Late wintry blast par for the course

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OK, so, as much as it killed me, I had to turn the furnace back on last weekend.

When we had those really nice warm days a while back, I shut the furnace off. I had already put away the winter coats and it was time to go into spring/summer mode. As you know, we have our furnace set at 62 degrees all winter so we are pretty acclimatized and, after all, how cold can it get now that spring had arrived with summer just around the corner? Besides I always leave the gas fireplace pilot on just in case we have chilly nights.

Suddenly, we have cyclonic winds whipping snow, ice pellets and rain in a fury and rage. I persisted, kept the curtains closed, added a sweater or two (refused to get out my heavy coat) and even closed the bedroom window at one point. But when I got home from my Mother’s Day dinner around 8:30 p.m. and walked inside to 55 degrees it was more than even I could withstand. I succumbed. On went the furnace and the fireplace. I wrapped myself in a blanket and cozied up in front of the fireplace until I thawed out.

But this is not totally unexpected. Our weather is so unpredictable and it isn’t the first time we have experienced such sudden shifts in weather. Many years ago, in another lifetime, I took a bunch of Pathfinders to Camp Kienuka, near Selkirk, over the Mother’s Day weekend. The weather was sunny and warm when we arrived on Friday. Saturday was spent filled with outdoor activities.

At that time the official camp tents were huge, heavy canvas shrouds without floors. This meant there was a gap between the bottom of the tent and the makeshift floor of pine bows, plastic, wool blankets, etc. designed to provide warmth and waterproofing while still allowing for easy escape in the case of fire.

The kids were all tucked in for the night and the adults had gathered for coffee, conversation and watching the weather. It was raining but at this point nothing to worry about. Around 2 p.m. the storm unleashed its fury, winds howling and rain sheeting so hard it felt like hail. All the leaders donned rain gear and began storm lashing the maybe 100 or so tents and securing equipment around the campground. We paroled the grounds all night making sure all was firmly fastened and safe.

On Mother’s Day morning, the girls emerged from their tents to three inches of snow covering the entire area. They had slept through the storm and had no idea what they had survived during the night so all were shocked. Soon the sun broke through. By the time the air was filled with the fragrance of wood smoke from the breakfast fires laced with bacon, eggs, pancakes and coffee, the snow had disappeared and activities resumed.

This is how we do it and we should be back on track by the long weekend – maybe. The May 24th weekend can be just about anything and often is a mixed bag of Canadian weather.

Have a great long weekend and be safe.



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