Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

It’s Saturday so get your get-going got-on.

I’ve been outside all morning and I can tell you it’s going to be a great day in the T.C.

Need something to do?
Check out this video TwinkieJiggles sent me in the middle of the night.

Need a little more to do? Go follow to Public Media Camp or just check the Twit feed #PubCamp. Via @juliaschrenkler

Dollar, dollar bill. Ya’ll


Alone on Lake Harriet

Alone on Lake Harriet
Image uploaded on September 6, 2009 by conner.mccall

It kind of feels like Fall, don’t you think?


When will it rain?

That may have been the name of a cheesy Jackyl song,  but the gardeners of Minneapolis & Saint Paul have been screaming it from the rooftops, when will it rain?   The Twin Cities are officially under drought conditions according to new statistics released by the state.  May was the driest on record since the Dust Bowl and most of the Twin Cities are in the midst of a dry spell that is amongst the worst in historical terms.  As glorious as this sunny weather has been everyone wishes it would rain.

rain-barrelI went to a great seminar early this spring to learn how to make a rain barrel.  Lots of great information, and quite simple to make your own if you have a few key tools.  But unfortunately thanks to Mother Nature, until this past weekend’s glorious soaking, it didn’t do me any good without anything to capture.   But at least we can use rain barrels here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, did you know that in Colorado rain barrels are illegal?

Despite our fantastic recent soaking weekend rain,  there is a prediction of a cool dry summer. So what is the best way to keep your garden going in these arid conditions?

You must irrigate your garden yourself, or risk losing all that hard work and money you put into your plants.  The recommendation is to water early in the morning, and it is always best if you can, to water at the base of the plants, using drip irrigation or a soaker hose, less is lost to evaporation so it is more efficient. Watering at night isn’t recommended as the water stays on the plants and can encourage mildew and fungus.

Soaker Hose irrigationThe other thing that is very important in such dry conditions is a good layer of mulch which will help prevent the soil from drying out as quickly. I use a red cedar mulch as it helps deter pests as well, a good half an inch or more, but cocoa bean mulch is also popular, as is straw or pine bark.  I don’t recommend cypress because of claims of over-logging.  Several other people use shredded newspaper, but I find that can get a little too dense.

The key is to water deeply,  at least an inch of water, rather than for short periods, so that it encourages deep root growth once a week.  A good way to measure how much you have watered is to put out a tuna can, and once it is filled, that is an inch of water.  But in this windy weather, you may find that you may need to water twice a week. Just check your soil and make sure it stays moist under the mulch and look at your plants, they will tell you if they need water, if they are looking wilted or lifeless: time to water.

Pots and containers require more frequent watering, some maybe daily, because, although it hasn’t been terribly hot, they have a tendency to dry out quickly especially on these blustery days. Very Blustery Day

For a guide to garden watering see this handy sheet by The Green Institute’s GardenWorks.

Although this past weekend of soaking rain has helped, without a few more days of it, water bills may be taking a good hit this summer,  another great reason to invest in rain barrels, or perhaps look into how to do a rain dance.

Thoughts on the weather

Yes, I’m boring. I post about my theories on weather. Bear with me on this one.

Sunday was:

Wednesday is:

My theory is that either:

a) Mother Nature wanted to one up Google’s April Fools joke


b) Earth Hour worked a little too well

About the Red River Flooding

By now, most of you have heard about the fears of floodingalong the Red River Valley in eastern North Dakota, western Minnesota, and parts of Canada.  For those unfamiliar with the area and the problem, the primary resason this area is so flood-prone in early spring is the fact that unlike most rivers in North America, the Red River of the North flows to the north. That means meltoff from downriver from is running up against ice farther north. Because the land there (it’s an ancient lakebed) is pankcake flat and is still frozen solid, the water spreads outward quickly, causing massive overland flooding. Add a year of near record snowfall in the Fargo-Moorehead area, a (too) quick thaw, and heavy rains, and we have the potential for the worst flooding ever.

Let’s hope the experts are wrong, that the sandbags and volunteers arive in time, and that the new levees hold.

A personal shout out to my brother-in-law in Valley City, ND, one of the towns threatened by flood waters. Stay safe,  Don!

What a beautiful weekend!

Farmer’s Market flowers uploaded by newhopemom

How was your weekend? My Fam took walks, had the windows wide open at the house, and tried to enjoy the weather as much as possible.

The one downside? My basement is leaking water. The unexpected upside? My pool is filling with water.

How did you enjoy the weather?

The zoo? Conservatory? Pan handling? Robbing cars? Reading a good book by an open window?

Do tell.

