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Pictures from the Ice Storm

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Pictures from the Ice Storm

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out of the light star
The narrative is here. The power was flickering really badly and Photobucket literally took hours and multiple tries to get all of the pictures uploaded, so I wanted to at least get the original post up.

The Japanese red maple that sits right outside our patio door. The branches are not supposed to point at the ground like that! I can walk easily under it most of the time.

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Phil enjoyed licking the ice quite a bit! The Goldens have been banished from the backyard until the ice and branches stop falling. They are like two little children that love to play in the snow; they're both laying on the floor now, looking morose because ... all that snow!! Poor babies.

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And Alex occupying the ecological niche of a Golden Retriever: making big sticks into smaller sticks. We had to stop him from trying to pull icy branches off the low-hanging maples. You weren't helping, Alex.

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You can see little branches and twigs scattered about. But this is not the real damage.

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In the background ...

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Ouch. One of the white pines that borders our property lost multiple big branches. Luckily, the fence does not appear to be damaged. (A part of the fence that runs alongside the chicken shed was knocked down by a falling branch, but since the Goldens can't get over there anyway, this is not a big deal and can wait till spring to be fixed.)

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Alex is probably the only person happy about this, as it means more sticks and branches for him to carry around and tear into smaller sticks.

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Life in the midst of death. A tiny rose sprig had grown up and was completely encased in ice. This is one that shows well just how much ice fell last night. (A half-inch [1.25 cm] in Manchester.)

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But the parent plant wasn't so lucky, and we lost one of our rose trees.

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Icicles on the fence.

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And looking beyond to the ice-covered grapevines and the front yard.

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The backyard.

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The Japanese red maple encased in ice. It was above freezing when I took these, and I could see the water trickling underneath of the ice to drip out at the tip of the twig.

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Icicles on the picnic table.

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The Ravens flag frozen stiff seems appropriate after the season we just had.

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The lamppost on the front path.

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The similarly be-iced bird feeder with the fallen arborvitae behind it.

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Ice encasing the small evergreen tree in the front yard.

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A bit of broken-off evergreen, still trapped in ice.

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Our fallen arborvitae. :(

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The arborvitae (a.k.a., the northern white cedar) is a native plant but does horribly in heavy snow and ice because it is basically one large upright branch with planes of flat foliage that act almost like shelves, collecting snow and ice. There is a second arborvitae behind it; you can see how the weight of the snow and ice has pulled it almost to the ground.

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It fell right across the driveway, where we usually park our car. (Thankfully, knowing the tendencies of arborvitae in snow and ice, Bobby moved the car forward last night, so it was spared.)

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The woodsman who has spent a large part of the day cutting up the fallen arborvitae with a handsaw since he forgot to charge the batteries on the dicksaw* (chainsaw) last night. In the background, you can see how the ice is pulling the branches of the white pines that form the southern border of our property toward the ground.

* We call our chainsaw the "dicksaw" because, one spring, Bobby was using it to cut down a dead tree in the yard. Neighbor Bob came over and laughed at how small it was (it is just a little battery-powered thing) and said, "What are you going to use that for, to cut off your dick??" He went back, laughing, to his yard to get his [big, gas-powered] chainsaw to cut up some fallen branches. For several minutes, we could hear him trying to start it and cursing at it. Then, back over to our yard, contrite: "When you're done with your chainsaw, can I borrow it?" Why, Bob, do you need to cut off your dick?? :^P)

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We de-iced the car, which was a rather satisfying experience, since the ice came off in sheets that sounded like breaking glass when hurled to the ground. (Which we might have done in the name of our fallen trees!)

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This one was kind of cool: You can see part of the Yaris logo imprinted in the ice.

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The side yard, with the busted-up fence in the background.

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White pine, a very common local tree. (We have about 12 on our property.)

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The front yard.

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The rosemary plant in the front herb garden. I'll be interested to see if this plant survives the winter. Rosemary is not supposed to overwinter in our area, but we've had success now for two winters. We put our latest rosemary plant in the ground in an act of defiance and desperation after losing every single potted rosemary that we tried to overwinter indoors for several years in a row. However, this winter has been extreme, temperature-wise, so I would not be surprised if this rosemary doesn't see the end of a third winter. It has been a wonderful plant.

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And the fated Halloween tree. This was the last photo I took today. As I was preparing to go inside, Bobby asked me, "Did you get that tree?" and I hadn't, but I snapped it quickly. Fifteen minutes later, I went out front to warn him that the back trees were still losing a lot of branches and ice and to be careful as he worked on removing the fallen arborvitae ... and the words were no sooner out of my mouth before a large branch from the Halloween tree came off. It was creaking and groaning more later, so it might lose yet more branches. We'll see. Hopefully, it is not too damaged and will survive.

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We also found out why our power came on so quickly. There is a retirement community down the street from us. When we moved here, it was a bean field. Anyone who knows me knows I was not happy with replacing a bean field with a bunch of stupid-looking identical houses for old people. But apparently, areas with a high senior population are served first by Baltimore Gas and Electric. This is not the case for areas that can only boast bean fields.

