Posts filed under ‘winter’

Is winter going out like a lion?

It took a long time for me to understand about seasons going out or coming in like a “lamb” and “lion.” Is it for real?

If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb.

Sandi Duncan, managing editor of the Farmer’s Almanac explores this saying. She asks if there’s any truth to the saying and states, “Weather sayings are as colorful as our imagination. ” She closes by declaring that the saying is “more of a rhyme rather than a true weather predictor.” Then she offers a few more of those sayings to consider. You can explore it further in her short article..

Pondering what happens, I think about the metaphor. It might come in like a lamb, that is gently. That it just slips in or out without any fuss. Or does it have to “roar in” like an angry beast, that is like a lion, and make people take notice. That may be the case for this winter that’s been rather unusual and at times quite dramatic.

This week we had an ice storm, one in which the rain and freezing rain coated branches of trees, driveways, and all the little flower buds. Yesterday as we drove across town to our family Easter gathering, we noticed ice-coated branches lying on the ground under their equally ice-laden trees. Deejays on the radio declared that hydro crews were concerned about power interruptions once the ice on the lines starts to break off. Indeed, the ice falling from the lines nearby startled me when I was out taking pictures and some people were without power for hours, including members of our own family who came to our house to warm up and have breakfast.

In spite of the dreary skies and broken branches, the freezing rain left behind some rather interesting sights in my garden and other places once the sun came out.

 

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bearberry submerged

 

 

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last season’s stems of gaillardia

 

 

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a crystallized arc of bearberry

 

 

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frozen daffodil stems

 

 

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It even froze the water coming out of the downspout mid-pour

 

This may well be the last of winter, now that one hint of spring has already shown itself. I’m hearing and feeling that we’re ready for spring to come to stay.

 

 

 

 

Photos © by C. Wilker, unless otherwise noted.

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March 26, 2016 at 12:23 pm 2 comments

Winter is back

Although winter seemed to have left us, we’re still in February and in that month we can have anything from thaw to heaps of snow. The snow started falling last evening,  following up the rain we had during the afternoon, and so it was no surprise this morning to see a thicker covering of snow on the roofs, the cars that sit outside as well as on the ground and filling in the crooks of the trees.

 

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blanket over my garden

 

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little caps on the sedum blooms of last summer

 

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Garbage morning, can you tell? And we know which way the snow came from.

 

 

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I like how the snow clumps on the ends of the branches

 

 

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I think some small animal was up earlier than me.

 

 

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Snow fills in some of the spaces on this chicken wire where my morning glories climb in summer.

 

 

 

All photos, unless otherwise noted are copyright of C. R. Wilker

 

 

 

February 9, 2016 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment

The Shedding Christmas Tree

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My granddaughters, aged 4 & 6, each made one of these for their tree a few weeks ago when we were doing a craft. I made one along with them.

 

Pets shed their fur, people lose hair upon combing it, and trees eventually lose needles when they’re brought indoors too. But our tree is not a real one and it’s shedding too. Pretty badly, I might say.

We take our tree out of its storage box each December, assemble the poles that are never really hidden and put them in the stand, then stage the branches according to colour sequence from top to bottom. Then at the end of the season, sometime in early January, I take it apart and put the branches and all back in the box.

All of this came after a year or two of having a real tree and then needing to put them all out of the curb each January with all the others. That was before they were collected for environmental purposes, at least that I knew of. I worried about all those trees cut down for a short season indoors and decided to do something different. And so we bought our first artificial tree.

Once the pieces are out of the box and on the tree, we, rather I, spread out the compacted branches and then put on the lights. By the time I have done this, the living room carpet is full of those fibres that are meant to resemble needles on a pine tree. I complained about the fall-out last year when I put the tree up, and this week I said, “At the end of this season, this tree goes out.” Next year, it means we get a new one.

It was a White Rose special, a moderately priced tree, and for a lot of years it served us well. By the time we get the lights on and all the decorations, it’s passable, apart from the spindly topmost pointed branch that always leans when I put on my hand crafted angel, though it’s not very heavy. She looks like she’s had one too many celebrations. Unless you compare our tree to a real tree or one of those with hinged branches—much fuller branches—with the lights already on them, it doesn’t look too bad.

