December 25th, 2009

Wig Wag

Steam to the Rescue!

Thanks to Cheryl and several other people who sent me this story:

Steam train's snow rescue 'glory'

Short version: With ordinary train services disabled due to snow messing up the electrics, a steam train was able to run, rescuing about 100 stranded travelers.

I'm particularly amused by this quote:
Mark Allatt, chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust...added: "If any of the train operators want to modernise their services by using steam trains, I would be happy to give them a quote."
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Kuma Bear

A Kuma Bear Christmas

Because we had to be in Portland and deal with doctors and hospitals on Christmas Eve, then fight our way through malls, grocery stores, and Fry's, we weren't feeling particularly festive; however, Lisa got the little Christmas tree decorated. travelswithkuma has most of the Christmas coverage including photos of him with his presents.

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Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, there's not rain or snow forecast for today and the weekend, just cold and fog, so that means we get to spend these three days rigging up ropes and ladders so that Lisa can get up on the roof and get that fallen tree cut down. Wish us luck.
Kevin and Lisa

Christmas Day on the Roof

On this gloomy, foggy, damp, cold (but not raining) Christmas Day, we undertook to try and get the fallen tree off of That Darn Roof. As you may recall, a tree fell on that roof last month. See this picture or this one or this one to see the problem.

So once again we got the big John Deere mower and the lawn tractor out of the garage, moved them over to the old house, and used them as anchors for the safety rope. We moved ladders into place. Lisa got into her safety harness and climbed up onto that roof carrying her trusty hand saw. She spent the next three-plus hours in near-freezing temperatures trimming foliage from the main trunk of the fallen tree to try and lower the total weight. Then she started cutting sections from the tree about a meter or so at a time, allowing the tree to fall only a short distance each time. That tree is tough! It was a hard slog cutting it, even undercutting properly and with the tree's own weight pulling it apart.

I mainly stood around and stamped my feet and rubbed my hands attempting to stay warm. I wished we had the burn barrel going.

Having "walked" the tree about two-thirds of the way down the roof, Lisa (not surprisingly) ran out of oomph. Moreover, the freezing fog, which had never gone very high, was descending again and had reached the tops of the trees. I insisted that she come down from there before she ran out of enough energy to do so.

That last piece of the tree is very challenging. There's no room to work with it where it sits on the roof. Lisa says we may have to give in and call on a professional tree-removal service to come out and cut and remove the rest of it.