Snow Squalls

This morning Attila rotated his computer to show me the snow that had accumulated on the deck over the last six days. He shovelled the snow off the deck a week ago.

deck snow

This is a screen shot of the snow on the deck at the country house. The railing is chest high, to give an idea on the depth of snow. This is taken BEFORE the snow on the roof comes down.

Although Attila has been hard at work shovelling snow, both at work and at home, he looks well fed and well rested. Attila can cook, he takes good care of himself most of the time. He looks haggard when he pushes himself too hard, and too hard is very, very hard indeed. That is why I become very concerned when he looks haggard. Right now, in spite of the extreme cold earlier in the week, and now the incredible amount of snow, he looks well rested. All is well on the home front.

I talked to a woman at the place where I work on-call, turning down a three hour shift next month, the only work they are offering over the months of January and February. You really can’t consider this a job, although the company and politicians claim they are putting Canadians to work, they fail to mention that a lot of those so-called “jobs” are 1 1/2 hours a month of paid employment. It is joke, not a job. Anyway, be that as it may, she was telling me that the snow was so extreme yesterday around the country house, that for the first time in her life, she is over 50 and has lived in that area around the country house all her life, she could not get out the driveway to get to work, too much snow.

Attila really is doing very well in looking well, all things considered.

Here at the little house in the city the weather is challenging, but not nearly to the same degree as at the country house. They are two very different worlds!

Yesterday morning I awoke to a landscape buried under three to five inches of snow. The temperature was about -9C, there wasn’t much of a wind. After I had a good hearty bowl of oatmeal, I put on my boots and parka and headed out the door with my snow shovel. The lad who lives across the street, in his senior years at high school, had shovelled out a path for Tank to exit, and me to walk around Tank. Very sweet!

Since his efforts though, the snow plough had come along and ploughed a three to four foot high pile of snow right across the end of my driveway. It was packed snow, not the light stuff that was already shovelled off the drive by the neighbour. So I began the day’s snow removal. It took me over two hours of steady, slow effort to clear the end of the drive, clear the rest of the driveway, clear the front step, clear a walkway to the front step, clear off Tank and remove the snow on the driveway generated by clearing off Tank. It was a big job.

Many of the people here have snow blowers. One of our neighbours has a snow blower and he has cleared our driveway in our absence during previous winters. He cleared the driveway of the house next door, the new young couple with children. He is really a great neighbour. I was almost finished by the time hew was out with the snowblower, but I am sure that had I not been, he would have done our drive as well.

I briefly spoke with my neighbour across the street, as she stopped her car to speak to me. She is sick with the flu, so I didn’t go close! Our next door neighbour came over to chat, asking after Attila. He and his wife are lovely people.

The postman is helping me meet all my neighbours! Early in the week he delivered the mail for the house two doors down. I had not met them, and didn’t know their name. I couldn’t find their house, the house numbers on our street are random. I finally found their telephone number on the internet, called them, explained that I had their mail. The fellow came over right away to pick it up. Then this morning the mailbox was full, with mail that belonged on another street, the house number was the same, the postman delivered it to the wrong street. So I put on my winter gear and headed down the road to find them. The gentleman was out shovelling snow at the address on the envelopes, so I approached him. It was indeed the right address, so I handed him his mail, had a pleasant little chat, and headed back to the little house.

Shovelling snow was my daily exercise yesterday. I reckoned that two hours of shovelling was as good as a thirty minute brisk walk.

This morning the sun was shining bright, with a cold breeze blowing, and a -21C wind chill. No new snow fell over the course of the night, I am happy to report. I decided to try going out for my walk. The roads were clear, but the sidewalks were horrid! It looked like the town had a small plough for sidewalks, but had missed the sidewalk altogether in places and ploughed the grass at the side of the road instead of the sidewalk. Footing was pretty tricky on the ploughed grass. I walked a short way, then decided to head back the way I came. Instead I walked down a side street, right down the middle of the road, which was the only way clear of ice and snow. Since traffic moved slowly on the side street, I could hear vehicles coming and move carefully to the side of the road for them to pass. It was a shorter walk than I had been enjoying, but better a shorter walk than no walk at all.

At lunch time Attila called me via FaceTime, we had a cheerful little chat. Apparently there are few people on the roads right now, as there are high winds, and blinding snow. He will be spending the rest of his day with firewood and shovels.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-12°C
Date: 9:00 AM EST Saturday 10 January 2015
Condition: Drifting Snow
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -11.9°C
Dewpoint: -19.0°C
Humidity: 56%
Wind: WSW 24 gust 41 km/h
Wind Chill: -21

Quote

“Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.”
Henry Miller
1891 – 1980

Cold!

