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Enjoy today and tomorrow...

Posted by mulberryknob z6OK (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 2, 13 at 11:24

because it's going to get COLD. Our lowest temp last year was 11F and that came in Jan. It's supposed to be that cold or colder by next Saturday morning. I saw a long range forecast last week that said the winter in OK would be warmer than normal. So far not seeing it. There's no heat in the greenhouse so I sure hope Friday is sunny so it will warm up in there during the day. I will throw sheets over my greens beds anyway.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

I just swept my chimney yesterday. I had better hurry and get some wood piled up closer. Yesterday was a great pole saw day.


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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

I have been working outside most of the day, got all the low limbs cut off and piled. I need to do more mulching, but over all I feel things are in pretty good shape for this time of the year.


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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

Bill has been splitting wood and placing it on the front porch for easy access. I've been composting, setting up winter sown containers, securing the furries and removing sod where I can. Most is too wet. I've enjoyed the foggy mornings on my dry skin, though.


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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

It is a good thing that the weather is going to be so gorgeous today---it will give us memories of a warm, sunny day to cling to while it rains, sleets, snows.....or does all three.....during the next Arctic cold front. : )

Dorothy, I've seen the forecasts for a warmer than usual winter, and while I am not doubting them (yet), it seems like our warmer than usual winter will have some strong Arctic cold fronts popping up here and there, since we've already had one a few days back and now another one is approaching. I don't remember us ever having two ice/sleet/snow storms prior to Christmas in any given year since we moved here in 1999. I suspect there will be more Arctic cold fronts in the coming weeks, even if they are sandwiched in between relatively warm winter weather overall. It only takes one bad ice storm to make a winter memorable.

My greenhouse isn't heated either and I don't know if the majority of the 35 or so plants in it will make it through this next round of wintery weather. So far, the plants have survived temperatures down to 19 degrees, with row cover thrown over them inside the greenhouse, but some of the coleus plants have been damaged by the cold and don't look nearly as good as they did before that last round of cold weather arrived. The ornamental sweet potato plants have been deliriously happy and are putting out new growth. I did have to prune them back pretty hard before we moved the containers to the greenhouse because there were runners hanging over the sides of the containers and running every which way, and those runners were going to be damaged just by the process of loading up the heavy containers into the pickup truck to move them to the greenhouse. There's a couple of containers of lantana and cosmos in there, and the butterflies fly into the greenhouse and visit them on warm days when the greenhouse doors are open. The lantana likely will be okay, but I think the cosmos will freeze this time since there's a couple of days later this week where we are expected to stay below freezing all day and all night. Without some bright sunshine to build up a lot of heat during the day that will help the greenhouse stay warm during the night, I think the overnight lows will hit the teens or lower 20s, and that will be the end of the warm-season plants. We have six determinate tomato plants in there that have between 4 and 12 tomatoes each on them, but the fruit has barely enlarged at all since the first round of cold weather arrived and none of it is ripening. It is like the fruit is in a state of suspended animation. I am not sure if these tomatoes ever are going to ripen. The plants continue to bloom but the nights have been too cold for them to set fruit.

We won't be as cold down here in southcentral OK as some of y'all will be further north, but the downside to the slightly warmer temperatures is that it means most of our precipitation is expected to be freezing rain and sleet instead of snow. In terms of damage to trees, shrubs and power lines, I'd rather have snow. From what I understand, the last time Love County had a huge ice storm that brought down hundreds, if not thousands, of trees and did massive damage to miles and miles of power lines was about a decade before we moved here. We've been very fortunate since then, but all that means is that we are overdue for a damaging ice storm here in our county and one day our luck will run out.

Helen, I hope to get out there with the pole saw this afternoon and cut back some branches off the one tree that is close enough to the power line to cause issues if we have heavy icing.

Larry, You're ahead of me. I need to get busy mulching. I was looking at my bales of hay on Sunday afternoon and wondering when in the world I was going to get around to using them. We had snakes out in the front yard (and practically on the front porch) on the day before the last cold front blew in with rain and sleet, and I know we could have them out again today, so I don't want to touch those bales of hay just yet. Snakes often take refuge in between the bales, and I want it to be so cold when I move that hay that I don't have to worry about snakes lurking in or near the hay.

