Tag Archives: weather

Coldest Chicago Temp -27 on 1-20-85

ICYMI ~ It’s COLD in Chicago!!

I’m from Chicago, born & raised. I never left (ok, technically I moved to the suburbs), but I still consider myself a Chicagoan. I’ve lived through some tough winters in my lifetime. I was around for the Blizzard of ’67 (kindergartner), and lots of snow storms during my high school years in the late ’70s. I made a lot of cash shoveling people out and setting up lawn chairs with brooms laying across them … It’s a Chicago thing – DIBS, you can Google it 🙂 I also remember Christmas week in 1983, it was so cold that my pet fish, Oscar, (he was a giant, you guessed it, Oscar) died because the power was out for several days and the tank nearly froze. However, my most prominent, vivid memory is January 20, 1985.

Ice Crystal Bird by Lorra Rudman - llinois Birding Network FB 1-30-19
Photo Credit: Lorra Rudman

Ironically, January 20, 1985, the coldest day in Chicago history, was the first day at my new job … as a ramp agent working at O’Hare airport. I remember coming in from running bags (as a trainee, I had to shadow each type of job position) from our incoming flight to the baggage claim … when we got back to the ready room, I had actual frost on my eyelashes (similar to my feathered friend above)! I was never so cold in my life. I kept asking myself why the heck I quit my job as a travel agent at a Michigan Avenue travel agency. I honestly have no idea why I didn’t quit then and there (I stayed close to 15 years), but I’m glad I didn’t because I have so many wonderful memories of my years there and met so many great people.

Delicate Frost Bubble

Which brings me to our current Polar Vortex. This time I was blessed to be able to stay indoors for the duration. I was blessed with a nice warm home to stay cozy and safe. My husband’s employer closed down for the extreme cold. We didn’t have any major emergencies, no broken pipes or furnace mishaps. My furnace was able to keep the temperature a reasonable 60 degrees, I wore layers and snuggled under a blanket to watch movies with my family 🙂 I also spent way too much time on social media. Everyone was posting about the temperature. Many braved the elements to throw boiling water into the air to watch it freeze, and some people recorded these beautiful frost bubbles. I am fascinated by them, they are so beautifully intricate and fragile … amazing! Sadly, they were also posting about some of the struggles they were having trying to cope with this extreme cold … frozen pipes, broken furnaces, etc. We had only one problem because of the weather, one (of 3) vehicles wouldn’t start. That’s OK, we had no place we needed to be yesterday. Late this afternoon, in a balmy -5 degrees, we replaced the battery and it started right up. They are predicting a high of 13 tomorrow … that’s practically a heatwave 🙂

Beautiful Fall Foliage

Fall Favorites

What is your favorite season? Mine is the Fall !

While I actually like all the seasons, Fall is my favorite. I love the beautiful colors of the leaves. I love all the hues of the autumn color palette, from the golden yellows to the burnt oranges to the deepest maroons. Some trees are like a magnificent work of art 🙂  I also love the weather – warm sunny days; crisp cool evenings; low humidity … what’s not to love ? Unfortunately, my sinuses aren’t a huge fan of the barometric pressures the change of seasons brings, but the rest of me loves the Fall weather.

Another thing I love about Fall is comfort food. The cooler temps have me yearning for big pots of soup with warm crusty bread. I love serving hearty dishes like beef stew and chili. This time of year also gets me craving baked goods, warm from the oven. I’d say it’s a tie between Apple Cinnamon and Pumpkin as my favorite flavor of Fall. I like pumpkin everything … pumpkin bread, pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkins seeds … btw, did I mention that I love pumpkin ?? However, I also love apple cinnamon everything too! Pretty much anything apple flavored from the bakery – apple pie, apple crisp, apple strudel, apple slice … Yum! And let’s not forget hot apple cider 🙂

I also enjoy the great outdoors during the Fall. I love going on long walks in the forest preserves, going to a pumpkin farm, getting turned around & lost in corn mazes, going apple picking, taking a hayride, and going camping. I love sitting around a fire enjoying a warm (or warming) beverage and having long talks while gazing into the mesmerizing flames. I love when the wood pops and sends up sparks; I just love the scent of the burning logs 🙂

