Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ice storm - the bigger picture

The photo of the grass stem encased in ice that I posted this morning doesn't give you the big picture. Later I made this photo of the grasses and shrubs in my front garden, which shows more of the ice storm's effect.

I'll take a snow storm over an ice storm any day, but I have to admit that this storm created a lot of glittering beauty and not too much mayhem, at least on my own property. One neighbor did lose a tree, uprooted by the weight of the ice, and another lost power for a day.

The temperature is going to rise above freezing for a day or so now, so the ice will start to melt. There was no snow on the ground before the storm, so every little grass became coated in ice, which has made it tough on dog paws. We've had considerably shorter walks in the past couple of days.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

What a strange winter - or - we'll pay for this

In the news today from the great white north:

"Winter weather has yet to arrive in Ontario and Quebec, and Environment Canada's long-term forecast isn't inspiring any optimism for substantial snowfall.

Senior climatologist David Phillips says almost the entire country is expected to be warmer than normal from January through March. That doesn't mean there won't be snow or freezing temperatures, but it's not good news for tourism operators already stressed by the mild season thus far."

Aside from the people who earn their living from winter sports and tourism, or selling home heating, most Canadians love mild weather in the winter. Today, it was almost 50 degrees F today (10 degrees C), and the parking lot at the golf course across the road from us was packed.

Cities are saving millions because there's no snow to be removed. Homeowners are saving big on heating oil and gas. There's less salt being poured onto the roads, so less salt pollution, and less damage to vehicles and to roadside plants.

Given all this good news, some are saying, "Bring on global warming." I'm not so sure, but I'm rather fond of winter, which I think is easier to take when you live in the country, rather than the city.

I wonder what this warm spell is going to mean for plants that are starting to wake up months before they should? Are the insect pests that usually get killed off by the cold going to be out in full force this summer?

Though most of us enjoy a mild winter, there's always the suspicion that we're going to pay for it down the line - that's just the Canadian way.