This afternoon the weather people have issued a heavy snow warning for my part of New Zealand. They suggest the snow will fall overnight and tomorrow morning on hills at around 300 metres.
Will it happen? I don’t know. Snow falling here is a rare event but it has happened in the past. It is certainly bitterly cold here as we head into a second week of very low temperatures, biting winds and plenty of rain. Earlier predictions of a warm winter are a distant memory now.
However this magnolia bud about to burst forth is a result of the warmer conditions we enjoyed up until 10 days ago. It is a very early bud.
This brave daffodil is more “on time” as they do flower earlier here than the date that officially marks spring.
With snow forecast then this Edelweiss flowering in the garden is not looking so foreign right now.
Wikipedia offers this: Edelweiss (English pronunciation i/ˈeɪdəlvaɪs/, from German [ˈeːdəlvaɪs]; systematic name Leontopodium alpinum or Leontopodium nivale ssp.), is a well-known mountain flower, belonging to the sunflower family.
The plant is unequally distributed and prefers rocky limestone places at about 1800–3000 m altitude. It is non toxic, and has been used traditionally in folk medicine as a remedy against abdominal and respiratory diseases. The dense hair appears to be an adaptation to high altitudes, protecting the plant from cold, aridity and ultraviolet radiation. As a scarce short-lived flower found in remote mountain areas, the plant has been used as a symbol for alpinism, for rugged beauty and purity associated with the Alps, and as a national symbol especially of Austria and of Switzerland.
It is a year ago since we were in the grip of a vicious weather system that came straight from Antarctica. Snow fell here over several days in a very unusual occurrence.
In contrast, today was mild and the sun came out. Last year provided a very unique event for us to enjoy and remark about but the weather today was more preferable. We hope for a fine, dry weekend here. Fingers crossed…..
We have a bitterly cold wind gusting about us this morning. So far the sky is clear and the sun is doing its best to offer some warmth. However with snow and sleet predicted for much of the South Island and the high hills and mountains of the country it is a day to hunker down inside.
The slow cooker is working away on Moroccan lamb and couscous for dinner, the soup pot is now bubbling away gently on the stove, the tea- pot and toaster are at the ready. All to help keep the chill out today.
Jazz has a cozy spot by the gas heater to do his stretching exercises and I’ve got layers of wool on. If you are a New Zealander reader keep warm today wherever you are living.
When we purchased this white carpet rose we envisaged a low growing plant that was easy to care for and which produced an abundance of flowers.
It is easy to care for and it does produce prolifically but low growing NO! It is even bigger this season despite the good prune it received during the winter and the surprise of snow falling on it in August. Its spent petals look like snow on the ground now.
So what has been going on in my ordinary world? The past two weeks have certainly offered some very extraordinary times as well as the ordinary and mundane.
From the evening of Sunday 14th August until Tuesday 16th August we experienced 3 dramatic snowfalls. Snow fell in our garden overnight in 1995 but it is extreme weather that brings it this close to sea level. This event was at the high end of extreme and the snow lay in patches on the local hills a week later.
Once the snow clouds had moved on, the rain clouds arrived on the back of freezing gale force winds and it rained almost incessantly for four days. We were very thankful for the heater that powered on through numerous power surges.
In the midst of this our cat who has had indifferent health for over a year now needed to have a fleet of tests. The final ones required x-rays and ultrasound to be taken. The skilful vet was able to aspirate a fluid filled cyst on the side of the cat’s pancreas and we crossed our fingers that this would perk him up. This cat should be named “Trooper” because that is what he is. He has more than used up 9 lives and has pulled through many different ailments and injuries. It is a joy to see him looking so much better.
For now the cat is looking chipper, feeling comfortable, eating well and reminding me constantly of how strong the life force can be. Here he is in healthier times enjoying the new carpet and a gentle breeze wafting up the hallway.
We had booked a short holiday from 22nd August, returning 26th August. The weather shone upon us every day with intense blue skies, sunshine and warmth.
We stayed for two nights in a cottage just out of Masterton and really enjoyed walking around Henley Lake and the next day visiting the stunning Pukaha, Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre.
On Wednesday we traveled through the northern part of the Wairarapa and on to Hastings where we stayed in another cottage on a lifestyle block. This part of the trip saw us visit my elderly father-in-law and enjoy a meal out with him and other local family.
We headed home on Friday, having to make a detour back to Pahiatua to get across the high hills to the western side of our island. The detour was caused by a massive slip in the Manawatu Gorge, shutting the road we would normally travel. The slip was a result of the snow and heavy rain that our island had experienced the previous week, coupled with very unstable rock and soil in that steep sided gorge.
Unfortunately we have all returned home with a virus causing two of the three of us a reasonably high degree of misery. Our weekend was a very quiet one to help enable us to heal up.
Evidence of spring was everywhere on our holiday. Most visible were the numbers of lambs in fields, daffodils in clusters and clumps and blossom on trees. The photo below is ornamental plum blossom in Havelock North, Hawkes Bay. By the time we returned spring was showing its face more strongly in our garden too.