December 30, 2012 - Christmas Day

How appropriate that we'd get our first snow on Christmas Day!

 Lola helps Alicyn build a snowman, while Kevin looks on.

 Kevin finally pitches in to help.

 One of Granny's sweet potatoes makes a perfect nose!  It's almost the same color as Alicyn's.

 Alicia and Kevin.

 Mr. Granny, taking it easy.

Granny, fixin' the Christmas dinner of ham, turkey, stuffing, scalloped potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, butternut squash, mixed veggies, cranberry sauce, rolls, zucchini bread and pumpkin pies.  Daughter Amy brought a big salad and half the deviled eggs.....she dumped the other half out in the driveway!  Carol and John brought Christmas cookies.  We all ate too much, of course, but  a good time was had by all.


December 25, 2012 - Merry Christmas to All

Alicyn - 2012

Merry Christmas to all
Mr. and Mrs. Granny

December 17, 2012 - This Wind

This Wind

This wind it howls, this wind it moans, 
A mournful eerie sound.

This wind gathers fallen autumnal leaves, 
Just to dash them to the ground.....Ray Clune

We had an early morning wind storm, with 40 MPH sustained winds and gusts of 55 MPH.  Our electricity was off for about four hours, and my son called and said they were still having a brown out on the other side of town.  We didn't have any damage, at least none that I've discovered so far, but our next door neighbor's pine tree went down on her neighbor's new chain link fence.  My daughter manages a manufactured home park about ten miles from our place, and it sustained a lot of damage.

Tree down next door.  Too bad it wasn't her half dead walnut tree that hangs over my garden.

No damage at our house, but oh....what a mess of pine branches we have to clean up!  At least it's warm today.  Instead of our normal low 30s December temperatures, it's about 50 and sunny.  We'll wait until tomorrow though, as the wind advisory is in effect until 4 PM today.

Views of damage around my daughter's place................

 She said lots of homes had shingles ripped off.

 She noticed some trees were down.

The park is littered with shingles.

Daughter's shingles are intact, but her flag pole is down.  It looks like quite a few people lost attached structures, like patio covers and carports.  

We've had worse wind storms in this area.  They are quite common in the spring, but I don't remember ever having this kind of weather in December.  

Later in the morning....

We just took a drive around our neighborhood, and there was quite a bit of damage.  We saw at least a dozen large trees uprooted, fences down and shingles off of the houses just in about a six block radius of our home, so we really lucked out with the downed pine branches.  Just one house down from us, at the corner, there is a large tree across the road.  The neighbor's tree (shown in the first picture) was a huge one, the top of it is clear over at the edge of the next street up.  Luckily, it fell between two houses, so the only damage was to the chain link fence.

At least two nearby neighbors had trees toppling on their vehicles.

I went out front to begin cleaning up the pine branches and pine cones.  I filled the (empty) big garbage can and didn't even make a dent in the mess, which included branches from trees not even belonging to us.  It was much worse than it looks in the photo.  The wind was still strong, and cold.  I could only take about 30 minutes of it before giving up.

*From our local newspaper:  The National Weather Service in Pendleton says winds peaked in the Tri-Cities between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m. The highest was a 83 mph gust recorded near Horn Rapids at 5 a.m., but there was a 63 mph gust just west of Kennewick at 4:46 a.m. and a 70 mph gust recorded at the Tri-Cities Airport at 5:15 a.m., said Dennis Hull, a meteorologist.  Gusts of more than 100 mph were recorded on Rattlesnake Mountain.

December 14, 2012 - God Bless the Children

Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them.

December 2, 2012 - Suck it Up!

Son John came over to till the other side of the garden late yesterday afternoon.  I told him we needed to chop up some of the remaining bagged leaves so we dumped them out into the garden cart and sucked them up with the leaf vacuum.

We began spreading the resulting shreds over the east garden.

Then he tilled them all in.  It was getting really dark, shortly after 4:00 PM.

The 30-some-year-old rototiller is on its last legs.  If I'm going to need it next year, to dig in all the leaves I get from the neighbor, I'm going to have to spring for a new engine for it.  It's been stored, unused, for over twenty years.  I'd actually prefer to form the planting beds next spring and dig in composted leaves, or double dig each bed, adding shredded leaves as I go or, best of all, use the shreds as mulch and let them decompose in place.  

I think there are only two bags of unshredded leaves left.  I'll run those through the vacuum today, and add them to the already chopped up leaves I have in bags, bin and barrel.  They'll have time to partially decompose and be used as mulch in the 2013 garden beds.

December 1, 2012 - A Sweet Surprise

Every month Two Men and a Little Farm has a drawing for some wonderful book, and I was the lucky winner for November.  My prize came in yesterday's mail, and I am thrilled with my new cookbook, Martha White's Southern Sampler, as well as the bonus issue of Cuisine at Home.

Thank you 1st. Man and 2nd. Man!!!