Sunny, Rain, Snow, Sunny, Rain, Snow. Warm, Cold, Warm, Cold. Melt, Freeze, Melt, Freeze.
Our weather has been up and down and very changeable throughout January. We’ve had such warm temperatures that the snow melted and the chickens even came out of their coop one day–for the first time since the snow began to fall at the beginning of winter. Then it changes back to cold again and everything re-freezes. Last Sunday night it rained, but by Monday morning the rain had turned to snow. Everything refroze and area schools were canceled. Even JJ’s college cancelled classes, which doesn’t happen very often. Deep snow can be dealt with but ice is another matter. We’ve gotten less snow this month since the Great Lakes have mostly frozen and no moisture can be picked up from them and dumped on us as lake effect snow. Today the skies are blue and the snow is melting again.
EJ checked our propane levels last Saturday, which he does faithfully, and we were at only 7% full. We have a geo-thermal system, which draws from the earth itself to warm or cool our house. Our heating system doesn’t use propane until temperatures drop below 20 degrees. We’ve had a lot of cold temperatures during the last month, so our propane was depleted more quickly. I never had propane until we moved to this house and I don’t really like it because we have to worry about our usage. Also, the prices vary from one refilling to the next so I’m never sure exactly how much it’s going to cost, which means I don’t know how much to plan for. Last time it cost less to refill our tank then I thought and this time it was much more. I much prefer heating our house with gas–with a consistent monthly bill and no worries about running out.
EJ called the propane company on Monday morning and the delivery truck arrive the next day to fill our tank. I was concerned that our driveway would be too icy for the truck to make it up the hill. I could imagine the propane truck sliding over the edge of the driveway and overturning into our little valley, spilling hundreds of gallons of propane. What an ecological mess that would be! I could also imagine the delivery guy taking one look at our steep slippery driveway and deciding not to attempt it. These concerns are not unfounded. USPS, UPS, FedEX, and other delivery people refuse to come up the driveway in the winter, which is why we have the Magic Box at the bottom of the driveway for them to put our packages in. What would we do if we ran out and the propane guy refused to drive up our hill? So I’m metaphorically biting my nails when our propane levels get low in the winter.
At the top of the hill, the propane truck turned into the place we keep cleared of snow so we can turn around, and as it turned, it began to slide a bit. Yikes! The truck spun its wheels. I began praying, “Please don’t slide, please don’t slide.” The truck stopped, the driver got out and sprayed something on the tires, and then he was able to pull in and back into place beside the tank to refill it. When the tank was filled, the truck lumbered back down the hill. I watched it go, hoping it would make it safely to the bottom. It did. Whew.
Wednesday afternoon I went to the hospital with JJ so he could get his blood work and an x-ray done in preparation for his appointment with his oncologist next week. JJ always gets very stressed when he has to have medical tests and appointments, but I thought he handled it very well this time. We all get a bit anxious as JJ’s oncology visit nears. We only breathe again when/if the results show that he is safe from cancer for another year.
I have put aside the dragon shawl I have been working on. I love the look of it, but I’m afraid that it will be too heavy for a shawl so I’m wondering if I should redesign it. My friend thinks it is beautiful and the heaviness will just make it wonderfully warm and cozy on a cold day. She might be right. I wished she lived close enough pick it up and tell me if it’s too heavy or just right. While I consider it, I’m working on a swan shawl. I have looked at many, many patterns for both the dragon and swan shawls–and have even begun a few of them–but none of them end up being exactly what I have in mind. Some of them look good on paper, but the intricacies of the designs get lost in the yarn that I want to use. So I’m working on designing my own shawl and combining elements of several different stitches I’ve found. I know the “feel” that I want the shawl to have, but don’t yet have a clear design in my mind.
It takes a lot of thought, effort, and trial and error to create a pattern. Years ago I designed some cool crocheted superhero dolls. It often took me hours and hours to create one small element–like fingers on a hand–that I saw in my mind. One (smallish) problem I’m running into is that when Hannah Joy wants something, she wants it NOW–whether it’s wanting outside, or to crawl in my lap, or to play. She doesn’t take “No” for an answer. She’s very much like a toddler. Earlier this week I was trying out an intricate pattern that required a lot of concentration and Hannah kept wanting attention of one sort or another, and wanting it NOW. I was constantly losing count of stitches or which row of the pattern I was on so I’d set aside my crocheting, interact with Hannah for a bit, and then recount or tear out rows and start over–only to have Hannah want attention again. As it was, when I finally had a few rows finished, I decided the pattern wouldn’t work and I discarded it.
Oh, well. I don’t have a deadline and I’ll figure it out eventually. I do love my animals. Although I did wonder if Snow White ever felt a wee bit of a longing for a moment or two without all those adorable birds and animals scampering about her?
Hannah is a joy, though, and she often makes me laugh. She has such an expressive face. When she wants something she makes her self look very small and pathetic–like a starving child with huge eyes–so it’s hard to deny her. And when she’s waiting for a me to do something–such as give her a command to eat or throw her the ball, her intense expectation is visible. Hannah is also very clever. She makes up and changes her own games. For example, she pretends to give me her ball but then grabs it back when I start to reach for it. And instead of merely chasing her ball when I throw it, she now tries to catch it in the air before it bounces. I think she’ll be a great frisbee-catching dog. Yesterday morning she went round and round chasing her tail–which she actually did catch.