January 6, 2014

Bury My Heart

The winter weather has been wild in the upper US, with severe cold one day, and warm, wet fog the next. We haven't had as sharply bitter temperatures as further north, but I did wake up to minus 7 F (-21 C) degrees the other morning and it was cold.

In those temperatures the snow crunches and groans loudly when you walk or drive on it. It's that loud, complaining sound that only very frigid snow makes underfoot.

The snow from the latest storm was cold and dry but it stuck to the trees in a way that looks like whipped cream carefully swirled on the branches.

It looks so white and so creamy and so artfully dolloped on everything.

The big spruces have dots of cream on the tips of their branches, and the denser dwarf Alberta spruces are positively coated.


It kind of looks like the soft serve machine at Dairy Queen malfunctioned.

There were tracks all around. I wonder how the wildlife stays warm on nights when the temperatures are below zero.

All of this pretty ice cream is being washed away today in warm rain. Tomorrow we go back to very frigid weather. I can't keep up with the wild swings.

The new year has started not just with crazy weather, but with an unhappy development here. The heart shaped stone in my dry stacked wall has fallen out.

It was there on New Year's Eve. I know because our guests that night admired it and I told them all about building a stone wall this summer with no skill and sore knees.

On New Year's Day it was lying on the pavers. Just plopped out.

Then the snow came, and I had not yet picked it up or done anything with it, so my heart is now lying on the ground under the snow, freezing.

I had used stone glue to fix it upright in the wobbly wall, but the wild weather -- the freezing and thawing and refreezing -- used its frigid black arts to expel my stone heart and then bury it.

This is just too weird.

With the bitter weather and the oddly unsettling sight of that hole in the rock wall, it is a good time to stay inside. Which I may do for the rest of the winter.

34 comments:

  1. Laurrie, the freeze thaw cycle we have in northern climes forces those of us with small stone walls into maintenance mode. Having many such structures, I take regular inspection walks ... when weather allows ... to fix stones that have become dislodged from these cycles. Sometimes this just requires kicking the stones back into place, other times it requires minor rebuilding. Perhaps you can tilt the top of your stone heart toward the back of the wall when you replace it? The tilt, plus more adhesive, may keep your heart where you intended. BTW ... I love the sound of crunchy snow!

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    1. Joene, I expected to have to fix the wall at some point during winter. But I didn't expect the heart to fall out so dramatically on January 1. It was kind of ominous!

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  2. Ugh. I'm sorry to hear about your cold stone heart. Perhaps this spring mix up some mortar? It was such a nice feature in your wall, I hope you can find some way to affix it permanently.

    Temps are dropping here today, with lows around 12 expected.

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    1. Sweetbay, I will definitely fix the heart back in place -- just as soon as it warms up and I can go out there (like next April maybe).

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  3. I don't blame you for staying inside with this COLD weather. Brrrrrrrrr Your poor heart. You will have to get out there later in winter or early spring to put it back. Maybe smaller pebbles around it will wedge it into place and it will stay this time. Here is hope...

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    1. Lisa, I thought I had the heart stone wedged in ok with small surrounding rocks and with the glue I used. But cold mother nature had other thoughts!

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  4. Amazing, the wild weather took a swing and knocked out your stone. Now that's a tale to tell young 'uns in the family years from now. We're getting more than a taste of your cold, but no snow. Yet. Which is just fine. Stay strong, Laurrie, and good luck with the stone.

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    1. Lee, I know you miss Connecticut for many reasons, but this bitter nasty weather cannot be one of them!

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  5. Poor frigid heart! It is waiting for warmer weather so it can thaw and find its way back into the wall. Truly, your photos of your whipped-cream covered garden are beautiful! Stay warm!

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    1. Deb, we are all waiting for some warmer temps to get on with our lives -- even down south, I know!

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  6. I think it's fixable. :o) You might just need to get creative. But it is a bit dramatic and poetic. Sounds like the beginning of a wonderful story! Cold cold cold here, too. The schools are closed so the kids don't have to wait for the bus in -15 windchill. We never have weather like this and the kids don't have the correct winter gear. I have sleeping bags covering some of my shrubs to keep them warm. I hope it works!

