Blog Oklahoma Podcast 017: Ice

During Thanksgiving night it started to rain here in western Oklahoma, and when I woke up the next Friday morning I discovered my world was covered in ice. There was not a surface outside that didn’t have a layer of ice on it. It made for quite an interesting view out my window. We continued to have sleet and freezing rain for the next few days. The ice grew thicker and thicker. Soon things started to crack.

Normally at this time of year our trees would have dropped all their leaves, but not this year. Several of our trees still had green canopy on that Thanksgiving morning. Unfortunately that just gave the ice something to cling to.

One of our largest trees, our pecan tree in our backyard, started to give way Saturday morning. The weight of the ice covered leaves and branches was just too much. Our morning started with a sickening crack and crash as limbs began to give way.

Trees all over our neighborhood suffered the same fate. At the rate of what seemed like a tree limb an hour, you’d hear wood cracking followed by a loud icy crash echoing from all over the neighborhood. It’s an agonizing sound when it's quiet in the house. Way in the back of your mind you expect the the icy cracking to be followed by a loud thump of it landing on someone’s house or car, or a sharp electric snap as it fell on the power lines sending us into a cold dark. Every flicker of the lights all weekend long cause you to pause, look up, and hold your breath for the lights to come back on.

For all the stress of being able to do nothing, there was a bit of calm. Especially when the sun would peek out from behind the clouds, lighting up the icy landscape. It was beautiful.

By Monday the landscape began to defrost, but with it came a new danger of falling ice. Ice gave way from all the trees, power lines, towers, overpasses, and buildings. For the next two days it was looking up and staying out from under anything. But that soon passed. By Wednesday most of the ice had melted away and were able to get a look at the damage. There are tree limbs laying all over the neighborhood and dangling and swinging from the trees. It’s going to take several days to clean up this mess, but soon life will get back to normal.

For the month of November I took on the #blogmonth challenge again, only this time I added a twist to it. The blog month challenge is simple, post something new to your blog every day for an entire month. This time though I posted everyday to Blog Oklahoma’s Instagram. So not only did I have the challenge of writing something new everyday, but I added to it by taking a picture to go along with it.

So here’s what I learned this time by using Instagram for the challenge.

First if you can do your writing in a word processor and not inside the Instagram app. Typing on the small phone keyboard just takes too long and autocorrect can be frustrating. I typed up everything in a Google Docs, and when it came time to post I’d open up the Google Docs app on my iPhone, copy the text, and paste it into Instagram.

When you use hash tags not only do you improve your discoverability, but you also get quite a bit of unwanted follow, like, and mention spam. I think I spent 10 minutes every day just reporting and blocking after every post. I wish I was exaggerating that.

I found it was easier and more reliable to not share to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. at the same time you post on Instagram. If there was a failure to any of those services at the time you post, sometimes your post would just outright fail. Also Facebook from time to time just not go through and require you to log back in again. So post to Instagram first, then go back and share to your services. Yes that’s two steps, but it was more reliable.

And finally I found the iPhone Instagram app worked better than the Android one. I know they’re supposed to be the same, but I just had a better user experience with my iPhone than I did with my Nexus 7.

If you’re interested in taking on the blog month challenge please check out And also let us know if you are taking it on by using the hashtag #blogmonth.

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