"weather"

2:45 a.m.

This was last Friday night. Our bedroom window faces north, and this is what I saw through it as I went to bed:

2:45 a.m.

I don't know why there were little white lines on the clouds--although I know that the clouds were way too low for this, it made me smile to think that the sun was reflecting off the polar icecap from the other side of the globe and bouncing up into my sky.

I lightened it up a little in this next photo. It looks a little like water, doesn't it?

2:45 a.m. lightened up

Or maybe that was just my imagination playing tricks on me... even though you wouldn't know by the sky, it was really quite late!

2:45 a.m. lightened more

The hazy glow had already started to work its way eastward, so it could burst forth in full daylight only a few hours later.

We don't live in the land of the midnight sun... not quite. But there is a reason that summer solstice is celebrated with an all-night golf tournament in these parts...

Edit, June 15: My dad just "illuminated" me on the mystery of these clouds. They are called "noctilucent clouds", and really are quite high and at the edge of a larger polar cloud formation. You can read the Wikipedia article here.

You Know It's Cold When...

...the plug of your block heater cable snaps off when you try to use it! (Yes, this happened to my poor van this morning!)

I guess we all (and by "we all," I mean everyone living north of the 49th) knew that winter couldn't be confused with spring for all of January. But the sudden transition from +1 last week to -36 this week has been a bit of a shock to more than just my and my van's systems, I'm sure.

As a result, I have been trying to stay close to home. Well, I haven't had to try that hard, actually, as my van was in the shop all weekend, and Jason took it to work today since the heater in his truck didn't seem to be working.

That's the thing about the cold weather--it points out all the issues you didn't know you had with your vehicle.

I know it looks like I haven't been doing any writing lately, but besides getting my family newsletter put together on Friday (which I am part-way through the mail-out process for), I have written four songs in the past week, and I have also been blogging over on my music website. Go check it out at www.talenawinters.com.

Noah is playing "My Favourite Things" on my Yamaha's pre-recorded demoes behind me. I'm pretty sure that there should be a line in that song about "warm, blazing woodstoves!"

DSC04088 web.jpg
It's too cold for this now! The boys were sledding on our dugout during the holidays--it was warm enough to be hatless!

Stay warm, friends!

Snow Much Fun!

After four days of warm(ish) weather last week, the snow was soft enough that the boys were able to make a snowman.

The Construction Crew

Jude was the foreman of the project, but all three boys participated, and had a total hoot doing it!

Cheetahboy building the snowman 

Monkey building the snowman

When they were done, they informed me that it was supposed to look like Daddy (whom we were expecting home from a five-day business trip the next day).
 
"The straw is his hair, see?" Jude pointed out.

"Ah." I replied.

"Can you take a picture?" he asked.

"Of course," I replied.

Daddy Frankensnowman

This Wednesday morning, we noticed that the cats thought building a snowman was a good idea, too.

Cat and Snowman buddies

On the day of the snowman-building, it was warm enough that I had instructed the boys to leave the chicken coop door open for a few hours so the chickens could enjoy the sun. Noah got a little over-exuberant and hauled a couple birds all the way over to the house and set them in the snow. Jude promptly put them back, but not before I snapped this photo of one of them.

Like a Chicken in a Snowbank

This stunned look says, "What the heck am I doing over here?!! And now what do I do?"

Poor girl.

Snow Much?

Yesterday, we had a good ol'-fashioned, snow-up-to-the-rafters snowstorm.

Snow much?

Coop in the storm.

Not only was visibility bad, we got snowed in.

Comin' down fast!
Yesterday around 2 p.m.

Snowed in like we haven't been since we moved here.

Snowy snowy coop
Coop In a Blanket--The Aftermath.

Even today. Jason can get in and out with his 4x4, but my l'il ol' mini-van was completely out of its league.

Just a little snow!
This baby ain't goin' NOWHERE!

Thank goodness we have friends that have toys that push snow around, and not enough excuses to use them! (We should no longer be snow-locked by tomorrow afternoon. I hope. At least, I think I hope. Sometimes it's nice to have an excuse to not have to go anywhere.)

Cheetahboy and Koda in a drift
Jude and Koda in a drift--notice the snow up to Jude's knees?

Cold Snap

This day has not quite gone as I had planned.

First, there was the fact that our internet was out from the storm last night. Being as Mondays are traditionally a rather busy day for me, business-wise, I just kept hoping it would come back, so I wouldn't have to hijack someone's internet signal in town just to do my work. I tried to phone the internet company, but (not surprisingly) their phone kept ringing busy.

