Archive for January, 2010

Our nephew

January 18, 2010

We just learned the name of the boy that was born to E.’s brother Olli and his wife Tiina back in December, Aino’s new baby brother: Matias Onni Johannes. Matias and Johannes are common enough Finnish names, but Onni is a little different. It means “happiness” or “luck,” and here’s hoping he’ll have plenty of both in his life.

Knowing the way Finns like to make nicknames, I suspect he’ll probably be known as Matti, although one never knows for sure.


Winter’s back

January 18, 2010

The past few days have been sunny and mild, a good January thaw melting away a lot of the snow and ice. Today, this:

Looking down towards the pond

It’s been coming down most of the day, going back and forth from snow to slush to freezing rain and back again. More of the same is predicted until Wednesday.

Damned if you do…

January 17, 2010

E.’s workplace is offering H1N1 vaccines to staff and immediate families of staff. Last fall I saw lots of my students get knocked out of commission for weeks at a time by swine flu, and since the two of us both work with large populations of youngsters, we figured it would be good for us to get vaccinated now that we have the chance. Last Thursday when E. went to work, I followed along after her and we stopped in at the campus clinic. Things went very smoothly, we both got our shots, and I headed home again.

E. was okay through her evening shift, but by the time she got home, she was starting to feel ill. Friday she was very sick with a scratchy throat and aches all over. She spent a good part of the day dozing on the couch. On Saturday she was still sick; today she’s doing a little better, but still achey, sniffly, and sore-throat-y.

I’m happy to say that I’ve had no ill effects, but given the timing it certainly seems that this was a bad reaction to the vaccine– which we got in the first place so that we wouldn’t have to suffer getting sick like this. The marvels of modern medicine.


January 5, 2010

The snow let up for a while on the evening of New Year’s Day, but started again at night and continued nonstop for several more days. There was also a wind out of the west, sometimes quite strong. We were quite happy not to have to go anywhere until today

I decided to give my new snowshoes a try, despite the blowing snow. I strapped them on outside and found them quite comfortable and effective. E. walked with me down to the lake (not on her snowshoes– she’s had a bad headache for a couple of days, so she’s holding off on trying anything adventurous), then turned back while I went on. The ice was nice and solid (as proven by the kids on snowmobiles and an ATV who were tearing around in circles). I walked up the long south shore of the lake, around the western end, and back along the northern shore. I stopped and chatted with a woman who was clearing snow off the ice for her kids to skate on.


The southern and northern shores of Rock Pond are surprisingly thickly built up. It doesn’t show very much from where we are, but getting out on the lake you can see many places where the houses are practically on top of one another. It was a rather shocking contrast to Heather House which feels lost in the woods. It made me appreciate once again how lucky we are to have found this house.

The next day I put on my snowshoes again and made my way around the eastern end of the lake. The houses are not so thick there. I passed by a real estate sign that we think we can match up with one we’ve seen on the road.

On Monday the snow had finally stopped and we went to shovel off the driveway. We then spent the rest of the day groaning in pain from the strain. The wind had drifted up the snow in places and scoured others near bare, so it was hard to judge just how much snow we were moving, but the deepest we had to plow through was maybe eight or nine inches.

New Year’s snow

January 1, 2010

Yesterday, New Year’s Eve day, E. and I headed back out in the woods after breakfast. We’d had some wild wind in previous day and I had spotted a big tree limb down. Together we lugged it out of the woods and I started cutting it up for the firewood pile. Just as I was finishing up, it started to snow. The snow got very thick very fast and we were glad to get inside. The snow went on for the rest of the day and left us with maybe a couple of inches. Today the woods are all decked with snow and pretty.

The lake seems to be frozen pretty well solid. I was hoping to get my skates out and go exploring the shore, but the snowfall put an end to that plan. Hopefully I’ll get the chance before the winter is out. This snow, though, makes an excellent opportunity for E. and me to try out our new snowshoes. The forecast is saying snow every day from today until early next week, so that may make for a nice fresh snowy surface for us to tromp on.