It’s been a week of cold weather now, and while I’m really enjoying the lack of mud (sa-weeeet!), I am getting sorely tired of the fog. Of course on the weekend, when I’m home, it’s foggy all day here too.
We’ve been experiencing a week of cold fog throughout the Seattle area, though until Saturday, the fog has been absent in my little town. Which is amazing, since Foggy Bottom could be an alternate name for my town in this fertile river valley. It’s known for frequent fogs, and mid-morning fog on the nicest of summer days is common. But this past week, as I’ve jetted off to the day job, it’s been mostly clear and beautiful, and I only hit the fog once I got five or so miles away. And at the office (about 18 miles away) it’s socked-in foggy and cold, and a wee bit creepy, honestly, all day long. It reminds me of a Stephen King novel (The Mist being the most obvious, but he has others that have creepy fog, too). I check the area traffic cams throughout the day, and see bright sunshine in my home turf while my office (well, the floor my cubicle is located on, anyway) is sunk deep in icy fog for the entire day. It makes me yearn to be at home, for yet another reason. My office cube is on the 11th floor of a high rise, and the fog didn’t lift at all, where normally it would burn off (sort of) by 2 or 3 o’clock at the latest. Not this week. A run out for lunch was a lesson in layering – brrr! A scarf was a minimal extra to the January parka, and gloves or mittens a necessity as well (though this germophobe wears gloves for as many months as she can get away with it). This week I’ve added a hat. I often wear a cap (something with a bill), to keep the rain off of my glasses, but this week a beanie was the better option. Plus a hood!
It’s barely getting above freezing during the day, and dips a few degrees below freezing every night, so the ground vegetation is frozen, and after a week the trees are beginning to look like it’s snowed, especially those on a northern exposure. A drive out on Saturday was pretty (what I could see, anyway) with the trees looking like a Christmas card in areas where the day’s sun didn’t reach, and the overwintering Trumpeter swans in the fields by the road looking dreamlike in the mist. But. As much as I like the lack of rain (and it’s not even the lack of rain so much as the lack of mud that makes the difference), I’m getting tired of this. I don’t mind cold weather, but this damp fog and cold is getting tedious. Normally when we get temperatures this cold we also have either snow (yay!), however fleeting that may be, and/or clear skies – big YAY! Not seeing the sky due to fog is different than missing it due to overcast skies. I’m not liking this thick, endless fog so much. If it’s going to be this cold and rain-free, how about some sunshine to go with? The local weather guru tells us that just a few hundred feet up, above the fog, it’s a balmy 60+ degrees (and sunny!), and that the inversion is supposed to last another half week.
So far, though, I’m just counting my blessings. Since it’s hovering around freezing, the issue of frozen pipes and no running water is also hovering. It’s not dropping too low at night, and daytime temps are getting above freezing (even on my
north-facing hillside) so I’ve been okay so far. Still, it’s created an underlying anxiety. In my experience here, it’s two or three days of 20’s or below at night, with daytime temps not getting above freezing, that cause the pipes to solidify (at the well head, from what I can tell). I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the next few days (weather is predicted to hold for another three or four days) will stay the same. In the meantime I’m holding off on laundry and dishwasher use, so I don’t inadvertently use up the tank water. Drinking water for me and the critters is more important than running the dishwasher, and right now I’d rather be able to flush the toilet than reduce the hamper’s volume.
I have yard work to do, and cleaning out the sheep shed, but may not get to it this weekend. As delicious as last weekend’s cold, clear weather was, this weekend’s cold, damp fog cuts to the bone. I need to haul at least a couple wheelbarrows of “strhay” out of there, so I can open the gate to get in and feed them every day. Water has been a trip with a warm bucket or container of warm (hot water) every morning. It adds a few minutes to the morning routine, but it’s not too terrible in that it’s not freezing during the day as well.
Foggy bottom Sunday
The fog is thick again today, with the chill that won’t let go. No little cat feet here; this stuff is cat silent, yes, but more like a Siberian tiger than a
wee pussycat. There was some sort of kerfuffle on the road this morning, with emergency units – aid car and police – and, later, a tow truck. It seems the black ice claimed another. I didn’t go down to inspect; it looked like there was plenty of help, and the dogs would have been idiots with the people and vehicles on “their” road (and to leave them in the house would have caused a kerfuffle in here!). The vehicular dustup was on the northwest corner of my property, and looked like the vehicle (a white SUV) went into the ditch by my neighbor’s driveway. And that was before the fog really rolled in. It’s thick now, and very Twilight-esque looking out there.
I worked outside for a bit, my hands becoming painful with the cold (wearing gloves) and my thighs blocks of ice. I thought blubber was supposed to be insulating, but my thighs have never gotten the message, and even with long underwear get very cold. There wasn’t much I could do, being so cold, but I managed to fill the yard waste bin with some downed limbs. I also did some scooping, with some of the, um, product, frozen to the ground. Poopsicles, if Cutter were still with us. I came back in to make some hot drinks, some baked eggs for a bit of brunch, and take care of last night’s carrot soup. It’s another yummy batch, this time with homemade chicken broth (normally I use homemade vegetable broth). I’ll have some for lunch this week,
and put some in the freezer as well. I have enough carrots to make at least four more double batches, and judging
from the condition of the carrots I used last night, I need to keep up on this, so will make another vat tonight or tomorrow night. The smaller ones were getting a little rubbery, and there was some moldiness on the tops, plus fine white root growth on the ones that weren’t getting rubbery. Not bad, in truth – I harvested these back in October, so they kept fairly well in the ensuing three months. The ones I harvested in late December are still fine, and waiting their turn for soup.
The sheep are enjoying their day out, as are the chickens. The fog is a double edged sword for the chickens. It keeps the raptors flying low, but also keeps them from the broad view, so they have to be flying right over to see the chickens, and are then of course very visible to the chickens, too. As I sit here, looking out the window at the hens industriously working in the grass and underbrush, I wonder if I’ll ever get tired of this view, or if the thrill I feel when I see the sheep flock strolling by as one will ever get old. It almost looks brighter out there now, so maybe today’s fog will burn off. With three more hours of daylight left, I suppose it’s possible. In the meantime I just need to bite the bullet and go clean out the sheep shed so I can get the gate open for a few days this week. [Update: Five wheelbarrow loads out of there today – kept me warm in the foggy chill (it never did clear).]