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)
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.
After two months of blogging I am back and ready to hit the blogosphere!
August and September proved to be busy months for us. We had friends visiting us from the UK for three weeks, so we took them to Jasper (Alberta), had days out and about and had fun just hanging out. This was followed by a spontaneous trip with my other half to Las Vegas (thankfully we had left the city a few days prior to the terrible events that unfolded last Sunday).
So, plenty of photos and stories to share from those summer adventures and I am still (yes, still!) working on photos from my earlier trip to London, as well as finalizing those taken on our trip to the Dominican Republic prior to that.
My last blog post was in August and was part of my London series. I am still in two minds on whether to continue with this series, or jump to the summer adventures and revisit London later. In any case, regular blogging has resumed!
View on the Icefields Parkway on our way to Jasper, Alberta.
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.
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).
Snow – I don’t think I need to say any more…
This rhea obviously does not get the full concept of hide and seek.
These flightless birds are native to Southern America, however, a small group managed to escape a wildlife park in Northern Germany near Lübeck in the late 1990s and have done well in their new found freedom. The population has double in size and they have even moved into other areas. Unfortunately local farmers are less impressed as the birds eat the rape seeds and trample the plants.
This is the Upper Kananaskis Lake in winter (see this previous post for a summer version). As you can see, covered in plenty of snow and deep ice underneath this makes for a pretty spectacular place even in the cold. There were a number of people snowshoe walking and skiing on it when we visited.
Upper Kananaskis Lake in the winter
Came across these hare tracks in the woods the other weekend (looks like they were running late….).
Categories: Canadian Nature and Animals
Tags: Alberta, Canada, Forest, Frozen, hare tracks, nature, rabbit tracks, Rocky Mountains, snow, white, winter, woods