen exhibitors or so -- and you look around to see who's still packing and loading, at least five of the remaining six artists will be your fellow potters.  We have a lot of work that needs to be displayed and then packed and loaded. 

►  Although I couldn't throw a pot if my life depended upon it, when it comes to  packing and loading, I'm one of the potters.  Jo actually packs all the pots, but I pack the tiles, pack my work and load most everything.

►  There is one advantage to being slow at this show. When the hall gets mostly empty, we are allowed to drive into the exhibit hall and park right next to our booths instead of having to park in an adjoining hall and dolly everything to our van.

►  After leaving the hall, Jo and I drove back to our friends house for the night.  We almost always stay over instead of heading home directly from a show.  In this case, staying over was the only reasonable option since we needed to pick up Rusty and Bucket on the way home.

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