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For Want of a Bolt…

This was definitely the year to buy a snowplow. A couple of months ago, I sunk the money into a Polaris ATV with a detachable plow assembly on the front, and since then, my driveway has actually been fun to clean up this winter.

Until today.

Last night dumped another big, heavy load of wet snow, and with what had been on the driveway for the past few days, there was enough that I was doing shorter pushes across instead of long pushes up and down. Something still wasn’t quite right with how the plow was acting, but every time I climbed down to take a look, nothing seemed to be wrong with it.

And then it went “SPROING!!!”

That time, I didn’t even have to climb down to see what was wrong. The bolt assembly at the bottom of the big spring on the back of the plow at the left side had buried itself in the left front wheel. The entire plow was turned almost 45 degrees to the left. And I couldn’t budge it. Not one single inch. (I do wish I’d thought to take pictures, but I was too busy trying not to panic!)

This thing was now blocking my half-unplowed driveway…immobile as a boulder and too big for me to drive around. And I’ve got to get to work tonight! Luckily, the dealer came through for me. They sent someone out with a trailer to pick it up for repairs. Of course, having him tell me he’d never seen anyone get their plow stuck quite so far out of position did nothing to make me feel any better, but after we managed to pry it all apart, he showed me where a bolt had come out.

So it’s not my fault. A bolt took a wander, the spring decided to *sproing*, and amazingly enough, the tire isn’t flat after taking a 3″ bolt into the side of it.

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Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

I was sleeping. The growling of thunder was getting louder and more steady, intruding itself ever more insistently into my consciousness, slowly prying me awake. I burrowed deeper under the fluffy blanket, pulling several layers of it up over my ears. But then the rain began, just a few drops at first, so I let my ears out from under the blanket, hoping to be lulled back to sleep. The rain pounded down harder, slapping and pinging on the roof. The thunder crashed and shook the house.

I gave up and got out of bed.

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It wasn’t raining; it was hailing. Quarter-sized hail, some of it, in the middle of July. No wonder I couldn’t get back to sleep!

And 5 minutes later, it was sunny again.

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In My Neighbor’s Front Yard

I was driving home today and took a small detour to check on the new houses going up on the side street near my house. As I returned and pulled up to the stop sign, I looked out of my window into my neighbor’s front yard.

Now I understand why some of their plants have been looking a little ragged lately!

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And she didn’t seem to care that I was all but falling out of my car window to take pictures of her, either. Talk about tame…

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After a few minutes, she took off and ran off…right into my back yard.

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In My Back Yard

I came home from running errands this evening to see a large shadow fly past the kitchen window. The flight pattern wasn’t that of the usual blackbird, so I ran to the window, hoping to catch a glimpse of a hawk on the tree branch just outside.

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Not a hawk.

This is probably the culprit who likes to divebomb my head when I forget to take my trash out to the street before 2am. I decide to retaliate by taking pictures!

But then he quit googling back at me and dove down to the grass…

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I’m not sure if that’s a very large worm or a small snake, but in either case, he’s welcome to dinner! He went back to the tree branch and disposed of the wiggler in about 3 quick gulps. I stepped outside to get a better view, since he didn’t want to step out from the leaves for his close-up, and he let me get a few quick snaps before he flew off into the sunset.

The other morning, I had more ground-bound visitors!

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The blur at the bottom of the pic is the frame of my kitchen window. I was shooting almost straight down at the sidewalk directly outside the back of my house to get these cuties. Their mom saw me in the window and waved her wings at me, then just kept walking in closer, bringing her little ones up for a quick hello that day. I think they’ve been roosting under the deck at night.

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Last Night

Now this is the way to spend an evening… Sitting at home with Thot, online in #gbc, and listening to the Squirrel Report, with a very fine Kentucky bourbon and home-made caramel-filled apple cider cookies, still warm from the oven!

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Cute!!!

Every so often, I am reminded why I built my house exactly where I did. It’s so I can come home in the middle of the afternoon and see this just a few feet from my kitchen windows.

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Those little guys sure are fuzzy this winter!

