Friday, 30 November 2007

Frozen Ralston

The temperature continues to drop in the village this week. It was -24c when I walked to work yesterday, but rather beautiful, lots of crisp white snow on the ground and the trees were covered in frost.

I took some photos of the trees outside our office, but had to keep coming inside every 10 minutes warm up. I don't know how anything survives weather like this. We have a a couple of rabbits in the garden living under our shed which haven't hibernated. I have no idea how they keep warm or what they eat!

You can see more photos of Ralston in the snow by clicking here

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Snow...at last!

The last week of November and at long last the snow has arrived in Canada! It was snowing when I got up this morning, has been snowing all day and is forecast to snow all night.

It's -10c, but closer to -25c with the wind chill. The kids looked hillarious walking to the school this morning, they had so much kit on. One of our friends dressed their 18 month old up in the snow kit for the first time and when they stepped away, she was so top heavy that she fell over backwards!

Anyway, a little bit of video for you of the scene in the village this lunchtime...


video

Monday, 26 November 2007

It's cold!

Another update from the very cold Albertan prairie... The daytime high today was -10c. The photo shows the thermometer on our bedroom window. The first of many pictures I'll be taking of it this winter I should think!

As I write the clouds outside are full of snow and we have flurries forecast tonight, tomorrow and Tuesday night, so we might finally be about to see our first signs of a proper Canadian winter!

Jim was busy yesterday getting the outside of the house ready for Christmas. We inherited his predecessors Christmas lights, so we were running out of excuses for being one of the few houses in the village not to put on a festive display. I had the job of holding the step ladder, which at -15c was a very cold job! I wore two coats to keep warm!

We also bought some ski boots for me this weekend. We're skiing for a week over Christmas and we plan to go up to the Rockies for at least one weekend before then, so I needed to get the kit. I was quite pleased that the last pair of half price boots were my size... it was almost meant to be!

Sunday, 18 November 2007

MIP & Elkwater

Another busy week in the village. On Wednesday night I was named Most Improved Player after our hockey match. Jim's been getting abuse from all the wives because I mentioned on air that he'd said (all be it tounge in cheek) that they'd "only done it to keep your interest up". Joking aside though, it's done the trick, I'm rather hooked on it and a little sad that we've only got two more games before the Christmas break.

On Friday night we were responsible for organising the second Ralston Progressive Supper party. Twelve couples took part and we are relieved to say no one dropped out at the last moment!

The twelve couples were split so that there were 4 courses going on at any one point. Then the guests moved round and met up with other couples for the next course. We started at 7:30pm and the final stragglers left the post supper party at our house at 2am! It was quite a long day considering I had been up since 5:30am, but great fun.

Today we went exploring south of Medicine Hat and discovered Hidden Valley, our nearest ski slope (which was a bit short of snow!) and Elkwater Lake which is in a forested hilly area about 40 minutes from town. We had a good long walk, but it was deserted and very cold, although judging by the size of the car park it must get very busy in the summer.

I've uploaded some photos of Elkwater to facebook, which you can see by clicking here

Monday, 12 November 2007

BFBS Hockey Tournament

So despite what the weather forecast had promised last weekend, the snow didn't last longer than a couple of hours and we've had none since! I'm sure that in 6 months time we'll be sick of the white stuff, but that doesn't make me any less eager to see the first proper "snow dump" of the season.

Still at least the snow boots have had their first outing! It was the BFBS Hockey Tournament on Saturday with most of the village taking part. The photo is of me demonstrating one of the kids games on the ice. Basically being pushed down the length of the ice rink on something resembling a giant frisbee! Great fun!

We've got another progressive supper party coming up on Friday this week. Twelve couples are taking part and we're hosting all of them at our house for a party at the end. Should be interesting!

Sunday, 4 November 2007

First snow of winter

Everyone has been telling us that Halloween is the tipping point for the snow arriving in Ralston, and this morning we woke up to find the village transformed.

It's been snowing for a couple of hours and it's not supposed to get any warmer than 1c before Tuesday, so it looks like it'll be here for a while! I bet the kids are loving it!

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Wildlife on our doorstep

Bit of a shock yesterday when I went into work on the bike and discovered nearly two hours later that it was only -10c! It did feel kind of chilly!

It's very difficult to imagine this place covered in snow, I keep thinking about a story a colleague of mine told me about having to dig her way through a snow drift to get to the front door of BFBS to do the breakfast show! Jim assures me he will accompany me to work when the weather is that bad... we'll see! :-)

The wildlife seem to have noticed the colder weather and are spending much more time in the village. We've had a coyote on the loose in this week, taking an unhealthy interest in the school of all places! I'm not sure quite how dangerous coyotes are, except for the fact they aren't as benign as foxes and their other name is the prairie wolf! We also spotted two antelope right outside our living room window yesterday and they were still there when we came back from Medicine Hat at midnight.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Firestarter!

Yesterday I spent the afternoon out on the training grounds on the prairie with the EOD team. The training season has finished and a team of specialist explosive handlers have arrived to sweep the prairie for any leftover amunition. Charlie, the officer leading the group is an old friend of ours from the Falklands, so she arranged my visit.

Between them the team carry out about 30 controlled explosions a day, I went to watch one of them and it turned out to be quite an eventful detonation as it started a massive prairie fire! So not only did I get to hear the explosion, but I also ended up sat in a Land Rover with a ringside seat for a prairie fire. Everyone else was running round trying to beat it out, but I wasn't allowed out of the car. This is what was left over when they did eventually put the fire out.

The fire brigade had their hand's full yesterday. Not only did they attend the prairie fire, but they also spent Halloween evening driving round Ralston handing out sweets and playing rather manic sounding laughter through the speakers on the fire engine!

As you can imagine Halloween is a big event here, like most people we dressed up to receive the Trick or Treaters as they did the rounds and afterwards we went to the local pub for a party with a few friends.

My outfit is a little too good, so I feel obliged to explain that it is a mask I'm wearing!

There are a few more photos of Halloween here :