Friday, December 17, 2010

The day after the blizzard

Hi there Jeni and Mary,   These pictures have been ready to post for about a week.  I guess I have been lazy.
Jeni on the front steps.  Note how high the snow drifted on the porch roof.
This is what the window looks like from the inside.
Alice prefers a room with a view
A view of the driveway from the street
The first cut through the driveway.  That snow is high on the side of the neighbors house.
Jon starts to clear the center of the driveway.  E and Jeni helped.

A view of  Jon through the frosted screen of the porch window.
Neighbor kids having a great time in the snow.  The one with the Santa hat has a
black scarf around his face.  You can't even see his eyes.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice.

Howdy -
  I'll leave it to you to read the rest of Robert Frost's poem.  I'd like to talk some more about ice - in fact, water in all its forms.  For instance, nice blizzard you're having in Minnesota.  I just saw on the news that the Metrodome has been flattened.    
And then there's the little dusting of snow Billings got this morning, just enough to hide where the really slick ice is.   Here's an example of a Billings side street:

26th Street N.
Underneath the dusting is a crusty, slippery obstacle course. We've had some warmer weather, but it will take one massive chinook to take care of what we've pressed into ice by driving on it.
And then there's the ice that formed in a basement pipe in Whitefish, and thawing, floated up under our kitchen sink and got stuck in the water filter, bursting it. 

Of course, we knew nothing of this.  After being gone for two weeks, Brian arrived in Whitefish around 9 pm. He was tired from an 8-hour drive extended to 11 hours by bad weather, running out of gas, and a nasty case of the stomach flu.  He was ready to just empty the car and fall into bed.  Instead he was greeted at the back door by two inches of water in the kitchen, and it was still running out of the burst filter:

 It looked like the water had been running for some time.  Here's what our 80-yr.-old oak floor looks like now:
This is the dining room.

Detail of floor between office and dining room.
Brian says the linoleum in the kitchen is toast too.  When he went down to the basement to turn off the water (because there was no shutoff under the kitchen sink), he said it was "raining" down there.  Of course, that's where all his tools are.

"Luckily" the water did not get too high upstairs because it was running into this furnace intake vent and thus down into the basement:

The furnace is still working though we'll have to get it checked on.  To top it off, the weather has been bad enough to keep the insurance adjuster from making his visit.  He lives in Great Falls and that's about 3 hours away over Marias Pass.  So we'll have to wait a few days more to see what he says.
Regarding Frost's poem about which would be worse, I definitely prefer this to a fire.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday December 11, 2010 or 12-11-10

Hi there Mary.  
We are having a nice day here.  I have beaten our sister Jeni at Hand and Foot one more time.
And then, it is snowing.  Well really it is blizzarding, if that is a word.
Jeni spitting into the wind.  Well OK.  Shoveling during a blizzard.  The snow on the porch roof is at least 15 inches high.
So far.
And then, Alice is depressed...
Alice has problems
She has problems...
That darn mousie has escaped
The mouse she released on her release site, our bed, has escaped...
I'll get it tomorrow night for sure.  Now get me a treat.
We will look forward to that Alice.   NOT.   How about if you show it to Jeni tomorrow?   

Love, Nancy

Friday, December 3, 2010

Winter pictures

Hi Mary and Jeni,
I took some pictures on the way home last week and here are a few of them
November Sunset
Meeting another car
Getting close to home
Through the Woods
Junco tracks like lace in the snow
Hoar frost on the Amur Maple
A cold Purple Finch
That's all for now.  How is the snow in your street doing?  Still there?  Frozen?  Melted?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Billings Diary; Day: whatever

Before I tell you the shocking news about Billings' snow removal, here are a few more pictures from home:

Jeni's treats from left to right: cookies filled with dates; Victorian toffee, almond shortbread, ginger snaps. 
Jon kept dropping off brussels sprouts for us to eat.  Where did he get them?
Picture taking erupts in laughter.
Forcing our spouses to join us.
Oooo, netbooks!  We all want to be connected.
Cousin Mike and Jeni messing around in the kitchen.
We arrived home Monday to find that snow had fallen in Billings on Sunday.  Quite a bit of snow.  In fact, this November Billings has recorded the second highest amount of snow in its history.  Sorry I didn't take any pictures of the six to eight inches of snow which is nowhere near the record in any of the other places I've lived.  You can look at the Billings Gazette's Winter Weather gallery here - they seem partial to dog pics.

