Sunday, 21 November 2010

Snow And Straw

Let it snow, let it snow, I wrote last week. Be careful what you wish for, they say. Well, we did get lots more snow (yay!) - and had to cancel our informal get-together that was planned for Sunday afternoon (boo!).
We had been asked to host an afternoon with 2 folks who work in North Japan on local social and ecological issues for the United Church of Canada and were looking forward to meet them, together with a few good friends. Well, thick heavy snow prevented it from happening. That's how it can go in this neck of the woods; we like to think we're in control of what happens, but really we aren't. Oh well, another lesson learned.

Fortunately our straw bale presentation at renowned architectural firm Kuch Stephenson Gibson Malo went ahead as planned, last Friday. "Kuch", as the firm is affectionately called here in Thunder Bay, specializes in buildings that make more sense environmentally; they have been asked to work on an exciting new straw bale project in the town of Red Rock, not too far from here. We thoroughly enjoyed being invited at "Kuch's" and talking to the open-minded folks there.

The ambitious project is to build a 4000 square feet multi-purpose straw bale building on the rejuvenated harbour front, facing the lake. The challenge will be to make it as environmentally friendly as possible within the serious restrictions of a public space.
Kudos to the Red Rock city council for having this vision, the stamina to stick with it and for getting the complex financing in place! It's now in "Kuch's" capable hands to come up with a proposal that will satisfy the many complex and opposing demands, not an easy task. But having met them we now feel if anyone can pull it off it's them.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

First Snow...

Last Sunday morning we woke up to a beautiful white world outside. A good 10cm of snow had fallen overnight and the late afternoon before. All those dreary fall browns and grays outside had suddenly morphed into a sparkling brand new world. Our neighbours tell us "This is it, this'll be on the ground till next spring".

Somehow that first snow is always a bit exciting and magical; shades of childhood, of snowmen, snowball fights, snow forts, trying the ice...
There's less squeeling and peals of laughter in our lives now when seeing the world covered in its first white robe of the year. Yes, there's still that sense of excitement, mixed now with the knowledge that after the very busy fall things will slow down a bit. We don't exactly go into hibernation, but we do hole up more, spend more time indoors. We eat more, too, mostly with good friends. And personally I like to revisit a few old Hollywood classics in our solar-powered mini cinema.

What I like best about winter is it doesn't have that urgency summer and fall have, of things that got to be done. Get firewood ready, work the gardens, do maintenance and renovations, organize workshops, house tours, feel guilty about not doing that canoe trip we promised ourselves...

Instead, the snowshoes have been prepared for another good workout and the snow blower topped & tuned up. I know I'll feel different about it in 6 weeks or so, but right now I'm ready for the cold season, secretly squeeling with delight inside.