You Keep Using That Word

Saturday, just about all day Saturday, I made my way from Toronto to Portland, then up into the hills to Tina’s house. (Sock Summit World Headquarters.) Tina and I are spending a few days together to work on the Summit and look at the convention centre, and do all sorts of bits and bobs. When I got to Portland, I was shocked. Shocked, I tell you. First of all, I stepped off of the plane outside and I did not have a coat on, and, get this. I WAS FINE.

Seriously. No coat. In February, and I didn’t feel at all imperilled – and there’s more! There were GREEN THINGS.


IN FEBRUARY, OUTSIDE. I can’t stress enough how in my part of the world, the only green you’re seeing in February is whatever mould might grow on cheese in the fridge, and frankly, we’re so glad to see a living organism that we just about call people into the kitchen to admire it. Now, if you’re in Eastern Canada right now, I need for you to brace yourself for this next one.



Its not fake either, and I know because I went up and touched it and looked at it. It’s a real flower. They were everywhere in Portland, which means that their presence isn’t just an isolated incident of lunacy planted by some psychotic optimist. Indeed, there was other evidence that the optimism is not just the triumph of the human spirit, but is actually warranted by nature. Witness.


That’s a rose bush. It’s awake, and it IS GROWING LEAVES.

The whole time we were in Portland, I just kept stopping and taking pictures and screaming things like HOLY CRAP TINA THAT’S GRASS, and Tina kept saying that it wasn’t like this up at her house (about 40 minutes from Portland.) She kept saying there was way more “winter” up at her house, that at her house, there was even snow. I believed her too, and as we drove up the hill to her house, I was looking for the winter and the snow. I had already decided that we might have a difference of definition when it came to the word “winter” when I was having trouble locating the snow… and then Tina shouted “There it is! There’s the snow!” and pointed at a pile of snowy leftovers over by the side of the road, and I realized that something had just happened that never happened at home.

Snow was being spoken of in the singular sense.

This part of the world has a lot to recommend it.

298 thoughts on “You Keep Using That Word

  1. Yeah! The Universe has blessed us with beauty in the midst of cold irritating messes of winter. Bring on spring!

  2. Thanks so much for the dose of “spring.” Here in Rhode Island, I’m still looking at a foot of snow in the yard and mountains of snow piled at the driveway. Go figure…pansies in February!

  3. First?
    That’s nuts! We’re still buried under ice and snow out here in Halifax! I’m so sick of driving in the city where people are double parked next to SNOWBANKS THE SIZE OF CARS.
    (Hey, cowl?)

  4. I can’t imagine what your winters must be like! We are spoilt here in the UK, and make a huge hoohaa about the slightest snowfall!

  5. “…I do not think it means what you think it means.” I never knew snow could be singular either. Just count your blessings for finding it out! (No flowers here in Kansas yet, but it was 70F–21C– on Saturday.)

  6. You sound like I did when I went home one college vacation from the depths of cold winter in Ohio with a friend who lived in Miami. I was so stunned by the green that my friend’s family thought I’d lost my mind.
    Enjoy the flowers and the green — it really gives a lift to the spirits in the middle of a long, cold winter, doesn’t it?
    (Cowl pattern? Please? My merino/qiviut is begging for it!)

  7. We had a thaw this weekend — 40*F! My road became muddy, my driveway squishy. Everything smelled like wet earth and rot. It was great! Now it’s colder again, and sleet is forecasted for this week.
    Still, once we get on the other side of January — it’s not that far to spring!

  8. I can’t even imagine snow right now. Down here in Southern Australia we are having heatwaves and terrible bush fires. Melbourne had the hottest day ever on Saturday, 47C.

  9. I forgot to add — it got so warm here in Maryland yesterday that we *opened our windows* and aired out the house. It was a cruel hoax of nature, of course; we’ll have another round of winter. But for a moment there, it smelled like spring. Nature is a cruel mistress….

  10. So Tina gives you flowers in February and in return you give her a Fish Tycoon addiction? Dude. That’s just not right.

  11. Sorry, I just opened the windows here in Madisonville, Kentucky. It’s at least 65 F here today. That’s nice if you have power – at least 20 percent of our city is still without after 2 weeks and the county is even worse. The tulips and daffodils are coming up but the tree limbs keep falling with every warm breeze.

  12. Flowers!! After warm temperatures over the weekend we have that nasty gray and black crap that was formerly snow. Lots of it interspersed with roadside litter. Ugh! Today it is 41F in Northern Ohio and, after six weeks of freezing temperatures, sleet and snow, I am practically ready to dance naked in the parking lot at work with happiness.

  13. Flowers! I got excited today when I saw the snow had melted enough to see the dead grass outside.
    I say this with all sincerity.

  14. Portland is an evil temptress. But dude, there were birds singing outside my window this morning. Which makes me wonder where they’ve been the last few months, and if they’d take me with them next time.

  15. Guy came into the library Saturday wearing shorts, a t-shirt and a wool hat. It was mid-forties. Nobody looked at him funny or anything.
    But don’t worry. There will be plenty of time for your February Lady. The rest of February, for starters. And March. And April. And most of May.

  16. I’m glad you’re enjoying the thaw, and you would be shocked to find that here in Arlington, TX – in February – we’re running the air conditioner. Again.
    Highs the beginning of this week in the 70’s. Pollen from Cedar/Juniper and Elm in the red zone throughout the week. After a recent re-freeze (just ice, no snow), the plants are trying to propagate again. Oh, and straight-line winds from storms last night.
    If you want snow here, you’d have to buy a snow cone. (And believe me, as long as the 100 degree summers last here, we do that a lot!)

  17. One of my daughters moved to Silicon Valley (California) just before New Year’s. When I spoke with her a few days ago, she said that her seasonal allergies were acting up because of the blooming citrus trees. I told her that it was 14Β° F at or house & the snow in the backyard was knee deep. It had been 32 days since we had last seen the (brown) grass. We did have a warm up (mid-50Β°s) Friday & it felt like spring for 2 days. Now it’s cold again. I’m beginning to see California’s allure.

  18. parents have them blooming too.
    Here I’ve started using phrases like “Only -10? I can’t believe it’s so warm.”
    I can’t believed I moved somewhere that has real winter.

  19. The temperature and views are absolutely wonderful and gorgeous, but now that I work on the west coast of Vancouver Island, I still don’t think I could live there permanently because I seriously thought I would drown in all the rain. 100mm in a day! That’s absolute insanity!

  20. This cracks me up. I take it you’ve never been to Vancouver in February? Same thing. :DD
    It’s 3 degrees in Toronto. Woohoo!

  21. Portland sounds like a magical world of wonders! Much of our Chicago snow melted over the weekend, but it revealed a few months’ worth of detritus and amazing quantities of dog poo along with mud and brown grass. I’d rather have snow than that!

  22. Welcome to Portland!
    It may look pretty, but it rains, rains all the time…very bad, very gloomily…you don’t want to move here, don’t be fooled by the pretty pictures….
    Just joking. We try to maintain the horrible reputation to keep people from moving here.

  23. It was unseasonably warm here, too, yesterday. It got up to 64 degrees! And it’s expected to do it again on Wednesday. Today will be just slightly chillier.
    But I live in Virginia, right outside DC, and was amazed that such a thing happened for ONE DAY, let alone TWO, and in FEBRUARY! And I still remarked that it made me believe in Global Warming in a more visceral way than the logical arguments I’d heard before.
    You’re so much further North, and from the ways the plants are reacting, it looks like it’s been going on for a while.
    I concur: Holy Crap!

  24. Okay, I have to comment…it was -4 on the way to work last Thursday…it is a balmy 25 degrees today. Last week, my lovely family commented on my upcoming trip to Florida (to visit my knitting buddy)that it was 35 at night…mind you it was
    -12 or so at home…Snow, the freakin banks are so high you can’t pull out safely…
    Green, no green, nothing grows, however, the birds still sing and eat at the feeders and if they can thrive, so can I.
    I am looking forward to shedding the coat for a bit in Tampa…
    I am also looking forward to knitting the cowl…but not in Florida…angora in Tampa? don’t think so.

  25. In London, we just found out what the word “snow” means when we had a proper blizzard last week and none of the trains or buses were running!
    Actually, have you ever heard the phrase “the wrong kind of snow”? It’s a running national joke after (many years ago) National Rail blamed rail havoc on powder snow, as we almost always get wet snow here. Which I read about in a book you would love, Watching the English by Kate Fox, it is a book by an anthropologist who decided to study her own people. It is absolutely hilarious and if you haven’t read it you should (I wish I’d told you this before you came last year!) It’s really your kind of thing I think. /tangent

  26. It’s zero today in Manitoba and raining frozen pellets and I’m pleased as punch. If I saw a patch of grass I think I would burst into tears of joy.

