Tag Archives: mountain

Videos Updated Oct 2018

Our Caboose - October 29, 2018

Bear Watching - October 7 2018

Grin and Bear It - Black Bears visit - August 29, 2018

Bob - A Fledgling Robin Story July 2, 2018

Butternut Blues - Canning Soup with Mrs. Cog,  February 24, 2016

Mountain Musings, June 8, 2015

Making Progress, April 5, 2015

Playing Possum, January 30, 2105


Colder Days, December 30, 2014


Autumn 2014 on the Mountain, October 8, 2014


Summer 2014 at the Cogs' Mountain Home, September 17, 2014


Cog's magic window, May 9, 2014


An interview with Cognitive Dissonance by Gemini of Time Monk Radio, March 21, 2014


A few of our new mountain acquaintances, February 28, 2014


Taking a walk, October 29, 2013

Mother Nature Shows Off Her Stuff

Mother Nature Shows Off Her Stuff


Cognitive Dissonance



Mrs. Cog and I live on the edge of the Blue Ridge Plateau here in Southwestern Virginia. And by on the edge I mean literally on the edge. Our back property line ends where a very steep wooded drop off begins. Five more steps over the property line and it's a one way trip down for well over a quarter of mile.

I call it the ridge.

Continue reading Mother Nature Shows Off Her Stuff

March 2014 Ice Storm

The beautiful frozen branches in the above photo are not covered in the ice or snow that has been falling here on the mountain since Sunday, it is frozen fog. When the fog seeps in and hangs thick around our edge of the world, it is so cold and wet that it creates these spiked crystal formations. It's easiest to see on the thin tree limbs and even the barbed wire fences of the nearby cow pastures.

The solid ice that has been layering for two days has just begun to melt. The house is being pummeled with ice from the tall trees whenever the wind blows. The sudden and loud explosions of ice shattering on the metal roof and porches has "made me" jump up out of my chair more than once.

And... the power went out just as Cog was posting his piece Dogs of War on Zero Hedge. We are again successfully running the whole house on generator power. Thank you baby. :-)

icy morning 3 18 14 051

Mrs. Cog

March 18, 2014

And Its Gone

A week after the Blizzard of 2014 and the snow is nearly gone. When we were shoveling the stuff we thought it would still be here a month later. At least that was the way things were when I was a kid growing up in New England. I guess this is why our nearest neighbor doesn't even own a snow shovel. Why shovel when it will all be gone a few days later?

One of the advantages of living a few miles north of the North Carolina/Virginia border is that when the cold weather leaves, there is plenty of warm to take its place. A few days after the blizzard ended it started to warm up. Over the last few days the temps went up into the high 50's during the day and never dipped below freezing overnight. Add in some rain and the result was almost all snow cover meting away,...other than the piles we created while digging out the driveway or those made by drifting snow during the blizzard or snow falling off the roofs.

The image at the top of this page was taken from in front of the house on the circular driveway (the "D") looking north across our property and down the hill/road. Some piles of snow left by the front loader is all that are left. I was even able to retrieve some sod dug up by the bucket loader and place it back in its proper place all ready to re-root come spring.

The picture below was snapped out in the road looking north back down the dirt road towards civilization. The only snow left is what remains from the piles left by the local farmer who plows our road.

All these images were taken on Feb 21, 2014. Click on any picture to enlarge.

After Blizzard 1


Next you can see an image of the turn around cul-de-sac that abuts our property, the end of the line as I like to think of it. A week ago there were snow piles five feet high in several places. Now next to nothing remains.

After Blizzard 6


This one below was taken from the road looking back towards the house. What happened to the snow?

After Blizzard 2


This is always my favorite shot of the homestead, taken from in front of the Heatmaster 5000 water wood stove boiler towards to south side of the homestead. On clear days the sky up here at 3,000 feet is always such a pretty blue.

After Blizzard 3


And this shot is also one of my favorites, taken from just off the front walkway looking south southeast towards the two out buildings with the Heatmaster 5000 in between.

After Blizzard 4


At the top of the parent page of this page (On The Mountain > Weather > February 2014 Blizzard) is a picture taken at the height of the blizzard out our back door looking northeast across our long back deck. The snow was piled high and blowing. A week later all you see are blue skies and wet deck. Remarkable.

After Blizzard 7

I can safely say that I've had my fill of winter and, aside from a few more light snowfalls, I'm ready for spring. Lets just see if Mother Nature agrees with my assessment.

Cognitive Dissonance

February 2014 Blizzard

I guess the saving grace for us is that even if we had stayed put in Northern Virginia, this winter would have been just as brutal. The difference is that out here on the mountain we are miles and miles away from everything and anything.

The locals around here have told me on several occasions that February is the month where, if there was going to be any snow, we would get it then. They just didn't tell me it would be all at once.

To be fair the people around here were just as surprised as we were by the amount of snow we received over a 36 hour period of time. Most reckoning by various individuals puts it somewhere around two feet more or less. And that doesn't take into account the strong winds that created very large drifts and quickly filled in already shoveled walks and driveways.

In essence we experienced two back to back snowstorms separated by about twelve hours of relative calm, relative being the operative word here. The temperature warmed up enough to create some rain and sleet in between storms, resulting in the first 12 inches compressing down a bit to 8 or 9 inches before Part Two started up. This helped knock snow and ice off of the trees and power lines, which went a long way towards preventing power outages in our neck of the woods.

