Thursday, December 29, 2022

2022, the Year That Was

I do enjoy doing a review-of-the-year post, and this year I have two.  This is the first, not necessarily great photos, but things that mark out the year for me, and were perhaps significant in '22.  Hope you enjoy them!

For several months a year, this is my view of the outdoors, although not always bright and sunny.  I always look forward to the days in February and March when we get these bright sunny cloudless skies.

By March, the willows are turning a bright yellow, and the dogwoods a bright red.  Those are among the earliest signs of spring.

And soon after that we start watching for the return of the Sandhill Cranes.

By April I'm out for my first ride and this year I spotted these large bright sunflowers, symbolic of support for the Ukrainian people.

At the same time, the first of our garden flowers is out, and it's a favourite of mine, the Dwarf Iris, such a brilliant blue colour.

In late May things take a dramatically different turn.  The world has turned green, spring flowers are out, and we're off to ride down Lilac Lane, a stretch of the Georgian Trail bordered by Lilacs.

June is, among other things, strawberry season, and as she always does, Mrs. F.G. makes strawberry jam.

by July the 'flowers of the field' (weeds for those who don't appreciate their beauty) are out in full force, and the pale blue Chicory is my favourite among them.

In August we got to Harrison Park in Owen Sound and I got a chance to ride the recently paved One Mile Trail through the woods, my best chance to get out and experience a mature woodland anymore.

I also insisted on at taking a quick look at the Black History Memorial alongside the river.  I always hope it's a visible symbol of tolerance and equality as well as the long history of black settlement in the area.

Similarly I hope the 'Seven Feathers' crosswalk that was painted downtown this year is a visible symbol of reconciliation, considering the much longer history of indigenous people here.

In October when we went for our annual fall colour drive I got one of my best shots ever of the Old Baldy cliffs with the multi-hued forest spread down the slope below.

Then it was suddenly November when I caught this sunrise shining on the forest across the way.

And you already know the story of the great blizzard of Christmas '22; over the next week it promises to all melt!


Tuesday, December 27, 2022

We Survived the Great Blizzard of '22!

Yes, we did survive our Christmas snowstorm, blizzard and all.  It was sure bad timing for Christmas visiting, but most families just put it off for a day or two and still enjoyed a Merry Christmas.  We had a quiet day as usual here, even church was closed.  We'll get together with our son and daughter-in-law next weekend I expect.

Mrs. F.G. struggled outside and thought our front door looked nice in the snow, tracks of our morning caregiver and all.

Inside, the drift against the back door had subsided a lot.

The entire door was almost covered the day before.

Yesterday it had calmed down and we were just left with a very snowy landscape, four feet deep just outside the window!

Some interesting drift patterns though, and a moment or two of sunshine.

And spruce trees buried in the white stuff.  I think this was a storm for the ages!

Hope you and yours all had a peaceful and safe Christmas!  And have you noticed the days getting longer already?

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!  I hope you and yours have a very happy and peaceful holiday.  Herewith a selection of my Christmas photos from the past.  tt has finally stopped snowing here!

A tree almost 10 years ago.

My first efforts at light painting.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

It Really Snowed, and Blowed!!

Well, the weather forecasters were right, it has snowed and the wind has blown and we are completely snowed in, along with most everyone else here!  No-one is going anywhere.  It's the biggest storm we can remember since the storm of '77 when we were living in London.  And it's forecast to go on all day tomorrow too, so Merry Snowy Christmas!

My usual view out the back window wasn't much of a view today.  Our resident crane/ostrich is totally buried somewhere in the lower centre, under that four foot drift.

I tried a view from the kitchen window, raising myself up as high as possible, but the snow was five feet high there.  And now that window is almost covered.

There is a mountain of snow between our house and our neighbours.

And the drifting is just crazy.  This storm has been accompanied by high winds howling down our street, with the result that it's a pattern of deep drifts and bare pavement this morning.  Our driveway is bare for 6 or 8 feet out, but then there's a four foot drift!

And the neighbours house across the street, the snow almost reaches the top of their window, probably 7 feet!  I guess all those exaggerated descriptions of the bomb cyclone, snowpocalypse, the storm of the century, and snowmagedon were actually accurate this time!  Stay safe and enjoy Christmas Eve!

Friday, December 23, 2022


It seems to be the 'storm of the century' around here, at least according to the weather forecasters, so we're battening down the hatches ands preparing to ride it out.  The storm seems to cover the entire continent and it's been called snowmagedon, and a 'bomb cyclone'.  Christmas travel has been cancelled for us and most others, as visibility in rural areas is impossible.  Like many, we'll do our visiting later next week.

The snow is blowing horizontally, and I can hear the howling wind outside.  Snow is supposed to continue right through until Monday, so we won't be going anywhere.  The temperature has dropped from +1° to -5°, and they're predicting a flash freeze which could make roads treacherous.  Still, that's nothing like the temperature drops reported across the Mid-West.