It is cold here at the little house in the city, -22C. It is also windy. I have a thermostat. This is heavenly.

As cold as I think it is here, Attila has a full scale deep-freeze going on at the country house. It is -32C there at the moment. There are snow squall warnings, although when I talked to Attila it wasn’t snowing, it had earlier. It is after 9:00 p.m., and he has been busy since he got home from work, firing the masonry heater, and toting wood to burn in the little wood stove downstairs. He will be firing the masonry heater again during the night, and then again first thing in the morning. He eats bits of this and that when he gets short breaks from his heating obligations. He is in good spirits, which is more easily accomplished because this cold snap is due to end by the weekend.

Today I attended a Yoga class. I haven’t practised Yoga for over thirty years! This was a beginners class and geared to seniors. I really enjoyed it, and will probably attend weekly. The best part is that it is held within walking distance of the little house! I did not walk today though!

After I returned home from my class, I fixed a quick lunch. It was time to visit the laundromat again, and this time remembered to bring my soap. I brought the clean wet laundry home and hung it all over the house.

Terra and Lares dropped by for a few minutes, as they were in town. We had a pleasant little chat. They have asked Attila and I to dog sit in February, which we will do for them.

No walk today! This morning as I sat at the table eating my breakfast, gazing out the window, I spied the young girl from down the street heading for the school bus. She was clearly having trouble keeping warm, particularly her face. The wind! I had thought I might go out, but when I saw her having such a time in the wind I decided to stay indoors. Tomorrow I will walk.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

The Little House in the City
-23°C
Date: 9:00 PM EST Wednesday 7 January 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.9 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -22.5°C
Dewpoint: -28.5°C
Humidity: 59%
Wind: NW 17 km/h
Wind Chill: -33

The Country House
-32°C
Date: 9:00 PM EST Wednesday 7 January 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.8 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -31.0°C
Dewpoint: -33.5°C
Humidity: 79%
Wind: calm

Quote

“Hold a book in your hand and you’re a pilgrim at the gates of a new city.”
Anne Michaels

A Shopping Trip

Tank and I were off this morning to one of the nearby cities. For Christmas we received a Costco membership. When Attila and I did our first foray to purchase items at Costco, I chose some cashews. They were coated with preservatives, which I did not expect. I hadn’t checked the label until we got home. They had to be returned. Today was the day the cashews went back to Costco.

Costco is the nemesis of the pocketbook. I bought practical items, like peanut butter and canned tuna. I also bought some outrageously price macaroni, made with rice flour and quinoa. I wanted to try it. I hope I like it!

Then Tank and I headed over to one of the discount stores run by a church. I had items to donate, so I rang the doorbell at the back of the building, and handed my donations to the friendly gentleman who answered the door. Then I walked around to the front of the building and entered the store area to shop. I purchased an item that Attila had requested for the little house in the city, a casserole dish with a lid. It was like new, and cost $5.00. I could not resist an oval tablecloth, because I was drawn to the design and colour of the fabric. And of course, scarves were on sale for $1.00, so I purchased an extra. It was plain and brown and felt warm to the touch. You cannot have too many warm scarves!

It was bitterly cold and windy today. Not a good day for a walk, as there is a lot of ice about. Costco solved that issue for me, after walking up and down every aisle at Costco I had my exercise for the day.

And so this quiet day draws to a close. I can hear the wind pushing against the windows, and whistling into unguarded cracks here and there around the house. Perhaps the mice enter where the wind whistles.

frost

Frost. When I drew open the drapes this morning, this is what the sunshine projected through the cafe curtains. It was cold last night, and the storm windows had collected dampness from the winter rain the day before.

tablecloth

This is the tablecloth. I loved the colour and the fabric, it may be sewn into something very different than a tablecloth! To purchase this much fabric new would be much more expensive than buying this large used and spotless tablecloth.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-12°C
Date: 9:00 AM EST Monday 5 January 2015
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -11.6°C
Dewpoint: -19.2°C
Humidity: 54%
Wind: NW 23 km/h
Wind Chill: -21

Quote

“It is pleasant to have been to a place the way a river went.”
Henry David Thoreau
1817 – 1862

the new year

Attila and I celebrated New Years Eve with a long, cozy FaceTime chat. When we rang off at 10 p.m. we were both headed for our pillows. We greeted each other first thing the next morning, the next year, and chatted over coffee, before signing off and getting down to little odd jobs around our respective places of residence. We spoke several times during the day, and ended our first day of the New Year with another long and cozy chat.

