Ice Awning

Ice Awning

Our clock hangs on the wall, where it can be seen from anywhere in the room. Most of the time it keeps good time. But for the last four months it has proven unreliable. Why? Because when the temperature outside dips below -20C, or there about, the batteries in the clock stop functioning at full capacity, due to the very cold temperature of the wall on which it hangs. This morning the clock was displaying entirely the wrong time. Last night the temperature, instead of dipping to the predicted -20C, fell to -28C. We were not prepared for that extra 8C drop. This morning it has been rather chilly in the house!

My clothing this morning consisted of long thermal underwear, covered by a pair of cotton work pants, a t-shirt, a heavy sweater, a down vest closed right up to my neck, and my apron over all. My hands were slow, like the clock, due to the cold.

This was how the world looked this morning. Note the ice awning, which has been there for several weeks, hanging from the metal roof. Not quite visible, are the small ice particles that have crystallized out of thin air, sparkling as they drift through the still and frozen air. If you look carefully you can see deck boards baring near the house. In this photo there are three deck boards exposed to the sun, by this afternoon we had four! How exciting! I am not stopping to smell the roses, I am stooping to watch the snow melt.
2014 MAR 6 ice awning

And here it is, 2 p.m., and the temperature has risen to -6C. It feels tropical! The house is warming, I am removing the outer layers of my costume. Mist is no longer sitting in front of the masonry heater waiting for heat, she is curled in her kitty basket bed, softly snoring. And Attila is grinning from ear to ear!


Date: 6:00 AM EST Wednesday 5 March 2014
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 102.7 kPa
Visibility: 6 km
Temperature: -18.5°C
Dewpoint: -20.4°C
Humidity: 85%
Wind: calm

Date: 5:00 AM EST Thursday 6 March 2014
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 103.8 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -26.3°C
Dewpoint: -29.2°C
Humidity: 77%
Wind: calm


“One kind word can warm three winter months.”
Japanese proverb


  1. We’ve recently experienced wild fluctuations of weather. Warmth teases and then retreats. When spring finally does arrive, I usually have the unique experience of witnessing its arrival three times. A drive south to Chattanooga gives me an early glimpse. A drive north to Nashville gives me my 2nd glimpse. Here on the mountain, spring moseys in at a slower pace, and though I have no allergies, by living in a great forest, dreaded pollen drizzles for a couple of months. But who’s complaining.

  2. Reenie, the weather has been extreme this winter season, not so changeable here, but relentless arctic cold, and the highest snow accumulation in the province of Ontario.!

    Since the extreme cold means a lot of extra work heating the place, and increased isolation due to heating responsibilities and bad roads, not to mention the onerous work load of snow removal, we are now worn to a frazzle, exhausted by the relentless work and isolation. At no time in my past did I feel this strongly about winter, before living in this area, nor did Attila; it is the location, snow load, heating responsibilities, and almost complete isolation from those we care about, that weigh so heavily upon us. Our snow will probably still be with us as we enter the month of May this year… but by mid April we might be able to travel about a bit and leave the house without the expense of electric heat. I would love to be of good cheer over our experience this past winter, but that would take me into full denial and fantasy. It has been just plain awful. And we are surviving and even smiling through parts of it!

  3. When we went into town for supplies last, I saw a single storey house, with a metal roof that had shed its snow load. The resulting snow bank was as high as the roof, covering the all the windows and the doorway with compacted snow. They had not dug it out, so I assume they had another entrance to the house, and other windows to allow light in. Another first for me.

  4. I almost feel guilty wearing shorts and Crocs all through the winter. When my friends moved to northern Saskatchewan they found used eskimo clothing for sale in the local thrift shops. I don’t know what it was made out of. Wolf skins maybe?

  5. Tom, live guilt free! Why taint what is wonderful to no good end, LOL.

    Inuit clothing is made of many natural materials, but it is incredibly functional, and incredibly beautiful at the same time!

    I actually attribute some of the challenges we face, here at our country house, to the population who own seasonal property in this area. A village of 600 year-round residents swells to more than 6000 in the fine weather, spring,summer,autumn, when the majority are fair weather residents, who do not earn a living, or send their children to school, or spend the winter in the area.
    There is a shocking contrast between the the “community” at our country house, and the functioning community at our little house in the city. The country house “community” reminds me of the constructed reality in The Truman Show.

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