  27. Ok, so I moved to Portland this weekend– and now you’re telling me that I live in the headquarters of the Sock Summit?! I must know more.

  28. Our regional weird attitude towards snow stems from the fact that the city of Portland is simply not equipped to handle decent amounts of it. We had a “terrible” storm this December that shut down half the city… for days… all over 18.9 inches of snow. The buses weren’t running properly, not enough people have chains… we know it was silly, but it was incapacitating. The storm was being reported as Arctic Blast 2008 and The Snowpocolypse. Now, even in February, the first few flakes fall and we all panic. If only the city had more plows.
    When my friends were complaining about not being able to get around, I shared your post about Joe getting the truck stuck. Much needed winter perspective!

  29. OMG What a beutiful sight for us in the land of snow and winter. If it was me I’d stay there till I got word that a litle bit of green could be seen at home. Thanks for the sunshine and flowers today .

  30. It was a beautiful weekend, wasn’t it?
    I’ll remind you of the reason you gave for not wanting to move to the PNW: rain. It does rain here, but not as much as we make people think it does, and that’s also why we enjoy a thousand different shades of green (I love coming home to the green).
    If you ever decide to relocate, let us know. We’ll find you a house and help you unpack. πŸ™‚
    Welcome back to the NW, and we’re all looking forward to news of the Sock Summit!

  31. Oh please don’t show us things like that. Some of never knew that there were places that you could take a coat off in February and not need to worry about frostbite. Now we know. Now we have a sudden, burning desire to go to Oregon. Now we have to find a constructive way to release the sudden jealousy that burns within us. Where did I put the good merino and DPNs?

  32. Her in Michigan we had a beautiful day on Saturday. Warm(high 40’s -low 50’s),sunny and breezy. It was just a big tease though-today is cold and gray. But, I do have some pansies(the flower in your picture) popping up. They are a cold weather flower so they are the first up in late winter and by summer are wilting and dead due to the warm temps and the brighter sun.
    But at least they are a sign that spring will come again in it’s own sweet time.

  33. It’s February and despite 2 warm days (+10 or so C) the snow is still up to my first-floor windowsills. This makes me want to cry a little bit.

  34. The rest of the world doesn’t understand the weather around Lake Ontario, Lake Erie – lake effect snow – this will drop a few feet of snow in a couple of hours. Washington D.C. closes down
    the entire government if there is the least hint of snow. But there is cross country skiing, snow shoeing, ice fishing and ice skating right outside my door here outside of Syracuse. Also 3 ski areas within 20 minuted. And some of the best yarn shops anywhere.

  35. Sooo, just what is that shagginess where the snow has melted? Could it be brown, dormant grass? Or some other sort of strange growth?

  36. Welcome to the West Coast! For all the bitching we in Vancouver like to do about the rain, there are definite advantages to living here in the winter…although we’ve had plural snow recently. πŸ™‚

  37. Oregon’s weather moved to LA this week– it was cool and rainy. Here, we have another concept that is probably unknown to Canadians– we “go to the snow.” Since the nearest snow is in the mountains, 50 miles away, we have to make a deliberate effort to engage in any “winter” sports.
    Does Tina live on an alpaca farm? There’s a nice one about the distance from Portland that you describe.

  38. Reminds me I have some forsythia branches to cut and trick into blooming. Although Pittsburgh is enjoying some unseasonably warm weather for a few days. It is awesome.

  39. My in-laws are in Australia and they talk affectionately about “the snow” too. As in, we just got back from a nice vacation at “the snow.”
    So weird!

  40. Try this on for size…. we close schools on the THREAT of snow in Maryland. Even President Obama couldn’t believe it. It’s sunny here today and the daffodils are beginning to sprout.

  41. “…I do not think it means what you think it means.”
    Sorry, you meant to quote The Princess Bride, right?
    Southern Ontario would like you to know it is doing its best to catch up and is sending a flood of rain this week. One can only hope your snowbanks will be gone when you return!

  42. We had our first non-winter weather here this weekend in Pittsburgh, and I nearly weapt with joy when the sidewalks caked in ice all melted and dried up. I do not think I could survive Eastern Canada.

  43. We can often have pansies through most of the winter (whoever decided that the word pansy made a good insult for wimpy never gardened) which is why we completely freak out when we get snow.
    And just to rub it in a little (because we will get pounded with rain in the Spring), my crocuses are starting to come up!

  44. It does indeed have a lot to recommend it. But don’t tell anyone, ok? We don’t want too many people moving here.
    And don’t forget the great beer. I mean GREAT beer. Everywhere.
    But you have a national health service. That makes up for a lot. And Canadians are so very nice.
    Enjoy your trip to beautiful Oregon!

  45. It *is* beautiful here in Portland now, true. Though I suspect the flowers and buds you see are a result of snow-induced psychosis brought on by an unprecendented foot and a half of snow at Christmas. But, yeah, we’re wimps. A single flake falls and people lay in supplies like it’s Armageddon.

  46. It’s totally 79 degrees (F) here today. Tomorrow is forecast at 82. LOL It’s lovely.
    (Orlando, Florida)

  47. Absolutely crying here at all the Princess Bride references. I knew my fellow Harlotheads would be kindred spirits.
    Otherwise, we’ve still got a bit of snow on the ground in NJ, but we had the same freakish thaw that had melt just running onto the roads, only to turn to treacherous ice the next morning. I’m so ready for spring.

  48. Photos of my favourite cheery flower have succeeded only in making me weep as I realize that soon I will need to change out of my thin maternity pants and into my jeans before donning my boots and heading out into the -7 (-17C with windchill) cold to catch the bus.

  49. I live in MN. I wanted to see green things so badly that I set up my little green house with grow lights in the dining room and started some lettuce a couple weeks ago. My son had the first salad for lunch today. It is just barely late enough here to start seeds with the intent to move them outside later.

  50. Hooray for warm weather! I am not a fan of the fluffy white stuff falling from the sky. It was a great weekend on the East Coast too. It was 72 (F)/22(C) in Virginia yesterday. We had the house thrown open and I went into spring cleaning mode (a bit preemptive, but it felt great!)

  51. Forecasted rain this week or not, there is still 2 feet of snow on top of my rose bushes. I am so freakin’ far away from leaves, it’s painful…

  52. The other day it was about 38F here in Rhode Island and my middle kid (the dramatic one) was “soooo hot, I can’t wear my coat in the car, I’m DYING of HOT, Mama.” It’s all relative. Thirty-eight feels mighty balmy compared to 10F. And it’s never too cold for an iced coffee, but that, I think, is just our regional weirdness at play.
    Thank you for the pictures of spring. We’re supposed to get milder weather this week, but I know it’s just the big fat February tease. Winter’s not over yet, not by a longshot.

  53. I would seriously swap you some green for some universal health care. Okay, not like Vermont is green, but still. We could work something out.
    Sorry, don’t mind me, I’m embittered and grumpy about health insurance today.

  54. The cowl will come in the fullness of time, thank you Stephanie.
    I’m very glad you are busy working on the Sock Summit, I am very much looking forward to finding out if I can afford to attend.

  55. Yes Stephanie, you should come to the dark side… otherwise known as “The West Coast.” We might not have flowers here yet in BC, but we do have grass that isn’t dead, and snow is a distant memory now!

  56. Despite the rain and ‘cold’ here in California (really, can anything over 40*F be called cold?), the citrus, apples, and pears have all started flowering. Sometimes I miss the snow, but not today.

  57. It does have a lot to recommend it. It’s where I’m from, only across the river in Washington about 40 minutes away. Are you staying with my mom? Strange she didn’t mention it….

  58. Our snow, near Niagara, has turned to that lovely brown salt-ridden mush we get with a thaw. I hear it is to rain tomorrow! Rain! And then get cold and snow some more. My pussywillows are budding, though. πŸ™‚ There’s hope!

  59. Culture shock was when I moved to Texas from the Northeast and saw flowers being planted in October and November. I thought surely they were nuts. But no. Those pansies are a staple of our winter vegetation. So nice. Much more colorful than snow.

  60. So I moved to Oregon City from Connecticut about a year and half ago. We are about 20 min. outside of Portland. The one thing my daughter-in-law said was spring comes early here. It is amazing to see primroses and pansies, and they’re outside. enjoy your time here.

  61. Almost feel guilty telling you this, but it is going to be in the high 70’s/low 80’s this week here in Melbourne, Florida.
    I really don’t know how you can deal with snow; born and raised here – can’t begin to understand. I literally get chills when you all talk of the frozen percipitation! BUT, I think I might knit faster in the cold weather!

