27 January 2012

Freezing rain

Another morning of freezing rain and no school buses. We seem to have had more freezing rain this winter than any other since we've been in Canada. Although as I type, it's turning into snow. Or 'transitioning' into snow, as the Weather Network people would say.

24 January 2012

Sunset, January 22, 2012

Today is grey and windy and all the snow has gone. So I'll cheer myself up with this photo from Sunday evening. I know it looks like I've fiddled with the colours, but I haven't. This was just how it looked.

15 January 2012

Winter warmer

It's very lovely outside, but very cold with it. You need a nourishing, central-heating sort of meal on days like this. This cabbage soup is popular in our house and it's easy (and cheap!) to make.

I feel that cabbage soup has a bit of an image problem. There's the cabbage soup diet, for one thing, which I've never really looked at (until right then) but which somehow seems very depressing and January-ish. Then there's the nothing-but-cabbage soup diet of the Bucket family in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which I've mentioned before (in the context of the 2009 cabbage glut). Cabbage soup just sounds boring and desperate.

I don't have a cabbage glut this year - it was a bad year generally for the cabbage family in our garden - so this cabbage was one I had to pay for. It's huge though, and this recipe only used a quarter of it. Cabbage is cheap to buy and lasts a long time in the fridge, which makes it a useful vegetable to have around.

The soup is very simple: onions, garlic, carrots, cabbage, lentils (for a bit of protein), some good stock (I used ham stock) and tomato sauce (in this case it was some of the sauce I froze down in the summer, but a can of crushed tomatoes would work just as well). You just fry the diced onion, garlic and carrots in butter or oil, then stir in the shredded cabbage, add the stock, lentils and tomatoes and then simmer for 30 minutes until the cabbage is tender. Let it sit off the heat for 10-15 minutes to get to a comfortable temperature for eating.

I was making bread anyway this morning, so I used some of the dough to make rolls to eat with the soup.

Ice trees

I nearly always have my camera with me when I go walking, but today I didn't take it, thinking that there wouldn't be anything new to see as the weather had been still and clear. But tiny, delicate ice formations had grown up overnight, so I had to go back to the house and find my camera. I should know by now just to always take it with me...

14 January 2012

Proper winter

Now, that's more like it. Lots of wind and steady snow all through yesterday have left us with a much more normal January landscape.

The blown snow makes interesting drifts and coats objects in unpredictable ways. The grass at the back of this next photo stands clear, while the bent blades in front of them have been caked with snow. To my eyes, there's something arachnid about them.


12 January 2012


The weather still hasn't quite managed to get into full winter mode. This morning we woke to freezing rain and the cancellation of the school buses. You could probably hear the children's cries of disappointment over missing a day of school from where you are. Then the rain turned to snow, then back to rain again. It's very strange weather, as though a control switch somewhere hasn't quite clicked over to 'Winter' from 'Fall'. It reminds me of last summer, where it took a long time to get properly hot.

10 January 2012

Getting through winter

At this time of year, my mother's great joy was in watching the slow lengthening of the days. She was always happier once the longest night was past and she could report to the rest of us the hours of sunset and sunrise in the newspaper as they slowly notched respectively forwards and backwards to mark the arrival of spring.

I do that too, to some extent, although the newspaper has been replaced by various websites which give the same information. The other indicator I keep an eye on is the average daily high and low temperatures. Right now we're at the coldest point of the year. For our nearest weather station (the forces base at Trenton), the lowest temperatures are -3°C/26°F as the average daily high and -13°C/7°F as the average low. The period of time when this is the case starts on December 27th and ends on January 15th, when those figures both rise by one degree centigrade. We then stay at the -2/-12 point until February 3rd when the averages go up again.

During February the changes happen more frequently, so that by the end of that month we're at an average high of 4°C/39°F and an average low of -6°C/21°F. It's probably very sad of me, but I've even marked these changes in temperature on my calendar as a way of helping to negotiate the month.

Do you have a similar coping mechanism for the cold, dark stretches of the year?

Please don't comment to tell me that you live in an area where there aren't any cold, dark months because that really won't help me at all. ;-)

03 January 2012


That's the lake near our house. Still unfrozen in early January. That's not something we've seen so far since we've been living here. It usually freezes over at around the time of the winter solstice and then melts again at the spring equinox. I thought it would freeze last night, as the temperature dropped to -15°C/5°F, but here it is, still sparkling the sun back at us.

The stream has frozen again, making its usual interesting shapes. I like the rabid-jaw effect of the ice in this shot: