Cold is a Relative Thing and Making Things Up – Rick Mercer (Video)

Winter weather in Alberta is an exercise in relativity. When the temperature  first dips to just below freezing (-1C or 30F), it feels cold – but it feels warm compared to the day when it gets down to -10C (-14F). Inevitably, the really COLD weather will arrive – which it did with a vengeance just a few days ago.

-27C is -16F; -34C is -29F

Anything below -20C is really cold.  -20C, -27C,  -34C. No more relativity – it is all just really, really cold. The forecast says it will warm up by this week-end, but do they really mean that? Watch the video below:

I took some photos when it was a balmy -10C.

Frost Covered Trees
Frost covered trees with a Topaz Studio filter called oil.
Macro photo of frost crystals.
Frost crystals with a Topaz Studio sharp filter.

If you are a regular reader, you will wonder why I’m still in Alberta and not soaking up the sun in Arizona. The answer to that is – some times one door closes but another ten open. On the closed door side, the ‘Rona virus and various levels of government made it much less appealing to travel – (though not impossible). On the open door side – at our Alberta house there is a ‘Never Ending Reno’ list, enough craft and hobby supplies to last a lifetime, family to visit as soon as this lock down is lifted and the always enticing prospect of an early start to gardening season! Yah!

Is it still winter where you are? What is the coldest temperature you saw this year? How accurate are the weather reports where you live?

Mystery Macro

Weather in Arizona – usually temperatures are described as warm, warmer, hot, hotter, or real hot. So far this year, though, warmth hasn’t been a factor here at all. With that thought in mind, can you guess what these close-up photos are?

The top photo is frost on the fabric top of a convertible.
The middle photo is frozen rain drops on the shark fin antenna of the same car.
The bottom photo is hail as it fell onto our patio table.

I’m not complaining about our Arizona cloudy, cool, sometimes rainy weather though. Our home in Canada is just coming out of ‘Deep Freeze’ mode. Wind chills have been in the -40°C to -50°C range. Sure glad we’ve missed that…

Germany – Man vs Nature – Ornate Designs

It is a WordPress Photo Challenge and the topic is Ornate. Man has challenged Mother Nature.

purple

Mother Nature presented this work by Jack Frost who embellished this Campanula flower with spikes of white crystals.

metal scrollwork on wood

Man replied with this intricate metal scroll work on carved wood at Residenz Wurzburg in Germany.

tree branch

Mother Nature fired back with the work of Sylvia Spider who embellished some dead spruce needles with a fine web thread. Jack Frost then highlighted each element with a sparkling series of frozen droplets.

inside church

Man said “Go big or go home” and presented the lavish decoration of the inside of Zwiefalten Abbey in Germany.

macro

Mother Nature confidently turned once more to Jack Frost and said, “Show them a close-up look at frost crystals.”

Who will win this Photo Challenge? The choice is up to you!

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is: Ornate.

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.

Fall Hoarfrost – A Lens Full of Crystals

Our first ‘winter storm’ of the season was night before last. It didn’t drop that much snow, and the temperature didn’t get all that much below freezing. It wasn’t a big deal, unless you were one of the unfortunate ones who had to drive to work the next morning. People seem to forget how to drive on slippery roads, so the first commute of the winter is a nightmare.

I wouldn’t normally venture out in a car until well after the morning traffic had got to where they were going. Rush hour, darkness, and icy roads aren’t my thing. But The Car Guy had an appointment at a Doctor’s Office at 8:30 AM, and I’m still the designated driver, so at 7:30 in the morning we ventured onto the freeway for a trip that would normally take about 40 minutes. At 8:45 I breathed a sigh of relief that we had arrived at our destination, safe and sound and only 15 minutes late!

After the appointment, I faced another task I don’t enjoy – paying for the parking. (You probably remember my post called Give Me the Good Old Parking Meter, Please!)  At the entrance to the Parkade was a sentinel – an electronic ticket machine – daring me to figure out how to use it. Fortunately, The Car Guy speaks their language and all I had to do was remember on which floor I had parked.

