winter solstice

This afternoon, Sabrina and I celebrated the winter solstice with a walk in the fields and woods. The weather has been unusual for this time of year. The temperature got up to around 4C (39F) by mid-afternoon. The pasture was quite dry — enough so that we were able to sit together in the long grass for awhile. Normally, there would have been at least a little snow by this date. I can’t really recall such a pleasant afternoon this close to Christmas, although I just checked the Environment Canada website for record values for this date, and found that the highest record is for 9.4C (a little under 50F) on Dec. 21st, 1949. On the other hand, the lowest record is -30C (-22F) on this date in 1942.

The sun was already low on the horizon when I shot the above photo at 3:21 p.m. The trees and I cast very tall shadows at this time of the day (see photo on left – click on it for a larger view). I paced off the shadow on the left and found that it was about about 14 meters tall (about 46 feet).

Winter solstice occurs at about 7:22 p.m. EST in this region. We don’t do anything special for the occasion, but we certainly do take note of this day as the shortest of the year. From here on out, each passing day brings us a little more sunlight – which is most welcome, especially in the cold month of January. But will it be cold this year? Something tells me that this may turn out to be an extraordinary winter. I guess we shall just have to wait and see, eh, Sabrina?

Posted at 7:22:41 p.m. EST.

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10 Responses to “winter solstice”

  1. pablo Says:

    Sabrina is a fine looking dog! Nice companion to have on any walk.

  2. Dave Says:

    After last year’s total wimp-out winter here, I’m ready for some snow! A good winter for me is one where I get to use my snowshoes more than a couple of times — not always a given in Pennsylvania.

  3. Pamela Says:

    Beautiful photos, beautiful dog.

    A warm December is not unheard of around here–but combined with sunshine it feels very odd to me…I too welcome the turn of the year: sunny days should be longer days!

  4. Wayne Says:

    Bev – it’s a fine feeling enjoying a day sitting in the grass, or on the leaves, or under the trees, or just about anywhere with a companion. Good ol’ Sabrina! (Or from her point of view, maybe Good ol’ Bev!)

    We haven’t broken any century highs here on a day to day basis, but over a 9-day period we came within 1-3 degF of the century highs for each day. Today is much more Decembery – a few degC above freezing and rain. No sitting outside today, probably.

  5. Wayne Says:

    Oh yes, the flip side of Winter Solstice and the shortest day: it’s also the first day of winter!

  6. burning silo Says:

    pablo – Sabrina is a great companion. She goes pretty much wherever I go!
    Dave – I guess we see just enough snow up here that it’s sometimes nice to have a warmer winter without much snow. Our snowshoes do seem to get a good work-out most years. (-:
    Pamela – The winters have been a little warmer here too, although probably not so much as in your direction. We’ve often noticed that we have a lot more snow here than even 20 miles to the south. As soon as we start driving towards Kingston, we notice the difference in snowfall and winter temperatures.
    Wayne – If felt great to be able to sit down in the long, dry, pasture grass yesterday. Quite the novelty for this time of the year! I haven’t really been paying attention to seasonal normals, but I bet we’ve been above them for much of December.
    Oh yes, the flip side of Winter Solstice and the shortest day: it’s also the first day of winter!
    I haven’t forgotten! Up here, our weather can go from mild and sunny to snowing like hell and freezing cold at the drop of a hat. Seeing is believing. (-:

  7. robin andrea Says:

    Happy solstice to you, bev. I’m glad that we are now celebrating the return of the sun. Those of us in the north really appreciate this celestial event.

  8. Jenn Says:

    Love that top photo!

  9. Cathy Says:

    Awwww. These solstice pictures of Sabrina and your shadow – just so sweet. The way the first one captures the wan Sun and her look of anticipation. Awwww. Makes me miss my dogs, but I’ll try for the happy memories.

  10. burning silo Says:

    robin – a belated happy solstice to you too, robin. Although it will take a couple of weeks for the difference to be noticeable, it’s good to know that we’ve turned the corner. One downside to the lack of snow this year is that it’s much darker in the evening than when there’s a layer of white stuff on the ground.
    Jenn – Thanks — I like that one too!
    Cathy – It was a nice day to be out walking and shooting photos as the light made such interesting highlights on Sabrina’s coat and also cast such tall shadows.