Just so the other seasons don’t feel left out, here’s what I like about them:

  • Winter ~ Freshly fallen snow and Christmas (just wish that it wasn’t so bitterly cold and last so long)
  • Spring ~ Nature coming back to life, trees / plants turning green again and the weather starting to warm up
  • Summer ~ Longer hours of daylight and being outdoors more (if only there wasn’t so much humidity)

So, you see, I do actually like all the seasons, but Fall is still my favorite! Please share what your favorite season is and why …

Dandelions

Dandelions

It’s Springtime here in Chicagoland … and although it is often referred to as “construction season”, it is also “dandelion season” … again. Both dandelions (and other weeds) and construction seem to be hardy perennials that do extremely well in the Midwest climate.

I say “dandelion season” again, because every year I think I have them under control, only to have them come back with a vengenence each spring.

My husband and I are not what you could call “lawn snobs” by any stretch of the imagination, but having a nice green lawn would be so nice. We don’t hire a landscaping company for lawn care, we cut our own grass. I’m trying to not you chemicals to kill them. My methods thus far have been trying “natural” remedies.

I have tried a homemade recipe using apple cider vinegar, salt and Dawn dishwashing detergent. It does kill the dandelion plant that is visible above ground, but apparently does nothing to get rid of the root. It also kills any grass that is surrounding your dandelion. Guess what? They grew back!

I have tried digging them out by hand. It is backbreaking labor, and is very hard to get the whole root out without it breaking off (to grow back again). I even bought an attachment for a power drill that is supposed to get the whole root out … surprise, surprise … it didn’t. Plus, I have so many in my front lawn; they will have gone to seed before I could possibly dig them all out 🙁

I have tried an organic weed control product that you apply using a spreader, only to find burnt patches in my lawn while the dandelions looked healthy and strong.

This year, I’ve read several articles online about letting the dandelions grow so the bees can get nectar after the long winter. I’ve read about how the bees are dwindling off because their habitat has changed so much over the last couple decades.

My plan for this year is to dig them out of my garden area and flower beds. My husband will mow them down each week before they go to seed. The bees will collect nectar and make wonderful local honey. Our lawn will be mostly green, but with some yellow dots 🙂

How do you handle dandelions and other weeds in your yard?  

 

Fall Fun Ideas

Bucket List Ideas for Fall Fun

Fall is my favorite season. In my opinion, the weather is perfect … warm, sunny afternoons and cool, crisp evenings. I think it’s the best season for outdoor activities. There are some activities that are occasional for me, but others, like the Pumpkin Spice Latte I’m sipping as I write, are seasonal musts 🙂

Here is a list of some of my favorite (both past & present) Fall activities:

  • Take a long walk in the woods admiring all the beautiful foliage
  • Go apple picking; make sure to enjoy an apple cider donut with a cup of hot apple cider 🙂
  • Have a bonfire with all your friends
  • Navigate a tricky corn maze
  • Go to your local high school homecoming football game … amazing ambience
  • Go to a pumpkin farm and choose the absolute best pumpkin … don’t settle for less 🙂
  • Go on a hayride
  • Visit some of the many outdoor fall craft fairs
  • Go to a haunted house
  • Have your friends over for a leaf raking party … have fun jumping in the huge piles before bagging them
  • Bake an apple and/or pumpkin pie … yumm, plus your whole house smells wonderful

I hope some of these ideas inspire you to get working on whatever is on our Fall Fun Bucket List. Do you have a favorite activity that I missed? Please share the fun 🙂

Autumn camping

I Love Autumn Camping

Autumn is my favorite time of year to go camping. I’ve always enjoyed camping, but I enjoy it even more now that the kids are grown. Now that it’s just me and my hubby, aka – couple camping, we plan one long weekend each month, May – October. Each month has its own charm, but I really love going in September & October.

