Winter III

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al-Qa'bong

One cool thing about Saskatchewan in February is that it can be -20 outside, and the sun is still warm enough to melt snow.  That's what's happening now.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

And it steams while it melts!  Saw that happening on the neighbor's shingles earlier today!

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

If the shingles were dark, then no wonder.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Greyish, black undertones, and my studio window looks out at the exactly right angle to see the vapour.  I just find it funny that I can sit here and watch the house steaming!

al-Qa'bong

Boom Boom wrote:

If the shingles were dark, then no wonder.

Yup; dark surfaces suck in the sun's heat.

The river was steaming today, too, but that's for another reason.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Sheesh. A little bit past the end of February and my driveway is bare already. Getting treacherous to drive a skidoo on the trails today. There's a bit of snow later in the week in the forecast, but probably not enough for the trails. Was 2C and very sunny today. It looks like our winter may be ending early, same as last year, if this holds up.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Hydro is off today, guess Quebec Hydro is doing maintenance work. I've got my generator running, has enough power to drive my furnace motor, which means I can use the wood furnace today - it's very windy, -10C, and windchill of -17. Supposed to warm up a bit this afternoon, will be able to shut the furnace down - last night was the first time I've had the furnace on in a week, as it's been so warm lately.

George Victor

How much hydro downtime do you experience, Boomer?  Question: You cannot use your wood furnace without a fan motor to distribute the heat?  Could you "carefully" build a small wood fire in the furnace if your generator fails? What is its temperature limit?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Downtime is from 9am - 4 pm today.  Furnace will overheat without the fan - very dangerous. Yes, I can keep a small fire going - but have to keep checking it often. Using the generator saves me having to check the furnace except to add wood.

I'm adding a 'mud room' at the front that will have a cast iron wood stove - just to heat the upstairs, no need to keep the basement warm unless it's really cold.

The generator lets me cook, make coffee, run the computer, and a light.

George Victor

Cook??   That's big-time wattage.  What with?  And that added wood stove can give you failsafe backup.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

We got some real, homecooked, bonafide snow yesterday for about fifteen minutes before it turned to our usual (althoug still rare) brand of sloppy slushy mess. The whole lot of it is gone now. Sunny and 4 degrees. Alright.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

George Victor wrote:

Cook??   That's big-time wattage.  What with?  And that added wood stove can give you failsafe backup.

I have a small electric griddle, small toaster, coffee maker, and a crockpot. All of them work fine - alone, of course. The generator is good for the furnace motor, television and satellite receiver, computer, and a light.

Generator is a 3500-watt model. I wanted a bigger one, but was limited by my finances.

al-Qa'bong

It's -34 now, and they say the wind chill makes it seem like -49 (wind chill warnings are in effect).  I didn't really notice much wind, and I still worked up a sweat on the ride into work, although my fingertips and feet are thawing out just now.  Another cyclist from work passed me this morning; I was grunting along, trying to push my frozen pedal crank, while this guy slipped by without any effort.  I don't know if that is because he's a triathlete (he is, really) or he has a $2100.00 winter bike (he has).

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

$2100 wnter bike? Could you find out more info on this? Many thanks.

George Victor

It won't have a motor, Boomer. "Winter bikes" are, basically, those that resist the rot of salt or are simply cheaper ones that can be sacrificed without too much grief...the son-in-law picked up a "commuter" version, which puts you higher in the saddle on the lookout for nutbar auto drivers, for $400.  No heating for the handlebars.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Oh, I already have one of those, GV. I thought AQ was referring to a bike especially built for winter - knobby tires, better brakes, etc...

al-Qa'bong

You're right, boomer.  This bike has tires like I've never seen before (I dunno, 2 1/2 to 3 in deep and 2 in wide), and the rims are so wide that the spokes are offset to one side so the chain can get past the wheel.  I'm waiting for the guy to get back to me with more info on the bike.

al-Qa'bong

Here's what blew my doors off this morning:

 

It's a Surly Pugsley.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Wow! I've never seen one of those before. Very unlikely I'll get one for myself - I'm 61 with heart problems, I can only cycle from spring to fall, and only on a really light bike.  I'm not as fit as I used to be.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I sent an email to the address given, asking the price for a complete bike (with pedals) and taxes and shipping to Quebec.  Just for fun!  I might take up a collection online to buy one - I'd justify it by saying I need it to cycle year-round for my heart health!Innocent

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

We're bracing for a blizzard and very cold weather.

al-Qa'bong

The specs for that bike say its tires are 3.7 in deep, which is even more than I thought.