That wasn't so bad, actually, once I got the perspective gained by our power going out around 10 a.m. at outdoor temperatures of merely -30C. Fortunately, the sun was streaming in the windows, so I decided to wait before I allowed panic to set in--although I did get a little nervous when Jason called to tell me that the power was also out in town, and all the way up to Manning (about 100 km north of here)! Fortunately, it did come on within about an hour and a half, so there was not too much cause for alarm.

Cold snaps always present challenges that are not normally present. That's when you discover the problems that you didn't realize were imminent in the vehicle maintenance, among other things. For instance, we discovered last week that when the temperatures plunge below -20C, our doorknob freezes once the sun has warmed it ever-so-slightly in the afternoon and then goes behind the trees. (Last winter, our actual door froze shut due to frost built up through the afternoon on our poorly-sealing door. Jason and our friend Brian spent an afternoon fixing that this fall, so now the door isn't frozen--I just can't turn the door handle knob. Last year, I guess there was enough ventilation around the door that the knob didn't feel the need to freeze! Ha!) That means that we were unable to go to Swim Club on Friday, because I couldn't get the door open. Also, today. Apparently, I need to start opening the door every ten minutes starting from three o'clock in the afternoon. That oughta be good for the utility bills.

Also thanks to the extreme cold, and innocent little-boy-carelessness, we have one little kitten in the house today with frostbite on three paws--two are pretty bad, and I'm wondering what's going to end up happening with them. Jabin spilled water on top of the cathouse, right next to the metal chop saw, while watering the kittens this morning. Also, he left the water bowl up there, so of course the kittens had to climb up to get their drink--the first to try it got wet paws, and stuck two of them rather badly to the saw, one more to a block of ice. It was about ten minutes before we found him and got him inside. He is all warmed up now, but those two paws are pretty swollen, purple, and useless. Here he is, warming up in the sun this morning. (This is the one Jude called "Harry".)

Harry 1

Harry 2

Pray for our kitty's paws if you think of it, okay?

Do you remember a few years ago, when I did insane things like staying up until 4 a.m. finishing costumes to give my kids a great birthday party?

Those days are over, baby. Partly due to lack of room, partly due to lack of time, I have become the Queen of the Last-Minute, Low-Budget birthday party. Two weeks ago, we had Jude's friends over for a no-gifts-please playday. Thankfully, due to our mild fall, they were able to play outside for most of the day. (That was BEFORE the cold snap!) Then, this past Saturday, we had a small party at the pool to celebrate this guy turning 5. (The photo was taken on Saturday, November 13--when it was 9 above, as compared to the 30 below a week later. Gotta love Alberta.)

Squirt in the rose bushes

We are definitely past the baby-and-toddler stage now. It has it's advantages, but I don't think I am quite resigned to the fact, yet. Sigh.

All my boys are growing up.

P.S. Thank goodness that my internet came back, since I will NOT be going to town today! And, the extra time I have because I didn't go to town allowed me to upload photos and blog! Every cloud has some kind of silver lining, right?

"Wasteland? I think you mean 'Wonderland!'"*

Well, it's here. That time of year where the most obvious thing I've got for blog-fodder (and small-talk) is how much freaking snow there is out there! Oh, and also how freaking cold it is! This is the second year in a row we have had to endure a minus-thirty snap in November, and I don't. like it. one. bit. It wouldn't be so bad if we didn't know that there will be another one in January. Only longer. And most likely colder.

Jason imparted the cheery news to me last night that "several experts agree that this will be our coldest winter in fifteen years. One said in recorded history." Whee.

Why do we live here again?!

For the last twenty-four hours or more, snow has been drifting down in big, rabbit-pelt-like flakes. Pretty, yes. But it doesn't exactly make you excited to get out the door in the morning. Or out of bed, for that matter. Thank goodness that our fireplace is double-sided into our bedroom! Otherwise, what with that part of the house being the coldest and draftiest (and that's really saying something in our house), our bathroom pipes would freeze every night and I'd have to get dressed under the covers. As it is, we've been keeping that fireplace stoked about twenty hours a day, and it barely maintains a room temperature in the master bedroom and family room.

We have how many more months of this?!

I took these photos for Aakanksha:




They were all taken while looking out from my front window. You see that red truck hiding behind the monstrous maple in our front yard that did not get pruned this fall? The one underneath the mountain of rabbit-pelt-snow? That is how much snow has fallen in just the last 30 hours-ish.

When I took my van into the shop this morning, the guy behind the counter was complaining that he couldn't find his truck this morning under all the snow! (Apparently, the truck is white.)

C'mon, all you ex-pat Canadians--doesn't this make you want to come home? You miss this, right?

P.S. Thank you to all of your supportive comments after my last few posts. It really makes a difference knowing that people are rooting for you. Yay! for the Internet.

*Prize to the first person who can tell me where this quote comes from!