On New Years Eve and New Years Day I chatted with Harriet, who has time off work right now. My Mom wrote to say she was enjoying walking with her friends, playing cards, and just generally having a great time. Terra stopped by for a brief chat after her session at the nearby gym, Lares side of the family provides a lot of drama in their lives. They don’t need “reality” TV!

Yesterday my “big adventure” was a trip to the laundromat. I gathered up the dirty laundry into a pillow case, donned my coat, carried it out to Tank, and drove to the nearby laundromat. Once there I carried in my laundry, and realized, just after entering through the door, that I had not brought the laundry soap! So, back out to Tank I went, drove home, grabbed the laundry soap, and then drove back to the laundromat.

After washing the laundry, I decided to dry it a bit before taking it home. The dryers were stacked. I loaded my laundry into the lower dryer, put the quarter in and hit the start button. The empty dryer above sprang into action, drying nothing at all. I had a closer look at the panels. BIG arrows indicated where to put your change for the upper and the lower dryer. In a new environment auto-pilot does not work well! I got out my change purse and set the lower dryer in action.

The clothes were damp when I loaded them into the pillow case to take them home. I had decided to hang them to dry at home, since the humidity in the house is now at 33%, which is quite low. I draped socks and underwear, t-shirts and trousers, all over the chairs in the living room and dining room. It looked pretty chaotic, but this would only be a temporary situation.

I decided to make a large macaroni and cheese casserole, to eat intermittently with my chili, for my supper. I use dry macaroni, and make a white sauce with cheese when I make macaroni and cheese. The kitchen is small, so as I was finishing there were dirty dishes everywhere, cheese grater, pots and pans, wooden spoons. More chaos!

That was when Terra arrived. Since I had to clear a chair for her to sit on, I apologized for the chaos.

She said, “Mom, if I had to follow a tunnel through piles of newspapers and boxes, then I would be worried about you. You have seen my house at times, stop worrying!”

One of the things I love about Terra is that she says exactly what she thinks. There are no guessing games with Terra! Most of the time this is refreshing, occasionally it can be disconcerting, and I wouldn’t have her any other way!

I have managed to go for my walk every day for over a week now, and I feel much better for it. It is worth repeating the advice to wear two pairs of socks, and firmly secure the laces on boots, as this has made all the difference in the world. My blister is almost healed and I do not feel it at all when I am walking.

I do notice that the knee I injured last summer bothers me a bit on my walks. When I sense that it is tired I slow my pace, and then quicken it slowly. I notice the other people out walking always pass me by, as they walk much more quickly than I do. But you know, I am just grateful to be out there walking!

Colder weather is on the way next week, according to the weather people.

As Attila says, “At is January!”

This morning it was -10C and windy, so there was a significant wind chill factor. My parka was made for days like this! I bought this parka in 1993, so it is 21 years old. It has been my only winter coat for that long, I have no other. It is a GoreTex parka, made for inclement weather, made in Canada. It cost the moon when I bought it, but when you consider this parka is in almost new condition after 21 years of constant use, it was very inexpensive over the long term. The benefits are outstanding. I bought a men’s size large, there was method in my madness. The parka has a thin lining, that will keep me warm if I am active in temperatures as low as -15C. Because it fits bigs, I can layer under it, so that at -35C, with a Cowichan sweater underneath, the parka will keep me warm for hours, and if I am active, indefinitely. It is windproof, so I do not loose body heat to high winds. It is waterproof, so I can walk in winter rain and remain comfortable and dry.

I have been so happy with my GoreTex parka that I bought GoreTex winter boots, that lace up. My feet are always warm and dry, even when it is -35C, even in winter rain.

There is some efficacy in the saying that there is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-10°C
Date: 8:00 AM EST Saturday 3 January 2015
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 103.2 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -10.2°C
Dewpoint: -14.3°C
Humidity: 72%
Wind: NE 12 km/h
Wind Chill: -16

Quote

“My pipe is out, my glass is dry;
My fire is almost ashes too;
But once again, before you go,
And I prepare to meet the New:
Old Year! a parting word that’s true,
For we’ve been comrades, you and I —
I thank God for each day of you;
There! bless you now! Old Year, good-bye!”

Robert Service, The Passing of the Year