Our Turn: The Cold Weather is Here.

It is the first day of February, 2019, and I must say, “what a mild winter season it has been so far, for us folks up in the North Coast of British Columbia.” However, this will all end, very soon, as a fidget Arctic System is creeping down on us, fast. The weather prognosticators say, starting tonight, the deep freeze will start, and will last until next weekend. But what really hits home for me, is that I saw temperatures as low as minus 14C on the chart! Right now it is minus 2, snowing, with winds from the North, gusting to 40km/h. A piece of cake, by North Coast standards. But, cold is cold, no matter how you slice it. (I wrote this part while I was on my lunch break)

So, here is where we are at for conditions. It is snowing out, although lightly. There is about 3cm of slush on the ground. It is windy out, with winds coming in from the North. So, add super cold weather to the mix, and all this will freeze. Tonight will be the perfect night to stay at home–this I can predict. So, let me talk about my commute home.

(I am at home now) So, I am driving home. The roads in Terrace near perfect: dry, and void of any snow. Once I got onto the side streets of Thornhill, BC, then is was a different story. When I left the nice and dry road of the highway, and hit the first side street, to my house, I was faced with a nice thick layer of ice on the road. I mean, it was perfect, as the setting Sun’s light reflected from off of it, I have to put on my sunglasses, it was so bright. So, I took the first corner very slowly, at about 20km/h, to make sure I had full control. When I had to stop at the first stop sign, my car’s brakes would not go into ABS Mode (Anti Braking System) and I slid a few metres past the stop sign. So, this had me worried. So I started pumping the brakes at the next top signal. Even the very large SUV, behind me, was having troubles of his own, navigating on the same road.

So the lesson here is that, no matter how good your tires are, driving on pure ice, is still a cautionary tail. You treat the road condition with a huge amount of respect, and HOPE the people driving around are doing the same thing.

 

It is now down to minus 4C, to it is expected to dip below 8C, over night. I am prepared for this. I have an emergency kit, if the power goes out. Plus I have my car, if I need to leave. But, since I have lived here, the whole place seems to be build to handle this type of weather, so I have confidence that all this will be a walk in the park. So, bundle up!

The Yearning of the Sun

Actually, when I saw the sunrise last week, it felt as if I saw an old friend again, the Sun, but really, the yearning was for the return of summer. Yes, I had that feeling of needing the good old days of summer back, as I saw the Sun rise. Here in the Skeena Valley, you have the winter position of the Sun, which is just 25 degrees above the horizon, coupled with the mountains that circle around us. This leaves us with a very short day period during the fall and winter months. Seeing the Sun sink below the horizon, as the Earth spins, (this happens around 4:30pm in the afternoon), puts the damper on daily life, when you get home from your work day.

The above image is Miss Egghead enjoying the Sun rise in the mythical Cube Land. The image is a render done in Blender 2.8 Beta.

It is normal to have weeks with overcast sky, and days with rain in the valley. During the colder months, snow is the daily routine, sprinkled with ice, as the sky is cloud filled, with moments of clearing, allowing the Sun sneak through. But it is the darkness that creeps in, making the night life some eighteen hours long, leaving some people with the “Winter Blues.” However, with seeking moments like this day, where the Sun shines, getting out and absorbing its rays, is a natural rite.

Also, one more point: This has been an unusually warm winter, so far. We have missed the full onslaught of the Arctic Vortex, but nonetheless, it is winter. The Earth spins it usual way, and nothing can be done about that. However, there is, with out any doubt, less snow, than normal. The Skeena River is still way below its usual level, and the Coastal Mountains do not look that snow packed, as compared to last year. These are just my opinions, not scientific facts. Though, I have read some articles in the media agreeing with me.

May we see more Sun, and less clouds in the coming weeks, without causing drought conditions like last year.

The Local Flu Bug Is Still Attacking

It looks like there are more sick people at my work than there were when I was sick a month ago. It sounds like at least five technicians have it now. That is roughly half the co-workers I interact with that are coughing, and complaining about flu like symptoms. I personally thought we were over the hump for this year’s flu season, but looking at these guys, it appears we just might be getting started with the flu season up here on the North Coast.

Their symptoms appear to be a little different from what mine were four weeks ago. I had full on lung goo that caused me to cough every ten seconds, shooting up flem and goo. These guys, they seem to have the sinus infection with fever, without the goo infected lungs. So, for now, I call this a different type of the flu from what I had, but nonetheless, just as nasty.

The flu bugs still roams wild here on the North Coast. Beware, and trust no one!

Happy Solstice and the First Day of Winter

As the tail goes, in the North, on this day, the Sun shines brightly over the land, and for one moment all will see it through the clouds. No matter how stormy it is, the clouds will part long enough to let in the light, to signal the return of longer days. Today, was no exception. Driving to work, I saw the Moon casting its light through the clouds, to the West, and what a sight that was. The Moon rays were like curtains of light fanning out over the mountains, and through the valley. And later on in the day, the Sun happily rose into the sky, just enough to see it over the trees, as its ark-path through the sky will be it lowest of the year, a mere 26 degrees above the horizon.