Not all wintery days are so harrowing. Last week we had a Hoarfrost morning. I spent almost an hour taking pictures of a world filled with tiny crystals. It was magic.
Frost covered blades of grass.

A very close up view of a leaf.

Grass seed, with this year’s hay bales in the distance.

The Canadian Nature Photographer website has some excellent Hoarfrost pictures.

Winter White Means Snow and Ice

All of us have moments in our lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with a white carpet is one of them.
– Erma Bombeck –

A carpet of white snow is slowly blanketing our part of the world. No one minds if children trod upon it, build snowmen with it, or slide down it. Children don’t seem to think winter is nearly as long as their parents do!

Across the street from the Red House, the Hay Bales got their first dusting of white a few weeks ago. The bales are looking more and more like frosted shredded wheat!

Our recent heavy frost briefly left a coat of white ice crystals on every surface. This tree stump looks like it has sprouted white feathers!

Cascade Mountain sports the first snow of the winter. It won’t be long before there is enough snow in the mountains for the ski season to start!

Rain Drops and Snowflakes – Wonder

I Wonder about many things.

twigI wonder how many raindrops it takes to fill a puddle?

winterI wonder how many snowflakes can fit on a stalk of grass seed? I wonder, is it even possible to count snowflakes?

I think I could fill an entire blog with ‘Wonder’ quotes! Here are a few of the best:

After you’ve heard two different eyewitness accounts of the same automobile accident, you begin to wonder about the validity of history. How do we know, for sure, what ever happened anywhere?
– Bits & Pieces Vol D #5 –

I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be without sponges.
– Variance on a quote by Stephen Wright –

People can be divided into three groups – those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.
– John W. Newbern –

Capturing a Frosty Morning in Alberta

Frosty days and ice-still nights,
Fir trees trimmed with tiny lights,
– Jo Geis, Christmas Long Ago –

As elves go, Jack Frost is one of my favourites. He arrives without warning, but never stays too long. His artistry is magnificent, but fleeting – so I never tire of his work. He doesn’t play favourites – everything within his reach gets equal treatment. But best of all, he works at night, so that when I throw back the curtains in the morning I am greeted with a fairy wonderland. I truly feel sorry for all you people who live somewhere beyond the reach of Jack Frost!

You remember my story called A Grassy Path From Here to There?  That Path has matured now, giving  Jack Frost countless stalks to coat with crystal beads.

And the Allium Seed Heads that I showed you in Going to Seed? Coated with frost from top to bottom!

macro photographyJack’s true artistry can’t be appreciated unless I show you that each and every crystal is a masterpiece!

Now, don’t you wish you lived up here in the land where Winter is knocking at the door!  The land with only four months on the calendar: June, July, August and Winter!

August in Alberta – It Seems Early for Frost

The Frost Chart for Canada is an interesting read. It makes you feel hugely optimistic about the length of the growing season if you live in Vancouver British Columbia. If you live in Thompson Manitoba, however, you might feel inclined not to plant a vegetable garden at all. Not much will ripen in 61 frost free growing days.

Here at The Red House in Alberta, the chart suggests our first light fall frost will occur in mid September. According to my calendar, we are just a few days past mid August. It was with some disbelief, then, that I realized this morning  there was a light coat of frost in the very lowest lying areas of our back yard.

In what can only be described as Mother Nature playing a joke on the weeds that grow in the lawn, the hardest hit by the frost were the two peskiest weeds! This is a Thistle encased in a thin coat of ice.

This is a Dandelion seed head just as the ice crystals started to thaw. Have you ever seen such a sad and bedraggled thing in your life?

The ability of dandelions to tell the time is somewhat exaggerated, owing to the fact that there is always one seed that refuses to be blown off; the time usually turns out to be 37 o’clock.
– Miles Kington –

I can’t find a single interesting quote about Frost. Lots about Robert Frost, but none about plain old frost. Better pickings, though,  when I looked for quotes about Ice:

I tried sniffing Coke once, but the ice cubes got stuck in my nose.
– Author Unknown –