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

  • Wow! Those are all incredible. Great work. I love the close ups and also the ice-cycles on the lamp. Stunning. And yes, at a lot of damaged trees.
    • Thank you! I am no photographer, but I had good light in my favor and, of course, quite a natural spectacle. And a better camera than the little point-and-shoot I usually use and which is currently broken. ;)
  • Whoah, you got a lot of ice! At least it looks pretty.

    We got snow first, then a crust on top. Then this afternoon, my husband and I spent an hour and a half shoveling rapidly freezing slush off the sidewalks, only to have it rain/snow enough to coat them in ice again. And paw-safe salt is sold out everywhere!

    We have a small arborvitae that is permanently bent from Snowpocalypse 2010... looking pretty sad today. And my rosemary died in the first polar vortex, along with all my kale (first time in 6 years of growing).

    Dang! It's a tough winter for plants.
    • It is pretty! Unfortunately, we are now under a wind warning (we can't get a break!), so all I hear right now is the sound of ice blowing off of the trees and onto the ground. Thankfully it is still (just) above freezing.

      Shoveling snow sucks! Shoveling slushy/icy snow sucks worse!

      We've had to stop using salt because it destroyed our first front step (which was admittedly just a concrete block and look more like it belonged on a trailer home) and now use playground sand.

      I think our rosemary might have perished as well. It is looking a little brown ... We have several perennial herbs that are 3+ years old now; I hope most of them make it through this year. :^/

      I am actually somewhat grateful that our bee colony absconded. I doubt they would have ever made it through all of this.
  • Stunning photos!Stay safe and warm.
    • Thank you! We're lucky to have the woodstove, which helps on the last bit. :) We're under a wind warning now and so will probably spend the night in the basement.
  • Wow! That's gorgeous. At least that's one upside to these things.

    We got less than a quarter of an inch last night. But it was enough to bring down numerous branches from our lone pine, enough that it'll have to be cut down come spring. (I'm also worried about my magnolia, which is only three or four years old, but there's nothing I can do.)

    The mental image Alex trying to pull branches off the trees made me laugh.
    • It is very pretty. It was nice--if not a little scary!--to be out in it today.

      Ugh ... I'm sorry about the pine. (I'm very much like Tolkien in mourning the loss of trees!) I hope your magnolia is okay too. They're among my favorite trees in the spring. Hopefully, it will fare like our little trees did, which is pretty well since they're not big enough yet to be dragged down by their own weight.

      Alex has always had an exaggerated sense of his own strength! He routinely drags branches many times his size around the yard!
  • For something that can cause so much havoc, ice really is pretty. And I confess to liking the tinkling sound of ice-laden branches, as much as the sound portends possible danger.

    Alex cracks me up. What could be better than sticks covered in ice?! Stick popsicles! My boys approve the appearance of Evil Mr. Feet.

    De-icing cars with that much ice really does make on feel pretty badass! I wish I had taken pictures of my car last December.

    At least there's an upside of to having an old folks' community up the road.
    • If I'm being poetic and melodramatic, then ice storms are death and beauty entwined. ;)

      We're getting a bit much of that icy sound right now. After speaking too soon in gratitude for the lack of wind, we're now under an effing wind advisory. We're sleeping in the basement tonight because the sound of ice coming out of the trees is now nonstop.

      Evil Mr. Feet! That is Big Pink to my two. :D Big Pink got lost in the snow, but Lancelot scurried around the yard with nose to the ground to find it and dig it up. (He's found and dug it out of 3 feet of snow before, so this paltry eight inches? Pssh! Child's play, he says!) The fact that he has allowed it to leave his mouth long enough to lick the ice tells me that the ice must have tasted really, really good.

      We have two Big Pinks (one for each dog, in theory, although having two dogs yourself, you probably know that it doesn't actually work like that), and it's funny to give Lancelot one and throw the other, because he will sometimes forget he has the first one in his mouth, attempt to catch the second, and cause the second to bounce high in the air off the first.

      Alex (the intelligent one) just waits out in the yard for it to be thrown near enough to him so that he doesn't have to run very far for it.

      Retrievers ...
  • Pretty! I love how trees and plants look frozen in ice, though I can't help getting ridiculously sad when they break or fall over. (And a bit scared. Who needs a haunted house when you can sit in a power outage and listen to the sounds of wind blowing and trees breaking outside?) I especially like the Halloween tree.

    Dogs are so funny when trees or branches fall down or hang low. I remember when storm Alfred brought down a couple of trees in our yard a couple years ago, the border collies looked like they wanted to say, "Yay, we can pee on any part of the tree now!"

    The dicksaw anecdote really made me laugh. :D
    • We are having a bit of that haunted house thing right now. The power isn't out (yay for the old people!), but after being prematurely grateful for the lack of wind after the storm, we're now under a stupid wind advisory. So we're staying in the basement because the sound of ice blowing off the trees and against the side of the house is now nonstop. I love our big trees but really don't want to wake up to one crashing through the ceiling to give me a kiss on the nose!