  62. I love snow, ice (rinks, not on the road) and winter. For the past week, it has been above freezing and I’ve been wanting winter back. My skis and skates are crying in the corner and wondering if I love them anymore. Now, thanks to you and your lovely springiness, I am beginning to doubt my love for them too.

  63. I know. I love Portland! I just moved here from Wisconsin in November and everyone thinks I am crazy running around without a jacket on!

  64. And, when you have completed the first Sock Summit, will you then consider one for us on the East coast? Lots of prolific sock knitters around these parts drooling over your wonderful idea!!

  65. We don’t even have the pile of leftovers in Atlanta. We never got any snow…… πŸ™‚

  66. OK, here in Wisconsin it seems a lot more like Toronto. We have piles of snow, despite the nearly 50F degree thaw this weekend. By the time you come to visit us in March we should have a good ground cover of snow once again. Don’t forget your books, scarves, mittens, and other cold weather gear!

  67. Here in the SF Bay Area, we’ve been having short-sleeves weather. Last week our daffodils came up! I do miss the snow, but on the other hand, by February it does wear on you.
    There is a problem with this warm weather though – here people have been shaking their heads and saying, “Is this really January? Is this really February?” because we’ve been having very unseasonably warm weather. Usually it’s colder and rainy for the whole season. So it’s a pretty clear indication of global warming. It also means that we’re in for BIG trouble come Summer because the lack of rain now means major drought in a few months. We could use some of your snow above our reservoirs!

  68. Welcome to my world!! After living in places like New York, Iowa, Missouri and Montana, it’s great to know that the cold won’t KILL ME when I step outside the front door.
    Today we have the first of several storms coming in from the Pacific, and this one has some snow mixed in the rain. It’s pretty coming down, and then melts when it hits the ground. My kind of snow.
    Your pictures remind me that I need to see about getting my tomato and pepper seeds started pretty quick if I want to get them into the ground on time in the Spring.

  69. I used to live in Vancouver, BC. Green things abounded there, and I could even go running in just a sweatshirt and tights in winter. Then my husband got transferred to Nova Scotia. The mice can skate on the ice in the toilet bowl…..

  70. Glad you made it safely! And that white stuff falling out of the sky right now isn’t “really” snow. It won’t be around too long (fingers crossed!)

  71. It “snows” here in Victoria, BC and the city shuts down after an accumulation of 5cm. Then it is usually gone after a few days and we are done with snow for the year. Course it rains here a lot more than you probably ever get in Ontario.

  72. “snow was being spoken of in the singular sense”
    That is hilarious – you made my day!!
    (you’ll be happy to know the snow in Toronto is melting today, though there’s certainly too much to have it all melt anytime soon)

  73. there is nothing better than Portland in the spring… flowers and green everywhere. Here in Frankfurt-Germany- we still have snow!
    Viva Portland.

  74. INCONCEIVABLE!! In MN we’re getting our knee-deep snow coated with a half-inch of ice today. There will be no flowers for at LEAST three months. Sigh…

  75. They lure you in with promises of no snow, and then you realize that the entire city stops (because they have no plows, no salt, and all the other drivers don’t know how to drive in it) when it snows an inch. And then they hit you with nine months without sun.
    No thanks, I’m solar powered!

  76. Does anyone else find it irritating that if the Groundhog says 6 more weeks of winter that *makes* it an early summer?
    I can’t wait to see some green!
    (ps I just finished my first pair of socks. Will be blogging about it tonight πŸ™‚

  77. Well it might be spring in Portland, but I can tell you further north up I5 and back into Canuck country there is still snow on the ground in the burbs of Vancouver (not to mention the earthquake Saturday night too)!!

  78. Truly a beautiful part of the country! Just a few more weeks and that will be Chicago! It’s hard to be patient, but there are signs of hope. It’s to be 64F here on Tuesday! Woot woot!

  79. I so recognize the feeling of amazement at green. Last year here in Ottawa there was 3 ft of snow on the ground last week of March – then I went to Vancouver for a conference and things were in bloom, and I was petting the flowers like they were cashmere while waiting for my ride. Right now I’m really into the pretty pics in seed catalogs, after 2 1/2 months of monochrome white/grey/beige outside.

  80. I woke up and was surprised to see snow on the ground here in Seattle. I should stop complaining.
    oh, and Happy-Not-Quite-Long-Enough-Tail-Cast-On Day!

  81. I grew up in the (almost)Great White North (New Hampshire) and I remember the first time I came to the South (Washington D.C.) in April. Green grass, flowering trees, non-watery non-anemic sunshine – it was all a revelation to me. My parents moved to Virginia and I moved to various Southern states (now Alabama) over 20 years ago…and my mother and II *still* get a thrill out of the fact that we can have pansies that bloom ALL winter. And just yesterday? I planted peas, lettuce, beets, carrots and parsley in my garden. Of course, I don’t think northern Alabama is quite as pretty as Portland, but I like it fine. Our Botanical Garden stays open year round. Y’all should come and visit… :o)

  82. That must have been Portland, Oregon you were visiting. Portland, Maine was probably much more like Toronto.
    Today in Chicago you can see the lawns again but they’re not green yet.

  83. now you understand why the pdx-dwellers tolerate several months of rain-frizzy hair a year. when you can spend a saturday afternoon in february bicycling around in the sunshine and then enjoy a beer outside at your favorite bar, well … what more need i say?

  84. We had a “melt” in Green Bay this weekend and I saw “grass” for the first time in months. Dead, cold, brown grass but still grass… my heart nearly skipped a beat and I went around singing for the rest of the day. I’m convinced this is nature’s way of teasing me into thinking Spring is likely to come before the end of May.

  85. A flower? I’d give all 10 acres of our 2-foot-deep white moisture just to have that little sweetie on my deck about now……Minnesota! We love it! But Oh, how we’re ready for spring!!
    Spent a few really lovely days in Portland in mid-October, my first-ever visit, and just adored it. As a sidewalk-starved ex-Chicagoan, I could move there in a shake of my own tail. Even with the dampness …….makes the hair curly, me! The burgeoning neighborhoods on the west side of the river are so funky and delicious – and especially the sushi-train restaurant……how I loved THAT! The streetcar! Yarn shop along the north end! And the riverfront walk – and the corned beef sandwich from a downtown deli, that I took on the train to Spokane the next morning! Most of all, Powell’s caused me all sorts of clever Peter-to-Paul action. I’m trying to sneak the Sock Summit into the budget around DH’s watchful eye. Calls for a really special sort of plan, that!

  86. I know what you mean about seeing green things growing in the winter, my family in England thought I was crazy comenting on the green grass and daffodils in flower in Jan.!!! They just didn’t understand, until I told them that we would not be seeing green grass until late April, if we’re lucky…

  87. …..and I forgot to mention, of course, the major ice storm that cometh today, as Tegan said above. Hateful stuff – another foot of snow would be much more preferable up here on the Range….

  88. Don’t go letting out our secrets like this! We need people to think it’s gloomy and rainy and horrible all the time or they’ll all want to move here!

  89. Well, there’s snow and then there’s SNOW. Last week we had snow, but to the average Londoner, who was drowned in about 20-35cms of the white stuff it really felt like SNOW. I have to say I loved it and am trying to find a place where you get two full months of it at the beginning of the year and then a beautifully warm summer of at least equal length. If that happens to be Eastern Canada, could you drop me a line, so that I can get the application for citizenship without delay. πŸ™‚

  90. Have you thought of having a future Sock Summit in Hawaii? I mean escaping winter doesn’t have to mean a mere absence of snow. It should mean absence of winter. Just a suggestion.

  91. Ah, you’re making me homesick for Seattle, where the daffodils start blooming in February!!
    February (and March, and maybe April) have been the hardest part of the year for me since our move to upstate NY a couple years ago. Sigh…..this is why I painted our dining room BRIGHT RED late last February!

  92. Here is the Tetons, I understand how it feels to think that a few feet of snow on the ground isn’t very much. And that flowers only grow for a few weeks between winters…

  93. Grass?!?! What I wouldn’t give for some of that at the moment. Here in Australia we’re in the middle of an horrendous drought, and in the State of Victoria we had the worst bushfires ever on Saturday (173 dead and that number is certain to rise).
    I live in a nice suburb of Melbourne and everyone’s grass is brown and crunchy underfoot – it looks like hay. The roses are hanging in there and we just can’t wait for autumn!!!

  94. haha awesome. i live in southern california, where the winter is the *only* time of year that there is green. our roses are in full bloom! but for the rest of the year, there is mostly just brown. but it’s warm & brown, not cold & brown, so i can’t really complain.

