Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Truly Winter

We are experiencing a blast of arctic air to start this week.  From Ontario to the Maritimes we are cranking up the heat and donning extra sweaters.  I'm sure some of you south of the border are probably feeling a little numb in your toes as well.  Yesterday morning I was cruelly awoke at 6am, shivering.  We use wood heat in this house and if there's no fire, there's no heat.  My nice cozy bedroom suddenly felt like a walk in freezer.  When I turned on the television I found out why.  The temperature had dropped to minus 20 degrees celcius overnight and the wind was blowing at 70 kilometers per hour.  Add the wind chill and we were looking at minus 32 degrees.  Winter has arrived. 

While we're still in the depths of a freeze, today has been downright balmy compared to yesterday.  A mere minus 14 degrees and little wind meant I could venture out of doors without worrying whether my extremities might fall off.  So I decided to take advantage of a little afternoon sunshine and walk about the yard.  The garden looks so different in this winter landscape.

Looking at the apple orchard I noticed how closely the trees are growing together.  Their branches intermingle even when devoid of leaves.  More pruning will need to take place in the coming month.

The young trees that we planted last spring are the only plants to remain standing under the fallen snow.

Some are only able to just poke their heads out from under their cover.

The flower bed at the front door is barely discernable under the carpet of white.  I will need to mark its borders when it's complete so that I can avoid walking right through it in the coming winters.

The hedgerow that is so imposing in summer, standing as high as me and full of goldenrod, is battered in winter.  Only a few dried stalks remain.

Some time in the future I would love to see more shrubs planted in this hedge so that we have a year round break between us and the field behind.  It would help with the drifting snow and wind.

Gino, our sometimes house cat has become so frustrated and bored with the indoors that he begged to come out with me today.  He made it all the way out onto the porch where Priscilla came to greet him.


But life as a snow cat is not to be.  After less than 5 minutes he was whining at the door and is now safely tucked up on my bed fast asleep.  The ferals, Priscilla and FunnyFace, soldier on despite the cold.  They warmed themselves in the afternoon sunshine and then retreated to their lodgings in the garage.  There, in a bed of straw, they are safe from the chilling winds.  I too have retreated indoors to my warm fire. 

Waiting for spring.


  1. Whoa! That's cold! I am amazed that you ventured out in that. And to think I wrote a post about winter today. Your version is truly winter, not mine.

  2. It was seriously cold yesterday!! We had -25 feeling like -35 some said it was -38 around here. My little kitties didn't even try to go outside, they took one look when I opened the door, turned tail and ran :)

  3. At present we have no heat source in our PEI home. We are going to heat with wood also and have some electric baseboard heaters as backup. Do you use any electric heat?

  4. The two words you need to know and heed in deepest winter are at the end of your post:

    "retreat" and "indoors"!

  5. Yikes! That's cold! I'm glad you have a warm spot for the ferals. One of my dogs hates the cold so much, he'll just pop his head outside to check the temps and then run and hide in his bed. Can't say I blame him! :o) Stay warm!!

  6. Floridagirl - it's amazing how your body adjusts. After feeling the extremely frigid temperatures of the day before my body was quite all right with today's weather.

    Johanna - that's the usual reaction I get from my cat but today he insisted he wanted to be an outdoor kittie. He just can't accept that we're no longer in warm southern BC it seems.

  7. Jane, when we bought the house it was heated by oil furnace. While that furnace is still there as back up we brought in a new wood burning furnace. Heat is distributed via hot water rads. The only electrical we use is in summer for a hot water heater. Many people don't do that and choose to burn oil all summer for their hot water. Oil is quite expensive but so is electricity. (I was quite shocked actually at the price of electricity here) You'll have to spend some time in your house I would think to figure out what works for you depending on the size of the house and the existing set up.

  8. Laurrie - how right you are! even indoors didn't feel that warm though yesterday.

    TS - it was one of my first concerns when we moved in and I realized there were outdoor cats. I knew it was too cold for them but didn't know where they should go. A call to a local cat charity gave me some ideas and we cut an access hole in the back of the garage. Now they come and go as they please and I don't worry about them as much.

  9. What a difference a day makes, eh? At -2, we're about 25 degrees warmer than a couple days ago. Like your cat, I wouldn't have minded staying in bed too. Enjoy the balmy weather.

  10. It is most assuredly winter now, isn't it? I find it cathartic, though (provided I don't have to go out in it). I just watch from indoors, and dream of spring...I'd rather have the weather like this than plus 6 and raining (coming later this week to a forecast near you!)

  11. So much cold! Not proper for gardening, but great for having a bed day with some chocolate and a movie or a book

  12. Holy Smoke! I got cold just reading your post. (although I still envy your snowshoes)

  13. Liz - we're steadily increasing here. Up to minus 6 today. Balmy indeed!

    jodi - I think it's my west coast history but I don't mind the rain at all. of course they keep changing the forecast hourly so whether it'll be rain or snow no one seems to know.

    fer - that's exactly what I've been doing these last couple days, lots of movies and books between stocking up the fire.

    lifeshighway - today is the perfect day for snowshoeing. Sunshine, warm-ish temperatures and a light snow overnight. I may get out yet today.

  14. some interesting thoughts on how you will approach your garden come spring and summer, it is interesting seeing the bones or lack there of, of our gardens, I was given some pampas grass seedlings a few years ago and last summer planted them along side a sort of damp meadow, this winter with all the meadow flowers under ground I am really enjoying seeing the P grass in the distance,
    I think wind chill is the worst, I like Fers recommendation and glad you are doing just that,
    keep warm Frances,
    oh meant to say glad Priscilla and FunnyFace have some where to get out of the wind, I loved reading about them when I first found your blog, F.

  15. We had -13 here, but no wind, thankfully. Many schools were closed as they couldn't get the buses started. My windows had frost on the inside and they are newer windows. Fortunately it has warmed up to the 30's. Feels rather balmy!

  16. And it's yet another snowy day today, but at least it's nice and 'warm'!

  17. Island Threads - I had to stop myself from ordering a number of large grasses this past week. I've made a promise, no more plants until there are beds to put them in! But when I do have beds grasses are high on my list. I love the way they look year round.

    Bonnie - not being able to start a vehicle is a big concern with these super cold temperatures. Jody is away with the truck right now and I'm unable to plug in my rental car. a bit stressful.

    Kim - yah for rising temperatures!! too bad the level of the snow is rising with it ;-)