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I don’t know if I have always been a morning person. As I getting older, I find it more difficult to sleep in – plus, it doesn’t help to have a dog who has decided that anything later than 7:30 is past her breakfast (she is doing fine, btw). So, while everyone else is asleep, I have the house to myself. This morning it was a leisurely breakfast following by some time catching up with Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (great web series). When I went back upstairs to refresh my coffee, I was greeted by the sunrise. And yes, it was almost 9:00 but that is the price one pays for living here – short days in the winter.

So, having a camera always at the ready, I grabbed some shots of the morning sun in the front yard.

Soft Morning Light

Soft Morning Light

Rabbit Tracks

Rabbit Tracks

Sunrise

Sunrise

Iridescent Cloud at Sunrise

Iridescent Cloud at Sunrise

The morning light, especially with the sun so low, is quite pretty. I find the morning sun has a ‘fresh’ character about it as opposed to sunset where the light seems more calming. It was -17 C this morning but having the sun out with the beautiful blue sky does help to make up for the chill. And the days are getting longer so these are positive signs.

And yes, I recognize this is Groundhog Day and that a gopher that wasn’t asleep would see its shadow. But for us, six more weeks of winter would mean an early spring, so I’ll take it!

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It has not been the best June we have ever experienced in Edmonton.

To date, the average high temperature has been 18.7 C (65 F). Our normal average high is 22 C (72 F). For the first 18 days of the month, we have only gotten above 20 C seven times. And it has been overcast and rainy for a good part of the month. To add to the fun, last week we had a tornado warning for the city to go along with the regular afternoon thunderstorm. To summarize, the weather sucks.

However, a good friend passed along a poem from the Canadian poet Robert Service, which helps put things in perspective.

Contentment

An Ancient gaffer once I knew,
Who puffed a pipe and tossed a tankard;
He claimed a hundred years or two,
And for a dozen more he hankered;
So o’er a pint I asked how he
Had kept his timbers tight together;
He grinned and answered:
“It maun be Because I likes all kinds o’ weather.

“Fore every morn when I get up
I lights my clay pipe wi’ a cinder,
And as me mug o’ tea I sup
I looks from out the cottage winder;
And if it’s shade or if it’s shine
Or wind or snow befit to freeze me,
I always say: ‘Well, now that’s fine . . .
It’s just the sorto’ day to please me.’

“For I have found it wise in life
To take the luck the way it’s coming;
A wake, a worry or a wife –
Just carry on and keep a-humming.
And so I lights me pipe o’ clay,
And through the morn on blizzard borders,
I chuckle in me guts and say:
‘It’s just the day the doctor orders.’”

A mighty good philosophy
Thought I, and leads to longer living,
To make the best of things that be,
And take the weather of God’s giving;
So though the sky be ashen grey,
And winds be edged and sleet be slanting,
Heap faggots on the fire and say:
“It’s just the kind of day I’m wanting.”

Robert Service From Rhymes of a Roughneck

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We play all the big ones!

Last weekend, we – as in the Big Sky Gliders – had the opportunity to play at the Springboard Hoedown. This festival takes place annually (this is their 11th!) in the Pinevalley Community Hall, north and east of Athabasca, Alberta.

Sign

Not hard to find … if you knew where to look!

It is about a two hour drive north of Edmonton to get there. We arrived around supper and the surprise was our start time – we were going to close down the place – going on at 11:00. We were treated to supper and then settled in to watch the evening’s entertainment. I think we were impressed. The acts ranged from a great solo singer-songwriter from Fort McMurray – Ken Flaherty – to an 11 piece jazz group called the Swing Cats Orchestra. We got on to the stage just about right on time.

The Big Sky Gliders on stage at the Springboard Hoedown

The Big Sky Gliders on stage at the Springboard Hoedown

And we had a great time. I don’t think we were “on” musically as we can be, but we had fun and the audience seemed to have a good time. The first thing we were asked when we finished was, “do you want to come back next year” – to which we replied that we would love to.

Preforming "Ernest and Lucy" - the song with the trickiest lyrics of all.