  95. We are in the midst of a huge thaw, outside Boston. It means that the 3 feet of snow in my yard is making my nice, snowy path a solid sheet of slippery ice.
    How can there be flowers, when there isn’t any _ground_?????
    Snow in the singular tense….what a concept!

  96. I spotted the first tentative green pokings of crocuses (crocii?) in my garden this morning. Hardly surprising because we had 60F temps this weekend, but still, they’re a little early. They usually show up at the end of February. Warm front this week apparently – or warmer anyway… But they’re calling for snow showers on Saturday. And I’m okay with that.

  97. Come on down to Phoenix. It’s going to be chilly this week – the highs are only going to be in the low to mid 60’s (15.5 – 18C)!

  98. Well, here in Indiana the 13 inches of snow we had has melted. That means of course mud. Oh and have I ever mentioned that I have an all white dog?????
    I think all can see the problem.
    And it’s just the Feb. thaw. Been happening for years. Not freakish or abnormal. And when we get snow in the air in April while the pear trees are in bloom, remember I told you it was going to happen. Grew up on a pear/apple orchard farm and for over 50 years now snow has been on the pear blossoms 4 out of every 5 years!!
    We just all like to block that kind of stuff out!

  99. One of the weirdest things about living in the Pacific Northwest is how green and lush everything is in the winter. I’m a Montana girl who has lived here for 22 years now and am still fascinated by the “seasons”.

  100. Snow, what is that? It is so cold here is San Diego, I had to wear a sweater today. Talk about harsh winter.

  101. Anybody wanna peanut? (my favorite line…)
    The snow is returning the PDX (Portland), though it’s that stuff that just kinda sorta sticks for less than an inch and sends all the kids home from school. But, I know it’s promising to be a fabulous spring. My roses are already trying to bud, and I haven’t whacked them down yet! Ahhh!!!

  102. if you think the roses in portland look great in february, with just their hint of growth, you should see them in june!!! portland has a fantastic rose garden in one of the parks. not to mention the roses planted by folks all over town intheir own gardens. that rhodie in the first photograph looked promising too. they bloom before the roses.

  103. Yup, that’s precisely what I loved about living on Vancouver Island, and why I can’t wait to go and live there again. Stuff grows all winter. I loved the pansies, and especially the ornamental cabbages. If your kids run outside in winter without all their outside duds on, or if they take off their mitts outside, you don’t have to worry about them turning into kidsicles. You can plant your vegetable garden really early too. Peas go in the ground in early March, other stuff soon after.

  104. snort…. that’s too funny!! We’re patiently waiting for when we can ooh and aah over the first patch of dead grass that appears from under all of the snow.

  105. Seriously? People have grass?? I want to see some grass! Someone at church on the weekend had been a bit enthusiastic with the shoveling and had shoveled the snow off of a wee patch of grass…. my kids were so excited! “Grass, Momma, look at the grass! Does that mean it’s spring?”

  106. Take heart! Never fear! It’s melting in Wisconsin’s Door County! Skiing there over the weekend…. Wonderful Winter… Bye! See ya next year! See ya next “season” i guess! Oh well! Who cares? We’ve had our fill (and I like winter.. don’t stone me!).. and it’s high time to move on….

  107. I’m so glad you got to see Spring. Here in Northern Michigan I’m sure winter has the same meaning. We are still having winter.

  108. How did you know about the green moldy cheese in my fridge??
    This was my husband’s attempt at levity last February: We have even more snow this year here in New Hampshire. Green things… sigh.

  109. I can’t imagine there being flowers here right now, although the snow seems to be melting. That usually means there is more to come

  110. Ha! I know how you feel. I’m back in Montreal now, but I spent five years in Seattle. My first winter there, I stopped dead in my tracks to stare at a tree in bloom in January! I couldn’t believe my eyes… No snow? Sure. Flowers in January? Mindboggling! I think it’s to make up for the gray winter skies.

  111. In the Puget Sound area, the usual target date for planting cold weather crops like peas and lettuce is President’s Day weekend, when the ground has usually dried out just enough to be workable, so that’s just around the corner! Ignore today’s–and maybe tomorrow’s–snow snifters and concentrate on all that lovely green. Forsythia, crocuses, daffodils, rhodies and azaleas, flowering plums and cherries, are all only a dream away… When will your Sock Summit be in Portland? I really need to get that on my calendar! Happy thoughts, and see you this weekend at Madrona, randmknitter

  112. Steph,
    2 ways to see it:
    1:we are frozen solid and dreaming of shooting down that Punxsutawney giant rat which forcasted 6 more weeks of winter. Snowbanks here in Qc make it so we can’t see our house from the street (30 feet away). Cars won’t start and most of the time it’s because we couldn’t bear to put more than as 10$ worth of gaz (why can’t one keep his/her gloves on while filling up: I don’t know).
    2: We get 90 days more of good reasons for knitting sweaters, gloves, hats, scarves, a gorgeous cowl and what not.
    Now if given the choice, I take #2 and a ticket to Punxsutawney (got some unfinished business to deal with…hehehehe)

  113. The problem comes when we *do* get snow here in Portlandistan, everything shuts down. We’re not talking 8feet overnight, I mean anything more than 1/2″. Because there are only three plows for the whole city, under the snow is a sheet of ice (from the snow melting when it hits the ground until the ground gets cold enough to freeze all the water), and *no one can freaking drive properly* in those conditions. We got record snowfall in December and the news stations had snowpocalypse ’08 reports on 24/7. Seriously. I didn’t leave my house for SIX DAYS because my husband had to stay in his work town (35 miles south) overnight with our only car & the buses weren’t running proper routes & the light rail was shut down & I have two children under three. There was a lot of Bob the Builder that week.

  114. Enjoy your time here in this part of the world. Hope you have a great time with Tina and all of the other Blue Moon people. Cheers!

  115. Amazing isn’t it. We have green grass and trees that have budded here, but no flowers have ventured their heads up to see what is going on.
    I was in Texas in February and it was amazing! We were in shorts as all the natives looked at us like we were crazy, but that was the year that we had left -30F in Indiana for 60F in Houston. It was a heatwave to us. Everything down there was green and blooming away. Talk about a culture shock. We had been tenting the cars and running heaters to un-thaw the vehicles so they would start and we could get in them.

  116. “No flowers here in Kansas yet, but it was 70F–21C– on Saturday.”
    Woohoo! I walked home today! When I lived further north, it bugged me when it was spring again. I was a child. The snow up there did not melt within five seconds.
    The thought that occurred to me when I read this entry:
    If this was a TV special, it would be called “Stealing Spring”, and you would sneak over to Portland and snatch their spring, but have a change of heart in the end, like in “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.”

  117. the thaw’s just begun here in MI but i fear it won’t last long… enjoy it while you can!

  118. The Pacific Northwest has been blessed with BEAUTIFUL weather for February. Usually it’s just rainy. But come back to Portland OR in March – even more GREEN!!!! (seriously, though, we’ve had an abbreviated winter here in Portland. We had way more snow than we’ve gotten in like 40 years, and some cold, but that was about it).

  119. Yup. Whenever I visit my son (Northeast Kingdom of VT to Portland) I suffer from severe vegetation envy. Somehow the worst for me is the rosemary growing rampant in the streets. Plus they have volcanoes (OK so that’s a personal plus). Guess whose floor I’m hoping to sleep on next August…

  120. It was at least seventy here in South Carolina yesterday, but we are made to pay for that lovliness in July when you can bake your brains and your butt at the same time just getting in the car!!

  121. Is that top picture a Rhododendron? I do like Rododendrons. It was 70 degrees F (21*C) here today – very nice. I walked to work today. Boy, am I ready for spring! Pansies are very frost-hardy and tough little things. Think about that next time someone calls you a pansy!

  122. Maybe it’s time for another visit to Los Angeles? Today it is raining, to be sure, but we’ve had temperatures in the high 80s (F) in January!

  123. This made me laugh so hard. I live in BC. I went to university in Ontario. I remember my first winter (how I survived that entire winter without proper boots I don’t know)I left to fly home for Christmas in a blinding snowstorm. When I arrived back the snow had pretty much melted from that snowstorm and I thought, what’s the big deal. I laugh to think I actually, truly thought that was the end of winter in Ontario. In January. How naive. We’ve just had the worst winter that I can remember and I’m so sick of it. Then I remember winter in Ontario and take a step back, smell the flowers and smile.

