Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Winter Wonderland or Bleak Midwinter?

Snow pile this morning at 7:15 am

Jayne at Journey Through Grace wrote today about a solo she is practising with her church choir. It is the number one favourite carol according to a BBC poll as reported in someone else's recent blog post. (I cannot remember who). With all respect to Jayne's lovely singing voice, I do not think she can sing In the Bleak Midwinter with any passion unless she has experienced a real winter. Jayne lives in Georgia where people are lucky to see one brief snowfall a year!

My husband clearing the snow late at night

This morning I drove to the hospital in the dark for my physiotherapy session. We had several centimetres of fresh snow overnight and the roads were unploughed. No schools were cancelled and the day was starting as usual. My husband is getting a little tired of clearing snow almost every day and is making good use of our snowblower. He often uses it before he leaves for work at 6:30 am.

Our working dog

Our dog, Dakota loves the snow. He is a mutt, but has a typical Siberian Husky tail as well as a very thick double coat. We figure that is why he loves the winter and will stay outdoors for hours in the snow on squirrel patrol. He must have a Husky's work ethic but we have no sled for him to pull.

Some birds at our feeders
Red-breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, House Finch, R-B Nuthatch

The birds on the other hand are having more of a challenge finding food with the frequent snow falls. The weather has been very cold and they are using more energy to keep warm. Cardinals, Juncos, Goldfinches, Housefinches, Chickadees, Downy Woodpeckers and Nuthatches visit thoughout the day along with a goodly number of nuisance birds. We do not have a great number of winter bird species at the feeders but I do enjoy their visits.

We visited a place called Misery Bay on Manitoulin Island this summer. I could not find out how it got its name, but recall thinking that winter there would be miserable indeed. It is situated on the west side of the island and would be battered by unhindered winter winds across Lake Huron. Very few people inhabit this area. I must say our area is more hospitable in the winter by far!

I doubt Jayne will pay me a visit before Christmas. It is more likely that I would travel south. But hopefully I have illustrated the meaning of...

Snow had fallen,
Snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter...


  1. I can relate to this. I sit here watching snow falling outside my living room window. Walked briefly up the road to get the mail, not knowing whether to laugh and kick up the snow, or worry about people trying to get home at rush hour with all this accumulation.
    Like your bird pics. They're so cute!

  2. Love the picture of Dakota on the bench!! Dogs are so fun to watch in the snow.

    The bird pics are great. What bird is the one in the lower right hand side. I am not sure if I have seen one of those before.

    If you want you can send some of your snow my way, but only an inch or two please!! ;o)

  3. Your theme for this winter seems to already have been established as snow,snow and more snow. I think ours here in the east will be 'snow today, gone tomorrow', for although it was -18c this morning, it will be +11C with rain for tomorrow.

    I love your photos, especially the one of your husband in the early morning hours snowblowing, and the dog and the crow admid the snow. Both have captured such a sense of the moment as if you freeze stopped (or winter did) time.

    There seems to so much snow so early in some regions this year... I am hoping ours melts away again.

    Thanks for your comment on mine today and the Blue Jays.

  4. After three shovellings today, we finally have a winter wonderland here. But they say it will rain next. :(

  5. Please stay safe in all that snow.Love the bird photos.

  6. After living in Manchester (UK) for several years, I can tell you a winter without snow is bleaker than a winter with it.

    I don't take much stock in S.A.D. or anything like that, but it is the most depressing thing to wake up every morning to a drizzly and bitterly cold (and dark!) Manchester morning, day after day.

  7. LOLOLOL Ruth! Nope, sorry to say I truly can't understand the snow on snow line, or the full and total bleakness since our winters are certainly relatively mild compared to yours! :c) But, I'll sing my heart out just the same.

  8. Wendy- I believe you may be getting even more snow now. Snow is less stressful if you don't have to drive in it.

    Kim- I have labelled my bird pics now. I have 2 of the same RB Nuthatch but the exposure is different. The light has not been good for pictures lately. An inch or two of snow?! not nearly enough ;-)

    Ann- Your area does seem to fluctuate temperature wise a lot this season. We did get temperatures of +2C yesterday with rain, but it is back below zero with snow again today.

    AC- You really do not want a repeat of last year, do you? Three snow shovellings in a day? The first may be fun, but after that...

    Ruth- Thanks...I had to add a fake bird to the dog picture. It is too cold to stand outside to get good pictures.

    Alex- You make a good point. At least the snow brightens things. Manchester does sound bleak for sure.

    Jayne- You know I a wee bit jealous of your mild winters right now :-)

  9. Oh, I do believe in seasonal affective disorder and I'm quite certain I suffered from it in Wisconsin. I recall the bleak and dreary gray days for weeks on end, driving to work on snow-covered freeways in the dark and coming home in the dark.

    Here in the NC mountains, the gray days are the exception and we know they won't last long. It's a great uplifting for the soul.

    I love the bird and dog pictures.

  10. Ruth,

    Seems that since I got this terrible bug that I've missed some of your posts. The wind in my area has been bleak indeed. I am not fond of wind at any time of year but particularly in winter.

    Your photos are perfect, as always. Love Dakota and the birds are adorable. Thanks for reminding me to check my feeder.

    I must go now and read the posts I've missed. Take care of yourself, my friend.


  11. I love the carol "In the Bleak Midwinter"--for a number of years I sang with a choir that used that as its signature number for Christmas concerts. It never fails to move me to tears--especially the last verse.

  12. It looks like Dakota's barking at the metal squirrel sculpture on top of your fence! That's quite a lot of snow out on your deck, Ruth. I'm sure you've got at least twice as much as we do. Fortunately I don't have to drive in it either, I just spend most of the commute admonishing my spouse to slow down and watch where he's going!

  13. Anonymous9:48 pm GMT-5

    I like the snow with sunshine, but we have more days with those long hanging gray clouds. Love the little red nutty at the feeder. I had one last winter and that was a treat, but not this year...

  14. You go, Ruth! No one knows winter like Canadians! I did, however, experience winters like yours and might sing In the Bleak Midwinter with passion, but not as beautifully as Jayne can!

    I live in a winter wonderland through your blog.

    The photo of your husband, Dakota and the crow are great.

  15. NCMW- I do think SAD does affect some people. We do need sunshine and grey days, particularly when people are housebound, are depressing.

    Mary- Hope you are feeling better. It is such a busy time of year.

    KGMom- The last verse is the first I learned as a child and it was sung on its own. It is very special indeed.

    Ruthie- lol! I added the squirrel and bird shapes in my photo editor. There was a squirrel on the wood screen, but by the time I clicked the shutter it had run away. Dakota was still watching where it had been.

    RW- Our pair of RB Nuthatches were here all last winter as well as this summer. Permanent residency!

    Mary- You have done your "real winter" time and I am sure the memory of it is enough. I would like your winters, but not your hot summers.

  16. I ejoy seeing Red-breasted Nuthatches as they are uncommon visitors around here and feisty little birds.-I prefer traveling North rather than south but then again, I've never had to tough out a whole winter in the Great North.


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