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How are the PNW folks doing?  RSS feed

 
Susan Monroe
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
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I am sick of snow.  It's everywhere.  I was sweeping, shoveling it off my back deck, and now the area around the deck is higher than the deck.  I don't think I could get out of my driveway if I needed to.  My sister is stuck in her place because she can't get her little car out of her carport. 

The tree limbs (fir) are breaking off from the snow load. My Peegee hydrangea has split down the middle.  All my vehicle ice scrapers have disappeared (my brother "organized" the garage).

My garbage-can-tall black plastic composter is invisible except for a 1.5" edge just under the lid.

I wonder how much of a snow load a mobile home can take?

I've been checking on the elderly neighbors (one lives in a travel trailer), but everyone seems fine.

One of my dogs is getting tired of it, but the ChowXPom thinks it's GREAT.  Tastes differ.

So how are you guys doing?  From the online news, Paul's area got hit with those 80 mph winds.

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
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geez,  I'm sorry, that sucks! just cold here in OK. is that kind of weather unusual for that area ?
 
Gwen Lynn
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Being in Okla also, I am very sympathetic regarding the winter weather that is happening across the country. Sue, I'm sorry to hear you are experiencing damage to your trees & shrubs, it's heartbreaking.

We had a horrific ice storm last Dec. Many trees (Bradford Pear, in particular) ended up looking like someone pushed a giant apple corer/slicer down over the tree tops. I will say that I was surprised how some trees recovered from the damage. Some areas of N.E. Oklahoma were without power for a month. Our pine trees suffered some branch loss, but they survived. Our bradford pear keeled over onto our house, but didn't cause any structural damage. My husband cut off all the branches & left a 6 ft. tall stump. We thought it would die, but all this new growth showed up at the top of the stump, it looked like a totem pole with leaves. My 78 yr old mother lives with us & loves the way it looks, so we didn't have the heart to cut it all the way down. Our cat enjoys climbing it & the mockingbirds like to sit on top of it.

I am originally from the Chicago area (lived there until I was 25) & I had my fill of snow early in life, while I was still a child. We lived near a river basin that was a really fun place to go sledding...if you liked sledding. I just didn't like being cold & wet. I wouldn't even go along if we walked there, only if we drove. As soon as I got wet, I was done & would want someone to start the car so I could get warm while everyone else would just keep on sledding.

I must have been an amphibian or lizard in a former life because I'm always saying that I need my own personal "terrarium" for the winter time. Complete with a sun lamp, hot rock, tropical plants, proper humidity (a hot tub with a fountain or small water fall would be nice ), I'd be able to get thru any winter. LOL!
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paul wheaton
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Posts: 22173
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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No wind trouble - at least is must have happened while I was away from the farm

We currently have about a foot and a half of snow.  The electricity went out for about half a day.  And we currently don't have water.

I'm gonna make a run for Jocelyn's house to spend Christmas there - rumor is that the roads are extra trecherous!  A lot of 4wd rigs in the ditches.  I have AWD, so maybe I'll do a bit better.

 
Kelda Miller
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In Puyallup, one of our hoophouses is smooshed due to the heavy snowload. The other one right next to it is fine. I almost wonder if the smooshed hoophouse will be able to be popped back into fully upright or if the pvc pipes are bent. We'll see.

Otherwise, it just seems like the hassle of heavy snow. In the last week I've been travelling a fair amount around western washington and w. oregon. It all seems pretty similar. Just deep snow.

The most interesting part to me is how it's shutting down some of our civilization's pillars. The grocery stores are so emptied of food they might as well all close for xmas. The semis that do make it to the store have sometimes even gotten stuck there! There are cars with chains on their tires that are getting stranded in downtown portland. DOWNTOWN. That's pretty crazy.

I haven't experienced any electricity outages yet. Just bus cancellations/reroutes. And my legs are adapting to walking in muck boots everyday while sloshing through snow.


When the snow clears it will then be Really interesting to see how my garden has fared.
 