Windchills are fierce across the U.S., though they're not that unusual for us.  We're actually warmer than places to the south of us in Ohio.  Waves driven by the howling winds will be damaging many great Lakes shorelines.

We're better off than many here in Meaford, as we're prepared for this sort of weather, food, water and flashlights all at the ready - though this doesn't often happen over the Christmas weekend!  A far cry from Texas and much of the southern U.S. which is shivering!  

Take care and stay at home!

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Happy Winter Solstice

Happy Solstice!  I don't actually pay much attention to New Years Eve.  Dec. 21st, the winter solstice, is much more fitting as the turning point of the year, for tomorrow the days start to get longer again!  It will be slow at first, but within a few days I can tell the difference, and it portends so much to look forward to!  

One year, back at our last house, I actually dragged myself out of bed early enough to catch the solstice sunrise, far to the southeast, the trees in our fencerow framing it nicely.

It was fun watching the pre-dawn sunrise, dreaming that there were a few druids in the trees nearby watching it with me!

And then finally, 15 minutes later, after all the colour had faded (the best colour is always pre-dawn), the sun broke the horizon.  From now until June 21st it would move higher in the sky and the days would be longer.  That's what I'm thinking of today!

P.S.  Barbara asked what the silhouette of a bird in my first photo of the last post was.  It's a decal of a small hawk, stuck on the glass, intended to scare the small birds away before they crash into the window.  I'm not sure if it works or not, but I'm willing to try.

Monday, December 19, 2022

This Time Winter is Back

 We weren't really expecting it.  There was no big storm warning, just some gentle snowfall.  But it went on for some time, and often it was snowing heavily, so we ended up with about a foot of new fallen snow.  The world outside looks white again.  Winter typically comes and goes like this here in Grey County, especially at this time of year.

A fresh blanket of snow over everything.

Our crane is back to thinking it's an Ostrich, our best measure of the snowfall here.


Saturday, December 17, 2022

The Storm that Wasn't!

Listening to the radio and checking the forecast as well as the radar for our area Thursday, I was convinced we were in for a pretty messy winter storm, with freezing rain changing to snow.  Freezing rain is the worst because icy conditions can lead to accidents very quickly.   These are just photographs of a computer screen, so apologies in advance for the blurriness. 

It was forecast as a large storm sweeping up from the States, and moving northeast across Ontario into Quebec, a common pattern for our winter storms.  On this radar shot the small white 'hand' is our location here in Meaford, blue is snow, green is rain, and pink is freezing rain.  As you can see, it looks like we're in the middle of the storm.  But we're not!   

Even though we should have been getting heavy snowfall, we were not actually getting any.  And we haven't got any either.  Nor did we get more than a trace of freezing rain. 

This shows a closer view, with an extended area of freezing rain approaching us.  It never arrived, or was such a trace amount that we didn't notice.  Municipalities actually do a good job of managing winter roads here, spraying a brine solution on the roads before storms arrive, which helps prevent freezing on the road surface.  They also spread sand and salt mixtures (known as 'pickled sand', on the roads if needed.  It takes a really bad storm to overwhelm us!  

This one certainly did not!

Thursday, December 15, 2022

The Crevice Hike

One of my favourite hiking memories is of my hike through a crevice on the Bruce Trail just a few months before I ended up paralyzed, so this was in 2017 .  I had read of this crevice being particularly narrow and thought it would be interesting to see.  It's not too far away.  Crevices along the Bruce Trail are deep and often narrow cracks in the dolostone bedrock along the face of the Niagara Escarpment. 

It was easy to follow the trail, though the day was grey, cold and damp. 

The mosses and ferns were still bright green on the forest floor.

And then we came to the warning, the only one I've ever seen along the trail.  And my hiking buddy did admit that he was a little claustrophobic.  He actually stayed above, on the bypass trail, while I jumped down into the crevice. 

The entrance was quite easy. 

Then I found myself down in a narrow corridor, with vertical rock walls hemming me in.  

It did get narrower at that point, but only for 30 feet or so.

Still I could see how someone with a tendency toward claustrophobia could feel uncomfortable.

And then the trail burst out into the open, not a big deal at all.  As I recall my buddy did hike through the crevice with me on the return trip.  I guess he figured if I could make it safely he could too. 

We did go on a bit further, to the point where a large spring emerges at the bottom of the slope.

This is one of those remarkable escarpment springs where there is a disappearing stream above the slope.  Almost all year long the water drains down through the bedrock and forms the spring at the bottom.  But in early spring when water flow is high it tumbles down over these boulders to the bottom. 

This photo is from a slightly different angle, but it shows the waterfall that exists only for a week or two in spring.  I got this shot on a hike the year before in early spring.  I always think of this hike at this time of year.