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!

Arizona Snow Yesterday and Today

North of Fountain Hills

Yesterday (Friday, February 22, 2019): Our Arizona back yard (north of Fountain Hills). Heavy wet snow caused quite a bit of damage to trees in our area.

North of Fountain Hills

Today (Saturday, February 23): View from our roof top patio – The Foothills just north of us.

I’m not going to complain about the cold weather and snow we’ve had here this month. It is vastly warmer than our northern home in Alberta. We are, however, flying back to Alberta for a few weeks to attend a few family events. It is still pretty cold there, but the upside is Alberta home heating systems are vastly superior! I won’t need to be sitting in my chair with a couple blankets and a heating pad, waiting for the furnace to take the chill off the room!

What has your winter been like this year?

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!

First Big Snow – It’s a Home Day!

There is a reason why we talk about the weather so much here in rural Alberta…

Early October, and it is the first big snow of the 2017-2018 Winter. The good news is: the UV and Pollen Counts are really low.

The not so good news is that the tractor is still set up for mowing grass, not plowing snow.  More snow is in the forecast – possibly 20-30 cm (7-12in) in total. The Car Guy is doing an effort/time/temp/risk/reward ‘put blade on tractor’ analysis as I write this. I think he is going to take the optimistic approach – Mother Nature will remove the white burden for him by the end of this week.

The photo above shows most of our ‘fleet’ docked on the driveway. None of them will be going anywhere until the snow melts and they can be moved into the garage for the winter. Hey car buffs – can you identify them with their snow coats on?

Topaz filter
Mountain Ash with a drawing filter

A few days ago, it was still fall, though the temperatures were more like winter. The mountain ash was a glorious gold colour with big blotches of red berries.

The same mountain ash with a different drawing filter – a snowy feel!
Topaz expressionism filter
Another filter – sort of expressionism.

Wow, now it is really snowing. I’d better suit up and shovel a path to the truck again!

Playing with Snow

Not enough snow to play IN! Just enough snow to play WITH! Photo filters are courtesy the program Topaz Studio.

My back yard. Most of the trees are just beginning to put on their coat of fall colours.
I like the effect of this filter, even though it erases most of the snowflakes.
Really big snowflakes! They sure stood out against the spruce forest in the font yard.
This impasto filter turns the photo into a painting.

Any interesting weather in your part of the world today? When was the last time you had a snowball fight or built a snowman?