  124. Yeah. No. Don’t believe you. Thanks for the good story and all, but not possible.

  125. Love how depending on where you are winter has different meanings… same with snow, and cold…. for some odd reason!

  126. OK, I can be patient for the Cowl directions, but please, if they aren’t available before Stitches West, could we have a good description of the yarn, weight, and yardage needed bffore 2/26/09? If I’m going to go crazy, why not go crazy there.
    I actually touched buffalo last year for the first time! Who knows what new and wonderful things I can touch this year?

  127. Dearest amazing Steph,
    I have just been getting to know you better through reading your books.
    I craved more after finishing ‘Casts off’
    So I went and bought your ‘secret life of a knitter’. I just finish ‘socks for Sinead’ and woke my sleeping daughter up by laughing so hard.
    Thanks for that.
    It’s hard to put it down to knit more and yet that is what it does.
    Guess what else…I took your advice and wandered into GoodWill yesterday. I wonder if anyone can relate to my joy (and a little confusion) as I found an 2009 Never not knitting calendar there just waiting for me on the shelf, in it’s box and everything. I had a really hard time trying to figure out why someone saw fit to donate it. Oh well thier loss it’s mine now.
    Also by the way, 287 miles south more or less of ‘P-town’ (what the locals call Portland) there are no blossoms to be found for certain. It’s maybe 42 F.
    Gee I sure love to get to P-town for your sock summit!

  128. I guess you don’t want to know that you are missing that one week in the winter that it is above freezing in Ontario. I saw the grass (dormant but still) in front of my house today.
    Although I am at home with a 3.5 month old with a sinus cold.

  129. Stephanie-Oh oh we’ve been outed….This is why we don’t care about the rain. What’s a little liquid sunshine, what the Scots call “a soft day”, or we in Seattle refer to as mizzle aka “Seattle Sunshine” when we have primroses, flowering trees and snowdrops any time between now and the first of March?
    Saturday we picked up perfect tiny shells along the Sound while flocks of black and white ducks bobbed in and out of the water with tiny wriggling fishies and a bald eage swooped from a snag and caught something in his talons. A week ago on our way to a party in Spokane my dear husband thinks he nodded off and tried to fly without a plane off I90 at freeway speeds. ASll four of us walked away with shiners, aches and pains and such a profound sense of gratitude that only soft sighs can express. Blessings are where you find them and sometimes the smallest miracle is the most touching. I held tiny perfect clam shells in my palm and rejoiced in the unsung wonders all around us. So bless you, Steph, and all my other knitting siblings known and unknown for the loveliness you enrich this world by being.
    Love to all whether we ever see each other in the flesh or not.

  130. I went without a coat the other day, but I have yet to see anything green growing anywhere. I can wait…as soon as it warms up we have to put in a yard and I do not have a green thumb. I could knit plants better than I could grow some and keep them alive.

  131. 70 in St Petersburg today
    But boy would you have loved to see people freak out with the cold weather here in the last few weeks. It went into the 30s. It was cold–but not that cold
    There were ‘rumors’ of snow.
    It was all I could do to not die laughing in front of people

  132. While I have had small fantasies about moving to an area (like Vancouver, or Toronto, etc) that requires wearing wool for a much longer period of time in order to justify loads of sweaters and the size of my stash, I am pretty in love with Portland. But I could talk this place up all day. What do other people love about where they’re at?

  133. Dare I hope? which Portland are you in? Is there one in Canada? Are you at the one in Maine (most likely closer to you) or are you, dare, I say it, in my vicinity? in Portland Oregon? We’ve got green too, but I don’t know . . .

  134. Yes, I’m only about 2hours from Portland Oregon. They are getting snow tonight! We got hail..
    (Eugene area) And, my plants are growing! yay!

  135. how wonderful to hear your version of winter in portland! i live here but grew up in wisconsin where winters are COLD and SNOWY. and at times i would take that over the gray and rain here….. but it was refreshing to see it through new eyes like i did when i first moved here!!! thank you for that πŸ™‚

  136. Said Inigo, “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

  137. Steph, as a Portlander, I’m so glad you are here. I was complaining to a friend just this morning that I’m just so flippin’ tired of the cold. We did get “real” snow earlier this year. A total of 21 inches, thank you very much. I know, I know, this may not be “real” snow to some, but as a transplanted Hawaii girl, 21 inches is plenty. And 40 degrees is still plenty cold.
    Hope you had fun in our fair city.

  138. Yah, roses grow like weeds here; actually they are weeds! πŸ˜‰ Also, it’ll probably snow tonight – snow level is predicted to drop to 500 feet.
    By the way, in December, my sister came out from Michigan to escape the winter and it snowed most of the time she was here. Go figure…

  139. Unfortunately, that pretty West Coast weather spells D-R-O-U-G-H-T and D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R.
    We’re in for a rotten summer. Water rationing, navy showers, brown lawns, and forest fires.
    Believe it or not, we’d rather have rain.

  140. Here in VT I am still buried and happily layered in wool. I live here to justify my obsession with the stuff.
    By the by, I don’t know if any of your button comments told you this but I have done some research that indicates that the button side story is a myth and that women’s buttons got moved to the other side around the time of the Gibson Girl. My pet theory is that it was the fault of a Vogue (aka Vague) pattern that someone misread and then Charles Gibson drew it.

  141. Snow in the singular! Ha! I love it! We haven’t seen the ground here since Halloween πŸ˜€

  142. wow. And here my kids were refusing to wear coats because it reached 32F. And my farmer friends are racing to dig the overwintering kale out from under the foot of snow before it gets cold again.”
    Thanks for the flower photos – they give me hope for spring (you know, in about 3 months)

  143. Welcome to Portland! We actually have been having a hard winter! We get a few inches of snow and it shuts the town down. I’m not kidding. Anxious to see you for the conference. (Bring rain gear!)

  144. I laugh, but only because I too was utterly SHOCKED when I first moved from Colorado to Oregon for college. I absolutely marveled at the idea that there was such an abundance of growth and green and flowers in the dead of winter. It’s one of the reasons I miss Oregon.

  145. You got it – life outside of the snowbelt is glorious. I’m 300 miles east of Portland and while we don’t have roses leafing out or pansies in our pots (yet – give us three to five weeks) we aren’t up to our rear ends in snow (although if you drive north 50 miles you’ll find it in spades). This is why I left Michigan and lake effect snow.

  146. Thanks so much for the photos. I love leaving my coat behind πŸ™‚ You probably managed to walk without thinking about ice underfoot as well – I know the feeling exactly…LIBERATION. No slipping or sliding. No baby steps and dread of falling. It’s a startling but exhilarating sensation.

  147. When you mentioned Portland, at first I thought you might have slipped into Maine without my noticing–but then I saw the GREEN photo. Not Maine for sure–we look like Toronto here, alas. Nice to know SOMEbody in this world has flowers though.

  148. The snows were melting a little here in Albany, NY. The sun was out, even! I took a 45 minute walk, with no mittens on! I could pretend for that long that it was March….
    PS: please tell that Lene that it would be perfectly alright to accept my offer. πŸ™‚

  149. SHHHH! You’ll ruin it! You’re already tempting fate with your awesome Sock Summit. Soon everyone will know the awesomeness of Portland and want to move here. To repair the damage of letting the cat out of the bag about our temperate climate you must tell everyone that it rains 10 months a year, and has absolutely NO independent coffee sellers, micro brewers or book stores on almost every corner of the city, and most importantly: not a yarn shop in site!

  150. “Snow was being spoken of in the singular sense.” I’m still recovering from that line! You are something else! The snow has melted here in Pittsburgh, PA, but you’d better believe everything is still dead, dead, dead. No growing here! (Well, there may be a couple of extra hardy crocuses somewhere trying to get it on.)

  151. I live in Buffalo, just the other side of the lakes from Toronto, so I identify completely. At this time last year I lost my job (the theater I worked for declared bankruptcy, stopped production, and let everyone go) so I took a job in Washington DC for 9 weeks. I spent the whole time outdoors, thrilled that there were buds and flowers and everything you photographed in Portland. It makes me wish I could loose my job again, just for a bit. The thing is, that if you travel south, spring actually comes at the time that we all wish it would come, but don’t actually get it.
    Now why cities like Portland and Vancouver, at roughly the same latitude as Buffalo and Toronto, are so much warmer is an unholy mystery.

  152. I live in Alberta and I was deeply, deeply jealous of those flowers.
    On a conference call meeting a couple of weeks ago, a colleague from Vancouver apologized for being late because she had to find a way to scrape this “weird, white stuff” off of her car prior to driving to the office.

  153. Speaking as someone who moved to the southwest of the US from the east coast of Canada a number of years ago……. I miss snow. I miss winter. Desperately. What passes for winter here is depressing. The novelty has definitely worn off!

