Sunday, October 29, 2006

blast of winter

Looking east out the dining room window, towards the laneway.

Very windy conditions that started in the wee hours of morning, brought with them a few snow flurries. The sun is peeking through the odd time, but 3 degrees Celsius doesn't feel very warm and some of the snow is sticking around as you can see.

In expectation of the winds, I went around closing windows last night before going to bed. Although the house is on the crest of a hill, and the winds coming off the lake buffet the house quite a bit, there are enough trees left between the house and the lake to soften the blow somewhat. In the summertime, I appreciate the wind because it keeps the bugs down.

A piece of aluminum siding has blown onto the back deck from somewhere. It doesn't belong to this house, even though I expect the eaves troughs to pull loose anytime soon!

I'm glad to be indoors today. I have the thermostat set at about 15-17 degrees Celsius. Let's see, that would be what in Fahrenheit?? Anyway, I was surprised this morning to get out of bed and feel quite cozy. I have been in the habit of getting out of bed and nudging the thermostat up because I usually feel it's so cold and damp. Today, I don't even have socks on. And that just isn't how I normally cope in this drafty old house! And noooooo! I'm not having a private tropical moment/power surge either!

It's wishful thinking, actually. It won't last. It would be nice to keep the thermostat down at 15 degrees or less to cut down on my oil bills. But I know, whatever metabolic thing is happening this morning, I will not be able to go much longer without putting some socks on my feet. And if I'm not actively moving around, physically active, I'll have to nudge that thermostat upwards just a tad closer to 20 degrees. And...the furnace will kick in and start gobbling up oil...

I walked to the mailbox yesterday afternoon and picked up the soggy newspaper. The laneway is 0.8km one way and at the end nearest the road, it passes through a mostly deciduous woods. Misty ran like a deer, enjoying being able to stretch out. As she started yoo-hooing that she had found something, I heard: "kik-kik-kik-kik", softly repeated a couple of times, from the direction Misty took off towards. Misty passed under a large dead tree, not even looking up. Up in the tree was a pair of pileated woodpeckers, Dryocopus pileatus. That gave me a little thrill. I watched them for a while, but my bare fingers were getting cold, gripping the soggy newspaper.

Earlier, around noon, when I let Misty out, movement across the laneway caught my eye. A large ?mink, ?weasel was loping across the grass from the sheds towards the abandoned house. Not seeing them often enough I can't tell from a silhouette and gait as I can with other critters (especially skunk, porcupines, deer, foxes, coyotes, and turkeys).

Misty didn't notice it and I was kind of glad. She seems to be pretty nimble and other than a cut or two on her face from raccoons, she has stayed out of any major trouble. Now I get to thinking, maybe she has tangled with fiercer foes than I previously imagined, like mink or weasels!

Last summer while I was walking along the river in town, downstream from the falls, I met a man standing on the edge of the cliff by the river. As I was trying to photograph the falls I asked him where the best vantage point was. He was too excited to answer my question.

You see, he had just photographed a lynx. He had watched the lynx make its way down the cliffs across the river. The lynx had climbed all the way down the cliffs to the water's edge to get a drink. The man, who had been parked in the Sobey's (a grocery store chain) parking lot, had been able to run to his car for his camera, all in time to get a picture of the lynx.

Yup, we get lynx wandering right into town here. Actually, wandering is not correct. The lynx obviously knew exactly where it was going.

And, was I jealous I had missed seeing it by minutes? hah.

Oh, BTW, I'm still not feeling cold. It just goes to prove my prior observation: it's true, but I don't know why, that -20 degrees can often feel warmer than, say, -3 degrees! I'm still sitting here without my socks.

But the howling winds continue and I should not be surprised if we lose our electricity at some point today.


Blogger Annie in Austin said...

Those 'private tropical moment/power surges' can be useful if you're in a moderately cold area- sometimes you can wear a lighter weight-jacket instead of a bulky coat! They're not so useful here, where the temperatures will reach 30ºC on October 31st according to tomorrow's forecast.

I envy your pileated woodpecker sightings!


11:27 a.m.  
Blogger Kati said...

well, thankfully my personal experience with menopause hasn't lived up to the frightening predictions. so far, I'm bumbling along pretty comfortably without hormone replacement therapy, as per my personal beliefs that are con the medication of a normal life-cycle event.

9:20 p.m.  

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