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Posts Tagged ‘weather’

 

Life is older than the trees…..

My canvas bush hat is pulled right down over my eyes. I peer up at the grey skies and the drizzle wets my face. The hot water swirls up against me and the warmth soothes. This is hot tubbing Vancouver style. Sometimes we resort to the protection of a golf umbrella. We jump into said hot tub and prop up this useful apparatus. There is some skill attached to getting the angle just right. This alleviates the possibility of icy rain drops trickling down one’s back. Then all that is left to do, is to indulge in our daily medicinal ritual. There has to be a way of beating this weather at its game!

Here's to acclimatisation....

Here’s to acclimatisation….

The wild storm had raged on through the night. We lay and listened to the pine cones that crashed and hit the skylights.  Our forest succumbed and branches flew off and tumbled down the embankment. The eco-friendly ‘green roof’ was thick with its carpet of leaves.

 

“Please tell me, honestly……does it rain like this all the time?”

My new friend looked at me long and hard. She drew in a deep breath and paused. I think she was trying to decide whether she should give me the information in the form of a ‘white lie’ or whether I could handle the truth. It was to be the latter……

“It rains pretty much all the time….. till March.”

My heart sunk. Minus temperatures are one thing but soggy rainy days are another!

Almost instantaneously I felt a surge of energy. Survival mode kicked in and ideas rushed into my head. How would I manage these endless soggy rainy days? But a plan began to formulate…..

I am always partial to a spot of clothes shopping. I had recently eyed a rather fetching shiny navy spotted raincoat. I could envisage it with the rain drops sliding off its gleaming surface. I had pushed this rather frivolous idea into the far reaches of my brain. After all the recently acquired sensible khaki one would have to suffice. But that was 3 weeks ago, before the harsh reality of the Vancouver winters had set in.

So it is off to the shops for me. I do hope that the little spotted number is still around. In fact I think my green fishing wellies could do with an update!

Fishing wellies ready for an update....

Fishing wellies ready for an update….

Our creek is filling up after the rains.

Our creek is filling up after the rains.

 

 

 

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The street lights catch the sparkles of snow like slivers of diamonds. We are out walking Josh late at night all bundled up in layers. Sometimes cabin fever just takes over and you just have to get out.  I kick the mounds that have built up over the last few months and watch the light. Part of it fascination for the crystal formations and part frustration at the length and severity of our winter here in Canada.  The almost weekly dumps have had us digging ourselves out of our driveways and adapting our lifestyle to the impending weather changes. It is definitely a case of…..enough already!

Enough already.....

Enough already…..

It is amazing how the human spirit can look for the positive in any situation although sometimes I am pushed to do so. I find it does cheer me up to dig deep for those positives when the vitamin D levels are somewhat depleted. So today I need to remind myself which things still make me rejoice when that Arctic Vortex comes whistling down upon us here in Ontario. Hopefully this reminiscing will see me through till spring!

I ran into my supermarket the other day for a few supplies and was greeted by a wonderful surprise. Some enterprising young entrepreneur had managed to ‘force flower’ some tulips in a hothouse. Oh happy day! Just to see the splendour of the iridescent pink and the promise of spring. It lifted my spirit immediately and I now have one proudly displayed in my kitchen. One glance in its direction is all it takes. It is to be the medicine for my soul till spring arrives. 

Our icy stream at the bottom of the garden.

Our icy stream at the bottom of the garden.

My garden is a blanket of white with heaps of snow along the driveway and pathways. Snow moguls cover the shrubs all cocooned and safe and bulbs wait patiently under the surface for the first glimmer of spring. I dream of my summer garden as I perch myself at my writing table which overlooks the front garden.That anticipation of new growth is a wonderful ‘pick me up’…..like having a healthy smoothie in the morning!

Thank goodness for technology as we have a warm house and a few added perks that help to make winter bearable.  One of our cars parks outside over night. As you can imagine, it is freezing to get into  if you happen to be the first to drive out in the morning. But thanks to advancement, you can start the car with the push of a button while you are in the house……..no hijackers yet in our area! It purrs away for a few minutes, turns on the steering wheel and seat warmers and is deliciously cosy. Early morning drives in this vehicle are no problem.  Nothing quite like the experience of warm hands and a warm butt in this weather either!

