Canada

Winter is behaving like a teenager

Technically it is Spring, but I don’t think anybody bothered to tell Winter. In fact, Winter is behaving like a teenager who is ranting and raving, then walks out the room, and seconds later storms back in with “…and another thing…”.

You wouldn’t know it was Spring and Easter looking at our garden. Perhaps I should just tell Winter to go to his room and stay there until called back….

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At the end of a long freeze

Here in Alberta we are used to having a week of -30/-35C here and there throughout the winter, but we have just come out of 2 weeks of these temperatures, and I am more than glad it’s over. Add to that the windchill and we endured temperatures of around -38C to -45C, not to mention the 50cm of snow we received just before Christmas.

This past week has thankfully been a lot warmer, with some days going as high as +5C. So the big meltfest has started, at least for now. So I took the opportunity to take a little drive around just outside of our town. Here are some of the views I came across.

We are lucky to be living just 40 minutes drive from the Rockies

A view of the magnificent Rocky Mountains

The sun was trying really hard to come through

One of the many back roads, some of which, as this one, are now free of snow and ice again

This field obviously escaped some of the big snow (probably due to the wind whipping it across the field)

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Frozen Soap Bubbles

After having enjoyed the mildest December since we moved to Canada in the first half of this month, Winter hit us with a dump of 50cm of snow the week prior to Christmas. After we dug our way out of this the temperatures dropped dramatically this week. It is quite normal for us to have at least one, if not two weeks of freezing temperatures of -35C, so this is nothing unusual for us.

For the past few years I have been saying that I would use one of those freezing cold days to try to make frozen soap bubbles (it needs to be at least -25C for this to work), so this year I actually did just that. I created the bubble mix by using some water, washing up liquid, sugar (for crystallisation), and corn syrup (to make the mix more stable). I found the recipe online, but the first mix (following the quantities given) was just not stable enough, so I added more corn syrup, but that gave a mix that just didn’t bubble too well, so more soap was added. After three different mixes (all of which have to sit in the freezer for half an hour before use) I got something that worked well enough. Word of warning if you want to try this out, you must have patience, as 9 out of 10 bubbles will burst before you get a chance to take any photos. I also found that using a straw to blow the bubbles worked better than the usual bubble blowing wand.

The whole enterprise would have benefitted from having a second person to help, but as I was on my own that morning it was just me trying to blow bubbles and then racing to the camera on the tripod to take the photos. I did try to use a remote shutter, but it was just so cold that the remote did not work. So it was me, a locked focus and some luck.

Here are the best of the bunch from my freezing morning.

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Autumn – How long will it last this year?

The Canadian Geese are once again flying directly above our house; a true sign that Autumn is here and Winter is on its way. We are directly in their flight path and every Spring and Autumn we enjoy watching them over the house. In Spring we cheer their arrival and in Autumn I can be heard screaming “No, please don’t go yet, come back!”.

Autumn brings a ton of colour, and photo opportunities are everywhere, but I couldn’t resist plundering out little Evans Cherry tree for this shot:

Despite high winds of 90-130km/h this past week our little tree is valiantly holding on to its leaves. However, it is just a matter of time before the tree will be bare and snow will be on the ground.

We always consider ourselves lucky if Halloween is snow-free. This year is looking good, in fact, some days we are reaching 17C with full sun, and others are more around the 5C mark. I am hoping that Winter is delaying its arrival a little longer so that we can enjoy the view of our colourful tree a little longer.

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Mammatus Clouds

Mammatus Cloud

Here in Alberta we get a lot of summer storms, they include anything from torrential rain to hail the size of golf balls. They don’t call this area “Hailstorm Alley” for nothing!

The other day I was just sitting by the window looking out into the garden when, by chance, I looked up to the sky and saw some odd cloud formations. I went out into the garden to get a better view and realized that we had a mammatus cloud heading our way. This is the first time I have ever seen this type of cloud.

There is a misconception that these types of clouds are a sign that a tornado is about to form, which is incorrect. They may be a sign of severe weather, but not always. In our case, no thunderstorm followed the cloud.

I had to search the internet to find out why these clouds form, and apparently it is the result of moist air sinking into dry air, which makes them an upside-down cloud.

 

In any case, they look very beautiful.

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Summer fields

You know summer is in full swing when the canola fields are in full bloom!

We are lucky that we have plenty of these fields all around us, which always reminds me of my childhood. Our six weeks of summer holidays in Germany were always accompanied by these bright fields. My uncle, who was a part-time beekeeper, would have his hives near the fields and the honey was just the best.

I always find that the yellow fields are looking there best before or just after a storm (of which we get plenty during the summer).

 

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Woodland Caribou

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Frosty Morning

Working from home has its benefits, especially when you can capture a beautiful sunrise on a frosty cold morning. I wish I could work from home every day, but alas telecommuting is still not a thing where I work.

Frosty Mornings

Frosty Mornings

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More Snow

We were lucky to get quite a lot of snow at Christmas (when this photo was taken) and we had some beautiful blue skies to go along with it once snowfall stopped.

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Too many?

Trees everywhere….

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