One of my favorite things about autumn camping is the weather … not too hot, not too cold. As long as it is sunny, it doesn’t matter to me how chilly the temperature gets. I always dress in layers of clothes, so it’s easy to take one off or put another one on. Another plus to autumn camping is hardly any bugs … sometimes the bees are bad, but they only seem to bother you when there is food out. Continue reading

Tornado Photo Credit - Batavia Patch

Tornado Touches Down / Stormy Spring Weather in Illinois

Spring has arrived in Illinois with a vengeance. Last night, a huge tornado touched down in several small towns about 75 or so miles west of Chicago. The town of Fairdale (with a population of less than 200 people) was decimated. The news reports are saying that every building in the town was damaged, if not totally destroyed. Close by, the towns of Ashton and Kirkland were also hit by the massive tornado. There was a lot of damage in Rochelle, IL too.
We actually have friends who live in Rochelle. I was able to “talk” with them via text about an hour after the tornado touched down. They assured me their family was safe, but asked us to pray for some of their friends that were trapped in the basement (where they had wisely taken shelter from the storm) of a nearby restaurant called Grubsteakers. This restaurant is (was) a local landmark located at the intersection of Rt. 64 and 251 in Rochelle. It was a staple in the community – people have been eating there for decades … my own husband was there a few months ago.
I don’t know why, but I have always liked stormy weather (from the safety of my home). I think it’s because I love the sky. It is amazing (and sometimes frightening) to see a huge flash of lightning and then wait for the accompanying clap of thunder. The sky produces innumerable variations of colors and shapes. Sunsets are probably my favorite though … so many awesome color combinations. I also love star gazing on a clear night.
However, that same sky that gives us amazing sights to see, can also produce very angry and scary images too. The sky can darkened so quickly during a storm, especially when that storm hits late in the evening just as it is getting dark for the night. I can’t even begin to imagine how scared those people were …
I’ve never experienced a tornado … have you?

Giant Chair at Fall Festival

10 of My Favorite Fall Activities

It’s Fall … or do you call it Autumn ? Either way, it’s my favorite season !

While I do like summer, heat and humidity are not my friends. I think what I like the most about summer is the longer hours of daylight and the relaxed, more laid back schedule.

I really enjoy Fall weather … warm, sunny afternoons with crisp, cool mornings and evenings. To me, Fall weather is perfect for outdoor festivals and activities.

Here are some of my favorite things to do:

1) Walking or driving through a wooded area (like a state park or forest preserve) to see the magnificent colors of the changing leaves.

2) Going apple picking at a local orchard. I love picking an assortment of varieties ~ they all taste so good. Speaking of tasting good, many orchards have bakery goods for sale … apple cider donuts … Yum 🙂

3) Going to a football game ~ NFL or a local college (more budget friendly and, I think more fun). The atmosphere is fun and exciting … and tailgating is so much fun.

4) Visit a pumpkin farm … most of them have fun activities like hayrides and corn mazes, besides picking out the very best pumpkin for Halloween.

5) Spending an evening sitting around a fire toasting marshmallows and sipping hot apple cider.

6) The weather is usually great for going to an outdoor Arts & Crafts show … I’ve been known to start picking up some Christmas gifts at these shows.

7) The cooler weather calls for comfort foods and freshly baked goodies … I just love anything made from pumpkin or apple cinnamon 🙂

8) Spending the afternoon raking all the leaves into piles with your family and friends and then jumping into them … then doing it again and again.

9) Fall Festivals are fun because it gives you one last opportunity for taste all the “fried everything” festival type food and ride some carnival rides before the snow blows and we have the long wait til next summer.

10) Handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters on Halloween … especially to the little ones … they’re just soo cute 🙂

What is your favorite thing about Fall ?

My Top 10 Favorite Things About Spring Time in Chicagoland

I think May is my favorite month in the spring. You can pretty much rely on having mild temps and sunny days. Of course, I do live in the Chicagoland area, so weather wise, nothing is ever for certain 🙂 I love getting to see everything come back to life after a long, cold winter.

