. . . and that smell of heated dust as the furnace starts up for the first time this season. I put it off as long as I could, and we're leaving the thermostat low, even though it makes for somewhat clumsy typing fingers. The original house is still closed in, but it's not quite as weather resistant as it used to be. And once we get the new part closed in, there will be a spell when I don't want it heating much, until we get the vapour barrier in to prevent condensation in the walls. Eek. 'Tis the season of desperately hard work before freeze-up.
Speaking of weather, I found a new source of online weather forecasts. I have used Environment Canada for years now, but in these days of eyes on the sky, I grew envious when I heard talk of a 14-day forecast. The Weather Network clearly uses the same observation stations, but they seem much more willing to go out on a limb with more detailed and extended forecasts. So far, I think the Environment Canada temperature predictions are closer to the mark, and the 14-day predictions are only a rough guide, but still useful.
If you're marveling at the temperature differences showing up between Moose Mountain Park in the hills and Carlyle on the flats nearby, look closer. The actual observations come from Broadview and Estevan respectively.
That brings up another issue. I have a CD of weather data for western Canada, and browsing through that, my impression is that the number of stations collecting weather information has declined steeply in recent decades. Does that seem odd to you? Here we are, all concerned about rapid climate change and perturbed regional weather patterns and more erratic weather events, and at the same time, we are relying on an increasingly sparse net of stations to tell us what is actually happening on the ground.
And in these days of increasing emphasis on "citizen science," I couldn't find anything on the Environment Canada website about opportunities for citizens to make weather observations, except the Skywatchers program for schools. I know Garth's uncle submits weather observations. I'll ask him.
But I won't be volunteering this fall!