Tag Archives: winter

Writing For 15 Minutes

I have 15 minutes to get a post written, media uploaded, etc. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

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I have somehow managed to not kill our indoor plants. The key to successfully keeping succulents alive is to not water them all the damn time. As my friend Mathis says, those of us who are used to growing food plants outside tend to overwater succulents, because… well… HOW CAN THEY NOT NEED WATER EVERY DAY? I’ve watchfully ignored this plant and all of its friends and they seem to be thriving. Success. I guess the lessons here are that a) I should listen to the experts because I do not know everything and b) I do not need to helicopter parent my plants.

That said, I’m looking forward to getting back outside. Footage review from stuff we shot last summer has been tortuous – chickens, garden foliage, flowers in glorious HD – and the snow encrusting our driveway and every other outdoor surface seems very last season, all of a sudden.

LOTSA (Lisa’s Open Tabs Saved Aggressively):

The next internet is TV

Synonyms for “hope” (my favorite is “pipe dream”)

Something about media vertical collectives

Amanda Hesser’s Medium page

For those who hate themselves for loving Kinfolk: The Kinspiracy

Farm to table alive and well in Arizona

Free vintage clip art and photos

Reveal – great investigative reporting here

Women and commercial space travel

Greil Marcus’ “Days Between Stations” archive… finally

Pause Game

The weather has hit the pause button on getting back to normal after the holidays, but we carry on in the house. We make dinner. Well, Jim does.

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Lilly has no school today, which is amazing. Her school, which is on the U of I campus, rarely closes. The air temperature is in the low single digits and will fall further this afternoon, but the real problem, and I can see it out my window (I’m sitting in that window you see above), is the wind. And the wind is far, far worse in rural areas just outside town. I’m glad they canceled. I see nothing wrong with it, because people’s response to extremely cold weather is relative, and a lot of people who live here are not of Midwestern stock. And even for those who are – why suffer?

I lived in Minnesota from 1981-1991. The first winter we lived there – and we had come from FLORIDA, OK – was impressive even by their standards. I think there was an ice storm shortly after Halloween, and then it was kind of the usual wintry weather through Christmas (sledding! Snowballs! Tromping around!), and then January came. It was cold early in the month, and then we received 37″ of snow in 3 days in suburban Minneapolis, and then the cold arrived again. I remember going outside in late January just to see what -70 windchill (measured the old way) felt like. It sucked. I was in 8th grade, from the South, and hated/would not wear turtlenecks, socks, wool, and hats. I WOULD NOT WEAR SOCKS. Now I’m properly attired at all times, and I don’t mind the cold as long as the sun comes out and my car’s tires stay intact and the heat stays on, but I’ve lived in the Midwest for 34 years. I follow the weather closely all the time, I know what to expect, and I’m lucky enough to have plenty of warm things to wear. If people stay in this part of the country long enough, they often end up doing the same. Enjoy your Cold Day, if you’ve got one, and wear some goddamn socks and a hat tomorrow morning when it’s -13. OK?

Other cold snap advice: Keep your pets warm. Fill the bird feeders. Make soup. Declutter something. The days are getting longer even though the cold is getting stronger. Spring is just 72 days away.

Going Polar

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A year ago, almost exactly, Urbana-Champaign was coming off a pretty decent snowstorm and heading into this situation referred to as a “polar vortex” and it was already cold as hell and basically, friends? It’s happening again, including the snow, today and tomorrow and into late week. Sigh. But the full moon rising last night through some very pretty snow flurries was extraordinary, particularly so since the sun really couldn’t get its act together during the day. See below.

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909 (our house) is small. And old. I mostly love it this way. I don’t much feel its smallness and oldness those 7-8 months out of the year where we spend a lot of time moving freely between indoors and out. But when winter comes, and especially with bits of weather like what we’re about to get, 909 feels dollhouse-small and extremely drafty. V unglamorous plastic covers some of the windows. The doors have fabric snakes to keep drafts out (BONUS: They also trip visitors). Things pile up by the back door to combine trips to the trash/recycling bins or the garage, and if the weather is happening on a weekend and we’re all just nesting under blankets and hanging around, it gets chaotic. There just aren’t many places for each of us to go. There are the bedrooms, the living room, and the kitchen area. That’s it.

