Weather report from several perspectives

Happy almost-solstice! As of tomorrow, the sunlight hours will start getting longer again. I’m ready. Even though it doesn’t seem like they improve much until after the end of February.

There will be no mail or newspaper delivery today. The school superintendent has apologized to parents for not canceling school yesterday before mid-afternoon. A friend’s annual solstice party has been postponed until early January, because none of us can get out of our houses to attend.

Here’s what it looks like outside the door this morning, same basic view as yesterday:


Tussah’s preferred way of dealing with inclement weather (or sunshine, for that matter):


At Tussah’s previous home, she had a different name that did not suit her. She was also left in a shed with a heated waterbowl for comfort. Her owners wondered how in the world she managed to scale their six-foot fence to escape. Therefore they consigned her to the shed. She chewed her way out of that and was picked up several times, by several people, while trying to cross a heavy-traffic street. She obviously had in mind a quest for more congenial digs.

Ms. Little Bit’s ideal situation during a blizzard:


Ms. Bit is nineteen and weighs about six pounds. A spot in the corner behind a spinning wheel suits her fine. When she’s not downstairs knocking papers off my desk.


(There’s a tiny image of The Empress of the Universe in the new edition of Knitting in the Old Way on page 303.)

I think it’s a great day for writing random things and knitting:


However, I am (and probably will remain) in the office doing layout. Yesterday I changed the trim size of next fall’s book from 7×9 to 7×10, and the pages are now laying out much more gracefully. Changing trim sizes is not as straightforward a task as it should be, but now it’s done and I’m ready to forge on. I’m grateful for the snow: it gave me a "time out" to make this shift just as the idea occurred to me that the change might solve several recurring problems.

When this photo was taken, Ariel, the Border collie cross, had already been outside (in back: the front was impassable, even for Ari). She brought in a bunch of snowballs in her fur. Although Ari was found abandoned and nearly frozen in a field at the approximate age of seven weeks (along with two siblings: all survived), she loves snow. Her brain is 100 percent Border collie. She holds an obedience title and she adored agility until we made her stop because she has arthritis. The fur and the ears suggest some spaniel influence. She would like to go out again, please:


When we were walking the dogs last night for the second time, cars were getting stuck in the middle of the street. Before we began our walk, we helped dig out and then push-to-move a sedan and a Suburban, both of which ultimately made it the necessary half-block to their homes before they slid into the gutter.

We could only comfortably walk in the center of the road and we had to dive into the drifts when a car would come careening around a corner. There weren’t many cars out, of course. The general silence—all sounds muffled by the snow, fallen and falling—made it hard to hear the engines or tires of those that were indeed moving.

It’s a good thing we did walk the dogs when we could. R. says that, according to channel 7, our locale now officially has 25 inches of snow, and that’s not measured in the drifted areas.

While we were out, I discovered that qiviut is not just soft and beautiful. It’s incredibly practical.

When we turned north, the wind-whipped stinging flakes made the venture miserable, possibly even dangerous. I pointed out that we were not quite halfway around our usual circuit and if we turned around we would be home faster. R. wanted to push on. Either way, it looked like my face was going to hurt for another twenty minutes because we weren’t able to walk as quickly as usual. (The dogs’ opinions at the time: Even Tussah seemed to be enjoying herself. Ariel was downright grinning.)

I pulled up half of my qiviut gaiter so it covered my mouth and nose . . . well, between gaiter and hat, everything except a slit for my eyes was covered.

Not only did the gaiter improve my comfort level to the point where I wasn’t thinking frostbite, frostbite, frostbite, I discovered something magical about qiviut.

You can breathe through it.

I have never liked to pull a scarf or balaclava over my face, except when there was no other way to avoid painful exposure to cold. I don’t like the sense of being closed in. I’ve lived in far northern states where I’ve reluctantly put up with the feeling of being smothered.

Having the qiviut over my face was a completely different experience: warmth without the sense of being trapped.


Less than one ounce of qiviut = miracle. My neck stayed nice and warm, too. I have a tiny bit of frostnip that wouldn’t be there if I’d thought of the pulled-up gaiter trick a half-block earlier. Next time I’ll know!

One of my plans for the day (or week?): to be inside when the cornice falls off the roof. (Not cornice.)


R. just came in with the announcement that "it’s not great, but it’s legal!" One of our city’s laws is that sidewalks must be cleared within 24 hours of the end of a snowfall. It’s part of the criminal, not civil, code, although they’re talking about changing it to civil. Does this requirement always make sense? No. And I figured today was one of those days when no one from the city would be out writing summonses. But yes, we’re legal. Here’s what R. had to shovel just to get to the sidewalk (yes, I shoveled yesterday, big help that was):



Now she’s warmed up enough to do her morning exercise routine, even though she didn’t get to take a walk with the dogs.

