Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Snow, Please.

Let's see what's been going on around here for the last week...

Carl is in the midst of soldering the big Wisteria shade.  There it is finally, all on the form and ready to go.  Yes, it did take us a year to get to this point, but hey, it's a lotta lamp.  And of course, we don't do any glass work during gardening season, so there's that time delay, too.

Large Wisteria, almost 2000 pieces--and look, there's a seed catalog on the table.  Time to order??

 Last winter we finished the mini Wisteria shade which was a lot less work, but just about as putzy.   This could be called a 'Sunset Wisteria' since I worked orange and yellow background into the design and also added the touches of pink shading at the tips of the clusters.  

Mini Wisteria, 880 pieces

 The large wisteria is done a bit differently, though I did use some pink highlights throughout the shade, but not as predominately.  (At least I think that's what I did.  It's been a year since I selected the glass.)

The very first Tiffany Wisteria reproduction lamp I'd ever seen was at an exhibit in 1979.  Both Carl and I were spellbound and we marveled at how it was built.  

Carl said, "We should learn how to make one like that someday."

I thought he was kidding, but he proved me wrong.  It took us awhile, ok, 35 years,  to get around to making the Wisteria, but we're getting closer.

 I was informed tonight that I will be taking up the soldering chore during the day while Carl is at work.  I'm actually kind of surprised he'd trust me with the job since he's a perfectionist.  I often fall short of the mark and as a consequence, I get discouraged.

He gets all crabby when I say stuff like that. 

"I never said you don't do a good enough job." 

But nonetheless, I worry.  I'll take on the responsibility because I want to help out and because I want to see the lamp done.  You never know how a color layout looks until the shade is finished.  We're running out of winter once again, and it would be awful to have to wait until next winter for the unveiling.

Now, on to the weather.  Last week's skiing misadventure left me with a ruined ski boot.  Because my foot slid sideways in the binding in the sticky snow, the stress caused the sole of the boot to separate from the binding.  I was sad.  Carl thought he might be able to fix the situation but after looking at it, he decided it wasn't worth the bother.  The boot might hold up a little bit longer, but any long trips might find me stranded.  And I don't want to crawl home again.

So, last week Tuesday evening we headed to a local sporting goods store in Green Bay and in twenty minutes we were on our way home with new skis and boots for me.  

There they are, all shiny and pretty.  I wished I could have only replaced my boots, but the bindings have changed over the last fourteen years (imagine that?) and I had to upgrade to new skis, too.  
 The boots are really different.  My old pair had the binding sticking out the front.  The binding on these is just under the toes.  Putting the skis on and taking them off is a breeze, though.  I really like the new system better, simply step in to lock the skis in and push the button on the top of the binding to release. 

Ski pole with carbide tip and snow boot attachment compared to the walking boot for dry pavement

One thing we didn't have to buy was new ski poles.  I use the same ones I bought last year for Nordic walking, my Exerstrider poles.  We have three pairs of these poles now, one for me, one for Carl and one we were going to give away for Christmas until I realized I wanted a spare pair around just in case.  Those poles are the best Christmas present I almost gave away ever.

 The pink pair on the left have a button that pops in place in the shaft of the pole for height adjustment.  The blue pair on the right has a twist and lock mechanism.  For skiing, I've found the button-type is superior as it doesn't retract when I lose my balance and jam all my weight on the pole. 

  I was so excited to try my new skis out last Tuesday night.  By the time we had finished the supper dishes, it was nearly 9PM and though he was reluctant, Carl went with me.  Our friends had driven their snowmobiles around the farm and made some wonderful trails in the deep powder earlier in the day, so we were all set.  After 45 minutes of skiing on the snowmobile trails, we came in around 10:15 PM.  I propped the new skis up in the dining room and looked forward to the next day.

Well, last week Wednesday was a whole different story.  We had a short-lived bout of warmer weather which brought in sleet, small hail and of all things, a series of thunderstorms and rain.   

Joel was home for a visit late in the afternoon and said, "Did you see that flash? Was that lightning?"

I had my head down near the floor while I was tying my ski boots, so I hadn't seen any lightning.  I told the guys I was going to go out for a quick trip around the farm and I'd be back shortly. 

Little did I know how short my trip was going to be; I was even with the Quarry when suddenly the sky was illuminated by a large zigzag bolt of lightning followed by a crash of thunder.  And there I am, standing on snow with aluminum poles in my hands.  Oh, my, that got the adrenaline flowing.  

I skied back to the house as fast as I could and was just in time.  As I stepped out of the bindings, the sky opened up and it started to rain and sleet.  The winds increased and Willie the Willow was throwing small branches everywhere.  Lightning, thunder, hail, sleet, rain, high winds...well.....

So much for skiing. 

The rest of the night was stormy, and then the temperatures dropped.  Luckily, the rain turned to sleet before the trees were weighed down with ice so we were spared any power outages.  Road conditions were dicey, but we're used to that.

 Ever since last week Wednesday we've had constant wind in the 20mph range with windchills to -25 degrees Fahrenheit.  Tonight the temps are supposed to dip down to -6 and the winds are supposed to increase to 29 mph.  

I've gone skiing every day, but my trails are a total disaster now.  The snowmobile tracks are glazed over with a half-inch thick coating of ice and they are treacherous and bumpy.  Any downhill grade becomes a hair-raising attempt to remain upright because I can't pizza or french-fry to slow down on the narrow snowmobile track. 