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Aftermath of Stormageddon

The downed tree was safely draggged off of the driveway to the lawn during the height of the storm. Several days later, Thot and I dragged the tree across the front lawn, down the hill, across the (gone missing yet again) creek and into the brush to lay it beside the other tree that fell last year sometime. Done deal. It broke off below ground level, too, so I don’t even have to have the stump ground. Even better.

As to the roof and the missing shingles… They weren’t from the edge of the roof after all. Oh, no. They were from way up high, near the peak of the roof itself. Several shingles had torn loose and several others had just loosened a bit. Luckily, my insurance company has a good local disaster recovery and repair company to call. They were out here by the end of the week to take a look, up on the roof and crawling all over it to be quite sure that the few missing/loosened shingles were all that had gone bad. They were, and even better, the felting underneath was intact. No major repair required, just replacement and retightening of the loosened ones.

That happened today. This morning. VERY EARLY this morning, actually. And the repair crew didn’t get word that I work nights. So they woke me up to tell me that they were here. All bright and cheerful they were…and I was not. I’m not sure my eyes were even fully open when I gave them the go ahead. And the dreams I had that were inspired by the sounds of workmen on the roof? Disquieting, to say the least! I can’t really remember what they were, only that there was lots of loud bangs and firepower involved.

When the supervisor came to inspect things this afternoon, I was a little grumpy with him, but as we talked more, he said that it’ll still be weeks until they can get all of the non-critical damage inspected, much less repairs made on all of those jobs; they’re still finishing holes in roofs and major wall damage. At that point, I suddenly cheered up. My house was made whole less than 3 weeks after the storm rolled through. I had no major damage, as it turned out. I lost no one and nothing to the storm. And the repairs cost me only what my insurance deductible would have been (because the cost was actually less than what the deductible was…so my insurance company didn’t end up involved at all, which is even better in the long run).

I have a lot to be thankful for this year.

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ZOMG Stormageddon!

Well…I got home 6 hours early yesterday from Atlanta. Good thing I did, as the next plane was 45 minutes late, and the plane after that (the one I should’ve been on to begin with) was 90+ minutes late. Hartfield-Jackson Int’l Airport down there was nuts in advance of the storm, and Delta was tossing people onto planes as fast as they could. I didn’t get charged for going stand-by; I didn’t get charged for checking my bag; I didn’t get charged extra for nuttin’ yesterday. They just wanted me out of their city and back home as quick as I could be gone. Fine by me.

The weather had already started to close in by the time I landed, and the ride was bumpy. I’m sure the later flights were much worse, but the pilot only bounced us twice before settling us onto the runway, so I’ll count that as a win.

By this afternoon, there’d already been 2+” of rain in the past 48 hours, and that’s just the beginning. The wind hadn’t really even started to pick up yet much before dark. But once the sun went down, things really started rolling in from the east. Thot and I made a quick trip to the grocery, simply because lasagna sounded really good on a night like tonight. The store was quiet, and the shelves were well-stocked. It doesn’t seem like there was much panic all the way out here in advance of the storm, which is nice.

But as we were watching a movie and cooking dinner, we kept hearing the odd crashing and tearing noises from outside. I know I was outside once or twice, and I think Thot must’ve braved the elements 4 or 5 times at least (and deserves a medal for that!). My house is situated well into several stands of large, old Norway pine trees, most of which are 50+ feet tall. If they were all healthy? No problem. Unfortunately, many of the ones nearest the house have been damaged by Imprelis and are due to be removed, so I’m none too sure of how safe they are anymore.

Each time we heard a noise, it required a full-on expedition into the raging storm…garbed in weather gear and armed with flashlights.

No trees down.

Again, no trees down.

Still, no trees down.

Then, Thot finally found some shingles down off of my roof. Not a good thing, but better than trees falling. And given the cut on the shingles, probably just off of an overhang behind the kitchen. Of course, it’ll be until the end of the week before the storm is done and gone enough for a roofer to get up there…assuming I can get put on a list to get it fixed anytime soon, that is.

Of course, when he went to leave for the evening, Thot -did- manage to find one tree that had fallen. ACROSS THE DRIVEWAY. Luckily, it’s a long-dead tree, well-dried out. It was easy enough for us (with his bad back and my bad shoulder) to pull to the side. Of course, now I get to chop it up. Later. Much, much later.

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