Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September snow

It's September, which means it's spring,
which means surprise snow
that isn't really that much of a surprise.
In the case of today it wasn't really snow either.
Methven was bothered by light dry snow
that failed to stay even for a second on the ground.
Maybe tomorrow we will wake up to a snowy vista.

Two years ago on September 3rd,
it was a Friday and I was driving back from
Oxford to Methven
through the mountains and the Rakaia Gorge,
when I drove from warm sunny sunness
straight into an almost whiteout blizzard.
I was surprised.
Then my windscreen cracked.
I was annoyed.
Not much but enough.
I watched the crack slowly travel
up from the bottom and across the screen
to the registration sticker where it stopped.

The next day was Sept 4th.
We got hit by a 7.1 earthquake in the dark of morn.
It took me three weeks to get the windscreen fixed
but it held.
September 4th was blissfully sunny.
Crazy weather in September.

Yesterday I travelled the reverse journey
from Methven towards Oxford.
I only went as far as Hororata and
then towards town to Yaldhurst
to meet a group of  our TeenAg girls from
Christchurch Girls' High
who were keen to visit with
Dan the Rhymestone Cowboy and horse whisperer.

At Dan's we were smacked around by a howling Nor'wester,
sandblasted by dust,
and deafened by low flying 737s
as we were right next to the airport.
The horses weren't concerned.
Just us humans.

I did my usual thing of forgetting that I would be
tramping over dirty, uneven ground
and wore heeled boots.
I did my even more usual thing
and put lipblam on right before I got out of the car.
As I walked around the shelterbelt
I got a face full of fine Canterbury topsoil.
From then on I was trying to get dust off my lips while
keeping enough lipbalm that my lips wouldn't dry up
and fall off my face.
It could happen.

On my way to see Dan, the girls and
Duncy Monkey our Extension Manager
who had organised the outing,
I had received a phone call so pulled over to talk.

As I talked I noticed the mountain snow wisping away
in the Nor'wester wind.
After a bit I realised that there was an avalanche sliding down the mountain,
prompted by the fierce sun.
The wispy cloud was the puffs of snow as it raced along.
I suspect it would have been a whole different story
if you had been on the mountain.
I try to avoid being on mountains.
 The avalanche is in the snowy gully in the centre of the photo.

I'd never seen an avalanche before
so I was late to Yaldhurst
in favour of watching nature.
A good choice I think.

Now it's snowing pretty hard and I live at sea level so you know that's got to be cold.  Tomorrow I drive to Dunedin to meet with Young Farmer leadership so I hope the snow washes away overnight.

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