Ever since Thanksgiving, we've been so busy with community and VFD holiday-related activities that I haven't done anything that remotely resembles gardening either last week or this week. I hope to get out today while the weather is gorgeous and finish my Christmas shopping. Usually I am through with it by now.

Bon, I hope y'all get some nice snow for the children to enjoy playing in but that y'all stay warm and safe. It is a shame y'all are too wet there (but I wish we were too wet here!) since the weather otherwise has been really nice for garden prep type work.

The pile of garden catalogs on the coffee table keeps getting larger (three new ones arrived yesterday), and I still haven't found time to look at them. Maybe if we get iced in, I'll be able to sit down and look at them to see if I can find anything I need or want for spring planting. Or, I can burn the catalogs to keep the house warm if the power goes out. I'm just kidding about that last part. Y'all know I'd never burn a gardening catalog.

Dawn


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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

I am concerned about this storm, not for us, but for the southern part of the State. We drove up 75 from Texas yesterday and so many of the trees are still holding their leaves even north of McAlester. We have a few trees that still have leaves even up this far north, but most of ours are bare. I was also shocked to see how numerous the cedars have become. Why don't people cut those things down?


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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

Carol, I am worried about all the trees too. We have so many trees that haven't lost their leaves yet, and even some that still have green leaves. This week, the red oaks in part of the yard finally dropped their leaves, but the red oak that is closest to the power line still has most of its leaves....and it is the only one that is a threat to the power line. Of course, if we get as much ice as they say, then even the trees that have lost their leaves may lose limbs or may just collapse to the ground under the weight of the ice. As bad as it is here in southcentral OK, we were down in Dallas and Frisco today and came home up the country roads from Frisco to Sherman and then to Gainesville and back to OK, and I was astonished at how many trees down there still have oodles of leaves too....much more than our trees here do. If the ice reaches the D-FW metro area, it could get ugly.

As for the cedars, I don't know. It makes me crazy. People ignore them until they get as thick as grass. Then, when they get alarmed at how much the cedars have invaded their grassland areas and want to have them removed, the trees are so large and so dense that the cost of having them removed simply is beyond the reach of most people so they don't even try.

I like to go through our woods every winter and cut down all the little ones that have sprouted since the previous time I cut them down. Sometimes I am cutting hundreds and hundreds of them in the 6" to 2' tall range. The birds must plant their seeds everywhere. We have mature cedars at the back of our property that are incredibly tall and we cannot cut them down. They are so dense and thick that if you cut one, it won't fall because all the trees around it will hold it upright. I'm guessing those trees date back to the 1940s based on comments from some of the neighbors who grew up here. They won't die, and it is hard to kill them. Those trees back there probably will outlive us. They're about 1000 feet from the house, so mostly I don't even think about them. The deer like to shelter beneath the tall trees in that grove so at least it is useful for something.

When coated with ice, the cedar trees will bend and break, but it usually doesn't kill them and they will then respout from the roots or from half-broken trunks, and they will be the ugliest things around because they are all misshapen.

I am watching this weather very closely. It is too early to feel too alarmed because this far in advance, they really cannot be certain just where the freezing line will fall and, thus, where freezing rain will fall versus sleet or snow. Having said that, I think that this will be a really serious ice storm in whatever area the freezing rain does fall.

We are taking the forecast seriously here and we are prepared now. If ice started falling tonight, we have everything we need.

I keep thinking about 2010 when the big snow/ice storm was expected to be centered over parts of Oklahoma during the week the Super Bowl was at Dallas Cowboys Stadium, and instead the worst part of the storm went 100 miles or so south and hit Dallas at the worst possible time. That was the most snow I've ever seen in one day here in Love County, and I loved it because it fell as snow. I'll love this week's weather if it hits us as snow, but if it hits us as freezing rain, I'm gonna be hating it.

Tim has the generator set up and ready for use so that even if we lose power, we can keep the heat on and a few appliances working. I understand that generators were flying off the store shelves down here today. The nice big ones are all sold out, but at least one store still had some of the smaller ones this afternoon.

It won't hurt my feelings any if the storm shifts the freezing rain to some other area (though I certainly wouldn't wish it upon anyone). I just kinda feel like we are overdue for an ice storm here, and maybe this one will hit us. I have a big pile of gardening catalogs and a stash of chocolate bars from Ikea, so the weather can do whatever it wants outdoors because i'll be snug, warm and in gardening-catalog-and-chocolate-candy heaven.

