Warmer Winters

“-24 °C-35 °C
Feels like: -32
POP: 10h Snow: 0cm 24h Rain: 0mm
Wind: NW25km/h
Average High: -11°C
Average Low: -19°C
Extreme High:2.8°C[1996]
Extreme Low:-40.6°C[1916]
Highest Precip:6.6mm[1935]”
 
See Lockport, Manitoba – Monthly Calendar
I hate winter. It’s harder to get enough exercise, food, clothing, shelter, and snow piles up. It doesn’t drain away under gravity. Damned hares stand on the snowdrifts as the snow piles up and eat the bark off my fruit trees from the bottom to the top… Arggghhhh!

Then, there’s the cold. When I was younger, another layer under some wind-breaker would do the trick. Now, I can’t keep extremities warm except on certain days of the week… I’ve even tried those iron-rusting or charcoal-burning hand/foot/back warmers. They work but you can’t turn them off and they aren’t $cheap enough nor do they have a long shelf-life. I have a lot of extremities. Then, there are glasses. My previous glasses made of very thick glass used to suck the heat right out of my face. My present glasses are much lighter and plastic. They are clearly better but I still get tunnel vision when I return to the warm/moist interior of my home.

No. I don’t miss the cold winters of earlier decades. Look at the data. The coldest day of this winter is forecast to be -35C near my home. That’s easily 10C warmer than I have experienced. It’s USDA Zone 3b. We used to be in 3a, just north of ND. Soon I will be able to grow trees in my yard (hares notwithstanding) that would have been impossible a decade ago. This could be a flash in the pan but I don’t think so. The difference is too extreme and too long sustained. I remember winters in the 1950s when I was a boy. We played in five foot deep snowdrifts all winter long. Now, deer still can walk around my property. There’s snow but it’s not knee-deep. In the 1960s my city would shut down several times per year with snow/cold/ice-fog… We used to reach -40C for days on end. I can’t remember the last time we had -40C here. Some readers may not think there’s much difference between -35C and -40C but it’s a bunch of apple-trees, plums, grapes and others. If your winter reaches -40C regularly there are a lot fewer choices when it comes to choosing perennial plants. In Winnipeg, a lot of nurseries are stocking Zone 4 plants and they are surviving. TLW has bought some that are doing quite well in my yard north of the city.

In our “temperate” zone, all trees shut down for the winter and store sap/energy in the roots. Hard freezing at greater depths of the soil kills those roots. Cold/wind/sun kill off the buds in the stems and branches that sprout new growth in spring. Natural selection has given us species with sufficient anti-freeze and thick skin to survive cold winters but there are many wonderful species that can survive slightly milder winters. We are there.

I don’t know how much warmer winters will get but I’m loving this change briefly. It will likely benefit me for the rest of my life. I’m worried though that my descendants may have less water and worse summers as time goes on. In the short term winters are improving here. For two winters I only had to clear my driveway of snow a few times rather than weekly. This winter I’ve already had two goes and I could be done. The snowblower is getting harder to start but it’s 26 years old and I suspect the fuel-filter is becoming plugged. It only runs well on a full tank of fuel. I’ve ordered a supply of inline fuel-filters from Amazon… I wish all my “winter” problems were as easily solved. Nature is part way to taking care of the temperature problem.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.

This entry was posted in family, food, horticulture, technology, weather and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Warmer Winters

  1. dougman says:

    “No one else showed up for work that day.”

    That should have been a hint in life.

  2. dougman wrote, “LOL, sure ya right.”

    In the arctic I walked to work at -40C and 60km/h wind. I wasn’t cold but I found the air difficult to breathe. Visibility was about 5m in blowing snow. The biggest risk was getting lost as there were no landmarks. I could see my feet and little else. I made it… No one else showed up for work that day.

    I wear a parka like this, , a full face-mask and inner hood like this, boots like these, and mitts like these, and I plugged leaks with a scarf that was a foot and a half wide and five feet long.

  3. dougman says:

    “I don’t need heat if I’m out of the wind and wearing my gear. ”

    LOL, sure ya right. With no heat in your little EV, the outside cold and wind will suck all the heat out. I should know, try flying in the winter time with no operable heating system in a 172.

  4. dougman wrote, “you want to purchase a $15K CAD three-wheel electric car that has no heat to speak of”.

    I don’t need heat if I’m out of the wind and wearing my gear. I’m OK with 13mm felt socks and moose-hide mittens and a CDN military parka with a couple of sweaters underneath. I’m not above opening the windows enough for ventilation if the car doesn’t have it to keep frost off the windscreen. … Really, I’m OK with driving it for spring/summer/fall if it’s not a winter car. It will give me cheap transportation, more practice driving and more independence from TLW who has first dibs on the Lexus. She’s been driving that Lexus for a decade now and it resembles some of the Humvees I’ve seen operating in Iraq, with many scars of battle. Perhaps she will want a Solo EV of her own… so we might buy two. They are very practical for almost everything she does except hauling grand kids around. Our kids could do that.

  5. dougman says:

    “Damned hares stand on the snowdrifts as the snow piles up and eat the bark off my fruit trees from the bottom to the top… Arggghhhh!”

    Don’t rage Pogsey, told you your trees are going to wither and die.

    “Now, I can’t keep extremities warm except on certain days of the week…”

    See, and you want to purchase a $15K CAD three-wheel electric car that has no heat to speak of.

    “We used to be in 3a, just north of ND. Soon I will be able to grow trees in my yard (hares notwithstanding) that would have been impossible a decade ago.”

    There is nothing stopping you then and now from growing any kind of a tree in your front or backyard. Just build a greenhouse. Also not long ago, your residence was under an ice sheet 2 kilometers thick.

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