Monday, February 19, 2007

Dirty secret: Winter is easier in the country

After last week's almost record snowfall, I was stuck by how lovely the snow was on our farm, and how easy it was to manage - and how ugly it was in town.

The big reason? In a word: salt. Here, we simply used the snowblower to clear the lane and now we have nice crunchy, hard-packed snow, which is easy to walk on and not the least bit slippery.

But in town, the post-snowstorm scene was quite different: the parking lots at the grocery store and drug store were filled with nasty, dirty slush because of all the road salt that was spread, supposedly for safety reasons.

Not only does the salt wreck your boots and eat away at cars, ruin plants and pollute waterways and poison wildlife, but I find that the slush it creates actually makes pavement more slippery to walk on. So much for safety!

No wonder most Canadians hate winter. I did too until I discovered that when you live in the country, winter is beautiful, and stays beautiful, even after a snowstorm. It's also way easier to clear snow (esp. with a tractor) because there's lots of space to put it, and you avoid salty, dirty, slippery slush.

Another benefit of country living: Because there's no need to look at all fashionable, you can wear boots, a coat, tuque, mittens, flannel-lined jeans and outdoor protective pants, and go outside and stay toasty warm.

And the biggest reason for country gardeners to love winter? You get a rest from weeding and mowing, and there are no deerflies.


  1. The Missis also just brought home “the premier issue of a new magazine from Better Homes and Gardens called Nature's Garden”. That comment “Gorgeous photographs of her garden accompany each entry.” Made me visit and whilst I have yet to dig back into your archives to see all of those photos I did enjoy your pictures of the recent snowfall. I suspect that you are slightly south of us here in Grey Bruce but we all got buried. The sun shining in our solarium / greenhouse attached to the house is giving me the gardening itch and I shall soon start seeding out there, but must try and hold off a couple more weeks. I always seem to start too early and have plants all over and nowhere to put them! Any way I just thought you might be close enough to join the Rural Gardens network or perhaps you already are. We are considering it but our property is better described as a forest wildflower trail network rather than a “garden”. I will be dropping in regularly to read your blog, at least until spring gardening and trail work gets my attention.

  2. Actually, I'm near Hamilton, Ont., so alas not close enough to join your rural garden network. But I have visited your neck of the woods, and have enjoyed visiting several wonderful gardens there, including Keppel Croft Farm and Larkwhistle, plus a couple of other of the smaller gardens. Good luck with your summer season.

    Cheers, Yvonne

  3. What a great post, Yvonne. I grew up in the country but have lived in the city for the past decade or so... the difference between the dirty city winter snow and the pristine country snow never even occurred to me. It makes perfect sense now, of course.

  4. Anonymous3:02 PM

    Ha! I love this post. It gives me a peek into "real" winter, which we don't get in central Texas, and I just love the beautiful photo of your house in the snowy garden. Makes me want to buy some snow boots and flannel and join you up there.

  5. Thanks, Pam. You would certainly need your woolies here tonight: it's going down to almost 0 degrees F, and that's without the windchill. Brrrrrr!!!

    Cheers, Yvonne


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-Yvonne, aka Country Gardener