Oh yes, the photo of the day, like all the times before, on Winter Solstice, I take photos. Here is my pick of the day. It is cool out, around minus 2C, so everything outside has a frosty coating of ice crystals on it.

Today should mark the beginning of the year. Why I say this? Because the days get long after today. I never understood the logic of placing our calendar start date in January. But hey, when you standardize the calendar, fitting it to your morays and myths, then you clinch the culture that follows it. I say we should adopt Sidereal time from now on, so that no government or organization can tamper with time, at anytime!

The Moon shines bright tonight. It is damn near a Full Moon tonight. For an hour, my bedroom was flooded with moon light, as the clouds parted for a few hours in the early night. Like this morning, tonight’s Moon, is almost full, and hangs high in the sky. I can easily see the snow caps top of the mountain from my window, and the clear outlines of the hazy clouds streaking through the sky.

So Happy Solstice, and may your happiness grow with each progressive day until summer Solstice.

Not One Snow Flake.

I am just reminiscing here, thinking about this time last year when we were hip-deep in snow, and minus five to ten census was a normal day for late fall here in Thornhill, BC. Today, not one snow flake has stayed on the ground, and for that matter, I have not seen one fall to the Earth during the one storm we had so far this month. Even the snowline, across the mountains that make the Skeena Valley, seems unusually higher than normal. In fact, Copper Mountain, right now, has no snow on it that I can see, while Thornhill Mountain, connected to it, only the very tip has snow.

Down here, closer to river level, we are enjoying eight to ten plus degree weather each day. Even with our rainy days, the downpours are nothing compared to last year when we a couple of days of flash flooding occurred back then. The local news paper put out a story on how low the Skeena River is, citing that this year has seen the lowest level of the river, since records were kept starting back 1928, (The Terrace Standard: “Skeena River Levels Still Below Seasonal Levels,” November 30, 2018). 

Tomorrow will be the first day of December, and with the shorten days, and with less than three weeks until Winter Solstice, the question is: will a proper winter season set in for this year?

However, none of us are complaining too much about the snow drought. With not one snow shovel deployed since last year, and snow removal equipment sitting idle, I have not heard too much, other than the people who make their living on removing the snow. Our streets sit clean and free of the white stuff, and commuting to work is like driving on a summer’s day. And with even lower that usual amounts of rainy days, I think people are generally more positive this year.

Forget Vancouver… and its Bridges!

This morning, I was reading the CBC.ca Website, and they posted an article, that talked about the best way to photograph Vancouver, British Columbia, was through photographing the bridges, but from underneath. Well,  I have been shooting bridges, both on top, and bottom, for years. Why, this last weekend, I got a shot of the Dudley Little Bridges, but from underneath. So, here is my photo of, capturing Terrace, BC, and the Skeena Valley, from under the bridge from last Sunday, on November 11, 2018.

If you read the article, it says that the “Internet knows best how to photograph Vancouver, BC.” You photograph it from underneath. And, I have to agree, if you want to see the best side of Vancouver, you look at the bridges. And, to see the architecture of a bridge, you look at from the water and river banks. And Vancouver has some really awesome bridges.

Terrace and Thornhill, British Columbia, on the other hand, have only one bridge (The Skeena River Bridge, 1925) that has some really amazing architecture, while the other, more newer “Dudley Little Bridges, (1975)” are kind of “meh”? I mean they did things very “plain and practical” back then in the mid ’70s. So the “new bridge,” as we like to call it, was built to serve one purpose: to get cars and trucks across the Skeena River, safely, and as efficiently, as possible. As far as looks go, well, lets just say, it is a bridge. But perhaps this is the hidden beauty of the Skeena Valley?

CBC news article: “The best way to photograph Vancouver is from under a bridge, apparently,” From CBC.ca Website, on November 13, 2018.

The Local Snot Bug Making Its Rounds

With the cold weather now upon us, and the threat of snow just days away, with that comes the flu and snot bugs. This year we have a treat, a strain that I call, “The Skeena Valley Snot Bug: 198D.” As the kids go to their schools, they bring back these little gems of misery, right to their parents laps. You walk into a store, or gathering place today, you will meet a victim, as they give back to the community which they received. You touch a door handle, hand rail, table top, or toilet flusher, and then stick your fingers into any orifice on your body, guess what? You got it.

Fortunately I do not have it. I know my turn is near, as many around me have it, and are carriers of it too. With the cold weather, I crank my heat up at night, and wash my hands often. I wipe down most objects that people touch, that could potentially harbour these snot-bugs. But all it takes is just one snot-bug to get you.

