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So I know I already did a Wordless Wednesday post, but I can’t resist. I’m writing this post on Wednesday, February 10. Today added about 3 inches of snow on top of an inch or so of sleet from last night—all of that added to the 18 or so (some melted I’m sure) inches already there from the weekend, and the 2 or 3 that were there from the weekend before that. Wind gusts got up to 56 mph. It is the third day we’ve had off for snow this year. We were closed one day in January, got out early this past Friday, and were off Monday (still digging out from the massive weekend snow) and today. Tomorrow is iffy though the message this AM said they intend to be open. [UPDATE – Nope, we’re closed. They can’t get plowed. Probably a good call – it’ll be icy and nasssty. Our poor CFO/COO sounds so exasperated on the office message!]

THIS IS CRAZY. This has been the snowiest winter in the DC Metro area EVER. Take a look at this time lapse video for a taste. We’ll see if I have work tomorrow – my building is flat (buildings around here are dropping like flies – seriously – Catholic school, post office, sheriff’s office, elderly center, and houses, just to name some) and the parking lot was horrendous yesterday BEFORE we got a ton of freezing rain and ice. When I got to work yesterday, firetrucks were there inspecting the roof for safety (somehow did not actually make me feel safer). And oh – more snow expected next week! I looked at the local newspaper’s website this AM and it looked like the apocalypse – building collapses, car crashes, house fires, scary-looking weather maps. ACK.

Today, as my hubby got up from a nap to go to work in the blizzard (he’s a cop, so he has to work), I was in my reading chair, wearing a (Terps!) snuggie, with a cat on my lap, holding a mug of tea, reading a gardening book. That’s some sort of cliché I’m not sure I should have just admitted to being on the internet. I’m glad he didn’t know where the camera was or was too tired to care.

So anyway – the seed starting area is still in the works (needs lights – once we can you know, actually get out to get to a store again), I can’t even get to the shed without digging a trench, and I guess my plants are under there somewhere. I’d love to take some lovely photos of icicles hanging off of plants, except I CAN’T FIND THEM. Where are they? Under this….

Friday, February 5: windy, snowy, grey, gross.

I staked off the triangle garden to minimize rocks tossed in during shoveling.

Sunday, February 7: Snow stopped finally! Time to dig out. That sleet layer was NOT fun.

Thankful for my rain boots and liners. Seriously.


the icicles of death - they reach down to eye level. scary.

There goes my nicely shoveled driveway.

At least there are birds around... keep Miss Alice happy.

And Hank, as usual, is just begging to play.

Wish all us metro area folks luck. It’s insanity. I can’t say I don’t enjoy the snow days, but geez.


Oh! Shocking! More snow!!

One of the benefits of living in Southern Maryland (or Maryland in general) is usually that we get snow every year, but it’s not a big huge deal. We’ll get a few dustings, some flurries, and maybe one or two “big” snows with 8-10 inches. The area freaks out, schools are closed, we all go play in the snow, then a couple days later it’s 40+ degrees and it’s all over. (Ice is usually a bigger problem here because of temp fluctuations and winter rain.)

In March 2009, we got over a foot of snow. In December 2009, we got about the same amount. It was nice to have a white Christmas, even though it rained on Christmas day.

On January 30, we were expected to get maybe an inch of two of snow. That turned out to be more like 10 inches or so. Today on February 5, we’re expected to get anywhere from 20-30 inches. TWENTY TO THIRTY INCHES. The estimate allows 10 inches, which would be bad by itself. WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?

We normally get (totally guessing here – wasn’t able to google up a good source) maybe a foot of snow a winter max, spread out over a few smaller snows. This winter – not even counting the March 2009 snow – we’re probably already over 2 feet. And usually the snowy season doesn’t even start until February or later. I’m scared! The one in December and this one have also both officially been considered blizzards. My favorite weatherman, Topper Shutt, gave this one a 10 on the bread-o-meter, which tops some storm from the 50s or something. Two top 10 snowstorms for the region in 2010 alread.

Thankfully, my office closed at 12:30 today to allow us to all get home safely. Roads were fine then, but it was snowing hard. Unfortunately, my hubby has to work tonight and tomorrow night. We’re supposed to get the vast majority of snow tonight, and things are already crazy. There was an armed bank robbery earlier today, for example. And I’m sure hubby will have to pull some people out of ditches and break up some arguments by people who have “cabin fever” because they’ve been inside their homes for 3 hours. Grr! He did take off Sunday for the Super Bowl (because he worked both xmas and new year’s), so hopefully we’ll be able to get together with my parents and watch the game on their big, fancy TV.