Dawn


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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

Carol, our next door neighbor is annoyed that we replaced our chainlink fence with a tall privacy fence, so they planted about a dozen 2' cedar seedlings all along their side of the fence (I believe they dug them from their ranch land). I cannot believe someone has planted those things on purpose.


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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

Now the weather is saying that NW Arkansas may see -1F. And we can't heat the greenhouse because we took the electric line down in order to cut a big tree. Glenn is considering putting the smoker down there. I've been reading Eliot Coleman's "Winter Harvest Handbook" and thinking that with cover everything should survive.


Dawn, Didn't you glass in your screened porch a few years ago? Could you move the tender plants there? That is what we did this year. Went back to heating the glassed porch attached to the house. It has an eastern exposure and a solid, insulated roof so doesn't get as much sun but for the tropicals I put there it gets enough. It's a lot cheaper to heat. I dug three seedling tomato plants in the greenhouse and have them in the south window of a guest bedroom along with some more houseplants. It'll be interesting to see what variety they are. Hope it's something I like this year.

Carol, cut down cedar trees is on our to-do list for this winter. We don't have any big ones on our place but a neighbor does and the fence closest to his field has cedars grow up in it and every few years we cut them down. I read that they don't regrow if cut off right at the ground.

We're ready too, with a generator big enough to keep the deep freezers cold. We lived in the house for 9 days after the ice storm of 09 without electricity and can do it again if we have to. With an alternate water source we did fine.


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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

Mia, I know that people plant cedar trees on purpose, but I wouldn't. I hope their trees aren't so close to your fence that they cause fence problems down the road as the trees enlarge.

Dorothy, Yes, we glassed in the screen porch a couple of years ago, and just this fall we added a lot more insulation, drywall, new flooring, etc. so it now is a beautiful sunroom that is as nice as the rest of the house. As a bonus, if I open up the blinds and let the sunlight in the south-facing windows, the sun heats up the room, though I mostly leave them closed in the afternoons or the room gets too hot. It does have heat/air conditioning now so I have no problem keeping it comfortable in there no matter the weather. I could bring the plants in if I could lift them but most of them are in molasses feed tubs and are too heavy for me to get up the steps to the back porch. I'll move the two citrus trees inside because they are in slightly smaller pots that I can lift (just barely). Everything else is on its own out there, and with temperatures expected to dip into the teens at night and not make it much above freezing for 5 consecutive days, I don't think much will survive. It is okay. If I really wanted for all those plants to make it through the winter, I could put a space heater out there and heat it, but I am not going to do that. I just use it as a season extender because I don't want to run up a big electric bill trying to keep it heated all winter long.

Even if i could lift those 30 big molasses feed tubs of plants and move them into the room, I likely wouldn't do it. They would totally fill up the room and then we humans and animals couldn't use it. I'll just enjoy them for as long as they last in the greenhouse.

I hope your three volunteer tomato plants give you plants that produce good tomatoes. I likely will pick all the largest green tomatoes from the plants this afternoon. Some of them are about to start turning so those might ripen indoors.

I've heard that cedar trees don't regrow if cut off from the ground, and I think it must depend on the trees. About 90% of the cedar trees we cut back flush to the ground do not come back, but the rest do. Often we have to cut them 2 or 3 times to get them to finally die. If you cut them off at the ground after they've already burned in a wildfire, that is like a double whammy and they rarely resprout. Some of the ranchers here burn off their land every winter to remove brush and that does help them keep the cedar trees under control, but it is a constant battle. Our worst wildfires normally occur in places where the cedars have heavily invaded grassland areas and serve as fuel for the fires.

I've linked the NWS graphic below that shows where the risk of power outages is greatest in case anyone wants to look at it. It goes without saying that the stores here are insanely busy, and I assume that is true in most parts of the state.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: NWS-Norman Webpage


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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

I hope you don't lose power, Dawn. And everyone else! We probably will, but we lose power here when the weather's fine.

We're looking at 3-6" of snow and if it's just snow, we should be fine. Looking at that link now, the light blue area has moved since yesterday afternoon so if it keeps moving we may end up with less than that.

My work Christmas party is in OKC Saturday, but I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen. There are branches all over the southern half of the state and most of them are in the heavy ice area so it'll probably end up cancelled. I know I don't want to travel in this.