Usually my husband hauls out the boxes—tree and decorations—and hands over the rest of the job to me. When I’m done assembling and decorating, he vacuums the room because every year it sheds. This time I gave him the job of sorting out the lights since he had wrapped them carefully and completed the job on each bundle with tape as he does with all electrical cords, in a neat and orderly fashion.

By the time I returned home from an errand, he not only had the lights sorted, but he had assembled the three strings of green lights and put them on the tree, after a fashion. He said, on my return, “You can rearrange the lights how you like them.” I did some rearranging, but he’d done not such a bad job of it himself. And the bonus, he had the lights turned on. That was to check that all the lights worked, he said.

 

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This ball was a gift from my friend, Amanda, last year. Love it!

 

This morning I began to decorate the tree, putting on my myriad collection of ornaments, snowmen, Santas, angels, pewter ornaments, some of those coming from various parts of the world. In previous years our children helped decorate the tree, but they have homes of their own and have their own ornaments—some collected throughout childhood. Last year it was my granddaughters, Evy and Ana, then 3, 5 years old, who helped me with the finishing touches. This year the lower ornaments on the tree are ones a baby can take off and hold without the fear of breaking.

 

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one of my Nova Scotia ornaments

 

I’ll put on Christmas music while I decorate—this year a collection by Michael Cavan Kelly—and remember the Salvation Army brass ensemble that played at the grocery store last evening. Then we’ll move the tree into its place, wrap the tree skirt around it and my husband will vacuum again, because as sure as the tree needs to be decorated, more of those green fibres will be on the carpet and on my socks and all through the house. After that, and only then, I turn off the rest of the lights, and sit back and admire my work.

 

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our tree, all decorated

 

I’ve already begun my shopping, in fact, I have a good chunk done. And this weekend I’ll finish writing the last of my Christmas cards and get them in the mail. What we all do for a holiday such as Christmas! And only then will I get out the white stone crèche and figures and arrange it somewhere out of reach of our eight-month-old grandchild, who’s seeing Christmas for the first time.

And that’s our preparation for Christmas, besides preparing our hearts for the Saviour we will celebrate.

May your hearts be filled with joy and peace this holy season and may health, healing of relationships and love of family and friends be yours this Christmas.

 

 

 

All  photos on this blog are my own unless otherwise mentioned.

December 10, 2015 at 2:00 am 2 comments

And the weather changes– again

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Sunday morning we woke to snow and today the snow is still there. The tree branches were coated  and snow lay in the hollows between the branches too. And snow lay on the ground, staying this time instead of snowflakes that melted on landing  the day before. My granddaughters were excited to see the snow. For them it means tobogganing, snowmen and making angels in the snow, not to mention skiing since they live near a ski hill. We have a photo of them in their full snow gear that their mother put up on Facebook the same day. After all, we’re in Canada.

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bits of my garden plants peek out from the snow

 

It seems we’ve moved into winter quite suddenly. The air is clear and striations and clumps of pinkish white cloud hang in a bright blue sky at this hour. Snow sits on the lap of evergreen boughs until a wind comes along and shakes it off, scattering the snow like a tiny windstorm of snowflakes.

Like the kid’s hide and seek game that I play with my granddaughters, we say, “Read or not, here I come.” And so winter says this to us, “Here I am.”

 

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The snow may melt later in the week and return again. After all it is late November, and we have nearly a promise that outdoor rinks may have a tough go this year. A mild winter may be the case, as the newspaper article declared, but we’ll see. Weather people have been proven wrong more than once before.

 

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Last evening when I drove to our daughter and son-in-law’s home to pick up my husband, who’d got their furnace going, I noticed their crescent was rather icy and so I took my time walking from the car to the house and back. The furnace was running again and the house was warming up again. They were ready for the cold night and we had a safe drive home too.

 

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If you’re not ready for winter yet, time to pull out the snow boots, mittens and hats. Get the snow shovels ready. We’ve already used ours.

 

What do you like best about winter?

