Predictably, the mild winter I wrote about in early January didn't last and we are now enduring daytime arctic cold with wind chill factors around minus 24 degrees C. For you Fahrenheit folks, that's minus 11 degrees.
Keeping warm when walking the dogs - now on snowshoes - means layering like crazy. I wear two pairs of socks, flannel-lined jeans under outdoor protective pants, a turtleneck with fleece sweater over top, my usual dog-walking winter coat, plus heavy mitts, face mask, hat and hood.
The dogs (my Toby, the white one, and his Buddy, who belongs to my neighbor) are happy, but I've shortened their outings, as they're dressed the same as always.
There's not a ton of snow, but with all the blowing what there is has drifted deep in many spots. The snowshoes make walking a lot easier. I'm a convert to Mountain Pro snowshoeswhich are really easy to use. You slip them on over your boots, fasten the clips and start walking.
It remains bitterly cold, about 10 degrees below normal, but is expected to warm up a bit by the weekend. That's good: the most worrisome scene I saw yesterday was half a dozen robins scrambling for food at the side of the road. What are they doing here already? Perhaps they were fooled by the mild January and never bothered leaving.
I'm a keen gardener and garden writer and photographer, living on a country property of 10 acres near Hamilton, Ont.
I love ornamental grasses and easy-care, contemporary garden styles. In my garden I try to work with nature, instead of fighting it.
To email me, just change "at" to the usual: country.gardening[at]gmail[dot]com