• Lilacs ~ so many varieties, colors and glorious scents

• Seeing the brave little Hyacinths, Tulips and Daffodils breaking through the ground

• Seeing and hearing all the robins everywhere

• Having more daylight hours

• The smell of fresh cut grass (sorry allergy sufferers)

• Starting my organic vegetable garden

• Getting to wear sandals

• Being able to have the windows open for fresh air

• Cooking and eating outside

• Going for long walks in the forest preserves or on the IL prairie paths

These are some of my favorite things in the spring. It is usually a short-lived season in the Chicagoland area. We tend to move into hot and humid summer weather fairly quickly … but I do love the few blissful weeks in May with its mild weather and promise of new life 🙂

Many thanks to http://www.manylittleblessings.com & http://www.weirdunsocializedhomeschoolers.com/ for co-hosting List It Tuesday 🙂

Garden

7 Standbys You’ll Always Find in My Organic Garden

Spring weather is in the air this week, we’ve had quite a few days that have been sunny and in the sixties 🙂

I’ve started my vegetable garden seeds indoors over the weekend. Now I patiently wait to see signs of life. I get so excited when I see tiny bits of green coming out of the soil.

This year I got seeds from a company that specializes in Heirloom Non-GMO seeds. I want to try to save seeds from this years harvest to plant to next year … wish me luck 🙂

Here’s my list of the 7 vegetables I’ll always have in my garden … my standbys for having fresh produce for summer and fall.

  1. Tomatoes ~ I just love fresh tomatoes … there’s nothing like the first bite of a vine ripened tomato of the season … I’m planting Roma and Grape tomatoes
  2. Peppers ~ Green Bell Peppers and Jalapeño
  3. Broccoli ~ Lots of broccoli
  4. Green Beans ~ I like the kind that climb up a trellis
  5. Cucumbers ~ I like the burp-less variety
  6. Carrots ~ I’m actually planting these in large planters, they seem to grow straighter in the softer soil … no rocks means less resistance
  7. Potatoes ~ This year I’m trying these in a large container as well … hopefully, I’ll be able to just dump the container and pick up the taters

Spring is my favorite time in the garden … planting is fun ~ weeding and watering ~ not so much 🙂

Many thanks to  http://www.manylittleblessings.com & http://www.weirdunsocializedhomeschoolers.com/ for co-hosting List It Tuesday 🙂

Little green signs Spring

Outdoor Spring Cleaning in the Yard and Garden

Spring has finally sprung … well not quite, but it is trying 🙂 I can at least say all the piles of snow have melted. We had one nice sunny, warmish day last week. My husband and I took advantage of it to start the process of getting the yard tidied up a little.

Chicago endured a long and harsh winter this year … the high winds and 5+ feet of snowfall really took its toll on our yard. When it finally warmed up enough to be outdoors for a couple of hours, we found that the wind had tried to blow down a section of our fence … it didn’t succeed entirely, but it is leaning at a precarious angle. Repairing that is at the top of our to-do list when the ground is more thawed. After walking around and sizing everything up, we realized that we were quite blessed by only having to repair the fence.

Living on a corner lot, we’ve come to understand that our house is kind of like a windbreak. During severe storms, you can almost feel the wind howling all around us. All that wind blows a lot of debris and litter into our yard. We filled a whole outdoor trashcan with what we picked up.

I went around picking up lots of branches that had been broken off during the cold, hard winter. Lets just say we have plenty of kindling for whenever we want enjoy a fire in our fire pit. We also were reminded that we didn’t have time to get all the leaves raked up last fall before the snow came. With 6 trees on our property, raking leaves is like a full time job in autumn. After the litter was cleaned up, we thought that if we were to take a picture of the front yard it would be actually hard to tell if it was autumn or spring. We got to work and filled several bags with leaves.

The best part of that afternoon (besides enjoying some fresh air and feeling a sense of accomplishment) was finding little signs of life peeking out of the ground. If my memory of their locations serves me, we have seen signs of life from the Crocus, the Daffodils, the Hyacinths and the Tulips. Soon we will be able to start turning over and preparing the soil in the garden area. I plan to start my vegetable seedlings indoors this weekend.  

Welcome Spring … we’ve been waiting for you 🙂