Today’s storm is #Wintryspew

If you thought #snowmageddon was bad, wait until #wintryspew hits!

Watch the Official #Wintryspew Live Stream Here
If you live tweet the storm, be sure to use the #wintryspew hashtag.

UPDATE: Building on the success of Punch Pizza’s #snowmageddon promotion, local Twin Cities businesses are jumping on the storm-hype bandwagon with special promotions:

  • KipsPub: First pint of tap beer free at Kips Pub in St Louis Park. All day 3-10-09. Show this tweet on cell or print. #snowmageddon #wintryspew (LINK)
  • TC Hotel Deals: $69 hotel room downtown Minneapolis 3-10-09 Only. Call 612-340-1000. Ask for “Snowmegeddon Rate” #snowmageddon #wintryspew (LINK)
  • TC Hotel Deals: $89 hotel – Marriott by @kipspub 3-10-09 Only. Book Online: #snowmageddon #wintryspew (LINK)
  • Punch Pizza: Snownami deal – take out special at Punch buy 1 get 2nd free today only – try par bake, pickup this afternoon and finish at home in 2 min (LINK)

If you know of others, please leave in the comments.

Minneapolis Snow Emergency Facebook Fan Page

mplssnowemergencyIf the forecasters are correct, we’re headed toward another Snowmageddon, with 4-8 inches of snow likely.

All the more reason to become a fan of the Minneapolis Snow Emergency Facebook Fan Page.

Add me as a friend, and I’ll let you know when a Snow Emergency is declared. When that happens, if you park in the street, you’ve got to follow the parking rules. If you don’t, I might have to have you towed away (actually, your car. I leave you where you’re at.)

I’ll share the info you need to avoid an expensive ticket and tow.

There’s a pretty great video here, too.


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Vaporizing boiling water in midair

Mykl Roventine shows what -20 degrees and a pot of boiling water gives you == steam.

How to Prevent and Treat Frozen Pipes

I woke up this morning and went down to brush my teeth — no water.

Damn it! I instantly knew we had frozen pipes. Thanks a lot, Minnesota.

It’s really no surprise, considering it’s -21 degrees in Chaska (-39 windchill, mind you), and our 120 year-old home has little to no insulation around the pipes in our basement crawl space.

Why Frozen Pipes?
I’m no Dr. Science, but apparently water expands when it freezes. Frozen water exerts thousands of pounds of pressure per square inch on a pipe, and with no room to expand, the pipe becomes weak and breaks or cracks.

If water from a faucet in your home isn’t flowing, check other faucets. In fact, check them all just to be sure. If none of them work, the source of the problem is probably at the meter. If some work and some don’t, then it’s probably an isolated freeze in an exterior wall or crawl space. The frozen area of the pipe may be frosted or have ice on it. If the pipe is bulging, you best call and plumber and get to work. It’s close to blowing!

How to Treat Frozen Pipes

  • Never try to thaw frozen pipes with blowtorches, boiling water or lighters.
  • Some say to turn off the main water valve to help relieve the pressure when it thaws. Others say to leave it on so that the water can help you with the dethaw process. I’m a fan of leaving it on.
  • Open faucets so steam can escape during the thawing process.
  • Use a hairdryer on the frozen area of the pipe. If you have multiple hairdryers, use one in each hand and target the same area.
  • If the pipe is close to the wall or ceiling, place a cookie sheet behind the pipe to help radiate heat onto the back side of the pipe.
  • You can also use an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, infared light, portable space heater or wrap pipes with towels soaked in hot water.
  • Heat the pipe from the faucet toward the frozen area. The idea is that water can flow as it melts, and the pressure in the pipe will force the ice out.
  • I recommend starting with the hot water pipes first, because they usually thaw quicker and will give you a boost of confidence that it’s working.
  • Keep applying heat until full water pressure is restored. Have patience. Remember, you’re melting ice with a hairdryer.
  • If you are can’t find the frozen area or it’s inaccessible, be sure to call a plumber before it’s too late.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

  • First off, insulate your outer walls and pipes. Duh.
  • Open cabinet or maintenance doors to let warmth from your house in.
  • Consider setting up a portable space heater in the freezing-prone area. You just need to get the temperature to just above freezing, around 40°F.
  • If you know you’ve had problems in the past, a dripping faucet is one of the better solutions, since running water makes freezing difficult. It’s worth the water bill compared to a major blowout and clean-up.
  • Install electric pipe heat tape, which is a ribbon type wrap that has electrical heating elements in it that warm up when you plug it in. Some come with a thermostat.

More info (much of which I stole to write this post) here, here and here.

Have your own home remedy? Please post in the comments.

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