But this is mid-November! Even here in Ontario, Canada 90 centimeters of snow in two days in the fall of the year, and more of the same forecast for the next two days is not normal. Not to mention across the border with the U.S., Buffalo, New York has been buried under twice that much snow. That also is on account of ‘lake effect’ snow squalls forming over Lake Erie, Lake Huron further west, and maybe even Lake Ontario. to the north. Once on their way those squall lines can track across hundreds of miles, or kilometres.
It’s worth noting that up until this past Friday, November broke records in Ontario for summer-like temperatures. Here at the end of Cathedral Drive, on the Bruce/Saugeen Peninsula, near the shores of both Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, the temperature reached the mid-20s Celsius, or mid-70s Farenheit. Two days before the Friday night snow squall hit, I transplanted some Lavender plants. I was worried that was maybe too late, that heavy frost before snowfall might do them in. But now? No problem: the lavender is safe, sound and relatively warm under a thick blanket of snow. The soil might not even freeze if much of that blanket remains, and I think it will. Indications are, including a seasonal, winter forecast I saw months ago, that it’s going to be that kind of winter: long, cold, and snowy. The thick snow blanket will also be good for the garlic I planted a month ago.
Yes, there is a bright side to this unusual weather, extreme, one might even say. I know, tell that to those folks in Buffalo who can’t find their cars because they’ve been buried under 6 ft of snow, So, I hasten to add, I feel your pain, and I sympathize. The last couple of days have been interesting to say the least, here at Cathedral Drive farm. And I can’t wait to find out what the next two days will bring by way of challenges, let alone the rest of winter.
Not to belittle what city folks are going through, especially in Buffalo, but country life has it’s own type of challenges. For example, above all everything depends on being able to get around by car or truck, or horse and wagon, whether it be to the grocery store in a village some 8 kms away, or anywhere. And that, as we all know, that starts with the driveway.
So when I woke up early Friday morning as usual when it was still dark, and let my two dogs out the back door for their morning pee, one look at snow already up to my knees told me whatever I had planned the day before for this new day, was kaput. Even Sophie the Cockapoo, took one look and didn’t want to go out. Buddy my big, beautiful German Shepherd, plunged right in, disappearing into the darkness to check out this sudden, drastic change in the nature of his territory. As for me, I put on my boots, plugged in the long extension cord, and headed for the garage to turn on the tractor’s block heater. On the way I gave myself a pat on the toque for having the presence of mind to connect the snowblower a few days before, despite the warm weather. It had been up by the barn since the last time it was used early last spring. I shuddered at the thought of how hard it would have been to do it under these conditions. The need to get busy and clear the driveway before the snow got much deep deeper was pressing. It’s not a big, two-augured blower; and though it normally does the job, this was not normal and it has its limits.
About an hour later, the tractor/snowblower and I plunged into the snow. Whoops, let’s give that another try with the blower a little higher. That worked, and that became the procedure: a bit at a time, forward and back, up and down, to get the first pass done down the long driveway to the road. Then it was easier, taking the next two passes on either side overlapping with the first.
Oh, did I mention I got stuck, that I went a little too far on one side, where there was a slope near a culvert? Well I did, and for a while I thought that might be the end of my snowblowing for the day and perhaps longer. But let’s just say, you find a way, and/or the tractor/snowblowing gods smile, and life goes on. The next urgency was shovelling at least a tonne of snow off a couple of roofs at risk
A few ups and downs continued to happen during this snow squall ‘event,’ and no doubt there will be more. You keep on keeping on. There are neighbors willing to help, and vice versa, if need be. But you know they’ve got their hands full too. Later there were some “are you okay?” calls both ways.
That’s also the way country life goes, and I know for a fact that’s true of city life too. Trust me, there are lots of good people in the world, down the road or the street, or one the other side of the world. That’s one of the things you find out when the weather chips deal you a challenging hand.