My poor Suz., is currently suffering from the bug. She has it, full on. Runny nose, post nasal drip, red eyes, sore throat, sneezing, and general crankiness. Still, with her contagious state, I welcomed her at my place for dinner with open arms. I think it helped her with the symptoms. It is hard to say for sure.

Needless to say, the bug is making its rounds, and coming soon, for you. Beware, and do your best to keep it under control. This one seems like a doozy.

Halloween Day!

We made it! The spooky day is now upon us now, and to night: we roar! I got most of my costume done early this morning, using a couple of prosthetics, and lots of fake blood. Plus I am using sprite-glue for the latex bits that I have stuck to my face, for the first time. The stuff works. I may post a photo later on tonight.

Since I get off work early, I will head home to finish my costume, then drive up to Suzette’s place where we will greet the Trick or Treaters, and then have dinner there, as she is cooking something yummy. Because it is a work night, I will probably get home early for bed. I am hoping that this glue comes off with out any troubles.

So, Happy Halloween! Have a scary night!

ADDED: Spent the evening at Suzette’s place for dinner. It was an awesome meal, the best chilly in the Skeena Valley. 

It was funny to watch. As Suzette was preparing and during the cooking process, the interruptions from trick or treaters, seemed like everything five minutes. In all, from the time that I was there, and estimate of thirty kids were asking for the sugar loaded treats.

A note about the kid’s costumes here in Thornhill, BC. From what I seen, I can say that the kids are better dressed here, than from what I remember whan living in the Lower Mainland. Also, it appears that the kids here spend more time on their makeup and appliances from what I have seen. I did not see any indecent costumes, and I can say this might be in part to how cool it gets here in the evenings on the North Coast.

It was a good time. I am too tired from my busy day, so I am calling it sleep-time early.

A Night Out – The Terrace Symphony Orchestra

As part of our “culture” requirements, me Suzette went for a night out to the R.E.M. Lee Theatre to see the Terrace Symphony Orchestra, with their performance called, “Music Through Time: 1680 – 2012 – Today,” at 7:00pm. And yes, this included lots of Halloween costumes, since part of the event featured a costume parade for the children, live on stage. It was a wonderful even, and we were entrained very well. For the evening out to this event, it was very reasonable in priced, at just only six dollars, all an awesome price for some live classical music, and great entertainment. Even one of the local school choirs sang two songs, with the Orchestra backing them up. And I shot some video!

The costume that some of the folks made were incredible. All the players and musicians dressed up for this. Some were cute, and others were very intricate. I think the guy in the Red Lobster suit looked awesome, and the and Cello player who dressed up as an Elf as Santa’s Little Helper, looked the most colourfull. Oh, and cannot for get the Energizer Bunny! LOL.

The above shot is the children who sang in the choir, called “The Ecole Mountainview School Choir,” who sang two songs. The event featured an audience sing-a-long, and a chance to be a Conductor, leading the Orchestra for one whole piece.  Four young people were chosen for that, and there were a couple volunteers who really hammed it up!

The video is the Costume Parade, with the music “The Teddy Bear Picnic,” playing in the background. I posted this up on YouTube, for all to see. It was a great event to watch, and next year, I highly recommend you get out to see them play.

Voted! Civic Election in Thornhill, BC, 2018

There, the deed is done. Me a Suz., voted around 3:00pm today at the Thornhill Community Centre, where we voted for our School Trustee, and Regional District Representatives, being that Thornhill (aka Electoral Area E) is an Unincorporated community, we do not have a Mayor or Aldermen to choose from. And as always, it felt good to get out vote. I was also happy to say that we saw a few people there also out voting too, including Suz’s. folks. However, I did notice while I was looking at the lists of registered votes, few were checked off, but the day was still young, and the polls close at 8:00pm tonight.

So hopefully all of you got out and voted. The people that run your community are the ones who effect you the most, so these elections are the most important in terms of where the rubber meets the road in your neighbourhood. These guys will be controlling everything from your roads, to the schools that your kids go to, so that makes it kinda of important. Sadly, voter turn-out is traditionally low. Maybe this year, will be the year the voter turn-out will break records?

I cannot wait and see the results tonight!

UPDATE: 11:00pm

Well it appears that in my little corner of the Skeena Valley, our Regional District election, we have a new person in that seat! According to the Terrace Standard, “UPDATE: Eric Nyce defeats Harry Nyce in Nass Valley, Meziadin.” October 20 2018. Quoting the on-line news article, “In the regional district election, Jeff Hammond has defeated incumbent Ted Ramsey, 181 votes to 169.” What shocks me, is that there are about four thousand people who live in Thronhill, BC, (aka Electoral Area E), and only 350 voters came out to vote. According to my Math, I get a total percentage of 8.75% of the people of Thornhill who went out and voted. Wow!

Congratulation Jeff Hammond.

ADDED: The 8.75 percent is based on the total number of people who live in Thornhill, BC, not the total number eligible voters. This would bump up the percentage of voter turn-out by a few percent. I do not have that information at the moment.