The image below was taken from our circular driveway looking down the private gravel road we live at the end of Storm One

First Storm Front Yard


This next picture (below) is of a portion of our home and the two out buildings off to the right after the first storm.

First Storm Front House


Our closest neighbors, about an eight of a mile down the road, are an elderly couple and he had just finished a round of radiation treatment. Needless to say he is in poor shape and needed some help. Before the storm started I spent some time down there helping him prepare his generator, put some stuff away and cover his wood pile with a large tarp. After the initial storm had passed Mrs. Cog and I headed back down there to shovel them out.

Here you see the paths we shoveled leading back to his water wood stove boiler to the left and to his generator shed behind the house to the right.

First Storm Neighbor


Below Mrs. Cog is just finishing our neighbor's front walkway that leads to his car and the water wood stove boiler.

First Storm Neighbor 2


We went back a few hours later after dusk and shoveled out their driveway because we saw that a second storm, or radar "blob" as Mrs. Cog described it, was coming. As it turned out we were glad we did because the second storm dropped a true 12-14 inches on top of what was already there. If we had not taken care of the driveway and pathways then it would have been very difficult to deal with twice the snow later on.

The image at the very top of this page was shot at the height of the storm the next day. 25 to 30 mile an hour winds created near white out conditions for the entire storm. Near the end of the second storm I had to get outside and shovel my way out to the water wood stove boiler to load it back up with wood. I found at least a foot of additional snow and two or more foot deep snow drifts.

Second Out Buildings


And below Mrs. Cog snapped a shot of the front of the homestead after the second storm while she was working on freeing the cars from captivity.

Second Storm Front of House


A great shot (below) by Mrs. Cog of the cars buried in snow after the second storm.

Second Storm Card


The day after the second storm dawned bright and blue, a truly glorious day.  Below is an image taken  of the front yard and the private road leading back down the hill. Compare this one with the one further above after the first storm.

Second Storm Road


The next image is of Mrs. Cog and the child unit hacking a path out to the cars.....again. This was getting real old. Overnight winds had buried much of the path cut yesterday.

Second Storm Cars


While I was opening back up the walkway to the water wood stove boiler and the garage, Mrs. Cog and the child unit worked the front walkway. The sky was such a brilliant blue that morning. Truly magnificent.

Second Storm Side House


We live at the end of a private dirt road off a dirt road off of a back road in the middle of nowhere. Below is an image of the Cul-de-sac just at the end of our property. The three people who live on this private road year round have contracted with a local farmer to plow our private road with his large John Deere farm tractor with a plow attachment.

Twice yesterday during the height of the storm he came chugging up the road clearing the way. Considering what he was dealing with he did a great job making the road passable for four wheel drive vehicles, especially considering the blowing snow all night.

Second Storm Cul de sac


After cleaning up our own walkways and making our way out to the cars, but not clearing them completely, we decided to head back down to the neighbors to dig them out again. Here you can see Mrs. Cog on the left and the child unit on the right heading down the semi plowed private dirt road we live on. Snow drifts filled in the road a bit, but it was still passable with a four wheel drive.

Second Storm Down Road


Halfway to our neighbors I turned around and took a shot of the road leading back to our place. You can see the snow drifts on the right hand side below.

Second Storm Halfway to Toms


I got to work digging out the neighbor's wood that I had covered two days earlier. It was slow going, but the results were so much better than they would have been if the wood had not been covered. Then I widened the pathway from the house to the wood stove boiler so that our elderly neighbor could make his way safely to the stove.

Second Storm Toms BoilerSecond Storm Side Walkway


Mrs. Cog, with help from the child unit, cleared nearly the entire driveway. Amazing.

Second Storm Tom Driveway 2


Nice clean walkway by Mrs. Cog and daughter....with a little help from me.

Second Storm Toms Walkway


Just as we were breaking through the really heavy packed snow at the end of our neighbor's driveway the Calvary showed up in the form of the third resident of our private road. He comes with a Deere backhoe and bucket loader and he made short work of the heavy snow. We were all pretty tired so it was real nice to step back and let the heavy equipment do its job.

Second Storm Tom Calvery


The Calvary then offered to help dig us out as well, so we headed back up the road while he worked at clearing some of the snow drifts between him and our place.

Below is another shot of the road back to our place from our elderly neighbors property line.

Second Storm Road 2


While the backhoe made its way up the road we worked on digging out the backsides of the vehicles, then backing them up 5 feet in order to give the bucket loader room to remove the packed snow in front of the vehicles. The Deere made quick work of removing that heavy snow.

Second Storm Deere Driveway 1


With both vehicles now cleared from the circular driveway the Deere could go to work without worrying about hitting anything important.

Second Storm Deere Driveway 2


Mrs. Cog took this shot (below) from our front porch of the Deere working the circular driveway. I was very grateful that our neighbor showed up when he did. We were all exhausted and he saved us a half day's work. Thank you neighbor.

Second Storm Deere Driveway 3


The final image below shows what a great job he did with his John Deere. Bravo!

Second Storm Driveway Cleared

Cognitive Dissonance