 

November 23, 2015 at 1:04 pm Leave a comment

Anticipation

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A bird sits on the topmost branch of a cedar in our backyard. He looks one way and then another. I open my office window a crack to check if he’s singing. He’s not, at least at this moment. And then he takes flight and I cannot see him anymore. The sun is shining in a light blue sky that holds fluffy white clouds. The air is still cool, but the snow banks have been shrinking and what’s on the sidewalks is turning into a small lake.

I thought to wear my rain boots instead of heavy winter boots yesterday when I prepared for my walk, and it was a good thing, for as the sun warmed the atmosphere, the puddles on the sidewalk and near street corners had grown large enough to slosh through and get one’s feet very wet.

Two young boys, just home from school, stood on top of snow piles next to the sidewalk and gathered whatever snow they could grab and tossed it in the water on the street. Perhaps they were checking how fast the snow would melt, or was it a science experiment, trying to displace water from the already growing small lake on the road?

Teens skateboarded down the middle of the street, talking as they went, and separated enough to let a car pass as it came close.

The streets are widening too, with the receding snow. I haven’t seen a robin yet, but I’ve heard the cardinal call. Is it spring yet?

After a long winter, with much snow and dark nights, I’m ready for spring to show its face, ready to see the earth come alive and the buds form on the trees, but I am not rushing time, for each moment we have is one we will not have again.

In the past few weeks, we’ve heard news of the death of three people, two elderly relatives and my friend Kathy, which has been difficult. Good-byes are hard, even knowing they go on to heaven. Those days of mourning are not to be rushed.

At the same time, we also await the arrival of a new member of our family, at the beginning of life beyond the womb. And I do not want to rush those last days of the mother-to-be preparing her heart and mind for the birth of her baby, or the baby’s father to recover from what may have been a viral bug. He needs to be well to attend the birth of their first child. The obstetrician has said, “It’s time.” And so soon, we shall meet our new grandchild who has indicated life through many kicks and movements within its little warm fluid-filled sack.

In the church year, we’re in the season of Lent, a slower more reflective time, with dark shadows, death, and a lot of waiting. It’s interesting how Lent parallels our anticipation of spring after a long winter, in the northern hemisphere, and how that promise of joy comes at Easter when we often see the first hint of flowers coming from the cool earth.

New life, and that brings me back to the anticipated baby.

 

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I think this baby may yet beat the arrival of our spring flowers, and then we shall be stepping lively to meet this little one and congratulate the new parents. There may be tears, of both joy and sadness, when this baby arrives. Perhaps we’ll even sing as loud as all the birds together. The baby’s young cousins will meet the baby they have been waiting for, and welcome the baby with kisses and gentle hugs.

 

 

March 13, 2015 at 3:14 pm Leave a comment

A Canadian Winter

A bright blue day with sparkling snow

DSCN1778 Snowblowers are a big help when the snow is this deep

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DSCN1766 My perennial garden in winter

 

DSCN1800And in our winter, there’s always skiing with all that snow.

 

 

DSCN1799Getting those skis on takes a few minutes, but what fun going down the hill with Mommy and Daddy

 

DSCN1803And there they go–up the hill. Dress for the cold and you can have fun outdoors, whatever sport you choose.

 

February 7, 2015 at 6:50 pm Leave a comment

Winter is here now, for sure

This morning, soon after 7 a.m. when I rose, I noticed the frost on the trees outdoors, as though Jack Frost had used a giant paint brush and decorated everything outdoors, and the sky was the most amazing colour of light blue. As the sun climbed even higher in the sky, the effect was dazzling. And so for today, I’ll just share some thoughts and photos that my husband and I took.

Unlike last year when the snow came in late October, here in southwestern Ontario, and seemed to stay through a lot of November and December, in late 2014 we had a taste of winter about a month before Christmas and then the snow disappeared and we had a “green” Christmas. Now it seems that we do indeed have winter. It was mighty cold when I set out for writer’s group meeting last evening, and even colder on my return home.

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DSCF8543          Sun rising, shining ever brighter, making the frost on the trees sparkle

 

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DSCN1766    My garden in winter, just the tops of plants sedum and gaillardia poking through

 

 

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There’s beauty in winter. Watch for it.

 

 

photos © of L. R. and C. R. Wilker

 

 

 

January 14, 2015 at 3:10 pm Leave a comment

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