Local businesses began putting up their “Closed Tuesday” signs before opening up on Monday.
Schools closed in advance. City officials asked citizens to stay home Tuesday. And setting a good example, city buses are not running up and down Walker Avenue as they usually do.
It’s an eerie quiet, except for that persistent north wind that wipes across rooftops and whips through trees carrying snow in its wake. The snow rises and curls like smoke, making it easy to imagine roofs and trees as cigarette smokers taking a break. Puff, puff, puffing away.
My husband, of course, is working in his office, a small space inside our garage, that eighty years ago was the living space for a maid. Before we refurbished it, there was no insulation in the walls. The 10 by 12 foot space was heated only by a small bathroom heater. I can’t imagine it would have kept this hard-working woman warm on nights like last night, where temperatures dived below twenty. Even with insulation, his new electric radiator will likely not reach set point on a blustery day like today.
I imagine my husband is one of few in the city working away like it’s a normal day at the office. That’s just the way he is — one of the many reasons I love him. He just rides the waves of life without flailing about. While I worry over things like a loss of heat and power, he just smiles and tells me he’s not. And this makes me stop too.
For a while the snow stopped. But fine fairy flakes are falling again. Sometimes they float around in circles riding invisible whirlpools in the sky. Other times they come hard as rain, pushed to the ground by gales of frigid air.
It’s nine degrees outside. Here in the house, I’m grateful for a lovely seventy-two. Out in my husband’s office, it’s sixty-five. Maybe he’ll come in soon and work at home like other telecommuters across Oklahoma.
As for me, I don’t mind a break in everyday routines. With flakes growing bigger, I think I’m gonna set up shop in front of the warm side of the window. And as I do with every pretty snowfall, I’ll think about Mother — how she liked to build a big roaring fire in her fireplace and do nothing more than watch snow flakes fall from heaven.
The cobalt blue bottles lining my windows — Mother’s gift to me a very long time ago — are beckoning me to do just that.
And here I sit, with a fleece blanket wrapped around me to help fend off the effects of one of the realities of Houston apartment living: non-tight windows that let a gale force north wind work its will!
You know the drill, of course. I slept with open windows all last night, in a lovely 70 degrees. At 5 a.m. the wind shifted into the north and the rattling of the sailboat halyards woke me. At 7 the front came through and now it’s 42 and will be below freezing by 9 tonight. We’re in for three days of hard freeze, with snow possible Thursday and Friday!
My biggest problem will be keeping Dixie Rose out of the plants – the dracenae will have to go in the bedroom closet, or she’ll eat them. They appear to be equivalent to kitty-chocolate. I was going to try and keep my big ficus outdoors with freeze cloth and a light bulb, but I’m increasingly nervous about that with hours of 25 degree temperatures. So, I’ll move it in, one inch at a time. Only the big cactus will stay out, but they can handle it.
I’m glad you’re safe and sound. I have a friend SW of Lawton who got some weather, but she was pretty much outside the worst of it. The family in Tulsa and Kansas City aren’t going to fend as well. I hope no one has to deal with power failure – especially those with no fireplaces.
Once I get all the housekeeping details taken care of, I’ll be enjoying this too – and hoping for the snow to come!
My husband was telling me at lunch about his phone conference which included co-workers from Freeport. They recounted a similar tale as yours. My first thought was remembering all those times in Lake Jackson where we moved potted citruses in and out of the garage — and how others were surely marching a similar plant drill.
In some ways, living in Oklahoma is easier — the pots come in before the first hard freeze and stay until late March, early April. They once were small enough to fit in my small enclosed side-porch. But now, five winters later, one takes up residence in my dining room, another in the living room with two sharing space at either end of the side-porch. Thankfully, I’ve no Dixie Rose to contend with — just lots and lots of aphids.
Being an Iowa gal, I know you’re going to enjoy seeing snow. In the twenty years I lived there, we had snow in Lake Jackson only once — but oh was it splendid — that White Christmas of 2004!
With being house bound with the blizzard I got caught up on your blogs. I am so happy for you with that new grandbaby and all the time you have gotten to spend with them. Love like that does make most of us weepy and warm at the same time. We are looking forward to David & Kelly’s twins due in May around Frank’s birthday. Frank has taken many pictures today from different windows of the snow and birds. We can bird watch from our game room and the birds have loved our two feeders. Today we had blue jays, cardinals, mockingbirds, chickadees, junkos and we think we saw two robins and have pictures of them. I didn’t think robins stayed around here in winter. We have enjoyed the winter here in Oklahoma more than I thought we would but until today it has been pretty mild. We have heard from a few of our Lake Jackson friends, too, about their weather changes. I have to tell you I am already anticipating spring and that means planning my garden at the front of our house. I hope you & I can get together and so you can help me with it. I still have your flower book you left me but I’m lost as a goose in trying to pick out what I want because I don’t know what I want. Also I always enjoy your recipes you share so I’m going to try to your egg salad this week. I made your dill ham salad and it was great. Frank really enjoyed it too. Stay warm and let’s stay in touch.
Even without my plant book, I think of your garden ever so often — one thought I’ve had, with your home’s use of natural stone, is to consider drought-resistant plants that bring to mind colors from the Painted Desert — like pink Gaura for instance and purple Homestead Verbena and Moonbeam Coreoposis and Firepoker and native grasses like Miscanthus (Mexican Feather Grass) and golden Fountain Grass and that reddish-purple Muhley Grass I love so much. And if there’s room for a shrub, a lavender bloom Vitex shrub (Chaste Tree) would be fun. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a list for you to ponder over and dream about until the mid-April planting season begins.
Until then, I’ll relish a few more days like today. I love a beautiful snowfall and its gift of moisture to very thirsty gardens.
Thanks for the garden suggestions. I’ll call you to discuss how I get started. I am looking forward to spending time with you.
You’re welcome. Just first thoughts. Sort of like first fruits?
Colleen Breuning said:
I was thinking of you as that storm hit your neck of the woods earlier in the week…. I hope you’re doing well and keeping warm. I have to admit to feeling a little bit guilty down here in balmy South Florida. Today it hit 82 degrees, and it seems as if we are in store for a very early, long and HOT summer. So I decided to start doing some of my much-dreaded weeding and landscaping before it gets too unbearable.
I have to say, I have a bit of snow envy! Call me crazy, right? After living 23 years in South Florida, I really miss the hushed quiet of a beautiful snowfall. But I do remember having to scrape ice off windshields and shovel mounds of snow….that part I don’t miss. I guess I will get some of it back in my life soon enough. We’re hoping to make our transition to Northern Virginia sometime in 2012…. scary but very exciting!
Please take care and stay in touch.
That it can be 82 at your house and 22 at mine seems too far-fetched to be true. If this is your February normal, I’d say you’re a little ahead of coastal Texas where I once lived — it was at least the end of Feb. before we reached the 80s!
How good it is to hear from you my friend. Snow is messy, but I’m with you — gotta love it. Would you believe we had unexpected snowfall off and on all day? The weather experts were unprepared for this one. Mostly small wispy flakes — and there’s hope for more over the next five days.
Glad to hear of your definite transition plans. But Colleen — WAIT! (said EXACTLY as Dianne would yell it… followed by her trademark riotous laughter): That’s JUST next year! Who would have ever thought you’d be in FL for 25 years?
I’m sure glad we all got to experience Captiva together — I don’t think I’ll ever forget that place.
Love you back.