Thursday, 31 January 2008

Winter Is Meant To Be Cold and White

Winter has turned the prairies into a frigid, unhospitable region with severe sub-temperatures and windchill factors. Although Toronto has escaped this weather for now, I recall being in Edmonton, Alberta in 1969 when cold winter weather set records. The Edmonton Journal printed up certificates for people who withstood the 6 week period of temperatures not rising above -25F.

Winter brings memories of a sensible quarter horse gelding standing in his stable rug with his tail to the wind and his face buried deep into a round hay bale, while a Thoroughbred stood with the wind in his face.

One winter I spent in rural surroundings, 80 miles from the city, on a farm where there was a hand pump to the water well and if I pumped it twice per day the pump wouldn't freeze up. My living accommodations were rather primitive: a cedar house with only electricity, a wood stove, a telephone and R40 insulation (thank goodness). I liked living that way then as I had my horses and my dogs.

Winter is snow that crunches underfoot, cold air that makes your exposed skin tingle as the feeling leaves, and telephone wires sing. Wearing proper mittens, not gloves so your fingers don't freeze or stiffen up. Scarves to wrap around your neck and face with a toque pulled down as far as it will go, only your eyes peeking out. Woe betide you if you wear glasses: they fog up going outside and inside.

Winter is double block heaters for your vehicle's transmission, and an inside heater for your comfort before leaving on your drive. Square tires that thump when you start driving. Wipers and defrost blowers that fail to remove the frozen frost on your windshield because it's -35F with humidity of 95% in February. So, you drive hunched over, peering through the little hole just over the steering wheel -- and hoping the mounties don't pull you over due to poor visibility (yours not outside the vehicle).

What are your memories of winter? Do you enjoy the cold, or would you rather go to a tropical beach and forget the chill?


Carter said...

This is why I prefer to live in the Southern US. I don't mind snow every 10 years like we get here, but not all the time.

I will be glad to trade summers with you, though.

Barbara Martin said...

Trade summers? Hmmm. Toronto has hot and humid weather in the summer. It's the lake effect from the Great Lakes. Last year for a couple of weeks in mid-summer the temperature got up to 35C (95F) with a humidex that made it feel like 44C (112F). Basically, yuck.

Thunderstorms with rain cool things off for awhile, but it ends up stickier than before.

Personally, I like the prairie summers which tend to be moderate: 75F with lower overnight temperatures, almost cool so you have to carry a jacket or sweater. It can get hot and sticky, but that never stayed long.

Carter said...

We usually spend around a month near or over 100F with humidity over 70%. It gets real old real fast. I dream of having a summer home in the mountains, except that would require having money to buy it.