Category Archives: Weather

More “Snow”

As one of our bloggers mentioned in the last post, there is another kind of snow lying around these days. I found some just down the street. I believe this huge tree is a cottonwood or its relative, a grey poplar. Its  fuzz-covered seeds now fill the air and lie on the sides of the road, looking like real snow.

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The black cottonwood that I’ve seen in Montana has darker bark, and leaves that are more rounded than those of this tree. This is why I wondered about it being a grey poplar instead, although they are still related.

The fluffy bits are like cotton balls, and maybe this is where the cottonwood got its name.

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I’m so glad this snow will eventually blow away and that we don’t have to shovel it. Quite possibly it makes good fluff for lining a bird’s nest.

Do you have any fake snow where you live?

Bad Potatoes

Have you noticed that your potatoes are full of blemishes? A few years ago when I first noticed it,  I thought it was just a bad potato year. Then I thought maybe it was the excessive rain we had another year, and I wondered about disease. I kept thinking that “next year they’ll be good again.”  I’m not even talking about potatoes from my garden. These are the No. 1 potatoes that I buy in the store. For several years now the potatoes have had blue bruising.  It’s not getting better. On the contrary, it’s as bad as it has ever been.

I thought it might be our local Vancouver Island potatoes and started buying potatoes from eastern Canada and from the U. S., but the problem seems to be everywhere.

I wonder, if I’d been one of the starving Irish in the years of the potato famine (1845 – 1849), how much of the bad (blighted) potato I would have cut away. I suppose it would depend on how hungry I was.

Do you have potatoes like this in your area? What do you think is going on?

Water on Three Sides

What are you looking at here? Let me help you get your bearings.

The hills in the distance, and beyond them the mountains you can’t see because of the low cloud cover, are on the mainland of British Columbia, just north of Vancouver. I am standing on Vancouver Island. You can deduce from that, that the city of Vancouver is not on Vancouver Island. In this photo we are looking to the east.

I’ve climbed up a hill a little way and am now looking to the south. You can see a spit of land that reaches out from the land’s end. The spit has been formed by a gazillion years of wave action swishing the sand along and dropping it to form a giant finger of sand. All the land you can see in this photo, including the mountains, is on Vancouver Island.

Looking to the west, you can see the sheltered water on the inside of the spit, and the harbour of Comox in the distance. Those toothpicks sticking up are the masts and trolling poles of fishing boats and sailboats in the marina. The two boats at anchor in the foreground are getting free moorage.

A few weeks ago, the Captain and I went for a walk that took us to the inside of the sheltered bay. You can see part of the spit in the distance on the far right horizon.

On the way to the trail we noticed the run-off from the excessive amount of rain we’d had. This is not a year-round creek, but a temporary run-off creek. I feel sorry for the large tree that has its feet in water, day and night. It may soon go the way of the broken off tree trunk in the photo below this one.

It may be broken off, but this tree is still serving a useful purpose. It is making many birds happy. Nuthatches and woodpeckers will make holes in the trees to nest in,  and the bugs they find in the trunk help give them strength to continue their work and to feed their babies.

Farther along, we came to the boardwalk. I love this scene. You see the run-off creek completing the water cycle as it brings the rainwater back to the sea. It’s great to have the boardwalk and not have to wade through the creek.

The trees along the water are mostly deciduous types. They are probably cottonwoods and a few poplar or alder types mixed in. My guess is they are cottonwoods because those grow taller than the others, and these are a good size.

Even in the cool weather, you can have a great day going for a walk around your neighbourhood.

Farmers’ Market

The Farmers’ Market in Olympia, Washington, was full of interesting things to see, but although we are officially into spring, this March day was particularly cool. An icy wind blew through the open-air building. Spaced around the corridors were heaters that attracted shoppers who huddled near them to chat for a few minutes before moving on.

Some of the merchants had heaters set up right in their own selling space. See the tall heater on a post above the lady selling baked goods? Notice one of the customers walking by wearing a warm jacket? It was a COLD day!

The lady who sold lavender products wore her quilted jacket zipped up to the top.

What a wonderful assortment of organically grown mushrooms. No problem keeping them chilled.

The girls selling homemade jams were happy. But no wonder! Do you see the heater on the left, glowing and sending out warming rays?

For a brief moment I contemplated buying a treat for my little dog, but then I realized that these bones are bigger than she is.

And that price is in U.S. dollars  – $14.00 for each bone. For a Canadian, that’s a hefty chunk of change, and even if I were to “bite the bullet” and splurge on my dog, and if I were allowed to bring it across the border,  I would probably frighten her with it.

They must have some awfully big dogs here in the United States. 

There is much more to see at the Farmers’ Market, but that will be for another post.

The Helpers

After the (hopefully) last snowfall, the Captain uses the wood splitter to split the firewood into sizes that would more easily fit into the woodstove. The “helpers,” Emma and Ruby, do their best to be useful.

Ruby packs pieces of firewood to various places in the yard, while Emma checks the place over for mice and rats.

Something has been here under this old pile of lumber. Emma gets right into her work of flushing out the “something.”

The dirt flies everywhere, but a lot of it sticks to Emma’s once shiny coat.

Whatever had been there, must have moved. Emma tries the other side to block off its escape route.

Finally, the Captain calls, “Okay, that’s enough. Look at you. So dirty!”

They find a chunk of wood and help with the firewood job again.

While the Captain rests in a nearby lawn chair, he takes off his gloves.

Two sets of dog ears perk up (as much as floppy spaniel ears can perk up).

“The gloves are off” has a different meaning for these guys. They are alert and eager to retrieve any gloves that may soon be flying around the yard.

“Here I come! Look at me!” says Emma.

“Do it again, Dad!”

Snowy Quilting Retreat

As I left home to drive to the quilting retreat last week, it happened to be a rare sunny day and the Comox Glacier on Vancouver Island was looking fine after many  fresh coatings of snow during the past weeks. At sea level we were all complaining about the constant rain this winter, but up high, it was building up the snow on the glacier.

My friend and I arrived at the lodge on Quadra Island and unloaded our sewing machines and all the many boxes of fabric and sewing supplies we would need for the next four days.

We unloaded our bedding and personal items in our assigned rooms and then got busy setting up the machines to sew. After that it was a marathon of sewing.

Here is the project my friend was working on. She designed it herself and has done a beautiful job of it. I’m only sorry that my photo doesn’t do it justice.

I worked on small projects like bags,

and a table runner (the one hanging at an odd angle on the end).

Another quilter who sat nearby, had some gorgeous fabric that she was using to build a quilt. Here is the first phase of it.

It drizzled a bit the first two days but then it cleared enough for us to take a short walk. The next day it was like Christmas. Snow!

Even from inside the lodge, you could tell it was snowing heavily outside.

The next day it was all gone again and we were ready to drive home. What a surprise we had when we arrived home to find more snow.

And to think that ten days ago I was having thoughts about gardening. I think this year I might be planting snowballs.

 

A Parting Shot

I didn’t learn about the possible connection between “a parting shot” and “a Parthian shot” until just a few years ago. It seems that the Parthians who lived in a region in the northeast of what is now Iran, had a sneaky technique that worked very successfully for them in battle. They might be outnumbered four to one, but as long as they had a constant supply of arrows (which they always brought along to the battles), they could put their horsemanship and archery skills to good use.

Their tactic was to fake a retreat, understandable when they were outnumbered, and as the enemy fell out of their organized formation and pursued them, the Parthians turned to shoot at them with their large supply of arrows, and ended up winning many a battle this way.

This one (and many more) last shot as they (supposedly) fled, came to be their trademark “Parthian Shot,” and some believe that our modern expression “parting shot” derives its origin in this Parthian tactic.

Well, winter has taken a page from the Parthian history books and given us a Parthian shot this morning. After several warmish, springlike days, we woke up to this early morning scene.

Emma jumped up to her usual seat on the back of the couch to watch her favourite nature show of passing rabbits and eagles, and was dumbfounded. I heard her say, “What the …?”

The valley was socked in with a snow cloud.

But when the sun rose, a promising pink glow said, “Don’t worry, I’ll melt the snow off that willow in the front right of your picture. The pussywillows will still be there, unharmed.”

 

The birds are so happy that I refilled the feeders yesterday before it snowed.

 

Hang in there. Spring will come one day. I’m not going to be taken in by winter’s Parthian shot and go out there to shovel snow that will melt by tomorrow.