Snow in September – Responding to Adversity

Snow in September – once the shock and sadness wore off, I  took my camera outside to see if there was an upside to this! There is also an Adversity Story to tell.

You’d like to eat on the patio? How about this nice table for four. So peaceful and quiet you can hear a pin drop. No mosquitoes.  No chance you will get a sunburn.

You think it is a bit, well, white out?

Here – some greenery… and pinkery too.
________________

I got a phone call from a friend today. She wanted The Car Guy’s advice about how to deal with a dangerous snow laden tree branch that was hanging over her power line.

She had phoned her hubby first (he’s out of town) and told him she wanted to knock some snow off the branch with a broom or something, and maybe even remove the branch, but she didn’t want to become an electrocution statistic.

Her husband’s response to her story was not very helpful – that is why she called the The Car Guy. The Car Guy gave her a list of actions she could take, and asked her to phone him back later so he knew she had survived the procedure.

He also offered to do the job for her. But my friend is a ‘do it myself’ person, so she proceeded to turn off the power at the pole, knock a bunch of snow off the tree branches, remove the most offensive branch and get the power turned back on.

But that was the easy part. She also had to spray WD40 on the lock on the box that housed the power switch; then use bolt cutters to cut off the lock because it still wouldn’t work; employ miscellaneous tools to straighten the thingamagig that got twisted when she cut off the lock; and clean up the pot of dirt that got smashed on the floor when she was rummaging through the garage trying to find one of the six or seven tools she needed to get the job done.

When she finally phoned us to confirm the task was successfully completed, she said, “If I had a blog, this would sure be one of the stories I would tell!”  I smiled, and thought that she would probably have to edit out a few expletives before her grandchildren could read her “Overcoming Adversity” story.

At the end of my adversity story about Hail, I said “Do you ever ask yourself why you live where you do? What roots keep you tethered to a place that seems so determined to make you want to leave it!?”

One answer is – family and friends keep us here. But it is also the adversity that makes us stay.  Each time we face another weather challenge, and we are wildly or moderately or slightly successful at coping, we are re-energized.

By trying, we can easily learn to endure adversity.
Another man’s, I mean.
– Mark Twain –

The flower I captured is a Hollyhock. I take good care of my hollyhocks, yet they struggle to survive and usually flower just before the first snow takes them out of the game. My ‘do it myself’ friend was the source for these hollyhocks. She ignores hers, and they grow like weeds at her place. I guess Hollyhocks thrive on adversity too.

Hail – An Abrupt End to the Veggie Garden

I’ve planted a vegetable garden just about every year of my adult life.  Some years the produce is bountiful. I get so many zucchini that people who come to visit lock their car doors – they don’t want to end up with the zucchini stowaways that I slip onto the front seat when they are not looking.

Some years, though, parts of the garden go missing. The white tail deer are especially fond of beans, lettuce and carrots.  One year an underground rodent of some description ate many of the potatoes.

The most destruction, however, comes from a hail storm.

Hail! We could hear the distinctive plonk sound on the roof as each white pellet fell from the sky.  Within minutes the ground was littered with battered leaves and drifts of hail stones.

Hail stones – pea to ‘mothballs on steroids’ size.
The hail created ice dams at the bottom of each downspout.

The damage to everything green was extensive.

Shredded sunflower leaves.
hail damage
The remnants of a white lily.
Hail stones caught in the branches of the spruce trees.

And the Vegetable Garden – the photos are too gruesome to publish…

I can’t remember ever having two hail storms in one day, but four hours after the first storm, another rolled in. The sound of the hail on the roof warned us that these hailstones were even larger than the ones from the earlier storm.

Hail stones 3.175 cm (1.25 inches) across.

Hail this size is scary.  It was a relief once it finally stopped! By then it was too late in the day to go outside to assess the damage,  so we contented ourselves with merely mopping up the few spots inside the house where the driving rain/hail had entered through a leak in the roof and under one door.

The next morning we surveyed the damage. Plants with big green leaves don’t have big leaves any more. Plants with little green leaves have fewer leaves. Plants with narrow green leaves – less damage. Thistles – seemingly unscathed.

The mosquito population seems undiminished…

Our roofer will arrive eventually to fix the leak and check the shingles and eavestrough – but we are far from being the first in line. Other homes were hit even harder than us.

Storms come, and are so personal, they seem to know your address and have the key to your house.
– Reverend Jesse Jackson –

Do you ever ask yourself why you live where you do? What roots keep you tethered to a place that seems so determined to make you want to leave it!?

