Sunday, November 20, 2016

Snow on the Roof

The first weeks of November were strangely mild and warm. Garden plants were still producing, and all the herbs were going strong (except the basil, which was pulled last month). My wall of tarragon, though raggedy and slightly frostbitten at the tops, had lush new shoots at the base. Mr. M's little hot-pepper plant was loaded with upward-pointing fruit, looking like a small scarlet firework springing out of the earth. The tomato vines had died back but the draggled stems somehow bore still-ripening tomatoes. The year seemed to be dozing in a pleasant dream, somewhere between summer-that-was and spring-to-come.

On Friday, everything changed. All day long we were buffeted by a boisterous southwest wind - so boisterous that trees groaned, doors flapped, and the old building where I work made eerie whistling noises. Temperatures were still in the 60s, but by late afternoon they began to fall. Sometime during the night the wind veered north, shed 30+ degrees, and, without slackening speed, picked up a small burden of snow to fling over the late-autumn landscape. Saturday morning we woke to a scattering of white on the roof and the ground, and the realisation that winter is only a month off.

In some strange way, it's a relief to have the weather finally behaving as it should. The late-lingering warmth was wonderful, and we took full advantage of it, but underneath there was a sense that something wasn't quite right. This is the time of year for cosy evenings spent with yarn and a hot cuppa, for early nights under flannel sheets - for hibernation, in fact. And as much as I enjoy cycling, by November I'm ready for the season to end; warm days make me feel guilty for not being out on my bike. When the weather turns icy, the pressure is off; I can let cycling go until spring, and enjoy freezing walks instead.

Is this urge to hibernate the effect of a northern climate? I don't remember feeling like this when we lived in Southern California. But here in Wisconsin, on a sub-freezing Sunday in November, I'm ready to fall asleep as soon as the sun goes down. (Which is about 5 pm these days.)

So I'll just post a few photos here, then take a book and head off to the bedroom. I have an appointment with some flannel sheets.

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November sunset walk to the park, with rose-coloured ribbons across the sky...



...and an apricot sunset behind the lake.


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Breakfast tacos, starring the last of the tomatoes and homemade tortillas:


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Saturday morning: snow on the garage roof...


...and the ground. But the kale is still holding out:


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Saturday afternoon: a chilly walk to the park. The snow has melted, but the cold and wind are unabated. At the park entrance is a Burning Bush with Christmas lights (already!) entwined in the branches:


A patriotic display:


Leaves huddle at the edge of the pond, with wind-whipped water behind. Soon this water will be frozen-still, and the leaves encased in ice:


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How's your weather? Seasonally appropriate?

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