Leslie


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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

Madge just set out the candles because ice is already forming on the trees in front of the house. We canceled a Dr. appointment in Fayetteville, Ar.,80 miles north of us. This is the second time we have canceled this appointment, but we don't want to drive on slick roads.

Larry


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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

Hey Leslie,

I hope nobody loses power! We are prepared if it happens. Tim packed a bag when he left for work and took enough clothes for several days because he is expecting to be 'trapped' in Dallas by the ice storm. I'd rather he just stay there than attempt to drive home on icy roads.

So far nothing is happening here except it is cold and cloudy. Every hour that passes today with the precipitation skirting by us and not hitting us is an hour to celebrate.

I've tried to prepare for the worst but still am hoping for the best. I'd love snow, but they have rather stedfastly predicted freezing rain and sleet with only a slim chance of snow here.

Based on the latest forecast here for us, the "event" is slipping a few hours later and later, so we may not see much during the daylight hours.

I hope they postpone your work Christmas party because I don't think anyone will want to be out on the roads if we get the weather they are forecasting.

In perhaps the ultimate irony, Sherman,TX, postponed their Christmas Parade and Snowflake Festival because of the threat of icy roads/hazardous driving conditions. You'd think that snow would be welcome at the Snowflake Festival. (grin) I think they are in the same boat we're in where freezing rain and sleet are more likely than snow.

I hope everybody stays safe and warm and I certainly hope the forecasted sleet and freezing rain don't fall heavily enough to cause massive damage like Oklahoma has seen in some previous winters.

Dawn


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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

We still don't have anything at our house, but Al just drove home from Jay and said the freezing rain started just as he left the courthouse. On the map, I can see freezing rain just south and east of us, and snow just north of us. At the moment, we are in the doughnut hole...........I'm off to make a big pot of chili and hunker down.


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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

Still dry in downtown OKC.


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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

Spoke too soon. Just barely starting to get tiny snowflakes, kind of like a snow mist, but they aren't wetting down the pavement yet.


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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

We've had light sleet here for the past hour.


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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

They did postpone our Christmas party...until next Christmas. There's no way to do it between now and Christmas, there's too many people and they get everyone a hotel room too so no one has to drive.

It started snowing here about 20 minutes ago and it's really coming down now. The pavement isn't wet, but I think it's just too cold to melt. Cars are covered.

Leslie


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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

We have invisible freezing rain/sleet here. What I mean by invisible is that it is barely there. If you stand under a tree that still has leaves, you hear it hit the leaves but none of it makes it down to the ground or to you. I was wearing a black jacket and never found a bit of sleet on it, for example.

Leslie, Probably the smartest decision but...a whole year? Next year's Christmas party better be twice as nice then.

Carol, We've been in a similar doughnut hole all day too. Tim and Chris keep looking at the radar in Dallas and thinking something is falling here, but it isn't falling or, if it is falling, it isn't reaching the ground. That happened last time....what little stuff fell mostly evaporated before reaching the ground.

Mia, It never fails...when I say 'nothing is falling here' then stuff immediately begins to fall. It is like it is a curse to say that nothing is falling.

Dorothy, I wondered what y'all were getting because The Weather Channel keeps talking about what is falling in Fort Smith so I wondered if it was on your side of the Ar-OK state line too.

All day long I have felt like a sitting duck....just sitting and waiting and waiting and waiting. If it is going to fall, y'all, (and obviously it is falling already in many places), I just wish it would go ahead and fall, freeze up our roads, knock out our power lines, make a big mess and just get it over with.

I've already cooked, cleaned and done laundry so I am running out of things to do to stay busy indoors. It is too chilly to be outdoors, except we did prune back more of the red oak by the power line this morning. I feel better about it now because we cut it back pretty far.

I want some snow like Leslie is getting. I want big, pretty snowflakes. Instead, I'm expecting icky old freezing rain. I am hearing a little thunder occasionally. Maybe we'll get thundersnow!

Dawn


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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

Pretty slick and slow going leaving work early. I like the snow because it is covering the red mud pit that is my current backyard!
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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

We're getting nice lovely showers of ice.


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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

6:25 PM and we're getting POURED on with ice and snow!

George
Tahlequah, OK


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RE: Enjoy today and tomorrow...

I opened my front door this morning and couldn't see the road! I didn't measure, but I figure it's six inches.

Leslie


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