Thursday, April 28, 2011

Quiet Rain

It is raining today. I don't know when it last rained here, probably October. This spring we have had slush and rain mixed with snow, but this is the first time we are having rain all by itself. It is a very gentle rain, one that you don't even realize is falling until you look into a puddle or go outside. When I dropped the kids off at school Allan was asking why he had to wear his raincoat since it isn't raining, only to step out of the van and realize that it was. He thought this was fascinating and when I left I could hear him trying to explain to his friends that where we lived before "you always KNEW when it was raining before you got out of the car". Obviously he has forgotten the torrential downpours we had last summer which led to the flash flood!

I don't think this rain will last, I can already see the clouds have lifted on the horizon (it is handy living where it is flat, sometimes). It has been a nice rain though, hopefully it will wash some of the dust/dirt away that was left when the snow melted, freshen everything up a bit. Although I have been thoroughly enjoying the beautiful sunny weather we have been having, sometimes a rainy day isn't so bad.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Meltdown

This year, spring was a little later in arriving. In each of the past years that we have lived here, we have missed the "big melt" while we have been away for spring break... this year, we got to witness it. It was actually kind of fascinating, watching the piles and mountains of snow disappear - and they weren't slow about it! These huge piles of snow have basically created a huge layer of water over almost the entire town - there have been rather large rivers running down the sides of the roads and the kids have thoroughly enjoyed the mud that is everywhere.

Every year, the Kinsmen's Club hosts an Easter egg hunt at the park beside our house. This is the first year we have been in town for it, so we were happy to join in and we met up with quite a few of the kids friends too. It was great fun; they had the kids in different age groups and all of them had to find two hard-boiled eggs with numbers on them. Kids ages 6 and under had to find pink eggs in the playground, ages 7-9 had to find blue eggs a little bit into the forest and the 10 -12 year olds had to find white eggs, deeper into the forest... all in the snow. They gave the kids about 15 minutes to find their eggs then they called them all back and they drew a grand prize winning number for three of the eggs and all the kids got a chocolate bunny. It really was well done, and fun!

Anyway, a day or two later we went back to the park to look through the forest to play and find eggs that weren't found during the easter egg hunt (we found about 10!). It was astonishing to see how much snow had disappeared in those two days and to see the creeks that had cropped up... we also found something else in the forest, she had left a lot of "chocolate eggs" in the spirit of the easter egg hunt!

We didn't notice her until we heard her "huff"... we were pretty darn close at the time!!
You can see the moose behind us, an also how much the snow melted just two days after the easter egg hunt!

Later on, during that long weekend, we decided to take the new (to us) little quad out for a test ride and we had a lot of fun there too. We were up on a flat on top of a hill, that eventually goes down to the Beaton River. I rode the quad for a bit and let each of the kids have a turn riding it (with me on the back)... Maria did great, she rode a few laps very carefully and slowly. Then Allan hopped on and pegged the gas full tilt! He was good once things were explained a bit more, but boy oh boy, the kid likes speed!

Just before I let the "speed-demon" have a turn driving!

Meanwhile, just over a little hill from where we were riding, the kids found a stream that had formed from the snow run-off. It was a pretty fast moving stream and the kids (and us too!) had great fun floating things down the creek and watching it go over the waterfall at the edge of the field.

Maria and Allan found a bunch of bones from some large animal, I am thinking it was a moose, but there wasn't a head so I can't be certain. They had been there for a while but were still fascinating! We also found some animal tracks which I am thinking were probably lynx?

I have since been told that the bones were from more than one animal... the spine you see here hubby thinks it is a deer, whereas the leg and hip bones were BIG and likely from a moose.

Now, my front yard is completely free of snow, my backyard is almost free of snow (the places where it had been piled and where the sun doesn't shine yet are still snowy), I have raked the snow-mould off my lawn and I have my first flowers blooming. I love this time of year!

I am pretty sure this is a hyacinth, but it is tiny... only about 2 or 3 inches tall

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fingers crossed...

We are supposed to be getting a fair chunk of snow over the next two days... after the beautiful weather that we have been having, that would truly SUCK. I am hoping the weatherman was wrong and meant to say rain...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spring Break!!

We were away for spring break. We left winter behind and went down to the Island for Allan's cardiologist check-up and for some long overdue visiting. We were short on time, as seems to be the case each year, but we crammed in visits and got to have some wonderful time catching up with almost everyone! The check-up went really well and we got to have a quick snoop around Victoria that afternoon for our annual "Breakwater walk", which has showed us something interesting each year. This year the point of interest was the otters... well, I don't know if it was interesting or disturbing (both) but apparently it is mating season and it was not nice - so we got all kinds of questions...

Then off to Squamish for a visit to our old hometown... where we got to have more great visits and see so many of "our" people in such a short amount of time. Hubby and I even got to go out for an anniversary dinner - just the two of us!! The grandparents took the kids to the fair that evening and they had a great time too.

The entire time we were down on the Coast and the Island the weather was typical for this time of year... soggy, gray, little bits of sun but then more gray and soggy. I was surprised this year, by the moisture on the Island in particular. Everything was soggy and rot was prevalent - it seems I have been living in a dry climate for long enough to notice it much more acutely than before. Squamish wasn't quite as rotten and wet, but it wasn't far behind... perhaps because it hasn't completely thawed from winter yet? As soon as we left Squamish and were heading up the highway towards Whistler, there were snowbank still along the edges of the road.

Our drive home was fabulous. Driving over the Duffy Lake Road has, in the past few years, been an adventure in brake repairs... this year we managed to (narrowly) avoid any brake issues. The roads were mostly bare and clear the entire drive up - with only little bits of snow falling through the 100 Mile to Prince George areas, but nothing sticking to the ground. Once we passed Prince George, it was beautiful, sunny, warm and great driving. Which is good because that tends to be the boring part of the drive, so it is good to be able to drive at a decent speed! After we passed Chetwynd we noticed Northern Lights in the sky as well as a beautiful night sky, full of stars. We followed the Northern Lights all the way home, watching them change shape, stretch and fold... we arrived back home just before 11pm absolutely exhausted.

The next morning we awoke to a beautiful blue sky and temperatures up to about +8 degrees, the snow banks are still there but they are melting quickly (causing small streams to run down most roads - and therefore requiring us to buy the kids new rubber boots!) The kids started back to school wearing lighter jackets, no more snow-pants or winter boots (the rubber ones from now on!). It is surprising how warm it is - the kids both complained last night of being WAY too hot at bedtime; even though our heater didn't turn on yesterday. It feels much warmer here, than it did on the Island/Coast, even though the temperatures are about the same... it is also surprising how long the days are already. We left here just after the equinox, but already the days are considerably longer than the nights, and it is still bright out at the kids bedtime.

Spring is here.