Sunday, January 22, 2017

January - When will it end?

It has been a snowy winter. Very snowy. In most of the state, our mountains have well over 150 percent of normal snowpack, with some over 200 percent. This is very good for a high desert state like Utah. We depend on that snowpack for our summer water needs. This also bodes well for the Great Salt Lake that has been shrinking dramatically.  It's good for everyone, really, except 69 year old women who still shovel a very large driveway.

Today we will get the third of three consecutive storms occurring over a period of 4 days. The first gave us just a couple of inches of snow in the valley.  But yesterday, I had 15 inches.  Glad it was Saturday and glad I had help. A neighbor came with a snowblower when the snow had reached about 10 inches.  Then another neighbor helped with the rest after the snowing stopping.  It was hard and I am not really sure I could have done it alone.  It begins to worry me. How long am I going to be able to keep this up? This next storm is supposed to give us up to 10 inches overnight.  Flakes are just starting now.  I have to leave the house around 6 a.m. to tend grandchildren and get them off to school. I know I will be up by around 3 to evaluate the driveway and see if I need to shovel.

January is just the hardest month for me.  We have periods of inversions and pollution where you can't see the sky or mountains for the dirty air.  And when you can see the sky, it's always white. And the ground is white. Or dead brown. And the cold -- many days in the single digits or lower overnight.  The occasional thaws with temps rising into the 40s are such a relief, but they give false hope. Thankfully, though, they reduce the piles of snow around the yard.

I go by a calendar winter of December, January, February, rather than the meteorological dates. I consider the end of February the end of winter -- even though we can expect snow storms and cold weather continuing off and on into May. But the snow does melt and things actually start coming up from the cold ground.  And I start thinking about the garden.  The way I see it, we're just barely halfway through winter now.  So I need to buck up and do something worthwhile.

As usual, I have my winter list of projects to do.  This year's list included things you might not think needed doing: organizing some closets and drawers.  Actually, having decluttered and organized so recently, things were already pretty tidy.  But already, there are more things I need to discard. And I wanted to try a new way of storing things in drawers. I'd read about the Marie Kondo method of decluttering and organization, and was struck by the idea of vertical storage. Basically, storing things in drawers so that nothing is on top of anything else. The way this is done is by rolling clothing items instead of folding.  I thought this would work with things like t-shirts and tanks, sweaters, socks, undies, scarves, etc.  So, I spent a little time with my already tidy drawers.  Here's what I found: 1) It is amazing to see everything in the drawer at once. I realized I had forgotten about things on the bottom stack.  Now I can see everything in the drawer when I open it.  2) By rolling the items, I was able to fit more in the drawer.  Without showing anything too personal, here are a couple of results -- a drawer of scarves and one of t-shirts and tanks.

My next project will be something I've never tried before -- a method for winter seeding of annuals outdoors using milk cartons as mini greenhouses.  I'll just post a link to it here for the instructions: Winter Sowing 101.  I have all the materials ready to go, but I think I'll wait until into February to start my seeds.  I figure I have nothing to lose and it certainly gives me a tiny bit of gardening fun, if experimental.

I still have some other projects on my winter To Do list -- indoor things things to pass the time during this excessively white month of January.  My friend, Celia, and I have signed up for a mosaics class at the University of Utah that starts in February. I've been wanting to make mosaics on some of the stepping stones in the yard, and this should be fun.

So here's to trying to keep a good attitude and continuing to make forward progress despite the depressing weather.  Spring will surely come.


Ien in the Kootenays said...

UP at three to evaluate driveway? I am so impressed. I sure hope the kids appreciate it? I hate to admit it but I do very little shoveling. My husband always did it but no longer. I just feel that I have enough to do looking after regular stuff plus an increasingly invalid spouse. I did not realise you had inversions too. They are life sapping. I call it 'flat cloud'. Please stay there and keep sharing your fantastic view.

Bekkieann said...

Oh, yes, inversions are a major winter problem here because they create a toxic mix with the industrial, traffic, airport, heating, and other pollutions. Our wide valleys are somewhat bowl-shaped causing cold air to become trapped near the ground while warmer air sits above holding it down until a storm comes through and clears it all out. Last week, for a couple of days, we had the worst air in the country. And that happens pretty often. Children and elderly and people with breathing issues are advised not to go out and people are advised not to exercise outdoors. Face masks to filter the gunk are becoming popular. It's that bad.

troutbirder said...

Bad winter weather indeed. It been the ice here more than the snow that makes me so cautious. We don't need broken limbs on top of the usual variety of aging problems. On a much more positive not I was so glad to see your comment on Troutbirder. I know you said once your computer couldn't connect so perhaps a fix or a new one solved that problem...:) Mine died recently and all was lost so starting over from scratch on everything was a real pain but now things are coming around.....

troutbirder said...

That was note not not... Good grief.

Bekkieann said...

Yes, as I read your posts, I try again from time to time to leave a comment, and what do you know! Finally, it took! No idea what changed, but it's a nice surprise. I so enjoy your posts.