The remarkable thing is this: snow fell before we left for Thanksgiving.  They didn't plow any but arterial streets.  Today (Tuesday) as our car floundered from rut to rut, getting pushed all over the street by the 21 inches of snow that has fallen in the second half of November, I wondered what the plowing schedule was.  Reading the Gazette, I found out:
"If you're wondering whether the street you live on is going to be plowed, the answer is almost certainly no...for decades, the policy in Billings has been to clear the main streets, spread some sand and calcium chloride de-icer where needed and hope the city's frequent chinooks do the rest of the work."  (Ed Kemmick)
Meanwhile a related article tells the citizens of Billings that they'd better have their sidewalks cleared or face consequences.  So you can walk around the block but you can't walk across the street.  Arrrgghhh!  Can you believe it?  I thought about it for awhile and it has made some fiscal sense.  After all, it usually doesn't snow much here.  A friend who lived in Billings for 12 years told me I'd be able to ride my bike all winter.  However, I am imagining that this winter will be the Mother of All Snow Years.  Where is that chinook?

One last picture: the Knitty Brambles beret is being blocked:

Monday, November 29, 2010

A visit with everyone

What a visit!  I can't wait to come back.  Maybe Christy can come too, next time.  But for now, it will have to be enough that all the siblings were together:
Jon, Mary, Nancy, Jeni, Chris
Even Cousin Mike made it.  Most of our spouses came as well.  Here we all are:

 Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

The cooks wearing their aprons.  In order, the Martini apron, the Hot Chili apron,
the Chocolate Cupcake apron, the Yellow Cupcake apron and the Apron apron.
Also two Stuffies, (stuffed animals) were present.
 Thanksgiving was a good time.  We had lots of help cooking and way more help eating.   We had some Watermelon Pickles which I had never eaten before.  They were very interesting.  I would have them again.
Watermelon Pickles and some nice olives.
We got an assortment of olives from the Co-op.   My favorite ones are the light green ones.  YUM!
4 different Cranberry Relishes.  The pink one is Susan Stamberg's with horseradish.  
We had a difference of opinion on the Cranberry Relish and ended up with four different ones.  I liked them all except for the one by Mama Stamberg.   I don't mind hot but I don't like horseradish.   Dad loves it.
Pear Cheese Cake with Ginger Snap crust was the favorite dessert!
Jeni had to hide it after she made it the night before.  My brother Chris went looking but she hid it too well!
One person, un-named, had cheesecake, apple pie and pumpkin pie with a 'little' whipped cream.
A good time was had by all.   Jon won the first game of Hand and Foot and Nancy won the second one.  

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My FREE Sewing Machine

Free Parlor Cabinet Sewing Machine from 1916
This is the Sewing Machine I bought from Peggy McBride at the River Rat Toga this September.  When I started working on it I found the manual and also this 'raffle' ticket in the inner drawers of the machine.   The ticket was the top part of an advertising flyer dated Saturday February 19th, 1916 from Weyrick & Evans of Traer, Iowa.  It was number 1297.
Guarantee for Free Sewing Machine Co.
Raffle ticket No. 1297

Serial Number for this Free Sewing Machine.
The person holding the ticket didn't win the free Free Machine because on the inside back page of the manual was this notation.
Paid  37+ old machine (unless that is a 9)
 Here is the manual.  It was all crinkled up and torn.  I ironed it flat and used some tape to reinforce it.
Free Sewing Machine Manual
Close up of machine head

It stitches very nicely
The front doors open up and become the support for the flip top cover.  They also hold  the attachments, an oil can and thread.  The oil can that I 'liberated' from Mohn Electric more than 20 years ago fit perfectly in a little round divot on the right side inside door.  I just knew I needed that tiny little oil can.  I bet it came from my first husbands grandmother.  She was a quilter too.
Right inside door drawers 

The tiny oil can fit perfectly in the cut out circle

Left inside door showing attachment box
Attachment box with 5 more bobbins and attachments that look unused
I really like this machine.  It is in my living room near the front door.  I hope to do some sewing on it for the Christmas block exchange for the MN/WI Junkies Christmas Party.