Falling leaves

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We had a rainy (off and on) day today which, of course, has caused the leaves to release their hold on the trees.  The leaves fling themselves into the wind, scurry across the lawn and down into the road, carried away by the streams of water cascading toward the drains.  We haven’t had the royal reds, sunny yellows, and breath-taking oranges that we usually have here in southern Indiana.  The weather isn’t cooperating, much too warm for this late in the season.

But fall is definitely here.  The persimmons are joining the leaves under the trees, if you can only get to them before your dog does you’ll be able to gather enough to process them and put them in the freezer.  Then, when the cold of winter is upon us, you can pull out a container of pulp and whip up a delicious persimmon pudding to help warm the coldness in your bones and fill your home with a spicy sweet scent.  How I remember growing up on the farm and running the persimmons through the processor to freeze container upon container of that deep orange pulp.  Our collie, Lady, raced us for the fallen fruit, gobbling the little globes, trying to beat us in the competition.  Fortunately we lived in an area that had an abundance of wild persimmon trees that blessed us with their bounty yearly.  In fact, the town where I grew up just finished its week-long tribute to the persimmon, the Persimmon Festival.  I wasn’t able to make it back this year, but I’m hoping I’ll join my friends next year.

Some folks don’t like fall because they see that winter is following closely on its heels.  Me?  I love fall.  I love the crisp air, the colors, the foods we associate with the cooler weather, the sound you make when you walk through the fallen leaves, and all of the local festivals.  I don’t even mind the fact that winter is coming.  Talk to me about that in February and I’ll likely be singing a different tune, but for now, I’m simply enjoying what fall brings my way.

And then the wind blew…

Tornado warning

Tornado warning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…and blew and blew!!  I haven’t been sleeping well, waking up coughing, so imagine my displeasure when I woke up to the sound of tornado sirens last night.  Yep, tornado sirens in Indiana in January. Had to get up, go downstairs and find out what was going on.  There was no lightning or anything, just really strong winds.  When I turned on the tv, they were showing the approaching storm and saying to take cover on the lower floor of your dwelling in an interior room without windows (I think I’ve heard that often enough that I was able to repeat it verbatim).  Well, I don’t know about you, but the only room in my house that doesn’t have windows is the half bath on the lower floor.  Yeah, it’s never fun to sit there in that tiny bathroom with two cats, both of which are trying to pull the door open and escape.  But, being the good kitty momma that I am, I keep them locked in there with me just in case.

I didn’t actually ever get into the bathroom last night.  The tornado warning was lifted before the edge of the storm came through Bloomington, so we just ended up with high winds and heavy rains.  And I’m not complaining about that, really I’m not.

But it was about three hours after the sirens sounded before I was able to go back to sleep, and I wasn’t too crazy about that.  When I think about it though, I guess that’s a much better scenario than what could have happened.

Rain or snow?

English: A train blocked by snowdrifts in Sout...

English: A train blocked by snowdrifts in Southern Minnesota, USA, 1881. Deutsch: ein Zug hat sich im Schnee festgefahren, südlicher Teil Minnesotas, USA, 1881. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are you one of those folks who thinks we shouldn’t have any precipitation, other than snow, during the winter months?  Well, we’ve certainly had a mixture so far this winter…had a couple of good snowfalls (if there is such a thing), then temps in the 50s and 60s, now rain….lots of rain…flood level rain.  I needed to go run a few errands after work today, but ended up just going home…that’s how hard it was raining.  And the temps have dropped dramatically from this morning when I went in to work.

Personally, I would much rather have rain than snow…every single day of the year (okay, okay…I like a white Christmas as much as the next person, but then I want it to melt away and warm up)…I don’t like getting cold and the snow is just plain inconvenient.  Yeah, I know…I’d never survive in Minnesota during the winter, but I’m not really planning on trying it either.

Driving home today, I had a thought…can you imagine how much snow we’d have on the ground if all of this rain had come down in the form of snow?  Yikes!!

Blizzard, anyone?

I had to be at work at 5 this morning…it was snowing, but the full brunt of the storm hadn’t hit yet at that time.  We were at work for a few minutes when the phone started ringing…and ringing again and again…with call-ins.  I couldn’t really blame any of the associates for calling in…the snow had started coming down hard with a nasty wind blowing it all over the place.  After talking with the district manager, we decided not to open for the day and headed out.  Holy moly, the roads were in much more treacherous condition than they’d been only two hours earlier.  I turned a corner and the back end of my car fishtailed…it was good to see that the instinct to turn into the skid was still there (from all of those years of driving on snow-covered country roads).  When I was almost home, the visibility was so bad that I couldn’t see anything in front of me.  Finally made it home and trudged through the drifted snow…I changed out of my wet clothes and tried to warm up.  Ahh…it was so good to be home, safe and sound.

Later in the day, I decided to see how things looked outside…

blizzard 003

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is this?

What is this?

Spook trying to decide what to do about the snow drifted up against the kitchen door.  She’s a pretty smart kitty, she decided to walk away.

