Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Weather Report

This is obviously not Monday Morning Coffee, so I'll spare you that charade.  I keep promising you'll get it and then fail to deliver.  Sometimes it comes and sometimes it doesn't.  I haven't fished in two weeks, having been busy with other things, and honestly, haven't tied flies either.  This being mainly a blog about fly fishing in Michigan I hate rattling on when there's nothing new to say.  It was pretty cold here for a couple of weeks, with highs in the teens, which negated any thoughts I had about fishing.

Saturday I woke to a time honored Michigan tradition- a frozen water pipe.  Over night it had dipped down to nearly -20 but because the winter has been so warm I had neglected to plug in my heat tape.  I woke Saturday morning in need of a shower and shave and dirty dishes, only to find I had no water.  Thankfully there's a rather large public artesian spring right across the road from me, so I went and got water for coffee and waited for the sun to warm above zero before crawling under my home and plugging in the heat tape and then wait for it to work.  True to tradition, it took all day, blowing most of my plans in the process.  It was only when I got out a 500 watt lamp and shone it directly on the problem spot that I finally had success.  If you've never had frozen water pipes you're missing out.  Typically it only forms slush, which thoroughly blocks the pipe.  You'll be able to hear it for hours moving through your pipes a little at a time, instilling false hope with every slushy move it makes.  If it gets really cold and your pipes freeze solid they'll burst, and then you're looking at a miserable repair or worse, a big bill from the plumber.  You would think that having frozen pipes would not be a matter of nostalgia, but it took me back to numerous days spent in my childhood, working with my dad in the crawl space under our house, me holding a light and fetching tools and hot drinks, while he cursed under his breath as we lay on our backs in the dust and old cobwebs, trying to ignore the skeletons of the creatures who had found it a convenient place to expire.  Thirty below is thirty below, and pipes are going to freeze.  My father passed a couple of years ago, and I miss the old guy sometimes.

I've remarked elsewhere that for the most part this has been an extremely mild winter, but after the cold of the last two weeks, imagine my surprise to awaken in the middle of last night to the sound of thunder, followed by heavy rain, which was soon followed by the steady thump of snow and ice sliding off of my metal roof.  There's nothing like the sound of thunder and rain to bring you back to summer, especially in your dreams, and I lay there in that lazy haze for hours luxuriating in the sound.  Last night was only the second time in my life that I've ever seen lightning in January here.  It's normal for us to not have thunder storms at all here from October through March.  This storm is of course, bad for local business- the tourist economy here is driven by skiers, snowmobilers and ice fishermen.  I doubt the lake ice will be damaged enough to matter, but I hiked the snowmobile trail this afternoon, and it has been reduced to slush and gravel, and the ski hills must be a mess.  The weather is going to whip-saw the other direction tonight, get cold again, drop more snow and stay cold, so maybe we'll be back in business by the weekend.  Silver lining- it rained heavily for hours which will benefit our woefully low rivers.  Who knows, maybe it will bring a fresh push of steelhead with it.

That's about all I have to report.  I'll try to get some writing done, have something to share with you.  Thanks for stopping by.

10 comments:

  1. I don't what is more eerie. Thunder and rain on top of the snow in January, or thunder and snow. Either way, 20 below will mess up your pipes.

    Mark

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    1. All I can say is that waking up to it brought me back to summer.

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  2. After reading this, I thought, coffee? Hell bring me a stiff drink. You brought back some horrible memories for me.

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    1. Howard- I'm sorry. They are horrible, yet still dear memories for me. Somehow I still cling to how hard life was. It's been a bad week.

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  3. FR...That definitely doesn't sound like a good week at all. Coffee maybe wasn't what the doctor ordered today! Cheer up my friend, Howard says that Spring is only 10 or so more corners away!!! (You know he's counting. Haha.)

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    1. Oh, I'm cheery enough, it's just hard to generate content on an empty tank.

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  4. A thunderstorm in Jan. is pretty strange but have you ever experienced lightning and thunder in a snowstorm? I have on a few occassions and it will take you be surprise every time. Hope you can get out on the water soon.

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    1. I've seen thunder snow a couple of times- it might be more rare than an outright thunder storm.

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  5. Frozen pipes...definitely worthy of nostalgia. I can hear the slush working its way through the pipes now. Although, I do admit, that his does not make me miss ND at the moment.

    Thunder in January, glad you enjoyed.

    Cheers!

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    1. Yeah- I'm going to retire in SW Colorado for that reason. The winters are much more bearable.

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