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    1. Tammy, it's definitely fixable if I can get up the energy to go out there. Sleeping bags on your shrubs -- it must look like a camp-out at the casa : )

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    2. Here's something to consider: it probably fell out because the materials around the stone contracted in the cold. You may need to find a way to stick it back in that allows for the natural expansion/contraction of the materials around it. That way you don't have to worry about it cracking in a heat wave because it can't move. It would be worth looking into a temperature adaptable/flexible caulking - if such a thing exists. Only my loropetalums are covered with the sleeping bags. They are my zone-denial purchases. :o)

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    3. This is why I love hearing from a science teacher! I wondered why the glue I used had failed, but you are right, the rocks it was attached to have shrunk in the cold. I need to do some research to find the right caulking now.

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  7. You know I can not get over the fact that we are steadily cold and you guys are getting wild swings of weather patterns. This has been the first winter since 2011 where we have had a more consistent temperatures which I was happy about because it is more normal for this region. It concerns me that you all are going through wild weather patterns...points to things that I don't always like to think about but are at the back of my mind. I hope that it levels out here so that your heart can go back where it belongs! I sure do like your ice cream trees! They are perfect! Nicole Stay warm!! We are locked up tomorrow as well as schools are still closed! Many power outages here.

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    1. Nicole, you are right in the dip of the jet stream, constantly cold, and we are at the edge of where it swings back north, so we get some of your cold but only some of the time (today is bitter). Stay as warm as you can. These are crazy times.

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  8. warm your heart up in the house ....

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    1. Sharon, great advice. Warm house, warm heart!

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  9. I have such admiration for those of you who live and garden with real weather. Your poor heart! (I have a certain Celine Dion song stuck in my head now, stupid brain.)

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    1. Heather, poor, poor heart indeed. But it will be fixed!

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  10. I also often wonder how the outdoor creatures stay warm in this nasty cold-especially the birds. Take heart, Laurrie, it will be warm again before you know it!

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    1. Sue, it is supposed to warm up (a little) in the next day or two, so we will all survive : )

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  11. I feel for you Laurrie. We have had -35C wind chills the past two days. Somehow the wildlife manages and still frequents the bird feeders. Stay inside, keep warm.

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    1. Patty, you are far colder than we have been here. Stay warm and watch the birds from inside!

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  12. I love your Dairy Queen dwarf Alberta Spruce! It does indeed look like a frozen custard. Yup, it's cold. Even down here in North Carolina, it got to under 9 degrees 2 nights ago. But hey, it's winter. I think Tammy is right and your stone heart is fixable.

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    1. Sarah, cold, cold cold, everywhere! It's especially hard for those in the south who aren't equipped for such swings in temperatures. brrrr.

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  13. Your spruce is making me hungry for ice cream, for some reason:) So sorry about your stone heart! I hope you have retrieved by now; I think I'd keep it inside until this crazy winter is over and try to re-attach it then. I'm beginning to believe more and more in the woolly worms I saw this fall--they predicted a bad winter, and it sure is turning out to be that way. We were below zero for two days, and even my dogs didn't want to go out. Stay warm!

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    1. Rose, there is still a lot of snow covering the stone heart, so I haven't dug it out yet. It will keep. I agree about the woolly worms! They predicted a bad winter here too.

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  14. It's not weird, Laurrie. It's not your heart, it's a heart shape stone, nothing more.I used the 'stone' glue when I made a stone pyramid, but every winter frost breaks my pyramid. The warm weather comes and you will take the a heart shape stone and glue and it will be OK. Do not believe in omens!

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    1. Nadezda, yes, the stone will be fixed and my heart will be ok! I just hope the rest of my little wall does not fall down. . . .

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  15. I'm with you on staying indoors the rest of this season. It's been just plain out and out crazy this year... and we've barely gotten started yet. After two feet of snow we had 10 degrees and a rain storm the other day. Now the temps gone back down and we're an ice rink :( these fluctuating temps are so bad for plants with the ground constantly shifting. It most certainly caused your wall to shift, what a shame the heart popped out. maybe some cement mortar in the spring?

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    1. Marguerite, we have had the same ups and downs and I agree that the plants will struggle. When warm rain hits the deep-freeze soil it just sits there, keeping roots in cold, wet conditions too long. It's amazing that anything survives our winters!

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  16. You just have to glue it back. It may be a back and forth tussle with the weather for the foreseeable future, but I wouldn't give in. We are also having rain and snow melting weather now, which makes for lots of slush and surprise ice patches. Your snow is making me wish for the Carvel's soft serve of my childhood! Do they still have Carvel's?

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    1. Jason, yes, Carvel's is still around, but I am a Dairy Queen loyalist. When you come to visit, you will have to take me out for a DQ soft serve!

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