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Monday, December 22, 2014

Blame it on La Niña

Posted by Dawn-Ann on June 26, 2011

When I was growing up in northern British Columbia, meteorology was actually one of the “Nature Girl” type interests I held. I paid attention to weather patterns and cloud formations and tried to learn how to predict what the weather was going to do.

I wasn’t terribly good at it, but I did learn a lot.

Recent flooding in northern BC and Alberta, including my hometown of Dawson Creek, and enduring a very long, cool, wet spring in Calgary got me wondering if La Niña was at work. Sure enough, a quick Google search (gotta love modern technology!) showed she was.

The La Niña weather pattern starts when colder than normal water pools along the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

Effects are felt in a shifting jet stream and changing high/low pressure areas. She can create cooler than normal winters with lots of snow along the west coast, higher tornado and hurricane counts, and hot, dry temps in the southern United States.

La Niña is probably responsible for all the freakish weather we’ve had this year. Thankfully, she doesn’t usually last more than a couple of years, although there have been longer episodes.

This video explains a little more about La Niña and is worth watching for the quaint hillbilly accent of the narrator alone! :)

Squirrels in Calgary

Posted by Dawn-Ann on February 12, 2011

I turned around just now and glanced out my office window and did a double take. There, on the stucco of the neighbor’s house, were two squirrels enjoying the sunshine and each other. Enjoy this brief little hint of spring to come. Some day…

Embrace what is

Posted by Dawn-Ann on November 22, 2010

After a long, warm fall, winter has blind-sided us full blast. The wind is cold, the snow is falling and the temperatures are low. They say we should be preparing ourselves for a winter as we remember from childhood – endless snow drifts and endless cold. Bah.

Chickadee in Fish Creek Park, Calgary

Round about the time I got this gem of news, I heard of a fellow who loves winter. He is involved in winter sports and can’t wait to get out in the snow. He wears his frostbite scars as honour badges and raves enthusiastically about his adventures. Wow.

All of this got me thinking about how perspective can change what is. For some, winter is a hardship that we “get through.” We avoid going out. We bundle up and hurry from the house to the car. We fuss and complain and count the days until spring.

But to some folks, winter is a miraculous playground. They relish the cold and snow and dive into it with gusto. They ski and snowmobile and toboggan and snowshoe. Some enjoy running in the winter (though I tend to fall a lot when I try). Some even go camping!

After mulling this over, I’ve decided it is time to change my attitude. I can’t change that we’re having winter – but I can transmute it into something pleasurable. For that reason, starting today, I’m going to embrace winter. I’m going to take gorgeous pictures of it and feel the bracing cold on my face, invigorating my body. I’m going to close my eyes and feel the biting kiss of snowflakes on my skin. I’m going to invite winter into my life and love and nurture it, grabbing every bit of joy and beauty that I can from it.

I’ll keep you posted!

A day in the life of Dawn-Ann

Posted by Dawn-Ann on July 7, 2010

Okay, this is the last video that I’ll bore you with for awhile. It’s just that I’ve been having so much fun with my FLIP camera and my editing software (CyberLink PowerDirector).

I was hanging out with my niece and her fella and my son, Rob. We went to Eau Claire and Princes Island and had dinner at Joey Tomato’s at Eau Claire. Later, my daughter and son-in-law came over with the babies. It was a good day.

Enjoy!

Happy Father’s Day, Dedy!

Posted by Dawn-Ann on June 20, 2010

Getting geared up for the Calgary Stampede

I’m really lucky in that I get to see my Dedy fairly regularly, as he lives just a couple hours’ drive away. Occasionally he comes in for family gatherings and appointments and – even more occasionally – I go out to his town for Legion events and just to hang out camping.

This blog post serves no purpose but to let my Dedy know how much I appreciate him and am so glad he is part of my life. I believe we choose before we’re born who we will be spending our lifetimes with and I do believe I chose well.

So, happy Father’s Day, Dedy. I love you! :)

Calgary now allows backyard chickens

Posted by Dawn-Ann on May 28, 2010

Tom wouldn’t let me raise chickens even if I wanted to but it’s nice to know the option has become available. Wouldn’t it be nice to have fresh eggs and chicken to eat? But they’re a lot of work and mess and I just don’t have the time right now, anyway.

(Though sometimes I think I’d like to keep a noisy rooster on the side next to the people with the yappy little mutts.)

According to this article, the City of Calgary has dropped charges against several folks who are raising chickens in their backyards.

It doesn’t say specifically that the bylaw is going to be changed any time soon, but it does say, “More than 300 cities in North America, including Vancouver and New York, have amended their bylaws to allow urban chickens.”

Dawn-Ann’s garden

Posted by Dawn-Ann on June 27, 2009

It’s been a hectic spring so far and I haven’t had the time I would like to work in my gardens. They need weeding badly, especially my potatoes. But the perennials are still blooming their little hearts out and that makes me happy.

Here is a little video of springtime in Calgary.

The new ice age cometh

Posted by Dawn-Ann on June 6, 2009

It’s snowing today in Calgary. Yes, in June. And while it’s true Calgary has seen snow in each month of the year (sometimes all 12 months of a single year), it took me by surprise and got me thinking.

My poor little tomatoes. Temps didn't get to freezing so I'm hoping they'll be okay.

My poor little tomatoes. Temps didn't get to freezing so I'm hoping they'll be okay.

I’d heard rumours about a coming ice age and the last couple of winters and springs have definitely reminded me more of the ones I experienced growing up in northern British Columbia. So I performed a quick Google search and did find that folks are talking about it.

Climate and temperatures go through long cycles of heating and cooling (with or without man’s CO2 emissions) and ice ages are more the norm. Between ice ages the planet often experiences brief periods of “interglacial” time, where temperatures are balmy and warm. They are usually relatively short-lived and have been known to get much warmer than what we have recently been experiencing. Then the cold and snow starts to settle back in.

Five hundred million years ago, carbon dioxide concentrations were over 13 times current levels; and not until about 20 million years ago did carbon dioxide levels dropped to a little less than twice what they are today.

It is possible that moderately increased carbon dioxide concentrations could extend the current interglacial period. But we have not reached the level required yet, nor do we know the optimum level to reach. 
[Source: The Coming of a New Ice Age]

The question is not if we’ll be plunged into another ice age, but when. Thankfully, these long cycles take tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years to run their course. No point in migrating to warmer climes just yet. Well, unless you want to.

Springtime in Calgary

Posted by Dawn-Ann on May 31, 2009

This spring is reminding me of the ones we had back home in Dawson Creek. Windy and bright – just wish we’d get a bit more rain.

The willow we planted eight years ago or so is now big enough to give us shade on hot, sunny afternoons and I think the new currant bushes are going to like that. They don’t like a lot of direct sunlight.

But speaking of currants – look at this! I’m so excited that I’m getting a ton of little blossoms and berries already! They’re just baby bushes but they’re obviously happy. I’m thinking of black currant jam and maybe even some wine?

Blossoms hanging in clusters on currant bush

Blossoms hanging in clusters on currant bush

 

A closeup of the wee berries beginning to form

A closeup of the wee berries beginning to form

Posted by Dawn-Ann on May 27, 2009

Is this the guy that's been digging holes in my front yard? Looks like he also likes the birdfeeder!

Is this the guy that's been digging holes in my front yard? Looks like he also likes the birdfeeder!