      Alex and Lance enjoy the snow because it means that any part of the yard is fair game for peeing and pooping! Poop on the patio? Why not?? Pee at the bottom of the steps? Hells yeah! Run through the gardens?? Naturally! It's like winter weather suspends any sort of rules in the backyard.

      The dicksaw incident was one of those almost-too-perfect occurrences that seems like it should belong in a sitcom. It was years ago--we'd only been living here a year or two--and we still laugh about it all the time. And Neighbor Bob may have made fun of our dicksaw chainsaw, but people always want to borrow it for precisely the reason that it gets the job done without being as scary as a full-sized chainsaw.
  • Lovely photos! I'm sorry to hear about the plants lost, though.

    (Dicksaw, LOL..)
    • Thank you! We get periodic ice storms here, but I've never seen one quite like this.

      The dicksaw is epic in the House of Felagund! :D
  • Yikes. We have these periodically and they wreak havoc with the trees. Beautiful but deadly...

    Be careful!
    • Driving to work today, I don't think there was a house in Carroll County without at least one large branch down. It looks worse than it does after tropical storms.

      Thankfully, the big snowstorm that was supposed to hit this weekend looks like it will be less big, which is good since our poor trees still haven't thawed out as of this afternoon and don't really need another foot or two of snow.
  • The photos. Wow. Really, wow. We have similar problems in mountain-parts of the country and I feel really lucky that I live near the sea, in Mediterranean climate.

    What about the kitty? I guess she doesn't like to be outdoors in these conditions.
    • Freyja is an indoor cat, so the only time she goes outside is in her carrier! :)

      Bobby and I are planning a trip to the seaside for the weekend after next. Although they have had cold and snow there too! *sigh*
  • That is surreal!! Especially sitting here in 33C in the Mekong delta sweating over a Cold beer. ;)

    I hope the wind doesn't get too bad, and that you are able to stay cozy and warm. ♥
    • I hope you guys are having an awesome time! :D

      Hot weather! Cold beer! I am officially jealous. ;)

      We lost one more branch today that unfortunately crashed down part of the chicken pen. But the damage was not bad, and Bobby was able to fix it again this afternoon.

      But we are going to be hauling and chopping up a lot of tree branches this spring ...
  • Holy sh*t.

    Glad you guys are okay. Great pics.
    • Thank you! Carroll County looks like a warzone right now. There are more trees and branches down than there were after the tropical storms. O.O
  • The pictures are gorgeous, but...BUT...yes, death and beauty entwined. The world looks like it's made of crystal, but the ice can be a tree- and shrub-killer. Or at least a tree- and shrub-mangler. Some trees *cough* BRADFORD PEAR *cough* are more susceptible to ice damage than others.

    Your ice storm reminds me of the one that hit central Illinois back in the mid-60s. First we had snow, which changed to ice, ice, and more ice. None of the huge maples in our yard on the farm went undamaged. We were without power for 2 weeks, so we stayed with my uncle (father's youngest bro) in town while my father went to the farm to make sure the generator was powering the house at a bare minimum (kept the furnace going and the big chest freezer and frige on) and that the farm animals were all OK. I should scan some old photos of that. It was gorgeous, but...BUT...

    I am in awe of your success with rosemary. Hope that plant pulls through.

    The dicksaw. AH HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
    • I don't even know why anyone would plant a Bradford pear around here. Every few years, we get either a tropical storm or an ice storm. Bye bye, Bradford pears ...

      Baltimore County schools were open today (Carroll County schools are still closed since we seem to have gotten hit the hardest in the state ... like usual ... :^|), and driving through Carroll County to work today, the damage was worse than after the recent tropical storms. I don't think there was a yard without at least one big branch down. Coming home in the afternoon, with the setting sun on the ice, was an incredible sight beyond belief. (Then trying to walk up an uphill driveway that had become recoated by millions of tiny shards of ice ...)

      We were without power for 2 weeks

      Goodness. That is far worse than what we have going on here. Power is expected to be restored throughout the state by Saturday at the latest. The longest I've gone without power at a stretch was eight days ... in September. Not the middle of winter in Illinois! :)

      I am in awe of your success with rosemary. Hope that plant pulls through.

      Me too. We went textbook for many years by growing potted rosemary and bringing it indoors to overwinter, and it died every single time. Finally, Bobby put one in the ground; it was going to die in the house anyway, so why not try.

      It's a good location, though (same place we keep the bees): right in front of the stand of conifers in front of our house, where it gets late morning and early afternoon sun but no late afternoon sun, and the trees provide a good windbreak.

      I hope it survives. It's gotten big enough that we've come to depend on plentiful access to rosemary.

      The dicksaw is legendary in the House of Felagund! :D And, funny enough, friends and relatives love that little thing, and it is always being loaned out.
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