  154. Welcome to our West Coast! Enjoy the flowers, and if I could send Tina a hug through you, that would be delightful. Have a great trip!

  155. I have to stop myself from laughing every time a fellow portlandian says, wow what a horrible winter we are having!! I mean, go to Chicago, Upstate NY (both places where I have lived), or your neck of the woods!! Remember last year though when you hated our rain? Yeah, I think that rain is worth it. I don’t even own a down coat anymore, and its still cold enough and long enough to get plenty of woolies knitted up. *huge sh*it eating grin*. I love portland!! And in August its gonna be HOT, so not much wool wearing, but I will be sporting socks for sure! Thanks for all the planning! I for one can hardly wait.

  156. I keep remembering a post from months ago when you were in Santa Barbara (I think. I live in Southern California, and I get the cities mixed up). I’m only an hour’s drive from there (again depending on how accurate my memory is) and thanks to recent rain storms, everything is green! I feel like I should take a picture and send it over to you =]

  157. They seemed to be calling for snow almost every day for the past few weeks and then suddenly it’s in the 70s.
    I’m convinced snow doesn’t exist in my part of the world.

  158. Yes, it’s great living here in Portland. But sometimes I look at photos of cold snowy places and wish it were cold enough to wear more cozy knitted things! Enjoy your visit!

  159. I could never fathom how cruel Feb/Mar/and early April could be in New Hampshire. Born in Florida, and lived in New Hampshire for over 20 yrs. And every Easter was the same… piles of ill used SNIRT (dirty granulated snow), and steel grey skies.
    I almost died for want of color and sunshine. And the cruelest of all….white Easter lilies in Church, still reminds me of funerals.

  160. My sister just moved to Portland and is in love. But you did miss the great blizzardy mess around Christmas. It was quite the situation. Of course, nothing a season Canadian like yourself couldn’t handle (if not scoff at the panic?).
    I, myself live in Virginia (Virginia Beach, to be exact) and not only did they call of snow because it forecasted to snow at least an inch, but they maintained the closures when the “storm” failed to even produce a flurry. We had dandelions in the grass this week, and in a warm snap my strawberry plant tried to bloom again.

  161. We are having a heat wave in Wi…it may get to 50 tomorrow which is INSANE for Feb in WI. We have this tiny patch in the back yard that was sheltered from too much snow, and now is snow free, and with the warm temps is greening up just a little (grass is always so overeager to show off…), and when I go outside to “play with the dog” I’m really often just starting at that small patch of green amidst all the snow. ENJOY Portland. I remember flying to CA in February one time and being just stunned by the smell of green things growing…it was heaven.

  162. Green, a long forgotten color. The color that grass is supposed to be. The color of leaves….oh how I long for the color green. It is still white, well, grey, slushy and yuck here in Minnesota.

  163. The Snow, ha!
    Well, The Rain fell here today in Wisconsin, and was it weird. Liquid water falling from the sky in February. Somewhat Apocalyptic. But I am coming to Madrona on Thursday, where liquid water falling from the sky in February is normal. Plus that green color that I have kind of forgotten about, except that it is the color of the scarf that I am supposed to be finishing knitting for my husband.
    See ya ’round up and over there!

  164. You can come live in our part of the world. Portland has better yarn……But Seattle has better BEER. The choice would be hard to make.

  165. While I have snow/ice in the front yard (Where the sun doesn’t shine in the winter) I have parsley coming up in the back yard- and swiss chard!

  166. It all gets put into perspective when our heat wave record temperatures (47C =116.6 degrees F!)and gale force hot winds whipped up the bushfires and over 170 people so far have been killed.
    We are all in mourning in Victoria in southern Australia

  167. Portland has better beer (Rogue Brewing? Deschutes? McMenamins? McTarnahans?) *and* Powells Bookstore. Take that errant Seattlites! :-). You can’t go wrong. (Well, you can, if you move away, but that’s really it).

  168. Yes. Portland is lovely most of the year round, but when we do get an inch of accumulated snow… the city stops. Which is very annoying when one is trying to carry on with normal activities. Like, taking the bus to work for instance.

  169. Ha! Boy-O & I are both ROTFL. We made the mistake of visiting our families (in Chicago) for New Year’s…won’t do that again! We’ve completely gone soft and have no regrets.
    Don’t envy us too much, though. Remember the rain.

  170. That’s really funny. You come to Portland, and you see spring. I drove home from the Oregon Coast to Portland today, and it was *snowing*. In fact, it was snowing at the beach! That’s still winter to me…

  171. Snow in the singular…tee hee. It is just 36 outside, I know because the dog just needed a walk. I thought THAT was chilly, thanks for the reality check. I hope the Sock Summit summit was lots of fun.

  172. You make me laugh out loud. Belly laughs. Thank you.
    Snow is not singular in Lansing, Michigan this year. We have had 3 days of thawing and it’s still white in huge patches, with the piles in parking lots more like an iceberg that will thaw in late June.
    In April ’07 I taught at Dallas-Ft. Worth Fiber Festival. They had those same flowers all over. They called them “winter flowers.”
    I think that’s like saying “jumbo shrimp” or “satin sweatpants.” There are no winter flowers in my state. None. Not even in a strange nightmare…
    Enjoy the flowers and the green for those of us in snow-multiples-land.

  173. I’m such a winter wimp!
    I live in Portland, and I think that winter is dragging on forever! I can’t stand anymore gray or rain and certainly not snow. I’m going to Austin, TX tomorrow to enjoy the sunshine, go swimming, and eat avocados and tomatoes.
    Of course, I lived in San Diego before Portland, so I feel like winter should be winding down by February.

  174. Yes, Portlanders are rather unfamiliar with snow in any quantity, really. This winter was very interesting in Oregon. Us in Central Oregon just kind of shook our heads and shoveled the driveway!
    I hope you enjoy your stay in Portland! Oregon is great right now.

  175. Your photos are very pretty and ‘springy’. Here in Australia, we could really use a bit of winter right now. Southern states have had scorching weather (45C) for days on end and raging bushfires- the worst in our history. Over 200 people dead and more than 750 homes destroyed in Victoria. Whole towns just wiped out. And in the north, very bad floods, with many farmers stranded, relying on aircraft to drop their supplies and whole communities isolated by an inland sea. Such irony. Mother nature is a fickle master.

  176. Now, that’s not nice. Very funny, but not nice! Especially since I slipped on the ice cover thing that used to be my driveway and landed on my arse! To add insult to injury I actually pulled the muscle in the back of my leg. (And you have the nerve to show us Pansies! I just love Pansies!) I hope that you guys have a great time planning for the Sock Summit How cool is that! I know it’s lots and lots of hard work but you have a great job! Now, since you taunted me with those lovely flowers, for your penance you must sniff them for me. I love the smell of Pansies! (Well, the old fashioned ones anyways LOL!) Have a great trip!

  177. I moved from Michigan to Scotland and once I realised that it was the wind that was killer I settled in to enjoy winter.
    ..but then I noticed that the crocuses were foolishly trying to appear through the snow in January. Didn’t they know that there was three or four more months of winter? I used to stand in the park and talk to them, trying to explain that it was too early and they’d only regret it.
    But, amazingly they were right, and spring in Scotland comes well before May…it’s still wet and cold and miserable, but we have flowers!

  178. We’ve had some snow again last night in Seattle – just a dusting downtown but an inch or two in the outlying parts of the city and the surounding areas. Enough that schools started an hour or two late so all those here who go through winter with no traction tires or chains could get there. We should get a couple days of sun and a couple of just rain showers for Madrona.
    Be prepared for snow discussions, though. Seattle proper got 14 inches in December, much of which froze and stuck around for the next storm. That compares to our usual 2 or 3 DAYS of snow a season, none of which lasts more than a day. The city shut down for Christmas.
    Personally, I was in California for almost the entire month of December. Pansies and Calendulas bloom in the winter only there – all winter.

  179. I live in Northern Norway. Still trying to get used to the Sun that has been away for two months. I jump a little every day before I remember what that bright light is and that is is not coming to get me.
    Flowers? Hahaha….

  180. Thank you so much for the breath of Spring in this post (yes, Spring is so important, it gets a capital S.) While I am insanely jealous, I’m happy that you get to experience this.
    I’m putting Oregon on my list of places to possibly move to. πŸ™‚ (Did I mention I’m in Halifax where this weekend they actually closed roads so crews could take the snow away?)

  181. How lovely! We’re having a spate of above-freezing weather here in Boston and I actually saw some grass peep through yesterday. I think it was December when I last saw it. Made me so happy that I bought my garden seeds (but I’m not fool enough to plant them, even inside, for another month)

  182. I remember being in Vancouver in March back in 2003 for a trade show, and I kept stopping at the flower boxes along the street because they had flowers. Real flowers, growing in dirt. I was aghast and like you, said over and over to my coworker, “Look at the flowers!! This is so bizarre!” I think I even phoned my parents to tell them.

