Whoohoo! The blue sky and sunshine today is proof that we’ve made it out of what everyone here is dubbing “Snowtember”: three days of several rounds of heavy snow that caused car accidents, disruptions in LRT service, power outages, dicey Internet connection, ruined gardens, and so many damaged trees you cannot walk or drive any block in the city without seeing fallen branches lying on the sidewalk or roads. In some cases, the trees actually split in half like someone took a giant ax to them; some cracked open so violently they yanked themselves up by the roots. Tree branches landed onto the windshields of cars as people were driving beneath them, and smashed windows of houses and businesses. Most of the city parks are closed today because there is clean up work underway and there is a lingering concern that a branch will fall on someone as they walk beneath it. The green ash that sits directly in front of our parking stall at the apartment lost a limb – fortunately, it fell on the other side of the hood of our truck!
I went to work yesterday morning only to discover we had no power, so we shelved books by the light shining in the windows until it became too cold in the library and our manager told us we should go home. (Funny thing is, the Starbucks and the Tim Hortons across the street had power! Hmmmmm).
A ‘Schubert’ chokecherry and a May day tree in our yard – hard to believe these two didn’t break!
Our community garden is a sad, sad collection of mushy plants right now – the root crops will be fine, as will the brassicas, but anything tender such as squash and tomatoes are finished. The raspberry plants were straining under the weight of the snow when I stopped by after work on Tuesday to check on things and the sunflowers were pulled up and lying on their sides. My own plot isn’t too badly affected: as I mentioned in my last post, I had already picked all my tomatoes and zucchini, and I had taken out the fennel and some kohlrabi that was ready to eat. The garlic and shallots had been harvested a bit ago, and they comprised the bulk of my garden bed, so I am pretty lucky. The kohlrabi and carrots that are left should rebound quickly.
The community garden before the final (worst) round of snowfall.
My flowers at the apartment – well, they’re still partly buried under the white stuff, so I haven’t been out to survey them. I know there will be quite a bit of damage, so they’ll look really bedraggled for autumn. I’m confident most of them will come back as beautiful as ever next year. I just have to wait until it dries up a bit so I can go in and do some trimming and tidying.
It is difficult to believe that the day before the storm, our temperature was in the mid-20’s (Celsius). We went from sandals to winter boots in less than 24 hours – which, everyone here would agree, is not extremely unusual, especially given our proximity to the mountains. The ferocity and duration of the storm was a bit hard to take, though!
Poplars in the park next to our apartment – at least none of these particular trees were split in half like others I saw yesterday.
For anyone here in Calgary and area who are wondering what to do about broken trees, The Yard Therapist published a very useful post this morning – you can find it here. (This is good advice that may also apply in the event of ice storms, something our eastern neighbours occasionally have to deal with).