So I’m feeding the birdies in the mean time. They’re all going crazy over the bowls of food I put on the deck, and there are 1 or 2 smart birds who are hitting up the usual feeder on the side of the house. I also brought in a baggie of food so I can refill the deck stuff tomorrow (after I dig it out) without having to dig out the garden shed doors.

I’ll also be, very shortly, sitting in the “cat room” (spare room), reading a book and staring at the greenhouse shelf and all my seeds. Hubby is still working on getting the appropriate light fixtures before it all gets hooked up and put out in the shed. I’ll start seeds in about a month. Please not another foot of snow THIS March!

#snomg, indeed.


I always have at least ONE flower in bloom. Thanks, Aunt Deb!

It’s the first day of spring for gardeners according to my almanac (see end of post). What better time to post snow pics from the weekend? Seriously weathermen – if it’s going to snow 10 inches, tell us that. We’re totally not prepared when you say we’ll maaaaaybe get 3 or 4, if that. Thanks, guys.

Here are some pics from the snow on Saturday, 1/30/2010. (PS – Please say twenty-ten.)

First of all, yes I did make a snowman/pile. So let’s just get that awesomeness out of the way. (I had a scarf prepared, but he has no neck so that didn’t work.) Doesn’t the song go “two popcorn tree eyes, a fingerling sweet potato nose, and a leaf mouth”? No?



That’s what it looked like when we got up. As you can see, it was still snowing hard then. It wouldn’t stop until well into the night.

snow - 10AMish

Not having anticipated this much snow, I had to feed the birds (I added some on the deck as well, which was buried in a few minutes. I dug it out later that night again), get out the snow shovels, and finally screw on the temporary gutter downspout (since the rain barrel is out for the winter, and the temp one keeps falling off without a screw). I dropped a screw somewhere in all that snow. We’ll see if I ever find it.


The road is somewhere underneath there. It got better later on, but it was snowing so hard the plows just couldn’t stay ahead of it. And again, no one was prepared for this much.

By the night, the snow was deep enough to have totally met up with and covered that front stoop. This was in the afternoon – lord all these pics look dreary! But it wasn’t sunny because it was snowing so damn hard!

This is the next day after shoveling the driveway. Never thought those 2 snow shovels from my mom for xmas a few years ago would come in so much handy. Of course a snow machine would have been an even better gift…

Just for kicks, here’s a (high quality!) sketch of the veggie garden areas. The blue is all driveway/parking. We made the garden on the left when we moved in, and the area towards the front is what I have been using as my veggie garden. This year, we are also going to make a garden all along the back of the driveway (raised beds, tiered, probably). Most of this will be reserved for veggies, with the corner closest to the existing side garden perennials/shrubs. While we have almost an acre, our lot is traingle shaped. So most of our land is in the front yard up a hill, or to the right of the house (facing it). We want to put up a fence eventually – the part on the right looks like it belongs to the neighbors, but it doesn’t. That area would be PERFECT for growing veggies (great light conditions, nice open space), except that’s where all of the underground lines to us and the neighbors run. Though that is where, eventually, we will add an addition to the end of the house (since we’ll have to stay here longer than we’ll fit here with kids – stupid housing market). But anyway – I’ll be like quadrupling my space for edibles gardening, hence the big list o’ seeds and stuff in the previous few posts.

Me, looking *just stunning!* in my new, very warm winter coat (with a (detachable) hood! yay!). And I assure you that is not a booger, it is a falling snowflake. Also my hair is the same colors as whatever kind of faux fur that is supposed to be. Interesting.

Ever had snow cream? I hadn’t had it since I was a kid, and it’s still yummy. Mix together some milk (sweetened, condensed if you have it), sugar, and a little vanilla. Take a scoop of snow ans slowly stir in the mixture. Enjoy! You can jazz it up with nutmeg and stuff, but the above is good enough for me. Tastes like a perfect consistency vanilla sno-cone.

snow cream

snow cream

This has to go into the books as one of the snowiest winters in Southern Maryland in a loooooong time. And I’m scared – last year we got a big snow in March, so there’s still plenty of time for more snow! As long as I get a work snow day out of it, it’s cool. If I don’t though, then it’s extra annoying.

Herb AlmanacFEBRUARY 1: St. Brigid/Brigit’s Day. Also the first day of Spring in the gardener’s year. [BRING IT ON!]

FEBRUARY 2: [FYI since I doubt I’ll post tomorrow] Candlemas Day

Just a quick post with a bunch of random thoughts. Because I am currently stuck inside and there are at least 10 inches of snow outside. Driving home yesterday they said maybe, just as far south as me, we miiiight get 3 or 4 inches. Maybe.

