Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Around the House - Part Four

This is one of the high windows in the dining room. The jack-o-lanterns are lit electrically but the votives are actual candles, since the window is high enough to be out of the reach of the cats.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween Around the House - Part Three

This is the electric candlelabra I have had for several years. I like the flame-like light bulbs that flicker in the dark. I put this in the small, western-facing kitchen window.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween Around the House - Part Two

I have two of these bubbling night lights that I use for effect. With many cats to trip over in the dark, we have night lights throughout the house.

To set a holiday mood, I replaced the bulbs in the other night lights with orange bulbs.

My prized nightlight is this ceramic one that I set in the upstairs bathroom. I gave it an orange bulb this year as well.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Halloween Around the House - Part One

So, I couldn't resist these holiday-colored ornaments while I was shopping up in Kenai. The downstairs Norfolk pine got drafted as a Halloween tree this year. Maybe I will try something different next year.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Snow Day

I had to drive to Kenai this morning for a dental exam, so I probably should have bet on snow coming in overnight. It fluttered lightly on the blustery wind this morning, coating the die-hard snapdragons that still persist on blooming. There was only a quarter-inch on the back deck and I didn't expect that it would last, so I took a moment from my hectic rush to get out the door and on the road in order to take a few photos to commemorate the Fisrt Snow of the Season...little suspecting that before I got to Kenai, the novelty would have worn thin.

The light snow seemed to be falling with more earnest by the time I reached Anchor Point. I kept checking the road conditions with my brakes--the road was wet and my summer tires kept good traction. I had allowed a good two hours for travel time on the eighty-some mile trip but kept my speed up in case conditions got worse further up the road.

I had to slow for some construction at Stariski Creek and as you can see, by then the snow was coming down in large, fluffy flakes. I was still able to make good time on the wet roads, passing several vehicles that were poking along at forty-five.

Just south of Clam Gulch, I came up on two slower-moving vehicles but by then the snow was starting to stick to the road and falling so heavily that visibility was restricted. The second car was riding pretty tight up against the first, leaving no room for me to pass either one singly, so I just hung back. There is a nice stretch of straight road on the north side of Clam Gulch, so I figured I would hang back and see if Car #2 would pass the first vehicle when he got a chance.

We had cruised through Clam Gulch and up the rise to the passing zone when Car #2 suddenly made a sharp turn to the left and went off the road.

I immediately kicked my car out of overdrive and let it coast to a slower speed, not daring to hit the brakes, not sure of what was going on with the road. Car #2 was an SUV and the embankment was gentle, so I knew he would be able to back his vehicle onto the road again once he took a few deep breaths and dug his fingers out from his steering wheel.

Meanwhile, I followed Car #1 at a respectful distance, trying to figure out what had just happened while murmurring thanks to whatever watchful spirit sees fit to give me these little warnings from time-to-time to see if I am paying attention.

After a few cautious taps on the brakes, I determined that the road was still good for traction, so I assumed Car #2 had hit his accelerator too hard in preparation of passing and encountered the one patch of ice on the entire Sterling Highway. Thus serving as a graphic warning to me--in my little Crown Victoria with summer tires--that the road conditions warranted my respect. At the next straight stretch, I eased past the slow-moving Car #1 with no problem, but I certainly didn't make any sudden changes of speed or direction in the process. Shortly after that, the roads went back to being wet and I was able to cruise at a good clip up to Kasilof, where I turned onto K-Beach Road.

The beauty of K-Beach Road is that it is mostly straight and has light traffic. The snow became heavier as I approached Kenai until the road was white and visibility was about a half-mile. A few cars and trucks passed me going the opposite direction but my lane was white, disturbed only by my tread-tracks as I passed. I wondered just how much snow was going to fall and if I would be crawling back to Homer in white-out conditions with several inches of snow on the roadway.

To demonstrate just how not-ready-for-winter my mind-set was, I had dashed out of the house wearing my Crocs and with just a long-sleeved shirt to use as a jacket. Someone is in serious denial about the proximity of winter. I was dodging icy puddles to and from the car in the parking lot at my dentist's office, feeling like a typically Homer eco-hippie dolt.

Luckily, by the time my appointment was over, the temperature had warmed a degree or two and the snow was rapidly turning into slush. The drive home was uneventful, though I was paying attention all the way back to Homer.

Denny will be putting snow tires on the vehicles next week. Winter hasn't arrived but we can see it from here.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

October Darkness

All over the northland, people greet the lengthening nights with light.

The Wells Fargo bank has their lights on already. I took this photo from the parking lot of the grocery store on my way home from work tonight. No snow here yet but I'll be sure to revist this scene when it comes.

Denny said he drove through a snow shower this morning on his way to Anchorage. I guess that means we will be putting the snow tires on the vehicles when he gets back home.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

From Bishop's Beach

After we were done at the vet clinic yesterday, I stopped by Bishop's Beach (near the old town) to look for some beach pebbles for a Halloween project. I took this picture of the Kenai Mountains from the beach.

Click on the photo for a larger view...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Tuesday Morning

This felt a bit rude this morning.

I had to take a load of cats to the vet for check-ups and for the first time since early spring had to go out and pre-heat the car so that the windows would defrost.

I guess it is time to start scrambling to find all those winter accouterments we so casually discarded last spring--the ice scrapers, boots, gloves and hats. Time to unpack the heavy-weight coats.

Seems like we just got them put away.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Yep--It's Exactly What It Looks Like....

I was out on the back deck this morning, bringing in a load of wood for the stove, and kept noticing small white things drifting down from the sky. Not fireweed cotton. The distinctive six-sided shape gave it away.

Real snowflakes.


Our overnight temperatures have been flirting with frost for the past few days. Outside water bowls have frozen over and we started a fire in the wood stove to make the downstairs more comfortable for Tiny.

I guess there's just the psychological leap I have to make from packing wood into the wood shed--which I was doing last week--to taking it out.