Preforming “Ernest and Lucy” – our song with the trickiest lyrics of all.

So finishing at midnight, it was time to pack up and head home. Living in the city, you forget about darkness sometimes. The moon had already set and it was DARK – and I loved it. The stars were out, the frogs and crickets were singing away and I enjoyed just taking some time to take in the surroundings. Luckily, there is a Husky service station in Athabasca that is open 24/7, so we fuelled up with coffee and drove home. Made it back around 2:30 after an uneventful drive. We didn’t get paid and didn’t sell any CDs but that didn’t really matter at the end. We met a lot of nice people who were there to make music and have fun – not much else to ask for in my opinion.

Loading up in the dark after the gig

Loading up in the dark after the gig

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April Snow in Downtown Edmonton

April Snow in Downtown Edmonton

Springtime in Edmonton

Springtime in Edmonton

Two days ago, I wrote that the snow was finally gone. I should have known better. Today we had snow squalls move through the area. It is not much consolation, but at least it was warm enough that the snow didn’t accumulate. One of my colleagues told me she passed a church this morning with a sign; “Whoever is praying for snow, please stop“.

 

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Last Bit of Snow

Last Bit of Snow in the Front Yard

Last Bit of Snow in the Front Yard

It has been a long winter. Not particularly cold, but we have had snow on the ground continuously since the first part of October – six straight months. It still isn’t very warm (+5 C when this shot was taken) but at least the snow is almost gone and we can, hopefully, get on with spring.

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Snow

We have had an early start to winter. Last Wednesday I stopped into our local gas station to pick up a coffee on my way to work. I was probably in the store for 5 minutes and when I came out it was a winter wonderland. We got about 25 cm (10 inches) of heavy wet snow that day. The temperature was right around 0 degrees when the snow started to fall so it melted on contact at first and then formed a layer of icy slush. And it didn’t stop snowing then – since Wednesday we have had light snow until today (Saturday). This morning there was at least another 5 cm (2 inches) on the ground.

This weather does have some benefits … it makes for very pretty days.

Noon sun on fresh snow

But, the biggest issue has been getting around. Because the first snow fell on relatively warm ground, it melted and then was compacted into a layer of slush. Edmonton has the North Saskatchewan River running right through the middle of the city and getting in and out of the river valley became the area where the most problems occurred. I have to cross the river to get home and I ended up going quite far out of my way to avoid the steepest hills – but I did make it home alright.

My son’s car, which had not been driven since the snow started.

I took my daughter to work this morning and we gave ourselves a bit extra time to make sure we got there on time. Coming back home, I witnessed a perfect example of how not to drive in these conditions. I was about six car lengths behind a Malibu and I noticed ahead of us a car had spun off onto the median . The car the on the median must have been there for a bit since there was some snow accumulated on it. What I saw next was classic. The driver of the Malibu must have seen the car on the median and hammered the brakes – even though the stalled car wasn’t even on the roadway. The back end of the Malibu broke loose and the person kept the brakes locked until the Malibu nosed into the bank right beside the car on the median. They hit the bank pretty hard. I saw in my mirror that they did get going again. The term used in racing was “pucker factor”. It was a perfect example of why my winter driving instructor said not to look at the ditch, pole, whatever, when you are in that situation. Because you will have the tendency to head straight for the problem. I am not saying I would have done any better – but it was a good reminder of how not to react.

Home Maintenance Canadian Style – My son using a rake to clear snow from the roof of the house.

And of course, the sobering thought is we are just into November and we haven’t even hit winter yet. 😦

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I think September is my favourite time of the year. There is a crispness to the air, the colours are bright, the days are still warm while the nights are cool but bearable. And even though the days are getting shorter, they are still long enough to enjoy some daylight after dinner. If it wasn’t for my weekly teaching commitment, I would happily take the entire month off and go out and photograph the fall landscape.

Fall Cirrus

As far as photography goes, I feel that some of my best shots are from the fall. On a good day, the light is sharp and the colours crisp. Makes landscapes and the sky come alive. Even my little buddy below agrees!

Happy Days

 

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