Wintry Goodness

Bend’s had a low precip winter through January, now finally getting a wave of storms. Over three days we got a good few feet…

Snowy chicken coop
The term ‘cooped up’ might be applied here
Snowy Bend Oregon
Winter wonderland day 1 – view west
backyard chicken coop winter
Fresh powder here, and lots on the mountains
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Do you have feet of snow on your dead-end street that never gets plowed? I’ve the solution for you.
backyard chickens snow
Our gals exploring the snow trenches; photo courtesy of LL

Weekend Jaunt

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Wy’east (Mt Hood) White River/Glacier; frist stop on the drive from Bend to Hood River

 

Dinner at Pfriem in Hood River.
Dinner at pFriem in Hood River.

 

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Evening hike into Gifford-Pinchot National Forest (Mt St Helens)

 

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jDa

 

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Sun’s setting, probably need to find somewhere to camp

 

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Mt St Helens, eastern slope

 

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Cooler weather rolls in finally. A good heatwave sat over home for a week prior to this. Ahhh.

 

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Grabbed a back corner camping spot. Invited a pair of cyclists to share shortly after the small FS camp filled up.

 

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Up and on the road early, driving up towards Rainier.

 

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Mt Ranier

 

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Mid-Afternoon I rolled into Camlann Village, east of Seattle. It’s an authentic medieval living history village with a working farm, restaurant, venue etc. http://www.camlann.org/

 

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Pottery Wheel

 

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Drippity

 

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Planing boards. All the buildings, furniture and…well, everything…is handmade using traditional peasanty methods.
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A big chunk of bread, a goblet of mead, and a bowl of pottage. Who’d of thought peasant slop could be made so well, kuddos! Very tasty.

 

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baaaah.

 

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Around 2PM I hit the road again, deciding to head towards the coast. A few stops around Seattle and some quick 15min hikes in the Olympia/coastal range.

 

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Spent the night at Ft Stevens State Park, right on the beach at Astoria, Ore.

 

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You can drive on many public beaches in Oregon. I had a rental car…so you know, why not. Turns out donuts and sweet stunts are a tad dull with AWD.

I’ve got a lot more photos, expect a followup post!

Graupel

We had a unusually exciting Monday due to some freak weather conditions. The day started with over and inch of snow – on this tax day – having begun falling before I woke and continuing a couple hours into my morning at work. I was feeling meteorologically inclined today, so here’s a blog post about the weather!

 

bend oregon snow storm

 

That’s the view from my office window, no mountains to be seen today!

 

A good breeze brought the sun, melting everywhere but the tiny shadowy corners by maybe 3pm.

 

 

 

This was followed up by another storm front, dropping an hour of really good graupel. Yep, you read that right. It’s a fairly complex phenomena to describe, here’s a Warticle about it. Supercooled water vapor latches rapidly onto snowflakes, turning into a soft styrofoam-like hail.

 

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It’s really unique when it gets deep. Eventually the pellets changed over to a light snow, but not before coating all the streets over again.

 

I decided to share the graupel with our flock. The reception was inquisitive and exuberant.

 

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You’ll notice they’ve become rather gangling and bristly since their last appearance on this blog 🙂 Jaeda however…it didn’t amuse her. I think she was also disappointed by my graupelman

 

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Also the word graupel is pretty great.

 

 

 

Surrealpolitik

I’ve generally avoided politics on this blog; a good idea if the peace is to be kept.

 

My interests in politics skews more towards the past and future – rather than day-to-day soundbytes, breaking election coverage, moneyball statistics, and 24/7 ‘newz’… Instead, I enjoy examining the historical aspects of politics, which like history or fiction have uncanny and reliably predictable themes, the same stories retelling with different actors. In this way, politics can be appreciated, predicted, and enjoyed for what it is, as well as providing a curious glimpse into humankind at a higher level.

 

So where was, I? Elections? So yep, Barack won – I’d say he earned it. It’s not an easy job and he’s done well enough, dealing with a lot more shit than most Presidents. I have serious concerns about drones, domestic privacy, education, PAC’s, and myriad other issues, but as I mentioned above, I won’t get into politics on this blog. That’s my election synopsis for now, Political Science BA and all 🙂

…RAAAAAAAAAWR! Mr and Mrs Presidentasaurus 2012 !