Thinking about folks on the east coast today

Hurricane Sandy & Marblehead [Front Street 9]

Hurricane Sandy & Marblehead [Front Street 9] (Photo credit: The Birkes)

As many people across the country have been doing, I’ve been thinking about people who have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  My niece is out east (my pregnant with her first baby niece!!), so of course we’re all worried about her and her husband.  Thank goodness for social media sites which allow us all to stay connected…no waiting for days (or even weeks) to find out how everyone is doing.  She posted on Facebook this morning that they hadn’t even lost power this time.

And I have several friends who live on the east coast, all of whom have weathered Sandy’s temper tantrum…most made it through with just minor damage…and lots of standing water…and lots of amazing pictures.

When I see the pictures and videos of the hurricane, I’m always in awe of how powerful nature can be.  There are times we attempt to battle nature and then there are times when the wise course of action is to simply retreat and return another day.  As sad and devastating as the property damage is, buildings can be rebuilt.  Our friends and families are of much greater value than any building.  As long as they stay safe, we’ll be all right.

For anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one or damage to your home or business, I’m deeply sorry.

On a lighter note…I was shocked (although I probably shouldn’t have been) to discover how many of the pictures of the hurricane being posted on social media sites (the shark swimming in a yard in New Jersey, the soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery, the swirling cloud over the Statue of Liberty to name just a few) were either photoshopped (Statue of Liberty, shark) or had been taken at some other time (the photo of the soldiers was actually taken last month, not while Sandy was striking).  I don’t know why this surprised me.  It just seemed so wrong to fake pictures when there was so much suffering happening in real time.  Ah well…that’s my rant for the day.

Stay safe and stay dry, my friends.

 

Neighborhood park

I’m so thankful that I live in a city that values green space.  There are several really nice parks in town and one of them happens to be within walking distance of my house.  I went there to walk around the other day..probably would have spent more time had it not been in the 90s!

Tired? Sit a spell…

Now what kind of scary tale can I concoct in these woods?

Honeysuckle memories

Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had to close at work tonight (yeah, like that’s one of my favorite things to do).  When I got home and stepped out of my car,  I smelled the unmistakable scent of honeysuckle…immediately took me back to my childhood.  Did you ever pull off the honeysuckle flowers and drink the nectar?  Ahh…the memories of growing up out in the country.

Then that made me think about the lightening bugs and how many more of them there were when I was a kid than there are now…is that true?  Or is it because I now live in town?  Same with butterflies…they were everywhere when I was a kid.  I still see them, but nothing like when I was a kid.  Again, we lived way out in the middle of nowhere, so that may be a factor.

But don’t you find it fascinating that scents can bring back such powerful memories?

 

Wacky Indiana weather

We’ve had crazy high temps for a couple of weeks then last night had a frost warning…didn’t materialize, thank goodness.  But we did have some weather excitement Friday night.

storm clouds moving in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tornado sirens going off several times over the course of the evening…of course, silly me, I’m outside taking pictures…no tornado though.

downpour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rain came pouring down and…what’s that?  A little hail?

hail in hand

And the hail kept coming down, harder and harder (I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about this or not…but hail kind of stings when it hits you…I finally gave up and came inside)

The full impact (haha) of the hail storm became evident when I looked at this picture…

Isn’t mother nature amazing???

There’s a bad moon rising…

One of several tornadoes observed by the VORTE...

Image via Wikipedia

We’re right in the midst of a batch of tornadoes…somehow the terrible weather has kind of split when it came to our part of Indiana…some of the storms went north and some south.  The southern part of the state has been hit hard, several fatalities…lots of damage…I hate to see it.

We’ve been very fortunate in that all we’ve had all day was some rain and some wind…one of the guys I went to school with down in Mitchell is gathering supplies to take to one of the hard hit small towns tomorrow (if any of my friends from the area are interested in contributing, let me know…I’ll get you in touch with him).  I’m always touched by how normal, every-day people manage to jump right in when disaster strikes…providing food, water, clothes, really all of the necessities we need in situations like this.  People can be so good~

Ahh…winter…

…how I haven’t really missed you. I could have been perfectly content to have you stay far away until, oh I don’t know, maybe next December.  But no, you had to show up over night here in Indiana and make my morning more than a little uncomfortable.  You decided to visit us with your freezing rain, covering the sidewalks,

the roadways,

and even my car.  How I’m sure you laughed as I struggled (and failed) to get into my car in the dark early morning hours.  How funny you must have thought it to be to watch me using a hammer to crack the ice around the door after I came home from work.  I’m sure you chuckled while watching me slip on the sheet of ice as I feverishly worked to break through the layer of ice covering all of the car windows.  Oh yes, laugh while you can, you evil-hearted witch…your days are numbered.  In fact, your hours are numbered as the temps rise into the 50s tomorrow and all signs of you melt away.  How that warms my heart.  And if you forget all about us for the remainder of January and February, it won’t upset me at all.

To give you credit, winter, you did provide some beauty amongst the misery…

I suppose, as in much of life, beauty often hides behind the discomfort, only making itself known when we take the time to really see what is before us.

 

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