Saturday, January 31, 2015

Day 8.021: Our day in four pictures

Snow clearance has been a big part of this week. This morning, I did the path to the shed (for generator emergencies) and the path to the oil filler (to keep our heating going) again.

And since we're done with this storm, with no more snow for 36 hours or so, it's time to have some fun in what has fallen. Here is a picture of the snow slide we made. It was pretty awesome. I'll post some videos soon.

After lunch it was time for three of us to go out (Exile #3 and Exile #2 stayed home and so missed the amazing garage icicle display)

This is where we went - to do some serious sledding. That's E5N1 at the bottom of the hill. There may be videos of this activity too!

Not pictured: three tasty meals, a very satisfactory game of Settlers of Catan and a couple of episodes of Star Trek. Now you're up to date.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Day 8.020: New snow, old ice

It snowed all day again today - I'd guess we had another four inches or so - and we should get some more tonight. The snow banks are getting quite high.

This picture is from back in December though. I spotted this ghost-tree on the roof when I got back from a morning run:

I think what had happened was that the sun had recently come up and melted the ice on the roof - except where the tree was casting its shadow - and I happened to catch it when the shadow had moved, but the ice had not yet melted. It looked rather cool though.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Day 8.019: Jedi Starfighter by the book

On Tuesday morning while the snow was falling, E5N1 challenged the two of us to build a Jedi Starfighter like the one on the front of his school library book.

Considering we had to improvise extensively and only had one reference drawing, I think we did rather well!

After this brief interlude, we will probably return to your regular programming of talking about the weather tomorrow. Thank you for your patience.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Day 8.018: Our own two feet (or so)

There's just time to admire the huge piles of snow and my snow-clearing handiwork and catch our breath...

...before the next storm arrives tomorrow night!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Day 8.017: Snow from (before) dawn 'til (well after) dusk

We knew by lunchtime yesterday how our day was going to go today - staying home watching the snow fall and trying to keep up with the snow clearance. When we got up, we'd just had a few inches, but the storm was just getting going.

Later, heavy snow and strong winds would indeed bring blizzard conditions and a few minutes ago I snapped some pictures out of our front and back doors and one of our neighbor out for a third or fourth round of snow blowing:

Our little snow thrower did sterling service on three occasions, although on the third, I did allow a neighbor with a big machine to help out by getting rid of the mound left by the snowplow at the end of the driveway.

The snow is still falling, and even when it stops it will continue to blow around and drift, so we will almost certainly have another round of digging-out to do in the morning. School is already cancelled for a second day, but I hope I will be able to get out to work at a reasonable time - we will see!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Day 8.016: The river before the storm before the calm before the storm

I took these on Saturday morning around dawn as I was out for a run. The ice was spectacular on the river. Then the snow came. I ran past here again this morning and the river ice is covered in a blanket of snow.

It had been windy in the night last night but by the time I was running it was very calm - and so it remained all day, but that is all about to change as we await the next snow storm. The story has it this one is going to be quite dramatic. We shall see.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Day 8.015: Exile #2's Sunday Column #41

Exile #2 writes...

So, just as the sidewalks had reemerged and the roads were relatively free of ice, down came the snow. Not that we really minded. There is always something nice about hunkering down and watching it pile up (as long as you don't have to be anywhere). Just as well we like it really, as a couple more storms are winging their way towards us this week.

As a consequence of being holed up, the whole family mastered the art of E5N1's Pokemon game (well, mastered might be a little strong...). It is the perfect game for E5N1, whose mind seems capable of endlessly generating strange characters with odd attributes. He has been busy drawing his own cards as a sideline to playing. In the real game, the characters attack their opponents in all sorts of bizarre ways, including Flails, Mud Shots and Gentle Slaps but Exile #1 and I are particularly fond of the attacks in which your opponent is left confused. I can certainly relate...

Also still going well is our Harry Potter project. Mind you, I leave off each night only to come back and discover E5N1 has read on ahead in his excitement. It's nice to see him taking off with reading, though. He was excited to receive books as presents for Christmas, or "bewkes" as he told me some of his family in the UK would call them, whilst grinning from ear to ear. Cheeky monkey!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Day 8.014: Electric snow

After the last snow storm when we were rescued by the loan of an enormous snow blower by a neighbor, my Dad offered to buy us a much more modest electric-powered single-stage snow thrower. I had no idea these electric ones existed, but it had good reviews from people in areas of the country that get decent amounts of snow, so we went for it.

We naturally assumed that its presence would result in our getting no more snow this year. I nearly used it when we had an inch or so a couple of weeks ago, but in the end decided it was really not enough to make it worthwhile. Today, however, we had a good fall and here it is in action:

Once I'd worked out how to manage the snow chute and the power cable at the same time, we made short work of the driveway, sidewalk and the path to the oil tank. It is very easy to manoeuver - like a lightweight lawnmower. Meanwhile, Exile #2 did some shoveling of harder to reach areas and we were done in seemingly no time.