Kelda Miller
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Oh yeah, also, the garbage isn't getting picked up. That can kind of feel like the end of the world.

and then here's a great excerpt from one of my Mom's how easily chaos happens:
WE'LL NEED PEOPLE WHO CAN ORGANIZE THEMSELVES IF THINGS START TO CRUMBLE

"Then, Lucinda and I tried to make it back to the train station.  The snow
> was falling fast. Very few city buses were running. We stopped a a couple
> of stores to shop for gifts and we made it back to the station 45 minutes
> before the train was to have left.
>
> We ended up having to stay at the station all night long without food or
> drinking water.  There were around 500 people at the station including
> children, elders, and people with disabilities. (Many of the children were
> there because they had attended the Nutcracker Ballet with their
> families).
>
> Our train came in an hour late and the Amtrak employees got off the train
> and left us at the station.  Amtrack kept telling us that a train was on
> the way. Every 15 minutes we were told the train was almost there. so we
> did not leave to find a motel room.
>
> We knew the station master was lying to us because there were people in
> the station who were waiting for their children to arrive from the North.
> Those young people had cell phones and they reported that the south bound
> train was parked outside of Vancouver, Washington with few staff on board.
> Their toilet stopped working, they had no food or drinking water.  And
> they were being told that they could not get off the train until it
> reached a station. They were out in the countryside somewhere.
>
> Back in Portland---
>
> As the night went on some more vulnerable people were moved to trains in
> the station here in Portland. They left one man inside the station in his
> wheel chair. He had cerebral palsy, was not able to speak or move on his
> own, was dressed in light clothing, had no care giver, food or water. In
> fact he had to have special liquids because he had lost the ability to
> swallow normally.  The AMTRAk employee who took him off the train placed
> him in front of a drafty door.  My friend Lucinda and I had to demand that
> the station master provide for him. The station master said they had no
> blankets, food (all vending machines and other food outlets had been
> closed months ago).  We moved him into a lounge used for higher paying
> passengers.  An employee brought him a piece of packing material for a
> blanket.  Finally, after several hours they moved him back on a Northbound
> train.  Which after it left the station was parked for 10 hours outside of
> Vancouver, Washington.
>
> At the Greyhound bus station next door there was no food and only water in
> the bathroom for drinking. Some of those passengers made their way into
> the Amtrak station and we helped bed down the children. Employees of
> Greyhound had told people they were not responsible for the well being of
> passengers.  All buses were stopped going south, North and East. The
> employees would not pass out blankets. Again passengers did not venture
> out into the storm to look for food or accomodations because they were
> being told that the busess were on their way.
>
> What has happened to our country?  There seems to be no emergency
> preparedness at any public or government transportation facility.
>
> At 7:30 in the morning a local news crew from Channel 8 showed up and I
> was interviewed about what was happening.  I asked the TV audience for
> food and drinking water and extra blankets.
>
> At 7:45 AM Amtrack put all the southbound people on a train.  There was no
> conductor or crew so we sat there for an hour. (out of reach of the
> media)!
>
> At 8:30 AM a group of people from the Portland community brought food and
> water and blankets to the Amtrak station. They had seen the news report.
>
> I understand that a man from Hubbard showed up looking for me to take me
> back to Salem.  He  and his family were from the Russian community and
> they had food and blankets.  They ended up transporting a couple of
> elderly people to Salem who had missed the Southbound train.
>
> at 8:35 we left the station for an uneventful ride to Salem"

she also told me in person that the Amtrak folks loaded a bunch of young tattooed/pierced folks bound for eugene onto a train in the railyard, that was essentially shut down and they couldn't leave. She thinks they did this because they were afraid the eugene folks would incite a riot.
 
paul wheaton
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Posts: 22173
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Susan Monroe
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
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I transport RR crews (mostly freight trains) north and south from Centralia, WA.  Burlington Northern has been putting their off-duty crews on Amtrak.

I've been in the BN office while the guys were checking the where their Amtrak trains are (real time, not estimated schedules).  They weren't happy, and often would ask another BN freight to stop and pick them up.

I don't understand why Amtrak doesn't run their trains.  Even when the snow is deep (multiple feet) on the tracks, they can send a freight ahead of it to clear the way.  If it's because the crews aren't showing up, well, the BN and Union Pacific crews manage to get to work, so why are Amtrak employees so whimpy?