 

My bike looks something like this, except for the colour:

 

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/cruiser/classic/classic/

 

 

 

Ooh yeah; the wind chill warning's over and it's up to -28 now, with a sunny sky.

George Victor

Your winter travail is nearly over, Boomer.  :)  Three robins (3), showed up among the other birds this morning. Big, fat guys (dark coloouring), they were hopping about near the others, looking, with birdlike expectation, for worms and insects in the small patch of grass bordering the snowed-over garden.  This is as early as I've seen them...even ahead of the redwings, grackles and cowbirds that usually precede all others.  They will need their fat.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I saw on another forum yesterday that a senior person at Environment Canada says spring will be late this year. Don't have a link, sorry.

George Victor

Yeah, ours said that the local prognosticatin' groundhog, Wiarton Willie, must have been into the alfalfa in predicting an early spring.  And I can't work up a belief that those birds know better. But they are a sight for sore eyes.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I've had crows, buntings, and another bird species here all winter. No robins yet.

Caissa

Ms. C. car got stuck after dropping youngest off. Road to school is narrow and she had to pull to the right to let school bus through. It took 4 men to push her out. Has sent email to principal to see if she can excert some pressure to get road properly cleared.

al-Qa'bong

It's been thirty below here for a couple of weeks, and it isn't supposed to warm up for another week-and-a-half.

 

This is an outrage.  I'm going to write my MP to put pressure on Environment Canada to do something.

Slumberjack

This has me thinking that one can always find information regarding food and alcohol parings, but never a seasonal/alcohol discussion.  Fodder for another thread perhaps, but if at all possible, I avoid beer completely during the winter months.

George Victor

Just too dilute a solution of antifreeze, right?

Slumberjack

That, and the comparatively sedentary nature of the season combines to turn even vicarious six packs into 24s.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Wow, we are getting a lot of snow here!     And snow mixed with rain today, and more than 15cm of the white stuff tomorrow, and more on Tuesday.  If I didn't have a snowblower, it'd be very rough going here. Frown

al-Qa'bong

It's supposed to drop to -28 again tonight.  I don't know how much more of this I can handle.  It's March, for crying out loud.  Our daily highs have been lower than the average lows for this time of year.

My Mom, out in Nanaimo, told me today me how the flowers, etc. are doing there.  Argh!

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Windchill -29C tonight, after last night's massive snowfall - over a foot of snow in 12 hours. Took me two hours with the snowblower to clear it all - Sunday morning I spent 90 minutes clearing 20cm of snow that fell Saturday night. My driveway has four feet of snow on one side, and over six feet of snow on the other side - higher than me.Surprised

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

We had a very mild winter two or three years ago here on the Quebec coast, and it looks like it will be repeated again this year. It's January 2nd,  2C, and raining, for goodness sakes.  In a normal winter we'd have three feet of snow on the ground by now, and daytime temps would be in the -10 to -20C range. Very little snow on the ground here, but lots of ice everywhere. For the first winter I can recall since I moved here in 1995, we've had a crew out sprinkling sand on the roads and in our driveways.

Gaian

Sand, not salt, Boomer? And in your driveway?

A municipality with conscience.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Yes, indeed. And no winter maintenance budget.

My entire property will turn into a skating rink overnight. Frown

ETA: Hard to believe, but it's warming up right now. The snow is almost all gone. Temperature is supposed to drop by morning, so I'm hoping there will be a sanding crew out tomorrow, or it will be very slippery.

Tommy_Paine

Very mild here until today, and now we have streamers coming off the lake.  Weather forcasters can't agree on how much we'll get, but i suspect it should be at least 15cm by morning, with more to come during the day tomorrow.

Today it was white out conditions a few times, broken up by sunshine.