  183. You know I never really understood how great we had it in CA until I moved here to upstate NY (Rochester). I get it! I long to see the grass and some type of colorful flower growing outside. Every attempt I have made to force a bulb has ended with my 4 year old son yelling…”Sorry MOM!” Thank you for the peek into Spring. This week we are supposed to have one day where it is in the upper 50’s but the weather guy says that we pay for it later. I’m getting a bit itchy for Spring! Although, this snowy weather is so cozy and not really as bad as people make it out to be.

  184. You know I never really understood how great we had it in CA until I moved here to upstate NY (Rochester). I get it! I long to see the grass and some type of colorful flower growing outside. Every attempt I have made to force a bulb has ended with my 4 year old son yelling…”Sorry MOM!” Thank you for the peak into Spring. This week we are supposed to have one day where it is in the upper 50’s but the weather guy says that we pay for it later. I’m getting a bit itchy for Spring! Although, this snowy weather is so cozy and not really as bad as people make it out to be.

  185. Dear Yarn Harlot,
    I live in the greater Portland area and this morning we awoke to snow. Your mockery of Tina’s snow pile must have angered the weather gods. Please, with wool on top, take it back so we can enjoy more spring-like weather!

  186. Watch out… our little corner of the world is also know for being lulled into a sense of complacency in February, only to be jarred by a freak snowstorm as soon as the daffodils dare to poke their heads up. Now, I am looking out my SW PDX window and whaddya know? Freak snow and ice.

  187. Dear Stephanie,
    I live just south of Portland. Thank you for bringing the snow with you. Do you, by chance, (not that I wouldn’t love to meet you and listen in on the Sock Summit Stuff, or be a “gofer” for you two) leave soon?
    (just kidding!)

  188. Stephanie,
    Shall I stretch your world view a bit more? Yesterday evening was knitting group in Savannah and Jennie and I drove over then to meet with the women. I went in a T-shirt — no jacket; no scarves, nothing. It was 76 F when we left home!!!
    Some of us don’t do snow anymore.

  189. I have it on good authority (my dad) that it is now SNOWING in Portland!! : D Don’t worry though it won’t stick around very long
    I didn’t know how good I had it in Portland, with all its beauty until I moved to the desert. But if you ever want to bring your sock summit to Dubai, UAE just know there are a some avid knitters out here and you definitely don’t have wear a coat in February because it’s already in the 80’s
    Hope you enjoy your time in Portland! Wish I was there for your visit!

  190. It’s been a thaw here too (south-central Wisconsin); today may reach 50, and we, too, will be throwing windows open to freshen up. Oh, we’re far from done – the Frost Giants do this every year, try to create a complacent Springtime feel and then whap us with more winter. But in the meantime we LOVE IT! (Of course, in my yard the snow is gone…and the layer of rotting vegetation and black mud are hardly “beautiful harbingers of spring” — but sometimes you find cool stuff lost months ago in the snow!)

  191. HAHAHAHA! I’m from Ottawa, living in Montreal right now, and that is HILARIOUS. I love it. Snow in singular. I have quite a few American friends who are having a hard time dealing with this year’s level of snow, and I keep telling them they should have been here last year!
    “You keep using that word… I do not think it means what you think it means”

  192. Wow, amazing! The joys of living in Ottawa meant that yesterday when it was -6 C and sunny we were all talking about how nice out it was. Honestly, two weeks ago we were praising -15 because thats a heck of a lot warmer than the -35 before wind chill that we were getting for a little while there. Pff, flowers in February.

  193. I remember as a child, finding a small patch of rather brown grass, exposed from the melting snow, and jumping up and down on it with delight. The first grass of the season is always special. But flowers! Honest-to-goodness outdoors flowers!! We won’t see those for a couple of months yet here in Minnesota. We were just discussing how much more snow we were in for in March…

  194. My excitement today was noticing that the bulbs (snowdrops and daffodils) in the hot spot near the kitchen are about an inch taller than 6 days ago.
    As far as buttons go, I started a toddler size Baby Sweater on Two Needles during the 3 1/2 hour trip yesterday and made buttonholes on both sides cause I can never remember. I just close the one side when I put the buttons on. Also it’s easy to figure out where the buttons go without re-measuring and marking.

  195. The funny thing is, it is snowing in good ol’ PDX this morning. And sticking. Of course, it will probably all melt away by this afternoon. Glad you were able to enjoy the green while you were here πŸ™‚

  196. Don’t be suckered in by the sprouts. Oregon is a sly girl, making you think that spring is just around the corner then WHAM you get socked with two weeks of cold soggy rain, wind, and snow in the hills.
    The pansies do well in the winter here. Funnier yet is to see the sasanqua camellias in bloom in the snow. You think, Camellias in winter? But this is the mountain variety.

  197. That is so funny! It’s actually raining here today! If the sun won’t melt our ‘snows’ (we have many of them in Minnesota) then pouring cold water on them should do the trick!
    Back to dreaming about that cowl of yours I’ll be knitting up in glorious blue cashmere…

  198. It’s just not fair! I live a 6-7 hour drive away from Portland here in north Idaho. Right now there’s 2 feet of hard frozen snow in the yard, and new stuff is coming down right now at an alarming rate. I’ve got 2 months before I’ll get to see a crocus sprout. Not fair. I completely understand taking pics of the spring while you were there. I’d have done the same thing.

  199. Stephanie, it hit 58 on Sunday here in Philly, and tomorrow (Wednesday) it’s supposed to top 60. In February. I’m in shock, I tell you.
    Portland looks so beautiful, and I hear it’s called the City of Roses for all the beautiful ones they have in gardens.

  200. It is beastly warm in Chicago this week too. The green flag finaly went up on January 29th at the pond near my house and I was way to busy that weekend to go ice skating and by the time I made time, it was all gone. I want my ice and snow back please, its febuary for goodness sake.

  201. If you like the weather in Portland…you should come to Southern California. it’s often warm sunny shorts weather in Feb. You’d be down right apoplectic!

  202. As a longtime resident of the Pacific NW, I tend to get jaded sometimes about the glories here. But it IS glorious, even though it actually did snow in my part of the universe (Olympic Peninsula WA) yesterday. When it was so winterish in December and January I wanted to run away to Hawaii, but I saved my vac. money to hang with you-all in Tacoma later this week. See you then!

  203. The City of Toronto is finally clearing the snowbanks in my former-York neighbourhood this week, just when the temperature is hitting 10 and 11 … so the snowbanks are melting by themselves.
    Maybe we will be cycling by the March Break, as usual.

  204. Those of us in California hear stories like yours from other snow people and we say, “Psssst. You know what? You don’t have to live like that.”

  205. If it makes you feel better, we in the warmer climates do the same thing with winter weather when it hits us.
    In mid January I had a little bit of ice on my car one day (enough that I actually had to scrape it off) and took a picture to email to my mom. I also found some “snow” in a corner of the yard and took a picture of that to send home too. In all honesty, it looked like someone decided not to eat a sno-cone and dumped it on the ground, it was a tiny pile of chunky icy stuff, but I thought about making my husband come outside to look at it. I even pondered the possibility of making it into a snowball but realized I didn’t know where my gloves were and abandoned the idea.
    My favorite was the guy on the local news showing us a leaf on the ground under a layer of ice. “The leaf is covered in ice! It’s frozen to the ground! I couldn’t pick it up if I wanted to! Be careful, the roads are dangerous out there. Don’t leave the house if you don’t have to.”

  206. I understand exactly how you feel. I moved to Portland from Iowa almost 10 years ago. My first winter here I was amazed to see green grass growing and tiny white flowers blooming on some shrubs in January. After many cold and snowy winters (in Iowa it’s not unusual for it to be -20 at times) I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

  207. You didn’t have to bring the snow with you! I was really starting to enjoy the spring weather. I was actually planning on bringing my delicate plants back outside for the year… Then I wake up to snow this morning… now I’m pouting.

  208. The cherry plums and wild almonds are flowering in San Jose and we’ve had flowers all winter! Pics on my blog. But yes, it must be amazing, just like it would be amazing for me to not see green all year round.

  209. Hot damn. Man, I wish we were further along towards spring than we are now. I can practically SMELL it looking at those gorgeous photos. Sob.
    (GTA is apparently supposed to get hit with another dumping of snow this week. There are no words.)