OK, that’s not exactly true. We have a basement that’s partially finished and has a ton of potential, but no one hangs out there these days because a) it’s cold and b) it’s a repository for crap – mostly ancient homeschooling stuff, clothes, useless small appliances, etc –  that needs to be sorted and donated/thrown out. This task has been put off for YEARS. However… I’m currently reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, thanks to my terrific and smart friend Amanda, and I’ve decided that I like where Kondo’s head is at even though it’s pretty intense. There’s lots of baggage to jettison here at 909, both literal and figurative, especially as Jim and I move ever-steadily toward eventually being the only two B-Ks living here full time. 909 will seem cavernously huge then, I’m sure, and I’ll probably be getting misty over the time(s) during Polar Vortex 2014 where I made several batches of snickerdoodles and we put quilts on the windows Long Winter-style and watched a bunch of movies together and there were teacups everywhere and the heat always seems to be on and my beloved orange chair had a huge indentation from my butt being in it all the time, etc.

It’s 2* right now – I’ll report back on #PV2015 Wednesday, when our high will be a single degree.

Ring It In

Jim and I welcomed 2015 yesterday with a walk at Meadowbrook and saw this bit of squirrel goofballery:

IMG_0488[Lone nut. Rather fitting.]

I’m usually the walker, especially on colder days, so it was nice to have Jim along… even if he was only in it for potential deer sightings. [We saw no deer.] Our forecast is calling for freezing participation off and on through tomorrow, followed by my favorite – sub-zero cold – for a few days, so it is doubtful I’ll be outside much in the near future… unless I’m forced.

OK. Enough about the weather. I’m pretty much done with winter in my mind. I dress in base layers and wear hats (even indoors) (ask my colleagues) and deal with it in my own ways, which include denial. It’s over for me, OK? Today is 43 seconds longer than yesterday, the vernal Equinox is in 77 days, and the Market opens in 120 days. THAT IS PRACTICALLY TOMORROW, YOU GUYS.

Also: The seed catalogs are rolling in. I gave in to temptation and drafted an order last night from the Baker Creek catalog – it is of epic proportions [sidebar: I’m so impressed with how the business has grown since I started following along in 1998] and I ended up with the most ridiculous pretend seed order ever.

IMG_0497See that at the bottom? “Molokai Purple“? I’M SO PUMPED. Thanks to last year’s garlic success, I’m throwing all caution to the wind and am trying sweet potatoes. Purple ones, you guys. I have no idea how to grow them, what they need, if I even have the space (as my friend/neighbor Jill says, “My eyes are bigger than my yard”), but I don’t care. Those are definitely staying on the list. I’ll figure it out. PURPLE SWEET POTATOES.

Here’s the thing – my fantasy order is from one catalog. I have at least 3 more favorites coming. I know there are a zillion catalogs out there that I’ve probably never heard of, so – if you buy seeds, from where do you procure them? I need you to help me feed my addiction. My enthusiasm for 2015’s garden/food was only fueled by a trip into the backyard yesterday and seeing how huge of a mess I’d left it this fall. I AM ALL ABOUT CLEANING THAT SHIT UP…

…especially when it’s too cold to do it today.

 

Two Days Are Not Enough

I believe a 4-day work/school week would work to our advantage; two days is never enough time for this household to get its act together.

Feet

I want to be where these gull prints are. The photo was taken last March in Florida, and while we had winter here last winter, it was nothing like this winter has been. Ergo, we’re planning another trip. I’m already making shopping lists in my head and thinking about the fruit stands I’m going to visit and wondering if there are any new restaurants. We have been going to the same place since 2002 and have only missed one year, 2005, since then. We bought our house at the same time the trip was supposed to happen that year. It was worth it. 909 has been, and continues to be, good to us.

I was thinking that today might be the day I inventory my seed-starting stuff – the lights, the trays, etc. It’s been too cold in the basement to start seeds, though. I wish I was kidding. We’ve had so many days/nights in the single digits here that the basement is just cold all the time. Forget starting seeds – I barely want to go down there to switch the laundry. I haven’t ordered any seeds yet, partially because it’s so freaking cold down there and also because our food co-op does such a great job of bringing seeds in early, thus enabling my laziness and lack of adventure. But it also really saves time and it’s nice to support continued good behavior on the part of one of my favorite local businesses. Thanks, CGFC! I’m sure I’ll be in soon… and then ordering seeds for stuff I plant later in the season.

Oh! The first radio BYI of the year aired locally late last week and is now available on the internet right here. “Ramen Shaman” should be ready by the end of the month, and then we head right into shooting the next one, plus continued radio pieces… it’s a busy time, yet it still feels so hibernatey. There’s a warming trend in the forecast for early next week… I hope it thaws some creativity and motivation around here in addition to the snow mountains.