Amtrak is like a leaky boat:  it can't be trusted to take passengers anywhere, and is nothing but a hole to put money into.  And a LOT of that money is ours, as Amtrak is heavily subsidized by tax dollars.  I would bet everything I own it's a matter of poor management more than anything else.

Maybe we need to scrap Amtrak altogether and hire some European and Japanese RR people to get a passenger service going in this country.  Our people don't seem to be up to it.

I heard about the woman who asked the news viewers for help!  That was your mother?  GOOD FOR HER!

Amtrak is a trash outfit.  Even in Centralia, they'll run people out of the waiting room about 4 pm so they can close it up, and shove old people, babies, etc out onto the cold platform, sometimes for hours.

Sue
 
Gwen Lynn
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WOW!

Just saw pix online of all the snow. It's almost unbelievable!

Sure hope you all are safe & warm!
 
Leah Sattler
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how miserable. be prepped if you go anywhere. great learnig experience for my daughter the other day. we wen to ft. smith seh wanted to wear a sundress and sandals, pretty typical. its less tha 20 outside. I packed her lined jeans and snow pants and all winter gear into the car. she didnt' want to take any of it becasue she insisted she wouldn't wear it. I explained that you never kow when you might have to walk somewhere or get stuck and it was important to be prepared with appropriate clothing and supplies. well on the way back we ran over, of all things, a toy still in its plastic bag from a fastfood restaurant. the axle with a tiny tire still attached from some kind of vehicle slipped nicely into the tread of the tire. no real biggie but i think that showed her how "things can happen that you don't expect" she got to use those clothes while she watched and learned how to change a tire.   
 
Susan Monroe
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
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Dress to survive, not to arrive.

When that ice storm hit the Midwest last year (?), people were stuck in their cars right on the freeway, and the National Guard delivered gasoline so they could keep their engines (and thus heaters) running.  Some of them were dressed in dresses and high heels with just a sweater, business suits, etc.  One guy had a bunch of useful survival stuff in his truck, and a woman was comfy with her sleeping bag and paperback books, but most were poorly prepared.  They know the area, they live there.  A cell phone can't get you out of everything.

Leah, make sure she changes the tire herself next time.  Nothing teaches like doing it yourself. 

Sue
 
Kelda Miller
Posts: 769
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Yikes! Neither the car or train scenario sounds enticing.

To above the comments about the train: yes it's pretty poor service compared to other countries. I rode Amtrak with some Swedish friends a couple months back and they were shocked the trains weren't electric, and that the bathroom bit just kinda dumps out on the tracks. Really shocked.

To Susan: I rode the train today back home, everything went quite nicely. But before christmas I think the weather hold-up was that there was a 'switching tracks' mechanism that had frozen up, so the crew had to get out and warm it up somehow. (I can only imagine.... a bunch of train conductors standing around peeing on some frozen tracks. our dollars hard at work)

And then there was another snafu about calling BN trying to get clearance to go into the portland station. Poor Amtrak crew just couldn't get anyone on the phone so we waited....

I've been riding Amtrak for years so I find all their quirks kind of endearing. I just don't plan anything important at the tail end of a train ride that may be late.

But the 17+ hours whatever that Mama Ellen went through. I'd be seething. And the zero lack of emergency preparedness just shows how weak this whole system can be.
(and yes, she's my mom, er, ex-stepfathers ex-wife, but i've been one of her daughters for years. Like I say, every emergency situation needs a woman like her around. Organize yourselves!)
 
Susan Monroe
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Location: Western WA
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Ft. Worth, TX Dispatch handles all the main lines that BNSF uses, no matter which train is using them (BN, UP, Amtrak).  Granted, if something snarls everything up, it has a domino effect.  But sometimes, it just seems to be bad planning.

Yes, sometimes the electronic switches freeze up and they have to open/close them manually.  FYI, they don't pee on them, because they would freeze up worse afterward --- they use those red flare things (they call them 'fusees', for some reason) to heat them up, then they send the track maintenance guys out to do something about them.

Amtrak is just inept, in my opinion.  Today, I saw a BSNF engine pulling an Amtrak train.  It looked funny.

Sue
 
Kelda Miller
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On the upside, my hoophouse fully recoverd from the blizzard. I couldn't believe it. With the weight of the snow it bowed low to 4 ft or so.
I didn't bother trying to fix it, which was just as well. Me moving frozen pipe framework may have snapped it.
But when the snow finally melted off, the hoophouse raised back into place. Amazing.
 
