Friday, November 25, 2022

Bradford Greenhouses Garden Gallery

CAUTION!  Far too many photographs, scroll through quickly!

After several posts describing our big snowstorm last weekend, I am taking you back to Barrie.  Remember when we learned about the button on the dashboard, a very easy fix and much appreciated!  

To pick up the story, after leaving the car dealer, and braving a couple of miles on Hwy. 400, we found Bradford Nursery which Mrs. F.G. wanted to visit and spent an enjoyable hour or two exploring the galleries.  It was huge!  Not actually our kind of place, but Mrs. F.G. hoped she might find the odd interesting plant, so that is what she was looking for.  

I did not realize that polar bears were a big part of the Christmas story, but they were what welcomed us here.

There was more greenery available than you could shake a stick at, but for people who are used to going out and cutting their own, this was an expensive way to get it!

And I am pleased to report that they had quite a good collection of Furry Gnomes.

But it was the plants that Mrs. F.G. was interested in, the house plants specifically.  I think that is going to be her new winter hobby this year.

So we found our way (past the furniture and clothing sections) to the house plant section.  It was a huge area!  Here is a selection of what I saw.

Of course they also had Poinsettas, and we bought three, two as gifts and one for ourselves. Ours is shading my laptop as I write this.

And then there were more Furry Gnomes.
And I look just about as shaggy as these gnomes at the moment!

So with our main reason for driving to Barrie dealt with (that button), we said good-bye to Bradford Greenhouse Galleries and headed home, a long but successful day.  And Mrs. F.G. took four new plants home with her.

Today it is drizzling and the snow continues to melt, a dull grey day.  Small bits of the garden and patio are now bare, all the driveways and the road are too.  It is supposed to hit 10°C tomorrow, so I think most of the snow will be gone.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Our Snow is Melting Fast!

Although we got a snow dump of historic proportions last weekend, it is melting fast.  The sun has been out on and off, and the temperature is above freezing.  The difference between -3° and +3° is remarkable, and now it is +5°!   At this rate we will soon have no snow left.

A slightly different view for you, this one over the kitchen sink, with the sun shining brightly this morning.  Look at those shadows!

But I have been watching it melt.  This is the big drift that was curled over the edge of our roof.  Most snow vanishes by just evaporating (sublimation*, strictly speaking), but here you can actually watch it melting.

I kept at it as I watched the drips fall, and pretty soon I captured a drip in mid-air!

The dripping has speeded up since, and is now pretty well continuous.  Typical November weather here.

It is hard to even remember the scene 4 days ago!

* Evaporation is when a liquid changes to a gas, like water to water vapour; sublimation is when a solid changes to a gas, like snow directly to water vapour.  I have always been fascinated that the snow just seems to vanish rather than actually melting.

HELP - I am having trouble with certain keys on my laptop.  Quotation marks, accents, slashes, are all replaced by É.  Anyone got any bright ideas of what Ièm doing wrongÉ

Sunday, November 20, 2022

What Canadians Do in the Winter

They clear snow, that is what!  They either shovel, buy a snowblower, of if they are like me, they hire a snow removal service (in our case out of necessity).  I have frequently heard the noise of the snowblowers outside this weekend!

Our neighbours have had to break out the snowblowers each day the past three days!

Working together they can get a neat and complete snow removal job done in spite of it being about 16 inches deep.

And sometimes they will stop and take time for a chat with the work partly complete.  It has been a snowy weekend to remember!

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Snow, Snow and More Snow!

Well, at least we did not get the dump of four feet or more that Buffalo and area got, but we did get about two feet, and it is still snowing lightly with more to come.  It is early in the season for this much snow, but not all that unusual to get a big heavy snowfall at some point in November.  I love storms like this though, so I put together some pairs of photos from yesterday and today, for your viewing pleasure.  For your convenience I have repeated the photos from yesterday, first in each case.

The view out back - look closely!

Snow on the planter - a Viking coffin!

Our Ostrich has now become a Polar Bear, just a white lump in the snow.

Likewise, the big mushroom is simply another lump in the snow.

This was heavy wet snow, so this morning all the neighbours who still do the work themselves were out with their snowblowers and shovels, and two different snow blowing services were busy on the street.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Snow Squalls!

