Snow in 2002

 Must be cold on a dog's bottom...
Taj-dog in the snow

It snows enough to settle on the ground once every six or seven years in Christchurch. The first snow at Mooseys came the winter after we moved in.

The old Ceanothus which had bloomed brilliantly blue during our first spring cracked with the weight, and had to be removed. I remember the cats were puzzled, and the dog was quite excited, and a Wattle tree near the Hen House broke in two.

Our next big snow was in the winter of 2002, and the results were far more dramatic. This time we had no power, and our lantern was misbehaving. And this time there was more snow, much wetter than our evergreen trees could handle.

Cat Missing in Action

During that snowfall, the big cat Sifter was missing - he had been AWOL for three days and I was beginning to worry. Sifter's longish absences do that to me. The first two days I am scornful of his wanderlust, imagining him conning a near neighbour into giving him dinner, and even a warm bed for the night.

Then I start to miss him, and worry he may be in serious cat-trouble - injured after a fight with a dog, trapped somewhere...

 There is a red flax under there somewhere
The Frisbee Lawn

Searching in the Snow

So it was on the night of the big wet snow. I decided to make the long walk to the end of our back paddock, carrying the flashlight, calling him - I could check out the haybarn on the way.

It was an eerie journey, for all around there were loud cracks as shelter belt tree branches snapped. I kept well to the middle of the paddocks, but the boundary trees with their white snow shapes seemed to close in around me.

I didn't find Sifter, so made my way back to the house. I watched some of the Wattles come down near the glass-house, and another huge branch crash into the water race. Back in front of the woodburner I felt rather sad - where was Sifter the cat? And what state would my gardens be in?

 The cherry trees in the pond paddock make shapely silhouettes against the snow
the Pond Paddock at dawn

My shrubs were not compatible with snow, and everything looked horizontal. Would the flaxes survive being squashed flat? And my shrubs? Suddenly I began to passionately love all my bargain bin shrubs, so easy to ignore in normal weather conditions.

 This red bush rose was bravely trying to flower mid-winter
rose in snow

One always hopes that one is snowed in the next morning. Alas, this was not to be. I sheepishly rang my work and bleated that I had tree damage and would be a little late. Truth was that I wanted to take photos of the snow. The dog came too, and we walked round and round the white garden.

 We were lucky that the Wattles didn't fall down on the glasshouse. It could have been sadly broken
the glass-house in the snow

Still Standing

All the photos I took looked the same, with the white covering quite unbelievable. The flaxes were flattened, and there seemed to be branches down everywhere. Luckily the glass-house was still standing.

Now the clean-up has almost finished, and the snow is a distant memory. We have photos, and enough firewood for a decade. I am even allowed to buy some replacement rhododendrons for the Wattle Woods. Sifter came home full of love and promises the following evening, with not a scratch nor a limp.

Normal boring winter life at Mooseys goes on.