It’s been snowing (hard!) since 6AM and is supposed to continue through the night. Good job weathermen!

So today I decided to go through all my seeds and start organizing things. I have few more coming (sharing with @betweenthelimes!), but mostly I have all I’ll get. I’ll buy a few standard hybrid tomatoes (Better Boy always does well) and peppers from the Amish to get some earlier fruit. Plus annual flowers. But on veggie seeds and herbs, I’m all set and just have to figure out layout.

2010 seeds

2010 seeds

(Click that to see it bigger.) So I made a spreadsheet. Looking at last year’s posts from March (use the archives link – lower left), I can see that I started right about at the right time last year. We’re usually frost-free before May 1, that’s a pretty darn safe date. And there are a couple local flower sales I hit up every year that are right around then, so I do my major planting (annuals, etc) after then anyway. If I remember, I want to put the date of first flower or fruit on the spreadsheet too, for future reference. Maybe keep it ongoing from year to year?

I’ll be starting a lot more stuff outside this year, knowing that some things just don’t really benefit from an early start and some do well started in the ground without having to be moved. So the aim is to get the raised beds that will go behind the driveway done by early April (to allow for sowing stuff outside), and also turn the current veggie garden into a small raised bed (possibly for herbs?). I’ll have to figure out the layout of the stuff IN the gardens at some point, too.

One good thing I happened to think of today while thinking of layout is that between bean trellises and tomatoes, the garden will have some height that will give the backyard some privacy from the road. We live on a back road, but it’s a rather busy one, and because our house is down a hill I often feel like I’m sort of on display when I’m in the yard (as evidenced by horn-honks who appreciate my shorts – ugh). So that’s a plus.

I’ve also decided that I want a stone garden Buddha. Not sure if I want fat Buddha or young Buddha though. There is a local stone guy that I’ll have to go to to check it out. I pass by there every day to and from work, and he’s out there with molds and pouring concrete into the drum. He supplies to other local places I think, but also sells a lot from his shop. So I think I need a Buddha from him.

Hubby and I bought a little greenhouse shelf thing (looks like this) from Lowe’s last night. It has four 3ft shelves in it. My plan is to get some fluorescent lights to hang from each level (hubby is in charge of that – having probs finding them in the right size-ish and for the right price-ish) and attach it to a timer in the shed. If I need to/can, I can also use it outside with the cover. I saved a lot of things to start seeds in from last year, plus I have a bunch of peat pots. I’ll probably go to the dollar store and get some metal plans or litter boxes or something to catch water (since there will be lights under each tier) and then put a bit of sand or rocks in those under the actual plants (I’ve heard this helps with them not soaking up too much water and keeping them moist still). I’ll probably also get a fan for outside to move them around a bit and keep them strong, and attach that to the timer as well.

I will most likely START the seeds inside on top of the fridge (where I grew them totally last year). It’ll be much warmer there both because it’s inside and on top of the fridge (tends to be warm up there), so it’ll be warm enough for germination and then I can move them outside once they get a bit bigger. I think there will be room to do that with the cycle of when things need to start, since some are 6-8, some are 4-6, and some are less.

I’ll add the Herbal Almanac stuff later (I’m in another room typing because we have a space heater in here so it’s warmer) and maybe a picture of our (again) snow-covered house and the greenhouse and stuff. Though it’s much more snow-covered now!

[…Later that night…]

Herb AlmanacJANUARY 29: Keep a pot of catnip in the windowsill for the house cat in the winter. The adage is “If you set it, the cats will get it/If you sow, the cats won’t know.” [My cats – ok, mostly just Alice – get too crazy for catnip all the time. I do grow it in the summer though and have some dried.]

JANUARY 30: To ward off nightmares from the long winter nights, try aniseed, licorice, and garlic. [um ew.]

See also (I wish wordpress had a better “related posts” feature…):
the big snow in March
snow last January

me and snow-ogelthorpe

me and snow-ogelthorpe

So we DID get a crapload of snow! Hubby had to get up at 5am to clean off the driveway some more (parking the cars there did help) and get ready for work. They sent SUVs to come pick them up. They can’t really drive the Crown Vics in this weather.

I called in to work and at 6am a message said “we plan on opening at 11am, so call back at 9:30am and check.” wtf. Come on! There was no way I could get out my driveway anyway as it was still snowing this AM, and it had already covered from where Will shoveled out this morning. So I called it a day and went out to clean off the deck so it didn’t fall down. Luckily they DID decide to close work. I’d be pissed if I had to use one of my precious few days off for this!