The visit to the plant nursery in Barrie will have to wait while I tell you about the snow squalls we are getting today.  You know winter is really here once we are getting serious snow squalls.  It is 8-10 inches deep now, more in places, with a forecast of up to two feet of snow over the weekend.

If you are not familiar with lake-effect snow, this is what it looks like on the radar (a photo of the computer screen, so the quality is pretty bad, but you get the idea).  Bands of snow develop over the open water of the Great Lakes, picking up lots of moisture, and then dumping sometimes huge amounts of snow once the moisture-laden winds hit land.  So the lake-effect snow occurs on the east side of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, and the east ends of Lakes Erie and Ontario.  On this image you can see it hitting just south of Buffalo, a patch east of Lake Huron, and a meandering band across Georgian Bay, hitting us as well as Owen Sound.

This is what the view out back looked like this morning, and there is probably twice as much snow now.  But the window is covered with melting snow, so I cannot get any up-to-date pictures out there.

There was 10" of snow on top of the planters; there is probably 16" now.

The new circular planters Mrs. F.G. put in this year are accumulating snow because of the rabbit-proof fencing she put around each one.

Our crane has buried his/her head in the snow, and become an Ostrich.

A very large pot has become a mushroom.

This snow is heavy and wet enough that it is sticking to the trees - and is very hard to shovel.  The temperature is hovering around 0°C.

This is the view across the street a short time ago.  When snow is coming down this heavily it accumulates very fast, and visibility when driving becomes almost nil.  We will see what the weekend brings; we may be on our own.  We are certainly not going anywhere!

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

The Button on the Dashboard.

This is the story of the unseen button on the dashboard.

Our van has a side-loading ramp for me and my wheelchair.  When Mrs. F.G. pushes the button to open the rear passenger door, the ramp automatically goes down and the rear suspension lowers, making the angle of the ramp gentler and easier for me to get up.  This function is called kneeling and it is quite remarkable to see.

Last March we started having great difficulty getting me up the ramp, and could not understand why.  We tried several adjustments to my wheelchair over the summer, including getting new tires for the chair, but never noticed that the kneeling function in the van had stopped working.  And let me tell you how frustrating Mrs. F.G. found it!  She often had to push me to get me and my 300 lb. wheelchair started up the ramp.

It was our mechanic, checking things over after installing our snow tires, who pinpointed the problem several weeks ago, but he could not figure out how to fix it.  These special features on the van were provided by a company called Braunability, and we had to go to Barrie to find a technician who could handle the issue.

We duly showed up at the Ford Dealer shop in Barrie, waited a bit since we were early, and then the mechanic came out to report to us.  We were worried that this might be quite a difficult (and expensive) fix so we were braced for his bad news.  But he asked us if we knew there is a button down low on the dashboard that turns this function on and off!  It had been turned off, and simply turning it back on restored the kneeling function!  It has been easy to get me in and out of the van ever since.  We never had such an easy visit to a garage, and they did not charge us.  We did not feel stupid either!

Mind you the button was never pointed out to us, and it sits down at my mid-shin level, far out of sight.  Who knows how that button might have got bumped, giving us 6 months of difficulty.  We certainly did not turn it off ourselves.

I should say that we had very little choice in vehicles that would carry a wheelchair, and I wanted one that would allow me to get up into the front passenger seat position.  But Mrs. F.G. who suddenly took over responsibility for driving, also wanted to be able to see over the dashboard.  That narrowed the choice to one model, a Dodge Caravan, and it has been great except for this curfuffle!

So there you have it, we drove all the way to Barrie to get a button pushed - but all is not lost, Mrs. F.G. had heard about a large plant nursery in Barrie, and it was on our way home - that story next.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Winter has Arrived!

We awoke to a white world today.  The snow was not very deep, but it stuck to everything, creating a winter wonderland everywhere you looked.  We were lucky with our wonderful late fall weather right up until Friday, so it would be poor sportsmanship to complain!  And it will give me a few new pictures for the blog.

Looking out the living room window.

The distant townhomes.

Spruce and pine.

Even after we came home from church and had lunch the line of pines retained some of the sticky snow.

Our copper crane got a first light blanket of snow.

This snow stuck to the almost vertical back of the red deck chair.

Redbud branches.

The neighbours cedars.

A clump of Blue Oat Grass.

And I just managed to catch the tail end of a fox running across behind the yard - great picture, eh!