Sunny with a Chance of Being Not Sunny

On cable TV they have a weather channel – 24 hours of weather. We had something like that where I grew up. We called it a window.
– Dan Spencer –

Sometimes I want a broader perspective than what I can see out my window. For example, yesterday we were blanketed in smoke. I didn’t want apocalyptic media reports about forest fires and climate change, so I opened up my favourite site for weather information: windy.com It showed where the fires were and which way the wind was blowing. (Today it is hazy too – but it is fog…)

Fires

Weather is a literary specialty, and no untrained hand can turn out a good article on it
– Mark Twain –

When you open the site, you can click on the ‘More layers…‘ item on the right hand toolbar to see dozens of options including:

Temperature

Wearing a hoodie and shorts because you’re confused about the weather.
– Unknown –

Clouds

There is little chance that meteorologists can solve the mysteries of weather until they gain an understanding of the mutual attraction of rain and weekends.
– Arnot Sheppard –

Wind

Just wanted to warn you that tomorrow may set records for people talking about the weather.
– Unknown –

Here is a look at today’s Air Quality in the South Asia, Far East and North America (India and China rank in the top 14 for worst air quality in 2020.)

Air Quality

Weather forecast for tonight: dark.
– George Carlin –

For more fun weather quotes, click on my Weather and Seasons Quotations.

Removing the Colour

Sunset – original photo

Depending on your perspective, this could be a photo of a tree with a bright coloured background, or a sunset with a dark tree in the foreground.

A washed colour filter

Because they are primeval, because they outlive us, because they are fixed, trees seem to emanate a sense of permanence. And though rooted in earth, they seem to touch the sky.
– Kim Taplin –

This Palo Verde tree took a real beating in our recent snow storm! It was only because it was so big that it could afford to have a few branches amputated. A smaller tree might have been completely removed from the landscape!

A Black and White Filter

Black, white, shades of grey. What is the focus of this photo now!?

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?

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…

Spotted in my Yard – The Rare Red Couch – Friday Funny

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?

I’d Rather Be… Here than There

March is a strange month.

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.
― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations –

I’d rather be here where it is warm:

Warm and sunny Arizona

Than there where it is cold:

Cold and snowy Alberta

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is I’d Rather Be…

Where would you rather be?

Frozen – As Cold as Mars

It was very cold here in Alberta in late December 2017 and early January 2018. The overnight low temperatures were below -20C (-4F) for 7 days straight during the holiday season. The lowest temperature was -31C (-24F). January 2018 was briefly milder before sinking into another 4 day stretch of extreme cold. When it finally warmed up to a balmy -8C we packed the Jeep and made a dash to warmer climates for a while!

As Alberta was plunged into extreme cold warnings on Boxing Day…  Alberta was about as cold as Mars’ Gale Crater, the home of the Curiosity rover. Mars is subject to pretty violent temperatures shifts, and Curiosity regularly encounters temperatures below -80 C. But this week, the highest temperature experienced by the rover were -23 C. A Calgary Boxing Day shopper, therefore, might have found themselves getting into a car that was literally colder than a Martian spacecraft.
– Tristin Hopper, National Post, Dec 27, 2017 –

Snow Flakes, sharpened and color corrected

We spent a lot of time indoors in December and January. Inconveniently, it snowed regularly. I did a lot of snow shoveling, but only for short periods of time. It was just too cold. As for The Car Guy and the tractor – neither would start on several occasions…

Canada is one of the coldest countries in the world, having an average yearly temperature of about -5C. Viewed through this lens, it is no wonder that by the New Year we start to forget that we ever had summer…

By January it had always been winter.
– Annie Proulx, Shipping News –

How has your winter been so far?