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Annual Spring Report 2017

It is interesting to look back on my previous spring reports to see how they vary from year to year. This year seems fairly normal.

Even though the crocuses were record early due to a mild winter, both March and April have been quite cold, so the pictures taken on May 1st is almost exactly like last year.

The woods have just the smallest hint of green to them, and this is mostly due to the last couple of days when the sun came out, and it is warming up. There is still snow in the mountains from the latest snowfall not many days ago.

The winter tyres have just been removed from the car, washed and are drying in the sun, and the summer tyres are on, – more than a week later than the general rules allow. However, they were needed just a few days ago.

The cherry tree has large buds, but no blooms yet. Just as well since there are few insects around.

The bulk of our daffodils are not out yet. The exception besides the early ones is the ones in sheltered spots and next to the south wall. The tulips by the south wall are also budding.

The flowering currant has been in bloom for some time, but the spiraea bush has just a hint of green around it, but no blooms yet. However, with the nice weather we are having now, it will not be long, I expect.

The sheep are enjoying the good weather too, although the lot in this photo were a bit worried. Someone with a dog, – on a leash, mind, as it should be this time of year, – was crossing the field below, so they ran for higher grounds. Lambs were separated from their mothers, so there was a lot of bleating and running around before the little ones got back to their respective guardians for a comforting suckle. Then all was well, and they could settle down and enjoy the glorious day.

 

And so do we. The weather forecast for the next week is glorious.

🙂

Eldrid

Lagre

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Annual Spring Report

It is interesting to look back on my previous spring reports and compare between the different years.

This year beats all the previous ones in terms of early blooming.

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We have had a very mild winter with next to no snow, and then the last part of April was exceptionally warm, …..

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…….so the woods turned green record early, and everything was suddenly in bloom.

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On May 1st. when these photos were taken, a little bit of winter had returned. Showers of snow are coming down from the north.

In between the showers, the sun comes out, and everything looks like summer again, ……

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…. but it is quite cold when venturing outside.  I love the colour of new leaves when the sun filters through.

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The white wagtail  (motacilla alba)  has returned from Africa, and is busy patrolling our veranda bannister, hopping and flying up and down outside the windows to catch insects hiding between the wall boards.

In between he rests on the telephone line.

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The cherries and plums are in bloom record early. During the warmer days earlier, a few bumble bees were busy visiting the flowers, but there are not a lot of other insects around yet.

 

All the narcissuses have been out for at least a week, and hopefully they will last a bit longer now the weather has turned cold again.

 

Hopefully that will also be the case with the rhododendrons and tulips as well, – some of the latter being nearly finished already.

The strawberry bench is in good shape already, and the blueberries have been blooming for two weeks. I cannot remember seeing blueberries in bloom in April before.

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It is even earlier than the spring of 2011, which was the best one before now, since I started taking photos in 2009.

Spring has been really good this far, so I will not complain about a little cold and snow, even if it is May.

(As long as there is no real frost, that is.)

🙂

Eldrid

Hexagon Season Again

In spite of having had very nice weather for a long time, – and nice means sunshine on this usually very wet coast, – spring is still some way off, it seems. As soon as the sun dips below the horizon, temperatures drop and the frost bites again.

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But there are moments, – like this afternoon, – when it is possible, even enjoyable, to sit outdoors and sew.

I am working on my “let’s-find-out-if-it-is-possible-to-join-hexagon-flowers-without-folding-the-paper-templates” project. I have cracked the code on how to, but have not written up the instructions yet.

Since this is my out-of-doors project, it is slow going.

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If the nice weather continues for some days, I should be able to get some more sewing done, as it is too early to do any gardening.

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A bunch of snowdrops are blooming, plus three crocuses, – the rest is still under the snow at the moment.

The sunshine is nice, though, and if it could just stop snowing and freezing in between, we could have real spring in quite a short time.

🙂

Eldrid

It’s Cold

The weather has been cold and clear lately, – perfect for the growing of ice crystals.  The pictures below are a small part of the result of two ten minute photo safaris in our garden area, – one yesterday, and one today.  Choosing which pictures to show out of the two hundred or so, took much longer than shooting them.

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The crystals have grown quite big, – they are almost like small plants with leaf rosettes, and they are everywhere on grassy areas.

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On the tree stump, a bit higher off the ground, they are not quite so big.