Thanks Dad - it's a hit!

The rest of the day we stayed in, played games and watched the snow fall - it was rather nice.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Day 8.012: Go on draw it!

E5N1 likes to produce how-to-draw step-by-step instruction sheets. The other day he unveiled a whole book of them - entitled...

Here is a page that Exile #3 did:

(not surprisingly, she rearranged the colours into rainbow-order - she has a thing about that) and here is one that I did:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Day 8.011: iNside?

After my iPhone screen broke, I ordered a cheap replacement screen (and got a new phone). I figured, I would try the $20 replacement at some point with minimal stress about whether it worked.

Tonight was the night. The instructions for replacing the screen start with removing the back cover - the first of 38 steps as basically all the components are removed one by one until you can access the screws holding the screen on.

It was a long night, but eventually I got it back together and it still powers on and the screen works as both a display (albeit a bit pale and shadowy) and an input device. It's not the device it once was, but we'll probably get more than $20 of use out of it in its diminished state.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Day 8.010: Bye bye birchie

One day last summer I noticed that the birch tree just beyond our back yard had apparently spontaneously dropped all its branches in the night. It was obviously riddled with fungus and we wondered how long it could survive.

We might have worried more if it was bigger or in a position where it was likely to fall on anything.

It lasted a few months. Here are pictures from November and today:

Spot the difference (apart from the amount of snow)?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Day 8.009: Fortunes Rocks Beach

On Saturday, we wanted to go for a walk in the cold sunny afternoon, but conditions were not great underfoot - so we decided to use nature's snow-clearance expert's help - and walked on the beach at low tide.

At this time of year there are many large empty beaches to choose from - this time we went to Fortunes Rocks Beach in Biddeford.

Traditional walking-on-the-beach photos as promised:

There was a line of ice that I took for the last high-tide mark:

We saw a loon a little way offshore:

And the early-setting sun made for some pretty sights:

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Day 8.008: Exile #2's Sunday Column #40

Exile #2 writes...

Another slightly under the weather Sunday today, so we pottered about. Exile #4 had a friend over in the afternoon and they busied themselves around the house while the rest of us built some more railroads playing Ticket to Ride.

not today, but the same game, same crew

Exile #1 and I produced a joint effort curry this evening and as it was not a school night (tomorrow is a holiday, in hono(u)r of Martin Luther King Jr.), we settled down for some Star Wars. Exile #3 was nodding off towards the end, as usual (her early mornings take a toll) but despite that, between the three of them, the young Exiles did manage to chatter throughout. These days, watching a movie with them is a bit like having the Director's commentary on but with more analysis of the plot holes.

Hopefully everyone will be feeling better tomorrow. Maybe we can even make the most of the above freezing temperatures.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Day 8.007: Almost abstract at the beach

It was cold today, but the sun was shining on the snow. So after lunch, around low tide, we went for walk on the beach.

I have some more traditional walking on the beach photos, but here are three that caught my eye in a first glance at what I took:

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Day 8.005: Doing his Ferengi smile

After dinner, E5N1 picked up the two pieces of this interlocking trivet and declared, "I'm a Ferengi!" Then he posed for the photo, "I'm doing my Ferengi smile!"

He's only come across the Ferengi in the first few seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, so he doesn't know this character, but he does bear a resemblance I think:

not my photo (obviously)

By the way, my foot has still been bothering me today - but less than yesterday, and to everyone else's relief I've been feeling much more stable about the situation than I was yesterday.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Day 8.004: Down

I went for a run in the extreme cold this morning and it was fine except for some temporarily sore spots on my chin and cheeks and icicles on my eyelashes (yes really), oh yes and that a few minutes after I got back I realised that my foot was hurting - a lot.

I've spent the rest of the day barely able to walk and I'm pretty grumpy about it.

Here's a photo (taken by Exile #4) of me on another day doing something other than walking - but equally inexpertly - can you tell what?

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Day 8.003: Birthday gift shipped

I received this fun model kit for my birthday from Exile #2's brother and sister-in-law (thanks guys!). E5N1 helped me on-and-off during each of the three shifts I spent building it.

The kids were a little confused about the flag on the fore-mast - there were some wayward guesses. In the end Exile #2 said, "It's not important," and I responded with, "It's very important!" Eventually - with a bit of prompting - they used this information to deduce the answer.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Day 8.002: A fox and a quandary

From time to time, someone in the house spots something interesting and I have to make a snap decision - head straight to the window, or grab my camera first. Sometimes, the choice is made easier, like when Exile #4 called up the stairs, "Daddy, come quickly - bring your camera!", other times it's up to me.

On Saturday, Exile #2, standing at the kitchen window shouted, "A fox!"

"A Fox!"


Not her most eloquent moment perhaps, but it did convey the urgency. I did not go to find my camera, but I did manage to point my phone in vaguely the right direction as we watched the fox pass the yard in the woods.

Excuse my shaky phone-work, but - apart  from the shakiness - the other thing that moves is just about recognisable as a red fox.