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Posts Tagged ‘cold weather’

snowy

Happy 2013! I hope you enjoyed a pleasant holiday season and wish you all the best for the upcoming year.

As you grow older, time seems to speed up. With each passing year, the days and weeks grow shorter and shorter. Can it really be that we are already nearly two weeks into 2013? Amazing. With each passing year, a big snowstorm becomes more and more of a bother and less and less fun, so perhaps it is just as well that the winter is speeding by.

Here is southeastern Ontario, we had a white Christmas, with a significant snowfall a few days before the 25th. This was followed up after Boxing Day with a major storm that blanketed the landscape with an additional foot of snow.

bush

We’ve also had some crisp, cold days, with the temperature dipping below -20 C. This is rather reassuring to those of us who grew up in the 1950s and 60s. It seems “right”, the way winter is supposed to be. But actually, all the snow and cold has been something of a mirage. In spite of winter cold snaps and a snowfall that set a one-day record in Montreal, a few hours east of here, December was warmer than normal. It just shows how deceptive appearances can be.

temp

The Weather Network had this to say about December:

Temperatures across southern Ontario were a couple of degrees above normal for December,” says Dayna Vettese, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. “Normally, Toronto sits at about 1°C for daytime highs in December, but in December 2012, Toronto was 4°C. The same goes for southwestern and eastern Ontario.

After a nippy start to the New Year, temperatures for January have taken an upswing too. Today, the mercury climbed above 0 C and light precipitation fell as rain.

blue jays

In fact, if you are 27 years old or younger, you’ve probably never experienced a colder-than-average month (global average, local conditions vary).

Climate Central’s Andrew Freedman notes the last cooler than average month globally occurred in February, 1985 (almost 28 years ago), “the year the hit film “Back to the Future” [the original, not the sequels] first hit theaters”.

“To put it another way, if you are under the age of 27, you have never experienced a month in which global average surface temperatures came in below the 20th century average,” Freedman writes. (Washington Post)

The weather’s just not what it used to be.

joe crow

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Will I Ever Be Warm Again?

thermometer

This Sunday and Monday, we shivered through another cold snap. Yesterday, when I looked out the window and checked the thermometer in the morning, it was -34°C. That’s cold, very cold. By the time I had made my usual rounds outdoors, looking after the horses, topping up the birdfeeders, I felt like I would never be warm again! Even turning up the furnace and sitting close to a blazing fire didn’t seem to reach the deep freeze that had settled into my bones.

Thankfully, today the temperature has ameliorated and it is comparatively balmy, a mere -18°C this morning. If I’m glad, I can’t even imagine how glad the birds are, outside day and night. Their very survival never fails to amaze me. But there they are, coming and going at the feeder as usual. In the photo below, you can see a little flock of American Tree Sparrows on the ground, while a Downy Woodpecker approaches the suet on the post. The whirr of wings near the grass stalk to the right is a Chickadee, and a Blue Jay is about to exit the scene. These were the birds brave enough or hungry enough to approach while I stood near the feeder to take their photo, but many more were waiting in the wings for me to leave them to their breakfast in peace.

birdfeeder

About this point in the season, I begin to long for something green and growing. I’m not a big seed-starter and don’t have Grow lights. I have a modest windowsill garden to admire, though. Each year, my sister gives me an amaryllis bulb for my birthday just before Christmas, a longstanding tradition. I added a second bulb from the post-Christmas sale table and a few paperwhite bulbs. So far, the paperwhites are off to the best start and it shouldn’t be too long before they are ready to bloom. The amaryllis bulbs take a bit longer to get underway. They should bridge the gap to the spring growing season nicely once some mysterious rhythm convinces them it’s time to grow.

window

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