Before I got out of bed this morning, I did some writing and then started the narrow-band patterning on the body of my Norsk Strikkedesign-inspired sweater. The rows are long in the body so the progress is slower than on the sleeves, but I expect I’ll finish that bit of patterning (and start doing whatever I do for the armholes) between other activities today.

I have no precise idea what was going on with the stitch counts when I started the narrow band on the body. I counted the stitches a couple of times and planned how to start and end the design in order to have the motif centered on the back and mirrored across the front opening, but when I went to work the first row I needed to increase one stitch at each side seam to accommodate my plan. There should have been a one-stitch discrepancy. I don’t know why I was two short instead of one. However, I’d rather increase one stitch at each side than one stitch at one side, not that it makes any difference for a garment that will be worn on a body that is not precisely symmetrical anyway. Only the most perfectionistic person (which I can sometimes be) would care.

In a snowstorm, anything that gets a warm sweater closer to done (and gives me more actual knitting time) is good. Including a bit of fudging no one will notice and I’ll forget about.

And now I’m going to mess with that layout some more.


8 thoughts on “Weather report from several perspectives”

  1. Thank you for giving me a vicarious blizzard to enjoy! I miss the adventure of a good snowstorm. Haven’t had a decent one since moving to KY 4 years ago. I love all the dog photos, the incredibly gorgeous sweater and all the details. I own the same pattern book and dream someday of having the concentration to actually produce a sweater like that. I somehow think I’ll need a blizzard just to get started on it.

    Remember not to eat latkes at every opportunity! (they can wreak havoc on the system.) I’ve them twice this week, plus three doughnuts. Ugh. There is such a thing as too much oil…

  2. We ate all the potatoes last night in the latkes, so no more until we can get to the store. We have dug out a path for the white car (in the driveway) by piling the snow in front of the green car (on the street). Someone will not be going *anywhere* tomorrow! Someone else should be able to get to work by 10, courtesy of 4WD (assuming it works: these cars both have it, but they are both old).

    I’m glad you like the dog photos. I’ve been trying to get a good Ariel photo, but she’s such a goof they usually end up looking just odd. Tussah is most obliging about photos, and everything else.

    Little Bit is really hard to photograph. The fact that she’s all black is the first challenge. Where she hangs out is the second.

  3. Hi Deb. We have the same law about shoveling the sidewalks here, too. This time one of our neighbors did our sidewalk with a snow blower while Dom was at work. (Dom had dug out the driveway and the walk up to the front door earlier because he had to GO to work in the blizzard.)

    We’ve decided that we are not going to obey that law any more, because they don’t plow our street. When the city starts plowing the fracking side streets, we will start shoveling our sidewalk again. How hypocritical of them to make people get out and hand shovel when they don’t even plow.

    I grew up on the east coast and I have NEVER seen this kind of negligence regarding plowing back east. Every time it snowed, the plows were out from 2 am going along each and every road over and over and over again so that by the time the rest of us woke up and got ready for work, the roads were relatively clean. There were many contract plowers who were neighborhood people that were on call in case of big storms.

    It is a joke what they do here, waiting until the snow is finished falling to start plowing, and not even trying to plow the side streets at all. Especially because Coloraod gets MUCH more snow than Long Island and they should be prepared for this. As far as I’m concerned, there is absolutely no excuse. And then the mayor has the nerve to go in the paper and write an article about why people should not complain because they can’t get out of their homes.

    So, all that to say, we are not shoveling our sidewalks any more until the city starts plowing our damn street.

  4. PS, a few years ago Dom found a delicious potato pancake recipe that is MUCH less greasy than our traditional version. I wonder if it’s close to latkes? Are those made with grated-to-mush potatos or are they more like hashbrown patties?

  5. Latkes vary from place to place and family to family. There is no one “authentic” latke. My husband’s family (Poland and Russia) makes a grated potato and onion latke with egg and matzo meal binder that is very hearty and heavy…eaten with applesauce or sour cream. My father’s family (French) makes a much lighter latke with a mashed potato, egg, combo that is sort of light, like a pancake, and eaten with sugar on top.

    The whole point is to eat something cooked/fried in oil on Hanukah to remember the miracle of the oil–so what you eat in particular isn’t so important! Doughnuts are another popular treat, since they are also cooked in oil. I’ve had my fill this week of fried foods, in any case…good thing tonight is the last night of the holiday!

  6. I’m interested in the Polish/Lithuanian version of latkes! Ours are grated potato. We cook them in oil, but not a lot of oil (I’ve had them various ways, of course). They get crispy on the outside.

    We *have* to obey the shovel-your-walk law because otherwise it costs big bucks.

    Yes, they plow much more effectively back east. Where we lived, they also have a self-enforcing practice about shoveling. If you haven’t shoveled, your mail doesn’t get delivered and you have to drive down to the PO and pick it up. More effective than legal measures, actually.

  7. Wow. You folks got slammed with the snow. We’ve got a green Christmas; in fact, it raining right now.

    Gotta get me some of that qiviut.

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