Gwen Lynn
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DANG, THAT'S A LOT OF SNOW! 

From the Spokane County Website:

"Spokane County has broken the snowfall records from 115 years of weather history. According to the National Weather Service, the area has received an official total of 61.7 inches of snow during the month of December, breaking the previous record of 56.9 inches that was set in January 1950.

More snow is in the forecast as crews battle strong winds and drifting snow that have closed many roads in west and south Spokane County. Crews are working around-the-clock in 12-hour shifts to keep primary and secondary routes open. The public is advised to avoid traveling in the area. Additional resources have come from the Washington State Department of Transportation and Washington Air National Guard 141st Refueling Wing. Currently, the Spokane County is spending approximately $150,000 a day on snow removal.

For a more complete picture of the progress crews have made in the past 24-hours, plowing and sanding Spokane County's 2,500 mile road system, go to: http://www.spokanecounty.org

Another five-to-seven inches of fresh snow in the forecast and drifting snow continues to be a serious problem in the unincorporatred areas west and south of Spokane. Be advised that numerous roads have been closed by snow drifts. Those living in these areas are advised to shelter in place. Avoid travel in these areas - you could become stranded!"

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Location: Missoula, MT
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The snow may have melted this side of the Cascades, but now 10 to 15 inches of rain over the next two days is predicted in the western foothills. A meteorologist was quoted as saying it is likely to be one of the major events of the past 10 to 15 years.

On the other side of the mountains, did you hear they're calling Spokane, "Sno-mageddon?" “Tempers are so frayed that a man was arrested for shooting at a snow plow operator on Monday,” from http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/6420ap_wa_spokane_snow_blues.html. So far, they have 78" of snow. That's Michael Jordan height the article says. Hey, that's Paul's height, too! 
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Yup, I'm the same height as Michael Jordan.

While most of the snow is gone in the area, at the farm we still had about four inches yesterday.  I woke up this morning and it was almost all gone.  And it is raining to beat the band.

We already had a couple of major floods this fall.  Apparently they are gonna be minor compared to what's coming today.

 
Kelda Miller
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Well, a badly taken picture from the inside of a bus today.

But, you see that river down below? Just hours before it was Highway 410. oops
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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We're trapped.  The water level is 4 to 6 feet deep over the roads that take us to town.

 
Susan Monroe
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Location: Western WA
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Paul, is your home high enough?  I may be marooned by tomorrow, too.

The soil is apparently so saturated from the melting snow that it can't absorb the rain. 

I drove a crew from Centralia to Portland this afternoon.  It poured all the way, both ways.  The amount of water in some places was obviously worse on my return trip.  Kalama to Kelso isn't looking good, exits #22 and #72 are closed due to flooding.  Hwy 12 east from I-5 is closed.  The RR rails were just barely exposed in south Chehalis.  All the rivers look near overflowing.

This isn't looking good at all.  Weather reports say the rain will continue until tomorrow afternoon.

Hey, Chehalis city fathers, how about we fill in the flood plain a little more?

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
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I'm keeping you guys in my thoughts! stay safe! don't drive through moving water. yada yada I'm sure you know flood kills alot of people usually needlessly when they try to traverse flooded roads. I'm glad I live in oklahoma.

sue - is that part of the problem up there? have they been developing the flood plains? idiots.
 
paul wheaton
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Yup, I'm high enough.

The barn is built in a bit of a depression - so it's pretty flooded. 

 
Susan Monroe
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Yes, they've been filling in the marshes and planting things like WalMart, a large car dealership, Walgreens, Applebee's, McDonalds.

When asked why they keep doing it, the city and county commissioners said, "Because it's not illegal".  Really!

If they wanted it illegal, it would be illegal. It's legal because they make money off it, and their friends make money off it, and of course, there are the taxes and permits they collect.  But they don't live in the flood plain, they live up high with the other wealthy people. 

Paul, you don't have hay in that barn, do you? Wet hay can spontaneously combust.

Sue
 
paul wheaton
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No hay. 

I think some soil shaping around the barn would be wise - for the sake of the structure itself.


 
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