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The small heather plants are nearly covered by ice crystal “plants”.

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They tend to “grow” in clumps.

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As happened with the star crystals last week, I am reluctant to step on any of these wonders.

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But it is impossible to move without doing so.

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When stepping on to the grass, you can hear a faint sound, as if millions of miniature glasses fall and break.

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… or like you are wading through heaps of tiny, tiny glass shards.

Below are some more photos, – I couldn’t stop myself  …   😉

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On some of the photos I have tweaked the contrast quite a bit to better show off the fabulous patterns.

The last photo below, I also turned to gray scale. Some of the crystals are very, very thin and transparent.

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I hope all of you in the northern hemisphere are enjoying the winter time.

🙂

Eldrid

Falling Stars

The weather has been very good lately, – what snow there was around Christmas rained away, and this last week the weather has been cold and clear, with no snow on the ground.

As we drove home early this afternoon, the skies were gray, and we noticed a few tiny white specs falling through the air.

Walking from the garage to the house, I suddenly stopped short, exclaiming: There are stars on the ground!

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I immediately put my bag down and got my camera out.

Please don’t step on any of them before I have taken some photos, I asked my husband.

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Then I had to laugh at the impossibility of my own request; –  the stars were everywhere, and we could not move without stepping on several at a time.

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There was more than enough both to photograph and to walk on.

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They were all over the wooden steps…

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… and on the grass…

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… and on the cold stones.

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We do not often see snow crystals like this here, – most often the snow comes down in big flurries, – not tiny stars like these.

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We were lucky to spot them when we did. A few minutes later it was raining.

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Just a few tiny drops, however, – and then we got a little bit more snow. But not stars this time.

Does walking on stars mean good luck?

I hope so.

🙂

Eldrid

A Trip to Town, – and Be Warned: More Ice

It has been raining for a few days now, and for once, the rain has been very welcome.  Most times we complain about rainy weather, as we think we get way too much of it, but at this stage almost anything is better than more snow.

A couple of days before the weather turned, I made a trip into town. The occasion was my biannual mammogram, and then I also took the opportunity to run some other errands, like taking my new computer back in, to check why it did not connect with our other computers, – and maybe also get a new printer. Fabric shopping was not in the original plans, – but who can resist dropping in on the almost-next-door quilt shop while waiting for the computer to be fixed (- or that’s what I thought it would be, anyway)?

A trip out of here always starts with a ferry crossing. Because of the recent snow storm, the sea was a bit rough, but calmed down closer to the mainland. As we neared the landing, I suddenly heard some unusual banging and crashing. Looking out, I saw we were passing through an area of drift ice, – the ice further into the fjord had been broken up by the waves caused by the recent storm, and was now drifting out towards the sea.

It happens from time to time that ice can be a problem for traffic in this area, but not very often.

The sea gulls seemed to enjoy having some new perches while on the lookout for food, though.

During the 80 kilometer drive, there is a lot to see along the road, and this time I was on my own and not in a hurry, so I had time to stop and take pictures as often as I wished. Higher temperatures had been forecast, so I though perhaps this might be my last chance this winter to photograph some of the ice formations along the road sides.

With the kind of temperatures we have been “blessed” with this winter, every small or larger water trickle has frozen to ice.

Icicles are hanging off the cliffs everywhere along the road sides.

Sometimes it looks almost as if a monster has opened its mouth, baring its long and sharp fangs.

Some places that do not usually have a noticeable waterfall, now sport large cascades of ice:

One would think that having had almost no rain for months, these trickles would dry up, but some of them seem to have an endless supply of water coming from one place or other, and they grow and grow..

… and grow…

There are also really large waterfalls to be seen from the road, and they are especially impressive in their frozen state:

Some people climb frozen waterfalls like this, just for the sport, or thrill, or whatever it is that drives them, – but I am more than content just looking at them. I would not dare to risk any of my limbs by stepping onto something like this:

However, the colours are magnificent. Imagine the early morning sun shining onto this frozen waterfall, – that could have been the inspiration for this quilt that I made 17 years ago:

Blue greens have always been favourite colours of mine, so maybe that is why I am so fascinated by ice. However, the sight of the green masses if ice can also trigger quite different associations. It suddenly crossed my mind that it looks like Mother Earth is having a severe cold, and has mislaid all of her handkerchiefs:

Ick!!

