Wednesday, December 17, 2008

SNOW - Donna Alward

When I lived in Calgary, a lot of people would complain about the winter. Sure, we usually had a couple of desperately arctic cold snaps where it would dip somewhere around the -40 C mark. Brrrr. And if you drove a little over an hour, you'd be in the mountains and there was lots of the white stuff. But Calgary itself - well, a heavy snowfall warning or winter storm advisory is anything around 10 cm which makes me laugh. We really didn't get a lot of snow. Lots of blow, but not huge accumulations. And the snow we got rarely stayed. A warm chinook wind would come over the Rockies and drip drip - it would all be gone. This is a pic of me last year, feeding birds in Carburn Park in December.

After 12 years, I'd kind of forgotten about winters in the Maritimes - until recently.

We had 2 November storms, one that put the power out for 12 hours and the second - only three days later - that dumped 3o cm of snow on us and that had a 12 hour wait for the snowplow to clear our street. And this is just the beginning. My kids were thrilled. And it brought back all the things I remember about growing up on the East Coast and the multi-functionality of snow.

There's the obvious - snowman building, snow forts and snowball fights. In Alberta, with the exception of a late spring storm, the snow isn't that WET. So it doesn't stick together. Here, though, it tends to be heavier and you can roll to your hearts content.

It's a bit of a drive, but there's downhill skiing - not quite the same as Lake Louise or Sunshine Village in Banff, but there are several smaller ski hills that are lots of fun.

There's cross country skiing - boy, did I do this a lot as a kid - and one of the things I love about where we're living now is that we are close to the power lines, where there are always snowmobile trails to ski on. I might have to invest in a new pair and get in shape! It's brilliant exercise.

And of course, if you're not into cross country, there's snowshoeing. Actually, a bit more practical as there is no need for special boots, and they work better than skis when there is no path and the snow is deeper (which is why they were invented in the first place).

Then, there's indoor fun with snow. Two things in particular - maple candy and ice cream. We didn't make it often, but there were times after a fresh snowfall that my mum would heat up maple syrup and pour it over a pan of snow to make taffy. Mmmmm. And one of my favourite memories of winter growing up was homemade ice cream. We'd have a few neighbours in, go out to Currie's farm and get fresh cream, Dad would get coarse salt...Mum would mix up the cream bit and Dad would pack the ice cream maker with snow, and then it would crank away. We always made a tub of vanilla and one other kind. And mum always took strawberries she'd frozen out of the freezer and mashed them and mixed them with sugar to put on top. We'd have a grand old time while it all set in the freezer, then take it out and have a wonderful treat.

All in all, despite the shoveling and the sometimes inconvenience, there's a lot to be said for snow.

What are your favourite things about the white stuff?


Helen said...

I live in Australia so no snow for me unfortunatly so I am going to go with your sugestions they sound like lots of fun I would love to have a white Christmas one day.
Have a wonderful Chrissy and New Year

Have Fun

Donna Alward said...

Thank you Helen!

I can't imagine having Christmas somewhere with no snow...even if we are green or brown on the day, we know it won't last long, lol!

What do you do for Christmas? Seeing as it's summer for you?

Liz Fielding said...

Seeing it in a picture? :)

Donna Alward said...

Ok, so Liz cleary does not have a love affair with snow. :-)

Do you get much where you are, Liz? or do you stick with mostly rain?

Donna Alward said...


Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Donna, I agree with Liz.....seeing it in pictures. Today we're expecting more of the white stuff and the city literally shuts down. I'm sitting here at work crossing my fingers that it waits until I get home tonight.

EllenToo said...

I've almost always lived in the southern part of the US and have never seen snow that was more than a couple of inches thick and rarely lasted more than two days and it was melting the whole time.

Helen said...


I still do the traditional Christmas lunch which just makes the house hotter but I wouldn't have it any other way although lots of Aussies have big seafood and salad lunches by the pool and lots go to the beach with their families

Have Fun

Gina said...

I'am dreaming of a white christmas. Ok good thing you can't hear me sing. For me no snow at all in my country. there are two seasons, Rainy and Dry. We are more likely to get rain for Christmas. Donna I was back up on my TBR pile and I just read the The Soilder's Homecoming. What a beautiful book that shows second chances and true romance.

Estella said...

My favorite thing about the white stuff is me being inside by a nice warm fire.

Donna Alward said...

Oh Gina, thank you! That was unexpected and a lovely treat!

All these people without snow! I can't imagine! LOL

Michelle Douglas said...

No snow in my part of the world I'm afraid, Donna. And while I love it for its novelty value (the whole 2 times I've ever seen it), it would be way too bizarre to have a white Christmas. How would we play back yard cricket? And what about surfing at the beach and gobbling watermelon until the juice runs down your chin? (Frozen watermelon juice hanging off one's chin is such a bad look!)

Merry Christmas! I hope you enjoy your snow.


Maureen said...

The best thing about snow is that it's a good excuse to stay home and read a good book.

Cheri2628 said...

It rarely snows where I live, maybe once a year. It is a fun novelty, but it can create hassles because we aren't used to it. Schools and businesses close, and traffic snarls. You see, we get a lot of ice along with the snow. Still, I like to see it because it is so pretty.

Michele L. said...

Ok, I guess I am one of the rare people here who are not loving the snow. I live in Northwest Indiana and have had to much it already!
Last night we had a snowstorm mixed with ice. The driving conditions were bad this morning so I wound up going into work late.

Our winter started early this year too. It started right at the beginning of November with a snowfall of 12 inches. It was very pretty!

I will have to say though, it certainly does not feel like Christmas to me when there is no snow. Got to have snow for Christmas! All sparkly and white while we are snuggled up warm in the house with family, celebrating Christmas! That is the real magic of Christmas!