Wednesday, 26 February 2014

On nieces in cold places, Part 2

I guess it is something you do when dealing with toddlers in cold climates, but Alice surprised me the other day when, after strapping Anna and Maria into their car seats, she scooped up some clean snow (something that is in abundance 'round these parts) and made a couple of snowballs. She then gave them to Anna and Maria to play with in the car! They seemed to enjoy the "toys". Hardy folk my nieces.
Actually, Anna seems crazily hardy as she is very reluctant to put on clothes, spending a lot of time around in the house in only a nappy, much to my disbelief! I get cold just looking at her. Alice commented that maybe they were keeping the house too warm!
The weather has been a mix of sun, cloud and snow, some of it blowing. I have been skiing on some borrowed, wax-less skis at the Cedar Bay Recreation facility twice. Despite my family's prejudice against wax-less skis, they worked well enough for the well-groomed, gentle trails. When I finished skiing today, it was about -15 or so. When I took off my Gore-Tex jacket, I was surprised to see there was frost on the inside!
While skiing, I kept reflecting on Jackrabbit Johannsen who is said to have been given his sobriquet by the Cree whilst skiing in the woods of the Canadian Shield while working for one of the precursor railroads of Canadian National who in turn run the train line through Sioux Lookout. Hence, there is a connection.
 The parking lot at the Cedar Bay facility also has a stable which houses riding and draft horses that are somehow part of the community recreational facility. (I don't know the details, and it doesn't matter.)  The upshot of all this is that there are a number of horses outside some of the time. (Alice or Mark has since informed me that they are outside all the time.) These include a pair of "grey" draft horses and 9 month old mule! I know the latter as I suspected that the latter animal wasn't entirely a horse, so I sought confirmation from a woman who was leading a horse into the stable and therefore seemed likely to know the answer.
It is supposed to be below -30 for the next two nights so I have plugged in the block heater on my rented car. I am slightly worried that the plug I have used may not be actually turned on, but I shall see what the situation is tomorrow. It is rather important that the car start on Friday morning, as I have to drive to Thunder Bay in time to catch my plane back to Montreal!
 The relationship between Anna and Maria is that of siblings, i.e., they both agree and disagree about many subjects, sometimes simultaneously! Maria spends a lot of time observing and imitating her big sister, sometimes to the latter's chagrin. As someone who had a little sister, I can testify they can be a pain at times! ;-)

I feel Maria is in something of a grumpy or at least irritable phase. There has been a lot of squalls coming from her, which given her cuteness are somewhat heartrending. On the other hand, she does bestow her smiles quite readily. There is one that rather reminds me of one captured in a photo of me around the time we got the train tracks (think Thomas the Tank Engine, only in cheap plastic). I think I was older (2 or 3) but I was wearing footy pajamas (yellow if memory serves) and I was holding a pot.  More importantly, I was grinning ear-to-ear.
Anna is, well, Anna. She is living in her world and quite determined to make it everyone's world. She has a strong personality matched with a very good imagination. If Maria has a smile evoking mine at a young age, Anna reminds me of my brother Philip's self-determination.

1 comment:

Mark and Alice said...

The horses are outside ALL the time. As the woman told me: "we don't bring the moose and the deer in." As long as they have a bit of shelter, they are outside...