Christmas came and went this year at breakneck speed. This was our first year with a fake tree and I have to admit the change wasn't all bad. The tree was a tiny little thing that Ann's daughter replaced with a larger one. I liked the fact the tree fit in the corner and needles weren't falling off every time I sneezed.
I didn't put up much for decorations outside for a change, so taking them back down again the first week in January wasn't more than a half hour ordeal, compared to 2017 when I went a bit overboard.
When we finished the tufa tower last fall, we placed a lantern we'd bought at an antique store on top. Not wanting to run power to the lantern (because we always seem to change the landscaping around here) I rolled up a coil of outdoor solar lights in the middle and on sunny days the lantern stays lit for several hours at night, even during our short daylight hours. I guess calling the lantern an 'antique' is stretching it a bit, though the newspaper which was stuffed inside to prevent breakage was from 1971.
We're just coming out of a polar vortex event, at least I guess that's what the weather people are calling it. We were down to -30F with nasty -50? windchills this week and it hasn't been a whole lot of fun. We had a big snowstorm on Sunday night going into Monday and then the temperatures plummeted with a brisk west wind. It's been a strain for everyone but thankfully, it's coming to an end.
The 574 decided it wanted to sit this storm out and left us to warm ourselves by doing snow removal the old-fashioned way, with a shovel. The tractor was not running well on Monday night and I called our good friend Adam to come take a look at it on Wednesday. By Wednesday, the temperature had dropped all the way down to -27F, and the engine would barely turn over. After pulling the dipstick and seeing the oil was the consistency of caramel, we decided to let snow blowing go until the temperature rises to a less ridiculous number. There's no sense in ruining an engine if it is not necessary.
Adam dropped me off at home and I set to re-shoveling out the driveway that had drifted back shut since 5AM when Carl and Joel had dug out Carl's car.
I only did half the driveway since I was not intending to go anywhere anyway. We haven't had garbage pickup this week and no mail or schools open for the last three days. Even by Wisconsin standards, this was a Big Deal.
Carl's car kept stalling (luckily, it would start again) but he was only able to get it up to 25mph. We're not sure what was causing that problem, probably gas line freeze up, despite the fact Joel bought some Heet to add to the gas of all of our vehicles. Thankfully, Carl was able to limp the car to and from work, just at a lot slower speed.
It's a good thing Carl added the hanging frames to the tree grates, at least when it snows and the drifts pile up, we'll know where the driveway is.
Backing out of the driveway is much easier, you just have to be between the grates. Of course, now that our driveway is a ridiculously wide 40' wide span, we shouldn't have a problem backing out of it. (The tree grate pictures were taken in early January when we had very little snow.)
Speaking of the driveway and the new culvert, it was a good thing we finally did get that project out of the way as we are set to embark on a whopper of a new project in mid-June.......finally, at long last, the remodeling of this old hut.
Is this a good idea, especially when we are one of the host gardens for the American Hosta Society National Convention tour this June?
We all know the answer to that question. NO!!!
But guess who decided we'd go ahead with this anyway?
The day after the convention (if nothing else prevents it) we're tearing the roof off this place.