Considering the climate crises in other parts of the world, I have nothing to complain about, but I’m going to anyway. Things just aren’t normal around here. Seriously, enough with the ping-pong weather already. On Friday, we arrived home from Montreal to 4°c weather and mostly bare lawns. I was feeling a bit smug after all the snow I shovelled while we were in Montreal, but then, on Saturday and Sunday, it snowed here, about 15 cm worth, and I remembered that this is Canada in January and snow is normal, so I just got on with it and shovelled. I figured that the previous few above zero days here in Ontario was only part of a regular January melt. Then on Monday and Tuesday, the temp was up to 3 or 4 degrees again, and a lot of the new snow melted. This morning, though, the temp plummeted to -6°, and it snowed, about 12 cm worth this time, so I shovelled again – a bit less enthusiastically this time, though, because it felt like I was shovelling the same snow twice. Now, I see that the forecast is calling for another melt starting Friday with the temperature due to get all the way up to +11°c over the weekend. The temp will drop below that next week but is still set to stay above zero by 3 or 4 degrees. This is not an ordinary January melt.
I remember January melts from when I was a kid in the ’60s. They were a few days of slightly above-freezing temps when the snow melted a bit, making it heavy and ideal for forts and snowballs. Our winter cranky moms kicked us outside, and we’d congregate to play, all of us energized silly by the warmer air. Then it would get cold again and stay that way for 3 more months and often longer. There was none of this up and down cold or fully bare lawns in January. It was still winter. In Canada. And it was snowy, long and bloody cold.
This unpredictably warmer weather has implications for Jack, too. Possibly serious ones. Jack and I like to walk in the woods and in wildish areas, so tick prevention is a must. We’ve always used it on the advice of our vet from the first of June to the first of November. About 2 years ago, our vet added a second tic preventative that Jack takes from the first of March to the first of November. Apparently, ticks are active at temps just slightly above zero, and we have enough of those degree days now in early spring that ticks have become a concern. How much longer before ticks are a concern all year round and then what? Mosquitos in March?