Snow falling on Elmvale

It’s snowing outside and some flakes might just stick. It looks like a giant used an enormous sifter to sprinkle icing sugar all over Elmvale.

I’m sitting on the couch with Odie. JF is re-stringing his guitar. I’ve lit a few candles, cranked up Lady in Satin, and put on some slippers. We’re admiring the fluffy white puffs as they plummet from the night sky.

Odie's head and my slippers

Odie’s head and my slippers

For the first time in months, we’re enjoying a weekend with no plans in it. So far we’ve made a surprisingly cathartic trip to the Midland dump, watched the first three (decidedly unredeemable) episodes of Star Wars, and puttered around the house.

On quiet days like these, I’m so very grateful for everything I have: a caring partner, a giant smelly dog, a loving family, a rickety (but safe and warm) home, amazing friends, a good job, Tobias, and easy access to delicious doughnuts.

Not to mention the hundreds of knick knacks that bring me comfort and joy. I’ve just put up a few well-worn Christmas treasures. And I ’m so excited to hang our Christmas lights tomorrow!

I hope you’re just as nestled and cozy (and lucky) as I am, wherever you’re reading this.

xo

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The gift of time

Snow day. Two words that come together so beautifully.

Last night, a lot of snow angrily swirled its way to the ground. This morning, I got a call at 6:30 a.m. saying our offices were closed because snowploughs couldn’t clear parking lots fast enough. Magic.

After lingering in bed over a book, I cleaned house, washed clothes, and ran errands. I put the crockpot on at noon, ordered Christmas gifts (fa la la la la!) and picked up the mail. It felt marvellously unhurried, yet efficient.

Part of me loved Toronto’s mild winters – I wore wellies through January 2013 – but in my six years of working there, there were only three total snow days. Yes, I counted.

As JF and I learned last year, winters in Simcoe County are cold and long. The shovelling gets tiresome. But our snowstorms deliver whole days where I do exactly what I want to do. And every time it happens, I’m so grateful for the gift of time.

The season of the flood

Spring is finally (FINALLY!) here and the sound of ice cracking and robins singing is sweet music to my long-frozen ears.

It’s so wonderful to be able to whistle down Elmvale’s sidewalks without picking through ice. I’ve happily hung up the shovels and packed away my Michelin-man inspired parka.

JF and Tobias, after his bath

JF and Tobias, after his bath

To thank Tobias for getting through the winter, I sent him for a bath this morning. A kind lady named Deb cleaned him top to bottom and he is beautiful again. Our relationship is so much better now that the roads are dry.

Neighbours tell us it has been an epic winter – cold, drawn out, and remarkably snowy. I believe them. For at least a month our front door wasn’t visible from the road thanks to massive piles of snow in our front yard.

What I’m now learning is that with epic snowbanks comes epic flooding. So far (knock on wood) the melting snow hasn’t swallowed our basement. But our driveway looks like this:

To celebrate Elmvale’s first afternoon in the dougle digits, JF and I explored the Minesing Wetlands today. We spotted roads and front yards totally overtaken by water. Still, it was good to feel the earth under my feet and hear rivers rushing past.

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Shovelling, shovelling

When you take what my colleague Doug calls the terminal moraine (the cement-like, billion pound, dirty brown mound left daily by the snow plough) out of the equation, there are some great things about shovelling the driveway:

1)     I get to hang out with JF. Because there is no way I’m dealing with that shit alone.

2)     It’s exercise. Mostly for my back, which hurts for many hours afterward.

3)     I get my vitamin D. If it isn’t after 4:30 p.m., which so far is never.

JF, hard at work this evening

JF, hard at work this evening

4)     It reminds me that I chose to leave my maintenance-free apartment in Toronto in favour of “less stressful” country living.

5)     My car doesn’t get stuck when I leave. Most of the time.

6)     I’m finally using the sorels and down coat I spent so much money on when I didn’t need them living in Toronto.

7)     It improves our relationship with our neighbours. If only they would start returning the favour and shovel our side once in awhile.

8)     To most of Elmvale, it looks like we have our shit together.

9)     It’s helped us figure out which house improvements to invest in this coming spring: paving our driveway (shoveling gravel sucks), installing a new automatic garage door, flattening out our paving stones, and more!

10)   When it’s over, we get to throw all our wet clothes in the dryer and put our pyjamas on. That part is truly lovely.

Decking the halls

Confession: I am a serious Christmas-lover. When I was little, there was nothing I liked more than decking our halls with plastic greenery and felt snowflakes – sometimes as early as November 1.

Now, as a mature adult, I show a bit more restraint – I usually wait until December 1 to admit to Christmasholism. But with this weekend’s dreamy snow, I’ve cracked early.

A hallway with three red stockings hung on a bannister.

I couldn’t help myself. I had to hang our stockings – the third one is for our fake dog, Nessie.

My name is Mikaela, and I have an embarrassingly large Christmas CD collection and far too many butter-stained, dog-eared spiced cookie recipes.

When JF and I first did a tour of our Elmvale house, I could picture it draped in cedar garland and imagined a fir wreath with a big, red bow on the door. It was July.

So you can imagine how pretty, fluffy snow puts a jingle in my step.

Red victorian house covered in snow

I took this photo of our house at 9 a.m. this morning.

This week, a nice handyman will install Christmas lights all along our roofline. Next weekend I’m going to the Elmvale craft sale, decorating our house from top to bottom, and putting Nat King Cole’s Christmas Song back on my ipod. I might even watch Home Alone.