 I have had to make new trails again which come with their own set of problems.  Though the deep snow did settle a little during the short spell of warmer weather, it didn't settle much.  Once I break through the ice crust, I still find myself knee deep in powdery snow, but with the added issue of the icy crust rubbing on the sides of my feet and legs.  The ski poles break through the crust as I plunge them into the snow, but then as I move forward, I often find one pole or the other is stuck in the snowbank, which brings me to a sudden halt.

I know, are we having fun yet? 

Mom's yard earlier this winter
Yes, I am.  I skied up to Mom's yesterday to bring her mail in.  Her driveway and ours have both melted and refroze into ice skating rinks.  Carl had saved out a five gallon pail of gravel last fall, and we've put it down on the ice to help prevent a fall.  I am notorious for falling....remember what I did to my poor pedometer one year ago?

I fell on my right side in our driveway last January and destroyed my faithful walking companion who took the brunt of the impact.  I even bent the battery.  Years before, in late April, I slipped and fell on the last remaining patch of ice in our garden and broke my wrist. When I fall, I don't mess around.  

And I surely don't want Mom to imitate me.  She wears her ice-cleats and carries a broom with her whenever she goes outside, but ice is sneaky and waits for you to drop your guard.  When you least expect it, Boom, you're down.  I've tried to learn to go with the flow and not stick an arm out to catch myself.  That's why my pedometer was squished to death, but at least I didn't break any more bones.  Yet.

I think the weather man said we've had 45 days below zero so far this winter.  If we keep this up, we'll break or at least match a record.  Our normal high for late February is nearing 30 degrees, but today we only hit a high of 9.  

Skiing into the 20 mph west wind today was brutal; I had to stop several times on the way to Mom's and turn out of the wind for awhile.  My fingers were getting cold, but my face was starting to ache worse than anything else.  Though the temperatures are very low, the sun is much stronger now and quite warm, so in sheltered areas, this weather isn't bad at all.  Spring isn't far off, but it sure feels that way.

We're supposed to get some snow overnight and a little more possibly on Friday.  Our temperatures are going to stay frigid though, but if we do get the snowfall, I'll be happy, especially if there is enough to cover up the ice.  

 This is the latest the snowmobile trails have been open in this area in years.  Normally by now we would have had a few thaws and the trails would be closed due to poor conditions.

With any luck we'll get the fresh snow and my fun will continue.
I've gotta enjoy the time I have left.  

Though I'm probably the only person left in the state of Wisconsin to feel this way, I have one request. 

Snow, please.


FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Snow please ~ that's funny. I can understand though your wanting to ski with new skis and boots. They sound and look good to me, (who is sitting here barefoot, short sleeves and capri slacks). :-)

The snow scenes are lovely with all of the purple and blues.

I love your wisteria shades, they are beautiful! You will do fine with the soldering, don't he so hard on yourself.

Love and hugs to you dear Karen ~ FlowerLady

Carol said...

The shades are so beautiful! ya'll do great work! Enjoy the skiing!

El Gaucho said...

Cool new skis and boots. The boots look just like normal hiking boots, with the clip-in on the front barely noticeable.

Thanks for the positive reinforcement that Spring is just around the corner, we need all the positive affirmations that we can get. Public Radio in Minnesota said the same thing about the possibility of this winter setting the record for the most days below zero. I can only assume that the same holds true for our part of North Dakota. Record or not, Spring sure will be a welcome sight.

Lona said...

I was thrilled to see our snow all melt so I could see brown grass again and you are wanting more snow. That is just not right Karen. LOL! Well you have fun with those new skis and I will take your word for how fun it is. I can just see myself in splits that tear me apart and bouncing on my back side. I just do not bounce like I use to girl. LOL!It has to be great exercise though. I will just be glad to get back to hiking soon. Too cold yet for this wimp. Have a great week.

Chris said...

Hi Karen, the shade is absolutely gorgeous. I'm just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

Larry said...

From one who knows what goes into a shade like the 18" wisteria… wow!! Larry

Indie said...

Ha, you probably are the only one in the state wishing for snow after such a winter! I can totally see how you need to test out your shiny new skis though! And, of course, finish that gorgeous lamp! Where do find the bases for the lamps? I love the base you paired with your mini wisteria lamp. Your lamps are so incredibly impressive looking - I don't think I'd have the patience for all that minute work!

Stephen Andrew said...

I'm with you! If it's going to be cold, I want snow! Not mud. The wisteria lamp is truly breathtaking. You've so inspired me (with your garden as well) with stained glass. I'm sort of envisioning a cabinet or armoire with blue and white stained glass inserts in the door. Also I think it would be a pretty good starting project. We'll see!

sharon malueg said...

Really!!More snow!!I think there is enough now to last until June, lol. Love the new lamp, you guys really out did yourselves again. Love the new skis, now if it would just warm up a bit so you don't freeze out there. Take care and stay warm----Sharon

PlantPostings said...

I think I need to buy a new pair of boots and skis so I'll be OK with the winter continuing. I have an old pair, too, that has the square toes--I need to get them out again. It's been a while. :) Wow -- that's all I can say about the lamps -- just, wow!