A fine merlot in the snow....only in Canada!

A fine merlot in the snow….only in Canada!

So we continue to savour the delights of winter….a glass of a fine merlot at the fire, a good book, a hearty meal and the company of friends and family.  But never far from our minds is the memory of the warmth of the sun on our backs…….

 

(A special thank you to David Morkel for the props and photography. He now knows his mother is crazy!)

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With a little love and some tenderness we will walk upon the water and we will rise above the mess….

A peel of laughter resonates from the car as I slip and catch myself just in time. The ice is thick in the driveway and each walk to the bottom is a trip of concentration and careful placement of my new snow boots. Designer…… ‘nogal’ with very becoming soles as thick as tractor tyres. I would not say that they are the most flattering pair of shoes in my repertoire. But this is Canada and we adapt or die!

A stormy day at the lake...

A stormy day at the lake…

With some peace and some harmony…..

There is an audience inside the car. They are appreciating my performance while I negotiate the driveway….of course I am trying to have a conversation as well. It just does not work for me! I hate to admit that I cannot do 2 things at once. There is no place for those who feel they are just too feminine or just too gracious either. Soon enough the ice gets you and before you know it, you are flat on your rear. What a great leveler this weather can be!

 

I have a hand for you….. 

I passed my ‘snow squall driving test’ the other evening which left me bursting with pride. I need to set the scene for you……. The sun had already set (not that we see it that often at the moment.) It was a blustery evening and the snow was drifting all over the road. The temperatures were nearing minus 30 and I was traveling an unfamiliar route. Suddenly I realized that I had taken a wrong turning. It was time for the infamous U-turn. I put the flicker on and just did it! Some kind soul waited patiently for me to perform my act of dexterity. The turning circle in our vehicle is somewhat under developed. This is purely my observation. Need I say then that this fact caused me to mount an ice heap! It was purely a design flaw. I stopped and regained my composure. By this stage quite a queue had formed. They politely waited for me to perform another antic. I had to get off this mound of snow and ice! After a few manouvers, which I will refrain from expounding upon, I drove off the icy mountain. Thanks goodness for the 4-wheel capabilities and the snow button.….whatever that does.

 We are treated to a Canadian sunset!


We are treated to a Canadian sunset!

I want to love you the best that I can……

And so we battle on through yet another Canadian winter……our third. It is apparently the worst recorded since 1986. I am pleased though as I can officially say that we DO know what it really feels like ‘to be cold.’ No longer will I have to endure the words: “Just you wait till February hits you.” We are grateful to the local knowledge that is graciously shared and this has equipped us to cope with most eventualities. Although I think I need to get a bit more detail on how to dismount an ice heap.

Can I say that I have done it and have the T-shirt?

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It was 4am in the morning and I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed. It is always a special time of the day as I can sip a cup of tea quietly and just contemplate. It feels like the whole world is asleep and I am the only one who is watching the dawn break.

It could not be further from the truth as the whole of Canada would be watching the sun come up today. It is Groundhog Day today and legend has it that the groundhog can predict if spring is on its way. A festival is held in Wiarton in Ontario to honour this day and this includes dances, pancake breakfasts and parades. News reporters from all the local channels cover these events and it was reported that the shadow of the groundhog was NOT seen this year so we will have an early spring. Hoorah! Not that we deserve one as we have not paid our dues. Even us newbies know that this winter has been mild and not what we were expecting.

Weather is such an integral part of our daily lives here as it defines how we dress, get to work and spend our spare time. It comes as no surprise that the weather channel is the most watched one in Canada! We have new words that have become part of our vocabulary like wet snow, dry snow, freezing rain and cookie dough snow. Each of these snow types requires different apparel anything from track shoes to water resistant snow boots. I even packed in my green Wellington boots from South Africa. No chasing over green fields with a Labrador at my side or trout fishing, these are my big guns! They take in the squelchy roads with ease. One then understands why the Eskimos have over a 100 words for snow. The word ‘kripya’ means snow that has melted and then frozen and ‘pactla’ is snow that has been packed down. I am adding these words to my repertoire of experiences as I land on my rear in one of the 100 snow conditions. This takes place when my over zealous Jack Russell gives a sudden burst and chases a squirrel up a tree. It is a humbling experience!

A family of groundhog

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