 

I’m also incredibly busy with work currently, specifically clients in the Sandy…and now nor’easter… ravaged post-apocalyptic wastelands back East (NJ and surrounds). I’ll try to keep the posts coming, there’s always adventures to be had 😀

 

 

Midsummer

With the warm weather ramping up, our front garden has really come alive. Perennial stuff abound, especially herbs: chives, pineapple mint, rosemary, lavender, oregano, thyme, lemon balm, and sage.

In the foreground is our awesome succulent vertical garden (currently horizontal, ha), made for us by the talented folks behind http://shopsteellife.com/ and http://www.bd-landscapes.com/

 

This second shot below is of our side deck and the hops, which seem to be taking over the thing a couple feet a day.

Also, tomorrow is the Summer Solstice, just lettin’ ya’ll know 🙂

 

Scootin’

Warmer weather is a nice thing. The grass turns green, the flowers pop up, kids fill the playgrounds, picnickers hit the parks…and my moped can come out of hibernation.

 

Drove it to work for the first time this season, and aside from chilly hands and cheeks, it was a lovely ride. Couple things I need to remember for next year though:

 

1. detach the battery so it doesn’t drain dead

2. don’t leave the tank full of stale gas

3. wear gloves if it’s even slightly chilly, because at 25mph there’s some serious windchill!

Free entertainment

It’s official: People in Omaha don’t know how to drive in snow.

It’s an odd realization to come too, since this place is rather snowy in the winter…big midwest snowstorms that roll in and don’t melt for weeks.This impressive discovery was made from the convenience of my own home, indeed via the double windows directly behind me as I stand here at my desk. Said windows look out upon our hilly road, thusly:

Keep in mind that this picture was taken nearly a week after the snowstorm. There’s still ice on the road. Temperatures had yet to rise above the mid-twenties, even in the sunny afternoons…with nights as low as 2 degrees.The result of this, of course, being that the road ice hasn’t melted.

For this last week, the spectacle on the street has been both reliable and hilarious. Cars try to make it up the street with drivers clueless about both driving technique and apparently the laws of physics…especially those governing inertia and friction. The disheartening part, is that some of these people are literally doing damage to their vehicles…gunning the engine, wheels spinning at 70mph,melting troughs in the ice until their wheels are spinning on pavement, thick clouds of rubber smoke pouring out as their vehicle sits in place. This is almost exclusively sedans and minivans. The 4×4 folks crawl their way up our hill like it was a pleasant summer day.

I can’t say that all Omahans are clueless either. There’s the few vehicles that take the hill at a steady speed, and those with light feet who don’t let themselves lose traction in the first place. It’s unfortunate how many are clueless though, and end up sideways in front of our house, sliding backwards while still gunning the engine…creating polished slick patches for the next car.

It’s not just our street either. On a trip to Iowa over the weekend,we saw dozens of abandoned vehicles strewn across medians, some looking like they rolled or hit other vehicles. Facebook was abuzz with people who got into accidents. Even our own little Honda was briefly uncontrollable, mere feet from our driveway.

It makes me want to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Why were there lines at McDonalds? Crowds at the movie theater? People traveling at all?

This seems to be more of a phychological…or perhaps sociological…issue. People look outside and know that roads are dangerous. Cars accidents are already a leading cause of death and injury nationwide and that accidents are far more likely in bad weather. So why do people travel? Why do they feel that a Big Mac is worth risking a car accident? Is the increase in risk not fully perceived when making the decision? Do rational people weigh this type of danger low because of faulty logic, car commercials, or overconfidence? Do car drivers know when they’re approaching my house, their vehicle can’t possibly make it up the hill, but try anyway…or are they oblivious?

This little sideshow out front has allowed me to witness human decision-making in its most primal form. I can see the faces of those people; extreme panic, anger, frustration…I can see their decision process as they gun the engine, as they sit and pause to think, as they look around them for ways to either u-turn or tackle the challenge. It’s an interesting glimpse at the base decisionmaking that people make, and I certainly am in those places myself, all the time. What is most interesting, is how each driver is so different. Every person makes thousands of small and large decisions every day, and I get a perfect closed arena to experience this diversity of decisions, right from my window.