It Was a Quick Trip Home

The best laid plans… When we booked our 2 week trip back to Alberta (from our winter abode in Arizona) we were optimistic that the brutal cold would be over by early March. It wasn’t. The last night we were in the chilly north, the wind chill temperature was -40C (-40F.)

Is wind chill something that the weather man warns you about where you live? Did you know there is a rather complicated formula for determining wind chill?

There is an equivalent formula for degrees Fahrenheit, of course.

But, we’re still old school. We don’t need a complicated formula. We look out the window and use a simple If-Then statement:

If the outdoor thermometer says it is pretty cold and the snow is drifting across the back yard and the visible chimney smoke is not going straight up then the wind chill will be greater than the temperature on the thermometer.

So yes, it was cold out. Of course we are hardy Canucks with over six decades of Alberta winters under our belts. We hauled out the really warm clothing and released The Car Guy’s truck from the garage. We were good to go.

Unfortunately, our house was not quite good to go. We live on an acreage, with our own water and septic systems. Water in – water out is our responsibility. The extreme cold, unfortunately, froze the ‘water out’ system. We hadn’t even unpacked our bags before we discovered this problem. We quickly shut down the ‘water in’ system and booked a ‘discovery meeting’ with the plumber for the next day. When ‘nature started to call’ … urgently… and the extreme cold removed the possibility that I was going to squat outside in the snow, we packed up and headed to a motel for the night. (And the next five nights…)

After several thawing attempts by the plumbers, it was decided that the most cost effective course of action for us was to let Mother Nature thaw the system in the spring, and for us to cut our visit down to 6 busy days.

Besides visits with family, we attended a High School performance of  the musical ‘Chicago’. Actually, we went twice. Our Grandson played ‘Amos’ in this production and though I don’t want to brag too much – he was really good! Did I hum along when he was singing Mr. Cellophane? You bet!

Cellophane
Mister Cellophane
Shoulda been my name
Mister Cellophane
‘Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I’m there…

The rest of the cast was awesome too – such a lot of talent in just one High School. Multiply that by all the rest of the High Schools and all the other disciplines and the young plumbers who advised us on our septic system and the lively youngsters who bounced around the motel dining room at breakfast every morning – well you can’t help but feel optimistic about the future of our Province!

And That Ended The Card Game

Hi again. My name is Ghost. I’m this blogger’s daughter’s dog. The last time I ‘blogged’, I was back in Puppy Classes again. I think they went rather well for my owners. I wasn’t as impressed, because apparently I am going to have to get used to ‘coming when I’m called’ and all sorts of other infringements on my love of absolute freedom.

Freedom to do what I want. Case in point is this ‘incident’ from before puppy classes. I had a sleep-over at the aunt’s house. The whole family was playing cards on this flat topped piece of wood (that looked like the floor).  They called it a ‘table’, but I didn’t have one of those at my house yet, so how was I to know that it was off limits to me!?

Anyway, I thought it would be okay if I joined the card game, so with a speed that surprised even me, I unlocked, launched and landed right onto the middle of the table. Then I settled down to wait for whatever might happen next.

For a minute, Auntie and the family had that look on their faces that people  get when something unexpected happens, even though that unexpected thing was within the realm of possibilities of what a free spirited puppy might do if it is… lets say curious.

Later, when Auntie was asked why she didn’t immediately scoot me down off the table, she explained, “It was like watching a train wreck. Suddenly there was a dog in the middle of the table. We could either get the dog off the table or we could all just get our phones out and take pictures of the ‘damage’…”

For more stories about me, click this link: Ghost (that’s my name). Ghost, now you see me on the floor, now you see me on the table, now you see me in the dog house… again…

Spotted in my Yard – The Rare Red Couch

It snowed here again. I think this is the 4th time since early September that The Car Guy has had to plow the drive way. I wield the shovel – I am the Cleaner of the Walks and Photographer of the Event. Snow is often an event, especially if there is lots of it and more especially if I find a Red Couch in the yard.

Snow on branches – backlit, it had an almost translucent quality.

Canadian news outlets report snowfall in centimetres (1 inch is 2.54 cm), but like many older Canadians, I was raised with the Imperial system of measurements. Though I am ‘measurement bilingual’, my Snow still falls in inches. It snowed about 6 inches, but hardly any snow fell on the Red Couch.

Snow piled on the picket backs of the lawn chairs.

Canada began metrifying in 1970 because we were expanding trading relationships. Our government decided it should adopt a more universal language of measurements. Some of our Imperial measurements (the capacity units) didn’t even match the Imperial system of the United States. We ‘went metric’ in increments from 1970 to 1980.

Snow on branches with a Topaz Studio filter called E Hopper.

Many Canadians still work in Imperial for many things. They measure their height in feet and inches and their weight in pounds. Our ovens measure temperature in fahrenheit degrees. We measure the size of our homes in square feet and the distance to the rural neighbours house in miles because our land was surveyed in miles and our roads were built on those grids. We measure the elusive Red Couch in inches, of course.

