Friday, April 18, 2008

Yes, Virginia Louise, there is a snowman... my backyard.

Louise, a friend of mine from Blogland, emailed me on Friday to tell me about the sudden weather change in her part of the world. She lives in the UK. I live in Canada, not the Atlantic part, but all the way across to the West Coast. Louise and I have a lot of land and water between us. But Friday it seemed as though geography changed its dimensions, because we too had weather from the proverbial brass monkey. Five days earlier, we'd had temperatures hitting 24ºC. Tee-shirt and shorts weather. I planted Walla Walla onions, blueberry bushes, peas, carrots, radishes and a few early scarlet runners. We had breakfast on the sundeck. We walked around without coats or sweaters. Then Friday came, the skies hunkered down, and we got hail.

You know, hard white balls of ice falling heavily from the sky? Frigid temperatures?

And later, just when we thought it was all a bad dream, we had snow in the night. Snow!

Enough to make the ground white. Enough to make the daffodils droop. Enough to make me turn the light back on in my cold frame. Enough to make me dig out my sweatshirt from the dirty clothes pile (I hate laundry so it tends to remain in the "pile" proportions). I felt like Lady MacBeth: "the milk of human unkindness is freezing all over my bloody perennials." I could have done the "Out damned Spot!" bit but our snow, sadly, was more than just a spot. It was more in the large-and-annoying-drift vein.

We had to cancel our Friday track and field practice it came so fast and furious. We showed up, but there were only two hardy mothers willing to trek through the blinding white sleet to keep time for the 50 metre. These two women are in the Teutonic bloodline, I'm sure. They are tall. Their legs are long. They gleam with ruddy blonde health. They also stride (their kids stride too). I hunched into my feeble anorak, feeling a little on the short side, and watched them stride off with a falling heart. I so did not want to go off into that good night that snowy day. I felt a bit like Cassandra: "It's too cold for this!" "You'll get wet!" "I might freeze to death!" My kids raced off, thrilled that someone was finally on the same wavelength. After twenty minutes, thankfully, everyone realized the futility of such a venture. I was by that time sitting in a friend's van, watching them. I am, I freely admit, a weather wimp.

The kids were upset after this sudden cancellation, so I consoled them with a blast of Good King Wenceslas from our Naxos Carols of the Advent CD. I know, it hasn't been Christmas for ages, but for some reason my kids like to sing this song together at least once a day, particularly if we're in the van. I've almost forcibly encouraged them to try a new carol, but they always revert to this one. And by some fluke I'd dug the CD out from the Christmas box that morning, so I popped it in and listened to their delighted shrieks of "Is this _______????"

Then we went to see some newborn lambs at a friend's house, drink some tea, watch FDPG inflict herself on an woefully unsuspecting 12 year old, offer said 12 year old our deepest condolences, and drive home. The snow fell all the while.

Saturday morning Richard and I awoke to find that snow had fallen all the night. We didn't have more than an inch or two, but in my not in the least bit humble opinion it was an inch or two too many for April. I could see my shorts and t-shirt pining away in the corner. Nevertheless, being the April fools for frigid weather good parents that we were, off we went to take the boys to their Scout outing. FDPG and I hung out a bit at the library - where FDPG found a Nausicaa graphic novel - and a bit at a coffee house, where we read the graphic novel and drank hot chocolate. Many hours and many warm layers of clothing (to keep out the biting wind) later, the day was over. I went to bed hoping it would all disappear and never come back.

Sunday update: The snow is gone and the high today was 19ºC. The shorts and t-shirts were back out. The Pig From Guinea was frolicking in the grass. FDPG was basking. The boys were rolling down the hill and flinging Lego everywhere. The Richard was mowing. The Sheila was gardening. And laundrying. And baking. A good day was had by all.


Becky said...

It disappeared because it headed over here.

We are in day three of some crazy spring storm. Saturday and Sunday we had an honest to goodness blizzard, of all things in April, and while things have been downgraded to a winter weather watch or alert (I can't remember -- alls I know is that it's snowing and blowing, and I've never seen so much snow on our deck).

One more day to go apparently, and the rest of the week with subzero temps. Meanwhile, my morning glory seedlings are starting to get leggy. I think I'll have to transplant them into bigger peat pots, and just encourage to them to grow more slowly.

And to think that a week ago Sunday we were revelling in t-shirt weather. Argh.

Worst of all, apparently we are to expect a cooler than average May, and a warmer and drier June-August. None of which makes for good farming or gardening...

sheila said...

Argh is right. I was starting to think that it might just be spring when BAM! we get all this cold and wind. This was the first proper snow we've had this winter, though, so I guess I shouldn't get too indignant (even if I want to).

"Cooler that average" is a phrase I do not like in the least, although I suppose it's all relative, depending on where you live. Sigh. Poor morning glories. I still haven't broken it to my tomato seedlings that they'll have to huddle inside for a few more weeks.


Sheila, today it has been baking hot and I have been outside in shorts. A few days ago it was freezing with hail. Where is the logic in that? x