is a large town of 279,000 people and 105 km west of Toronto. I was
told by my Welland hosts that I’d see more snow in Kitchener,
and they were right.
Over the next 2 weeks I
got to see what it was really like to live in a snow-covered town.
It snowed more often than
it didn’t and the temperatures were almost always below zero,
with lows of –26 C being quite common. This resulted in a permanent
white layer of snow, about 30 cms (12 inches) deep, on everything.
The squirrels amused me.
If you couldn’t see them, you could definitely tell where they’d
been because you could see their tracks in the snow going from one
tree directly to another. Squirrels can’t run through deep snow,
so they have to jump to get where they want to go. And with each leap
they disappear into the snow before jumping out again. The tracks
they make are easily recognisable. The holes they make in the snow
are about the size of our feet, but with 4 small footprints at the
base of each one. And something else I didn’t know … squirrels
live in nest made of twigs, much like a crows nest.
I hadn’t really been
out in the snow in Welland. So my first walk through the snow in Kitchener
was quite an experience. I was well rugged up for my outing, with
boots, long johns, tuque (knitted hat) and mittens, so I felt very
comfortable. It was dark by the time we got out and some Christmas
decorated houses were still lit up, even though it was already January
“Have you heard the
sound of snow?” Lorne had asked me one time, and I wasn’t
sure what he meant.
But on this night it was
music to my ears. Of course, you can’t hear snow falling, but
it makes a clean crunching sound as you walk through it. And being
so cold, the snow stays dry, so you don’t get a soggy squish.
Just a beautiful crunch as the snow compacts and becomes icier on
that you could eat snow, so I did the right thing and avoided getting
snow from the sidewalk, and anything which looked vaguely yellow.
My target was a thick freshly covered tree branch. And the taste?
Very much like eating a 711 Slurpie once all the flavour’s been
sucked out of it.
On our return home, I noticed
that all the sidewalks had been cleared except for ours. In fact,
Peter, our next-door neighbour was busy shovelling snow from his driveway,
still finding time to curse the snow and sharing his hatred for Canadian
winters with us.
“Each household has
to clear their own sidewalks,” Kit said. “In fact, we’re
legally liable if someone injures themselves in front of our homes”.
Luckily for Kit, I thought
it would be fun to shovel some snow myself. But after nearly an hour
of snow-shovelling, I fully understood what Peter was bitching about.
And these poor guys had to do this for 3 months of the year, EVERY
It started off OK. I got
a broad-mouthed plastic snow shovel and scooped large volumes of fresh
snow onto the lawn and nature strip. But then I needed a standard
garden shovel to scrape up to an inch (2.5 cm) of ice off the concrete
paths. Fortunately the ice would break away in sheets as I scooped
under it, but it was much heavier than the snow and therefore more
tiring. And to make matters worse, Kit’s home was on a corner
block, so we had twice as much clearing to do. So did we finish the
Are you kidding? We were
lucky to get it half done … and then it was covered in snow
again the next day!
I never thought
I’d ever say this, but I’d much prefer to mow lawns than
shovel snow. At least the grass takes much longer to grow than snow!
article is taken from the ebook,
400-Day LETS Odyssey
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