Again, some of you may not be impressed, but I am! I don’t think we’ve had this much snow here in about 5-6 years, since when I was in college. It’s just about a foot I think, in the nonsnowdrifty places. It’s fun! Wish Will was off so we could play. I did manage to make a snowman though! He’s kind of funky looking. Apparently I was channeling Ogelthorpe from Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Also it’s hard to make a snowman by yourself. I am now told that I should have rolled the snow into a ball (I thought that only worked in cartoons?). Maybe if I go back out again later I will. I have to play in the snow while I can 🙂 But it’s super windy out, and I think it’s even still snowing (or is that just blowing snow? It’s hard to tell) so meh. It’ll be interesting to see what the work/school situation is tomorrow.

The birds have been loving my offerings of food, which is fun. Here’s a video of Alice yesterday intimidating the birdies.

Also, can anyone ID the mystery birds indicated below? I’ve looked through my bird book, but these are stumping me. The black/white ones don’t appear to be chickadees, and I’m not sure if the brown stripey one is a pine siskin or some kind of sparrow or wren…?

Today is the first day of March. It’s the first day the Bruster’s, a delicious ice cream place, is open for summer hours. And between this afternoon and tomorrow, Southern Maryland is expected to have up to 1 foot of snow. I will point out that on Friday, 2 days ago, it was 65 degrees.

Now it still hasn’t started snowing here yet (just rain and sleet), but who knows. My husband, who is a cop, has to work tomorrow AM, so he’s less than happy. I have to remember to call in to work to see if they’re open. I’m also supposed to participate in Read Across America tomorrow, so I’ll have to keep an eye on the school closings situation.

Now I know a lot of people are probably thinking “ok, 1 foot of snow, alright.” Well 1 foot of snow in Southern Maryland means CHAOS. I don’t really get it, because we DO get some amount of snow here every year. But any amount of snow basically equals EVERYBODY PANIC. Schools are routinely closed for any amount of ice or snow. If it snows while students are in class, expect an early dismissal. It’s kind of crazy.

So we’ll see what happens. We’ve taken preventative measures and already salted the driveway and parked all the cars in the driveway up the hill in an attempt to help my husband get to work in the AM. (If there’s any ice on the hill, you’re not going anywhere. We have a driveway up a hill and then a large flat “parking lot.”)

very sad cyclamenIn cyclamen news, it looks like crap (also excuse the crappy macbook cam pic). As I read more about the plant, it prefers to be in temps around 50 degrees and will get sad if it goes about 70. How is this a houseplant? Hopefully it’ll hang on until it gets warm enough (but not too warm!) and I can take it outside and plant it for the spring. After some reading, I moved it to a room with more light (our UMD/Terps-themed office! Where I am currently typing!) and am watering it less per suggestions, but I dunno…Any other ideas? Regardless of the state of the cyclamen, look forward to some snow pics soon (hopefully). Also have some adorable ‘cats clicking at birds’ videos I might have to post. I’ve been spoiling the birds lately (note to self – need to get more bird food and look for a container the mice can’t eat through) and the cats are, of course, loving it!

It finally snowed here in MD enough for it to stick to the ground. And even though we get a fair amount of snow each year, it still causes chaos. Apparently just after I got to work this AM, there were about a billion accidents on the road, and of course all the schools got out early. I don’t get it. Even the University of MD closed at noon. My sophomore year there, we had a TON of snow and ice and they only canceled classes a couple times. Though ice skating to class could be entertaining, it got old quick on a giant campus, and my super old professors were a walking accident in those conditions. Unfair!

But anyway, enjoy some pretty snow pics. I got home in waning light, and reports say it’ll be in the 50s tomorrow, so everything will just turn into muddy slush (after first turning into ice—fun!). Had to get some pics today, just in case we don’t get any more frigging snow!

Allow me to explain the cat/husband pic. Our one cat Alice adores everything cold. She gets in the fridge and tries to get in the freezer. She begs for ice cubes or chips when she hears the freezer open. She plays with the frozen watering can water when I bring it in, and loves loves loves an ice cube in a bowl or glass of water. So while I was taking pics of snowy things, Will hooked her up to the harness (which we bought just for the hell of it to let them explore outside rarely and stop me from thinking they’ll run away to their deaths – we aren’t crazy enough to go for daily cat walks or anything) and took her outside in the snow. She was not so much a fan, even though she had been begging at the door to check things out. Darn cat can’t make up her mind! More on the cats to come later, I’m sure.


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