Friday, March 28, 2014

TOO MUCH RAIN!!!

Those of us who live in the Pacific Northwest have a love/hate relationship with rain.

We love that it keeps the air (relatively) clean, and it maintains our green appearance. We do like our pretty flowers and summer gardens.

On the other hand, we get pretty darn tired of it when it goes on day after day for a week or two, or three.

This past Saturday one of the worst (remember St. Helens?) natural disasters in state history occurred about 55 miles north of Seattle. It took mere seconds to wreak horrendous devastation.
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The mountainside, becoming saturated and having a predominantly clay composition, broke off and slid down slope. The slide was 1 1/2 miles wide and slid about a mile forward. [think an area the size of the entire downtown of Seattle]

It virtually wiped out the town of OSO, WA.; taking out both sides of the North Fork Stillaguamish River, and covering SR-530 in up to 15 feet of mud. Nearly 1/2 the population of the town is still missing. Because of all the debris there is no way yet to know how high the death toll will rise. Suffice it to say that we are in shock. Responders have been working round the clock for days trying to locate the missing. Their stories and the stories of the survivors are heart wrenching.

As if more bad news was needed - they are still getting rain. The forecasters are saying that it "might" be drier by this Sunday.

There are 2 "good" things: 

The voluntary aid to Oso, monetary and material, was immediate and generous; everyone wants to be involved. A couple of terrific recovery plans were actually suggested by young people; I'm talking under 16 here.

The other thing is that the river immediately started cutting a new channel through the slide, so the flood risk was much diminished. I heard last night that the river had reverted to an earlier riverbed, one that had been blocked by an earlier less extensive slide.

A geologists report from 1999 has been found, and pulled into the light, which suggests that "someone" knew that a catastrophic slide was a clear possibility in that area. This has raised many questions about why permits were given to build. Homeowners are saying that they were never told of the danger when buying properties. I wonder how thorough the appraisal reports were, or if anyone read them.

I cry every time I think about this, and yet I am not directly affected. So much loss. I hope that the families can rebuild their lives. They will have a difficult time. They are in my prayers, I hope that they will be in yours.



Saturday, November 30, 2013

Do we still have a comet?

Comet ISON passed its closest to the sun on Thursday morning. We had been told that two things might occur.

1. The comet could disintegrate from the heat.
2. The comet could develop a new intense glow, and become more highly visible in the night sky.

Thursday the astronomers watched.  It went into the solar horizon - and disappeared.  Reports went out saying that ISON was no more.

But then -

they started to see a dust smudge on their images, and it got brighter.

As of Saturday, there is still no certainty that there is enough of a nucleus to form a new comet. There IS something happening which has the scientific community watching. The news reports now say "stay tuned".

The little comet that still might.

I'm still interested, how about you?

What happened after the dinner

Neither of us is very fond of turkey giblets, so we offered them to the cats.

Apparently neither of our 2 current cats are fond of or even very interested in turkey giblets.

I took the pro-offered and refused giblets, put them into a small recyclable plastic container, and put them out for Stranger; our unofficial barn cat.  They disappeared. So someone likes giblets.


The cobbler, yeah, hmmm

I had covered the cobbler with foil and left it on the counter. Thankfully I had used enough foil to wrap over all sides and crimp down a bit.

It is still fine, just a bit smashed. The filling pushed out of part of it into open section of pan. It will need to be eaten from a bowl, I think.

Seems that overnight some feline decided that it was in a perch spot. Said feline SAT on it.
It was heavy enough foil not to split - saving both the cobbler and the cat's rear end.

Cobbler now resides in oven.

Thanksgiving Dinner

We decided a few years ago that Thanksgiving Dinner, if it was just us two, did not need to be an overblown feast. A regular meal with some special ingredients suffices.

This year's menu was:
Roast turkey (heh, heh, heh, I win) - see previous post for explanation, if you haven't already read it
Green beans
Corn Pudding
Orange-Cranberry preserves
Pecan Pie Cobbler

I did not make the corn pudding this time, we tried Trader Joe's. It is heavier on the onion than mine and due to the cream in it is more souffle-ish. It is good. Next time I will make my own recipe again.

The orange-cranberry was also purchased at TJ's. It is heavier on the orange than we might have preferred. TJ's regular just plain cranberry preserve was too tart for my taste, thus the flavor choice.

A FB friend gave me the recipe for the Pecan Pie Cobbler. Yum!
Start with a box of prepared pie crusts, see it starts out way easy. Roll crust out to 13" x 9" size.
Make a sticky gooey filling, with lots of chopped nuts.
Crust, filling, crust, bake a few minutes.
Add rest of filling and top with pecan halves, bake a few minutes more.

I didn't buy any vanilla ice cream so the cobbler got a smoosh of whipped topping.

Yup, it's tasty. It is definitely sticky. I wonder if there is a way to make a good pecan pie without it having to be sssooo sweet?




Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving Day was Thursday.  Due to work schedule disruption, Thanksgiving Dinner will be on Friday at our house.

We found the smallest turkey we could, 11.76#, on the Saturday prior.

It was carried home in a double layer of plastic from the store. It was carried into the house and put in the kitchen sink while other groceries were put away. Then I went to move it to its "thawing" position. I picked up the double bagged bird, lifted if from the sink - and BOTH of the plastics split, dropping nearly 12# of frozen turkey onto the toes of my right foot.

Those wine bottle chiller sleeves that you keep in the freezer until needed (?) work perfectly to ice toes.

Later we went to the local ER to check the condition of my foot. It didn't hurt nearly enough to my way of thinking.

The PA told me that due to the restricted size of toes, as soon as they swell they can diminish blood flow and block nerves. She said to have ibuprofen on hand for when the swelling went DOWN.

X-ray showed toes not broken, just bruised.

Round 1 to the turkey, just wait, I have the final victory here.

The color of weather

You might know that I work in an office which has a view of Lake Union.  Over the years that view has changed due to the rise of new building, the moving of a houseboat, the removal of trees.

I know that several times a day I can expect to see a seaplane arrive or depart from the lake as the carrier has several courier and commuter runs.

In season we can see, and occasionally hear, the U.W. sculls out on the lake training.

Sometimes the lake is flat, sometimes it has whitecaps.

On foggy days I judge the fog level as to whether I can see the lake or across the lake.

The other day the sky was clear, the air was crisp, the lake surface was a definite mid-bright blue.

The day before Thanksgiving the sky was overcast, the air was chilly, the lake surface was a steely gray.

One of my small pleasures is watching the weather change the face and color pattern of the lake.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

And the WINDS they do blow

This year we had a dry, mild, clear Halloween night. Practically unheard of around here. The standing Halloween joke is about the costumes that are not seen, except as flashing glimpses from under coats, as Trick-or-Treaters brave ice-y rain in order to get their candy. Neighborhood parties are quite common. As are the cars that idle down the street as parents watch their group of kids.

Naturally there is a price to pay for this weather boon.  It arrived last night, November 1st. It started with driving rain that pummeled the house. Loud enough that it woke me. That has been followed by a wind storm. We are on Alert until 8PM tonight (at the moment) because the winds are 25 mph with gusts to 60 mph.

Nope, not letting the cats out.

So far our lights have only gone out for a minute, along with a few flickers.  Just long enough that we had to reset clocks; and the "favorites" preferences on the water dispenser for the refrigerator. We are lucky, PSE is saying that they currently have 95,000 customers who have lost power. I learned this while paying bills. Hope we stay lucky.

Our backyard had a carpet of fallen leaves from the weeping birch tree (luckily trimmed this summer).

The winds picked them up and painted them on the chain link fence by the back driveway.

They are much prettier there.