Christmas time’s a comin’

It’s that time of year again when we put up the Christmas trees, drag out the ornaments and lights, and begin creating shopping lists for our friends and families. Unfortunately, the temperature being 70+ degrees most days has not been conducive to getting me in the holiday spirit.

It has been unseasonably warm and dry over the past few months. The trees decided it was too much effort to show off their autumn colors, so they just let their leaves turn brown and blow away in the wind. The grass is almost completely dead, and the mower (and me) were completely covered in dust the last time I mowed.

I have planted several more things in the yard thinking the seasonal rains would make it easier on me with keeping things watered, but no such luck. I am packing watering cans to various spots in the yard almost every evening.

I’m sure it will be freezing cold and raining before long, and then I will be complaining about all of that, so I try to just enjoy it as much as possible.

The warmer weather is nice in ways. Heating bills are basically nonexistent, and I don’t have to wait for the frost to clear off the windshield of my truck every morning before work. It’s nice to see some of my trees and shrubs still growing, too.

But I am still not ready to put up those dang trees or start shopping!

The winter of my discontent

Our driveway today.
Our driveway today.

The older I get, the less I like winter.

It is so unbelievably cold here. We received several inches of snow last Sunday and Monday, then temperatures bottomed out under zero. More snow arrived on Wednesday, and then we had another round of freezing rain and sleet on Friday. Because the temperatures are so low, most of the snow we got is still sticking around.

A week later, I am not sure we can even get out of our driveway. We tried yesterday, but got the car stuck 3 times before we gave up. Honey wound up shoveling as much of it off as he could, but the driveway is fairly long and some of the snow wouldn’t budge.

I know the local main roads have been cleared of ice and snow, but our rural road wasn’t touched until a couple of days ago when someone came down it with a snow plow. Unfortunately, it wasn’t treated with any kind of salt or chemicals, so we have to wait for the sun to work its magic. Since temperatures are expected to remain below freezing until Tuesday or Wednesday, I guess we will just have to be patient.

Honey was off work all week due to the weather, and I had to catch rides back and forth from coworkers with 4×4 vehicles. I have decided to sell my truck later this year and upgrade to something that will perform better on slick roads. It is too hard to rely on other people for transportation, and I feel trapped when I am at home without a way to go anywhere.

I have felt so sorry for the birds. Since the ground has been covered for days, they have had virtually nothing to eat. I meant to get bird seed before the storm hit, but it completely slipped my mind. I asked a coworker to run me to a local store yesterday, where I paid $3-4 for several very small bags of bird food. It was almost dark by the time I got home and filled the feeder, but I was happy to see them swarming it this morning when I got up.

Anyway, spring can’t come soon enough for me. I am so ready to work in the yard!

View out a back window.
View out a back window.

In like a lion

This winter keeps dragging on and on. We had snow and ice again last week, but we finally had a warm day yesterday with temperatures in the 70’s. Unfortunately, a cold front blew through during the night which brought more blustery and cold weather today.

Even though Mother Nature can’t make up her mind about the temperature, I am beginning to see signs of a change of seasons. Eastern Robins have been hopping over the lawn in search of worms, buds are adorning the trees, and daffodils are starting to push their leaves through the ground. The grass is even starting to green up a bit.

I have become a bit obsessed with landscaping over the past few years, so I am itching for warmer weather and the opportunity to get out and work in the yard. I have been sketching ideas for plant beds on notebook paper, and I would like to bring some of those ideas to life as soon as possible.

We recently had our property surveyed and marked, which makes it so much easier for me to tell exactly how our property line cuts through the hilly, wooded area behind the house. I have been exploring the woods over the past month, and absolutely love being in the middle of all the trees and knowing that it is all mine. Heaven on earth.

Even though we have been here four years already, I am still discovering things about this place that makes me happy. The woods are filled with dogwood trees, wildflowers, and even a huge burning bush that is growing inexplicably under the shade of a cedar tree. One of the small dogwoods trees was so lovely that I couldn’t resist transplanting it into the yard last weekend, even though the earth was so wet from the melting snow that I had to wear rubber boots.

I am so ready for Spring.

This is Spring?

spring_not

Spring has officially sprung here in Kentucky, but I have seen very little evidence of it so far. We had a couple of warm days last week, but it is cold again with highs in the 40-degree range. There is even a chance of sleet and snow today and tomorrow!

I did get to work outside for a bit yesterday morning. Believe it or not, four years after our massive ice storm I am still using a chainsaw to remove damaged limbs from trees. Although the main portion of our lawn has been in pretty good shape since we moved here three years ago, the trees and undergrowth lining our wooded area is another story. Due to the threat of snakes and poison ivy, there is a very short window of opportunity each year for me to get in there and remove downed limbs, dead trees, etc. This time of year seems to work best for that; too cold for snakes, but not too cold for me.

Even so, I am about to die for warmer weather. As I was perusing some of my springtime photos from last year, I noticed they were dated March 15th. The photos showed blooming trees, bushes, flowers, and green grass. It is now almost April, but there is barely anything blooming outdoors. The jonquils are making a valiant effort, but the frosty mornings haven’t done them any favors. I do see the promising sight of buds on many of our trees though, so I know the beautiful blossoms are just around the corner.

We recently had our front porch jack-hammered out, our back deck removed, and a new front porch and large back patio poured along with three new sets of steps. We are currently in the early stages of getting a roof added over our back patio so we can enjoy it regardless of the weather. Maybe by the time the roof is finished, it will actually be warm enough to BBQ.

One more thing… that groundhog in Pennsylvania is a liar.

In like a lion

March has already proven itself to be a very nasty month weather-wise in my neck of the woods. We have been in the storm shelter twice over the past three days due to tornado warnings, but thankfully we haven’t seen any damage aside from some broken branches. Others in our county and surrounding communities haven’t been so lucky.

I posted about my fear of tornadoes a few years ago, and I remember calling it “irrational.” I’m not sure I would still call it so, considering how many people have died over the past few days. I hope and pray we don’t see a repeat of last year’s horrifying loss of life and property.