Snow on chairs with a Topaz Studio filter called Degas.

The elusive ‘Red Couch’ is seldom seen on our property, and unknown in just about any other location in the entire world. I found it sitting in the clearing near the front of our property. It was resting, and made no attempt to flee as I approached. Clearly it had arrived after the snow fall. It was only lightly dusted with snowflakes.

Red Couch with a Topaz Studio Cartoon filter.

Would you call it a couch? Or would you say it is a sofa or a chesterfield? I believe a Red Couch is quite rare but maybe you often see couches of a different color, maybe a bland beige or drab brown, on your street or alley. What say you?

If you want to see the Red Couch in action, hop over to Jenifer Sander Photography. You’ll also see a Reindeer and if you scroll down far enough, you will see The Car Guy and I!

What Were You Doing 3287 Days Ago?

Nine years ago (the aforementioned 3287 days) I published my first blog post: Did you Get the H1N1 Flu Shot in 2009. It was not highly successful and has been viewed a grand total of 13 times. At the other end of the scale,  Tricky Questions – Thinking Outside the Box has been quite popular with over 36,000 views. Go figure…

That’s the interesting thing about blogging. While I might have a general idea what my readers might find interesting or when it is a good time to catch them in a reading mood, I  have no idea how the Search Engines will promote or trash my posts! I do know this involves algorithms that judge, filter, penalize and reward content, but that is about the extent of my understanding!

While the stats for the Tricky Questions post are fascinating to watch,  I like the H1N1 post as much and I love the process of researching and writing.  I’m happy with my blog as a whole –  a scrapbook of my photos, thoughts and ideas – my Codex Vitae.

I think the pleasure of completed work is what makes blogging so popular. You have to believe most bloggers have few if any actual readers. The writers are in it for other reasons. Blogging is like work, but without coworkers thwarting you at every turn. All you get is the pleasure of a completed task.
– Scott Adams –

I’ve mapped out a plan for the next year of blogging at Fueled by Chocolate (because 9 years of blogging won’t be as newsworthy as 10 years of blogging!) I’m bringing over all my quotation posts from The Quippery and will roll them out, two every week, for the next six months. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed collecting them.

Old words are reborn with new faces.
– Criss Jami, Killosophy –

My Birds and Bugs blog, Chirps and Buzzes, will get an injection of new material too – I’ve got a lot of photos that are patiently waiting to be edited and uploaded and I want that blog to be a record of my ‘backyard’ birding and buzzing life lists.

When you have seen one ant, one bird, one tree, you have not seen them all.
– E. O. Wilson –

My newest blog is Right Side Up – a Conservative exploration of topics that include politics, the environment, media bias, free speech – but also the exciting possibility of a return to civil discourse!

The reason that free speech is so important… It keeps the balance between those two tendencies. You need the questioning, and you need the order. You think, “how much of each?” The answer is, “the recipe changes day to day.” And so you think, “well, if it changes day to day, how are we going to keep up?” The answer is, “by keeping up! Here we are. We’re alive. We can keep up, but we do that by thinking, and we think by talking, and we think and talk by disagreeing. And we better disagree conceptually, because then we don’t have to act out stupid ideas that would kill us.”
– Jordan Peterson, Oxford Union Address –

What were you doing 3287 days ago? What was the most popular post you have ever written? Which of your posts is your favourite?

Indoor Cold Storage – Project Accomplished!

New fridge

The new fridge finally arrived. Twice actually. The first time, the delivery truck couldn’t negotiate the deep snow in our drive way and had to abort the mission. With little hope that the snow would melt before spring, The Car Guy abandoned his plan to mow the grass one more time this fall. He removed the mower from the tractor and installed the snow blade. I helped him. We had some brief discussions about either buying a new tractor with easier implement changing, or moving to the city…

Two days later the fridge was delivered. If you have been following the Fridge in the Middle Story, you will note that the fridge just fit into the cabinet and all is right in the kitchen again. Now, and here is the ‘cool’ part, we have a water and ice dispenser – and not just cubed ice – crushed ice too!

Think of the summer drink possibilities – except now it is fall.

Fridge with a graphic filter

Or, it should be fall except  winter arrived first. The two seasons have been exchanging blows – snow, some melting, more snow, some more melting. Today we are back into snow.

I tried to dig the potatoes during one of the melting spells, but the garden was one large mud patch. It just wasn’t worth the effort for a bucket full of potatoes. It really is too bad, because the hills I did dig yielded very few potatoes, but they weren’t scabby. First time ever. The weather forecast says we return to normal fall weather next week. Maybe I’ll get the spuds out of the ground yet.

Spuds, taters – is there another word for potatoes in your part of the world?

I bought a big bag of potatoes and it’s growing eyes like crazy. Other foods rot. Potatoes want to see.
– Bill Callahan, Letters to Emma Bowlcut –

Another snow day