We are Canada – We Are Winter – Explaining Canada to Americans (Video)

Many places in Canada have more than 80 days a year when the temperature never rises above freezing – day after day after day. Here at the Red House in Alberta, the coldest month of 2013 was December. We had an average daily low temperature of -17°C (1.4°F). It is no wonder, then, that Canada kicked off their 2014 Olympics campaign with this video called ‘We are Winter’!

It has been a very successful Olympics for Canada. When the ‘snow’ cleared, we were third in gold medals and fourth in total medals. The most hyped  event was Hockey, and Canada won both the Women’s and Men’s events.

Then there is Curling. For many Canadians (like me) the Olympics didn’t really start until we were parked in front of the TV with our red Maple Leaf mitts on, watching the first stones thrown down the curling rink. To our utter delight, the Canadian rinks of Jennifer Jones and Brad Jacobs took both the Women’s and Men’s Gold in this quirky sport.

The best story of the Sochi Olympics, however, was this: The Russian cross-country skier, Anton Gafarov, was an early medal favourite in the men’s cross-country skiing, but he crashed after one of his skis broke. He tried to limp  into the grandstands with his damaged ski. Suddenly, Canadian cross-country skiing head coach Justin Wadsworth rushed up onto the course with one of his team’s spare skis. Justin quickly removed the Russian’s broken ski and slid the new ski into place. Anton was then able to finish the race.

Helping others get through winter – it is how Anton and Justin and all the rest of us survive cold weather – We are all Winter.

All sounds are sharper in winter; the air transmits better. At night I hear more distinctly the steady roar of the North Mountain. In summer it is a sort of complacent purr, as the breezes stroke down its sides; but in winter always the same low, sullen growl.
– John Burroughs, “The Snow-Walkers,” 1866 –

Tom Brokaw explains Canada to Americans during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Canada:

 

 

What is a Blue Moon?

From now on we live in a world where man has walked on the Moon. It’s not a miracle; we just decided to go.
-Tom Hanks-

Every two or three years, there are two full moons in one month. The second full moon is called a Blue Moon. A Blue Moon can also occur when the moon is the third full moon in a season that has four full moons. Confused? So am I.

The term  ‘blue moon’ has nothing to do with colour.  It is more likely that the word ‘blue’ actually came from the word belewe, which meant ‘to betray’.

Last night, according to the news, there was a Blue Moon.  It was still there this morning (only in a different location in the sky, of course.)  I took photos at 9:20 PM and 6:20 AM (9 hours apart) which means the moon had traveled 20592 miles (33147 km) while I had been mostly sleeping!

spruce bough

Did you know: a day on the Moon is about 27.3 days long or maybe 29.5 days – I found several different numbers for this rotational period.  The Moon’s rotation and other complicated things explain why we always  see the same side of the Moon.

How often have you looked at the moon and were sure you could see a face? Oddly enough, I don’t see one in this photo, do you?

You moon the wrong person at an office party and suddenly you’re not ‘professional’ any more.
– Jeff Foxworthy –

Alberta Flooding – Foreshadow of a Flood

Sometimes clouds, not fluffy ones like these, but dark, rain filled ones – settle in over the Rocky Mountains and dump buckets of water. If they do this when these mountains are still covered with their winter coats of snow, then disaster will follow.

448-hidden-valley-at-lake

Frozen little mountain streams turn into torrents which then fill the rivers they feed. As the rivers flow east, they merge – creating even more powerful forces. By the time the Bow River got to where this picture was taken at the Community of Hidden Valley, it was flowing faster and higher than it ever had in our lifetimes. This photo foreshadows  what was to come.

Edward VIII replaced his fly buttons with a zip, a revolutionary move; and his Fair Isle pullovers, shorts and Windsor knots were considered by some to foreshadow the end of Empire.
– Angus McGill –

To see other photos from this Challenge: Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreshadow

Hail – Weapons of Mass Destruction

I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder.
Percy Bysshe Shelley – ‘The Cloud’ –

The Weapons

The Targets – Front Yard

Back Yard

The Damage: Pink Peony

Yellow Iris

I’m getting rather paranoid whenever I see a rain cloud, what with the Cabin Flooding, and this rather horrendous hail storm that hammered my home and garden.

Now and then simple country raindrops are tempted by a dark cloud full of icy sirens to stay aloft for a while.
Margy

Frosty, Foggy Morning

A thin grey fog hung over the city, and the streets were very cold; for summer was in England.
– Rudyard Kipling, The Light That Failed –

Alberta

Sunbeams cut through the morning fog.

Alberta

As the fog starts to lift, frost steals across the ground.

Water drops freeze onto the tips of the grass blades.