It's snowing pretty good right now.  First significant snow of the season.

 

Gaian

Had to strongly urge a merlin to find other hunting grounds on Boxing Day. It's the only raptor that entirely shuts down bird flight into feeders, and this winter was the first visit from the nastiest of the falcons. It was three days before the little guys had returned in full strength..and just in time, with the snow now growing thicker on the ground.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

What's a merlin?

Unionist

Also known as pigeon hawks, Boom Boom. We see them, rarely, down south here. When a pair of them showed up in the neighbourhood a few years ago, the entire bird population went silent. Even the crows held their peace. The pigeon hawks mostly just perched high on a dead tree, surveying their domain for prey. These folks are pretty scary.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Okay, gotcha. We had a hawk here last summer - first time I've ever seen one here. We've had a couple of eagles nesting close to the village, but they're gone now. Two summers ago we had a weird looking vulture which one of locals called a 'turkey vulture' but I'm not sure that designation is correct. Scary looking thing.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

No sanding crew active today, so I stayed indoors rather than risk a nasty fall on the ice.

Slumberjack

Rain mixed with snow last night.  By morning everything had frozen over solid, including the car door lock.  With no lock de-icer on hand, a can of wd-40 and a bbq lighter nearly resulted in a tragedy for the side of my car.  It's still frozen shut.

Unionist

Boom Boom wrote:

No sanding crew active today, so I stayed indoors rather than risk a nasty fall on the ice.

When you do venture out, I sure hope you use "traction aids" on your boots/shoes. I have long used [url=http://www.amazon.com/Yaktrax-Walker-Traction-Cleats-Snow/product-review... - they're great on icy steps or city sidewalks that the city hasn't bothered to sand yet, or on packed snow or ice in the country. Apparently they wear out for folks who do lots of walking, but I don't use them for long distances and have never had that problem.

Someone gave me a pair of Due North, which uses tiny replaceable spikes, but I've never cracked open the package yet. [url=http://www.weoweittothem.com/outdoor-gear/gear-review-traction-aids-yakt...'s some dude[/url] reviewing three of the leading products (if you can do YouTube where you are). Seems pretty objective.

Any experience out there with traction aids? Aging boomers need to know.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I'm going to order traction aids asap. It's still slippery here, but not as bad as a few days ago.

On another note, we could have another mild winter here similar to a few years ago - and the Quebec Lower North Shore mayors petitioned the provincial and federal governments 1) for financial aid due to economic loss (no snow means few winter tourists) and 2) to ask the supply ship to continue during the winter months as there wasn't any ice in the Gulf (our supply ship is normally in drydock from mid-January to mid-April). Financial aid did arrive, by the way - quite a bit of it. That was three years ago I think.

There are no connecting roads in the communities except at the eastern end, from Old Fort Bay to Labrador. Thus, skidoo travel in winter is very important to us. A mild winter means folks can't travel up and down the coast on skidoos, nor can they use skidoos to bring in supplies from nearby Labrador or the Quebec mainland. A mild winter also puts at risk our popular winter carnivals and hockey tournaments.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..big fat snowflakes coming down in vancouver. bus driver tells me to expect this for the next 4 days.

Unionist

epaulo13 wrote:

..big fat snowflakes coming down in vancouver. bus driver tells me to expect this for the next 4 days.

I'd get off that bus before the 4 days are up.

Anyway, it was -22 this morning in these parts, and we've accumulated probably 15 cm in the past couple days. Kinda beautiful, actually.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Weird winter here; since about mid-December we've had a constant cycle of cold, wind, rain, warm, snow - then it begins again. Lots of ice here, not much snow.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

   

The Canadian Government has issued a

travel warning due to the cold weather.

They suggest that anyone travelling in the current icy severe winter conditions should make sure they have the following:

Shovel
Blankets or sleeping bag
Extra clothing including hat and gloves
24 hours worth of food
De-Icer
Rock Salt
Flashlight with spare batteries
Road Flares or Reflective Triangles
Empty gas Can
First Aid Kit
Booster cables

Lots of people looked like  total idiots on the bus this morning!

(from a friend)

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