Roadtripping

We haven’t been on a road trip in eight years. It feels like a lifetime, given that we used to do cross-province road trips two to three times a year over a span of eleven years. We drove from Edmonton, Prince George, and Lethbridge to Vancouver Island to see my mother-in-law and get a dose of the Coast before heading home again. From Edmonton we took Highway 16 in Alberta and switched to Highway 5…

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Seen Last Week

This past week has been a busy time in the garden, as we worked on getting the veggie garden beds ready for planting. Last week I wrote about turning over the cover crop, which we continued to do this week. However, we also discovered that several of the raised beds need to be fixed because they are bursting at the seams and the wood is rotting, so there is extra work to be done before…

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Gardening Thoughts

The other day I was digging in the garden, turning over the cover crop in the raised beds and burying it under a layer of soil. It’s slow work – pulling up a strip of cover crop, digging up the soil underneath it, laying the cover crop green side down in the trench and then covering it up again with soil. It’s also physical work – lots of stomping on the shovel, bending over, and…

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Measuring Winter Snow

Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan recently announced that they had solved the problem of numerically modelling snow distribution over large, topographically complex alpine areas, using a model called the Canadian Hydrological Model (CHM). Why is this important? Snowpack is critical for our spring water supplies, and plays a role in spring flooding. If we can accurately measure how much snow is on the ground just before the melt season begins, we can determine how…

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Spring 2021

Daylight savings time has come and gone, and this weekend is the Spring Equinox (Saturday March 20th). I’ve been tidying up the garden and all sorts of things are sprouting: pulsatilla, irises, crocosmia, monarda, and daffodils. The garlic I planted last fall has all sprouted, and the cover crop in the raised vegetable garden beds is ready to be turned over. I’ve seen the first hummingbirds of spring, while the frogs in the marsh shout…

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Changing Currents in the North Atlantic

A recently published paper suggests that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) (also called the Gulf Stream System) is slowing down. What is the AMOC? It’s a current that brings warm waters up to the North Atlantic from the Gulf Stream, then sinks and heads south as the water gets colder, saltier, and denser. Like a conveyor belt, it pulls warm water north as it sinks, bringing mild winters to places like the UK and…

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Beginning Again

This past weekend I read Suleika Jaouad’s book Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted. It follows Jaouad on her four-year journey through leukemia and a bone marrow transfusion in her early 20s. As part of her illness journey, she wrote a column for The New York Times about being young and having cancer, and how clinicians could have dealt with her illness in a way that better addressed her demographic. For example,…

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The Mystery of Snow Worms

Last week during the cold spell we had two feet of snow in the yard. I went out with the dogs on Sunday morning and saw lots of worms on top of the snow – very thin, tan/mustard-coloured, and mostly coiled up. They were everywhere in our big yard – mainly on the paths we’d walked through the snow, but also on the undisturbed snow surface. I’d heard of ice worms, which live on glaciers,…

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Polar Vortex or Not?

This week Texas has seen rolling power outages, some for as long as 10 hours, as unseasonably cold weather blankets the state and demand for power for heating surges. Here on the West Coast, we’ve had below zero temperatures and over 45 cm of snow, while the cold weather has hammered the Prairie provinces with temperatures in the -40⁰C range. A strong cold front has dropped down the centre of North America, reaching as far…

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Polar Vortex or Not?

This week Texas has seen rolling power outages, some for as long as 10 hours, as unseasonably cold weather blankets the state and demand for power for heating surges. Here on the West Coast, we’ve had below zero temperatures and over 45 cm of snow, while the cold weather has hammered the Prairie provinces with temperatures in the -40⁰C range. A strong cold front has dropped down the centre of North America, reaching as far…

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