I guess we have all been five years old at some time, and that young person still pops its head up now and then 😉

I will have to make an effort to think of it as just frozen water, so I will not be put off by greens in the future.

Ice formations are everywhere, not just by the road sides, but all the way up the mountain sides. When the temperature rises, they melt away from the rocks and fall down, and they can be a real danger to passers by on the road underneath, – and so are avalanches. Two days after I took the photo above a young woman had a narrow escape as her car was buried under an avalanche close to where I was standing when I took the photo.

This was taken on my way home in the early evening, and the setting sun adds an extra glow to the landscape, and to man made structures.

The water that seeps out everywhere is also the main source of most of the elecric power produced in this country.  This area has quite a few plants which produce hydroelectricity….

… a fact that is difficult to hide.

But we like to keep warm.

I almost forgot to show you what I bought in the quilt shop. When thinking about it afterwards, I was a bit surprised that none of the fabrics had the least resemblance of ice or snow, – instead they were rather summery:

Cute, pink roses.

No project planned for these yet, but they are delicious to look at.

Ok, – one blue green fabric,  but only because it was on sale.

—–

It is snowing again.

Eldrid

This Winter

. . . . has been an unusual one here in our part of the world. All kinds of old records have fallen en masse, – or at least that is the impression we get from everyone who talks about it in the media and elsewhere.  It is also the impression we get from experiencing it personally, – to the extent that we might almost be tempted to misquote some state leaders and name it “the Mother of All Winters”, or perhaps “The Winter to End All Winters”.

We would not wish the last quotation to come true, though, – not really. We have to be responsible and consider the polar bears, of course. But other than that, one might be tempted, especially as the only sign of it ever ending, is the date and month on the calendar. And then I can almost hear in my mind The Winter snorting: “Calendar? What is that? Never heard of it, – not this year, anyway.”

Luckily, as January was on its coldest, and everyone scrambled to post photos of their digital thermometers showing record low temperatures, we had our trusty, level headed, meteorologists appearing on television and telling us that: “Oh, this is really nothing to be excited about, – it is just a good old winter like we had back in the fifties and sixties”.

I was very relieved to hear that, as it confirmed that my memory is perhaps not as bad as I have suspected it to be in recent years. I thought I remembered that we had lots of snow when I was a child, that we were skiing, tobogganing, kicksledding, and skating for months on end, that the ridges of snow along the side of the road were taller than me, (of course, that could also be due to the fact that I was not very tall myself when I was 4 or 5), and that it took  all of the month of May and the best part of June for the roads to dry up after the snow had melted.

However, on hearing this, my youngest daughter gently reminded me: ” – lots of people do not remember the sixties, let alone the fifties,  – some of us were not even born till long after the sixties.”

She is right, of course, – so at least half the population have a genuine right to be excited about personal lowest temperatures, personal deepest snow, etc.   And this winter has been lacking in neither.

Of course, it has also been very beautiful, and the weather has been very nice a lot of the time, – nice meaning a clear sky, cold, and just a little wind, if any. Almost no wind is a rarity in itself in these parts of the country, especially for the winter months.

The usual thing here on the west coast is for the snow to fall, then there is rain to wash it away, or partly away, – some cold to freeze the remains, if any, into ice, –  new snow, then the rain, …. and so on, – along with a lot of strong winds, of course.  Another variety that we have had quite often in recent years, is rain, rain, and rain, – and storms, – all through December, January, and February, and then one or two huge snowfalls in March.

People usually sigh and keep saying: “If only the snow could stay put once it has come down, and we have finished shovelling it!” (And some also wish it would come readily shoveled).

Well, this winter it did stay, – even if it had to be shoveled first.

We had one huge snowfall just after Christmas…

… which was not washed away by rain, – just sunk and evaporated, but not quite:

Then another quite large snowfall in February, – to top it up again:

And in between, the sun has been shining a lot.

The ground has not been clear of snow for nearly three months now, and that is very rare around here. People are now getting very tired of winter, – I am getting very tired of winter, – and we all long for the spring to come.

It is nowhere to be seen, however, – especially not today when a new snow storm hit us and we could barely look out of the windows:

While we are waiting, I plan to dump some more winter stuff on my blog here.  Then, if we have a heat wave this summer (and that is a big IF since there has been little rain for the past four months, and it has to come down at some time), I can look back and count myself lucky that I do not need a roaring fire to keep me warm.

Eldrid