  210. Ha. You think it’s GOOD to have everything wake up and start growing in January? Yeah, it’s just peachy until the stupid late freeze hits and you lose all your new growth, your fruits and your faith in the Mistress of All Seasons!!
    Definitiveness without extremes, that’s where I want to live…just enough of each season to HAVE seasons but none of this extreme weather stuff…

  211. Thank you very much. Did you have to bring snow with you from Toronto?! Granted, it was less than an inch, but it is snow nevertheless! I grew up in upstate New York, so the people around here (Portland,OR) have no idea what winter is really like. On another note, living here in Portland, how do we find out about helping with Sock Summit? I am an empty-nester who would love to help out.

  212. Last Saturday was an absolute and total fluke. Please do not give the rest of the world the impression it isn’t raining 100% of the time here!

  213. Welcome to Portland. We love it and invite you to join us here (really, it’s all about upping the probability of a chance meeting in a yarn shop or pub). Well, if you are still in Portland today, you are getting to see “snow”. And the city’s reaction to “snow.” If nothing else, Portland winters would give you great opportunities for laughing at us.

  214. Living near Seattle in a similiar climate you can see why mittens decorate walls and not hands.
    Don’t be suckered in too much. Those flowers can still get hit with a little snow.

  215. an old american song
    it isnt raining rain you know
    its raining violets
    and snow birds in my part of florida
    are still here not quite time to
    travel back to your country

  216. Dear Harlot…I believe the Knitting Fates were listening to you and talked with Mother Nature. They are doing their (wretched) best to make you feel a bit at home, what with measurable snow here in Western Washington. πŸ™‚ Welcome to our area!

  217. Portland is a great city and not just because of the flowers in the winter. It is an artsy, young place with lots of great hole-in-the-wall restaurants and lots of interesting theater. Wish I lived there!

  218. In North Carolina, we’re having an early (probably false) spring. It’ll be 76 degrees (Fahrenheit) tomorrow and the birds and trees are going nuts. We’ve got daffodils up and probably the forsythia will be out by the end of the week. I love the South – our snow never lasts more than a day:)

  219. Did you get to the yarn stores yet? They’re amazing! I thought the ones we had here in Seattle were good but PDX is even better. And go to Powell’s.

  220. …but I do not think it means what you think it means!
    You’re right–there are some VERY different definitions of winter going on here!

  221. Tina’s right! Go a few miles out of Portland & winter is thriving. We have 3-4″ of snow at our place. Weather dudes said maybe a mild dusting at the worst….HA! Dusting my arse (which is slowly defrosting after going out to the barn to feed critters,lol).

  222. I’m so glad that the beginnings of Spring revealed themselves to you here in Portland.
    I read this post before I went to work today (delivering soup on my bicycle) and was able to refer to the hope and expectation that you expressed while IT SNOWED ALL MORNING.
    Yes, it snowed in low-lying, Willamette Valley-floor Portland today, albeit wet, slushy snow that didn’t stick.
    Thank you for reminding me that winter weather is, indeed, on the way OUT. If I could hustle it out of Toronto any faster, I would!

  223. I moved FROM Portland six months ago to wintery Western Wyoming. “Why,” you ask? I’m still wondering. Actually it’s great here, but I haven’t seen actual grass since November. The snow is three feet deep in my yard, and the plow pile is 15 feet high. My buddies in Portland keep taking pictures of the blooming flowers (10 years there and February never ceased to amaze me for the flowers) and e-mailing them to me. Thanks for adding to the torture. LOL. I’ll be getting my own shot of it, as I’m heading to Tacoma in a couple of days for Madrona. Hope to run into you there!

  224. My rose bushes are starting to put out those new-growth buds too! And my lemon tree has boldly put forth a few new lemons, too! Spring is coming – it may get here to California first, but we’ll send it right along.

  225. About fifteen years ago I was lucky to be able to travel in northern France in February. I remember landing in Brussels and driving to Paris, seeing nothing but green coated trees averywhere–even their trunks shone green. And in France it was all tulips and spring flowers. Just a delight.

  226. Steph…now you know why your dear mother loves BC so much …and its never too late to move here……would love to have you all closer..Di

  227. Steph…now you know why your dear mother loves BC so much …and its never too late to move here……would love to have you all closer ~~
    Kelowna cousin Di

  228. It’s funny, reading your annual Portland/warm winter location post this year. Last year, I was living in a snowy, frozen place. This year, I’m living in Portland.
    I’m glad you’re enjoying your hiatus from winter.
    And I <3 the Princess Bride, too. It’s DH’s and my Valentine movie of choice. :o)

  229. And it’s almost embarrassing to call what happened today “snow.” Like over-glorified frost falling from the sky. But it’s nice to share our green, happy goodness with you. πŸ™‚

  230. If you really want some signs of Spring, drive about 60 miles East of Portland to Catherine Creek Access Trail on the Old Highway near Lyle. There is a brave little flower that comes up in early February called a Grass Widow. They are up already and blooming! There is a paved trail, so you can walk and knit and not trip.

  231. *waves frantically*
    We had no snow here. Yesterday I noticed the mimosas are already in bloom. Italy, that’s it.

  232. My wife and I introduced our 2-year-old to The Princess Bride a couple days ago. It was on TV. We squeed. Our son thought we were very strange but sat and watched it with us for the most part.

  233. Well, pansies are pretty stalwart things (as well as pretty things), but roses starting to put out leaf buds? In February? I am definitely with you on being excited about that! Just yesterday I noticed the leaf buds are starting to plump up on my lilac bush, a sure sign of imminent spring in Pennsylvania. Leaf buds on rose bushes? wow.

  234. From Vermont: I completely understand and am terrifically jealous. I shall go to the kitchen now to gaze longingly at the mouldy cheese.

  235. Last “spring” my husband took pity on me and took the family to Virginia in March over the Easter weekend. There was grass and flowers and leaves! When I saw the first daffodils from the car, somewhere in Pennsylvania I think…, I nearly WEPT with joy that winter really would end and that the 8 foot drifts in my backyard WOULD melt in time for summer.
    Lady, I am feelin’ ya on this subject for real.

  236. OK- I’ve got to get myself to Portland ASAP – still wintery white – ok kind of SNIRT (snow+dirt) out there today – but no signs of Spring in Upstate NY yet.

  237. Well, we might be seeing green here in Ottawa soon. Forecast? 25mm of rain and 9 degrees today! Woohoo! Melt!! Melt!! MELT!! I am SOOOO a hot weather girl!
    …scuse me while I regain my composure… talk of any degree over zero makes me a little antsy… :o)
    Wish I was in Portland right now…

  238. Don’t listen to Stephanie! The Pacific Northwest is a horrible place to live. It rains all the time. All that green stuff is moss. And we have to knit sweaters all the time because sweater weather is spring, summer, winter & fall.

  239. Thank you, I need to know that it is still out there; that Spring really is coming and there is hope! Your photos are beautiful, and I am sure I would have the same reaction if I were there – just stop and enjoy! Absorb! Refresh!

  240. seriously, i’ve got 2 more good months to go before i start seeing real leaves on anything. it just doesn’t seem right i tell you, for oregon people to be flaunting their green when we’re still below zero. i’m sure my winter-dazed eyes would have been just as amazed as you were to see real, live flowers and budding plants.

  241. Here in Louisiana, we are having the same weather as Portland. The early flowers are out, and trees haven’t budded yet, but they want to. Of course it’s February, so we are still good for another frost or two, and it’s still cool enough for a sweater or shawl at night.
    I love springtime. The only drawback is the certain knowledge that our long, brutal summer is baring its teeth at us over Spring’s soft and gracious shoulder.

  242. Here in Louisiana, we are having the same weather as Portland. The early flowers are out, and trees haven’t budded yet, but they want to. Of course it’s February, so we are still good for another frost or two, and it’s still cool enough for a sweater or shawl at night.
    I love springtime. The only drawback is the certain knowledge that our long, brutal summer is baring its teeth at us over Spring’s soft and gracious shoulder.
    I still remember how gobsmacked you were at the robust nature of plants on the balconies of the French Quarter: “Are those plants on STEROIDS?” “Do you see how BIG that philodendron is!?!” It was fun.

  243. Oh Harlotty One, wherefore art thou? Almost 2 days with no posts? I hope you are somewhere with warm weather still. It is 72 degrees in Virginia right now.

  244. CALIFORNIA BABY! it is a balmy 75 degrees outside. I am wearing a t-shirt and flip flops!
    by the way, what is snow?

  245. I am so freakin’ excited about Sock Summit! Used to live in Portland and it will be fun getting back there now that I am a knitter.
    Portland can have fantastic weather and crappy weather–all in the same day. Fall is usually spectacular. Don’t believe it when you’re told it rains all the time and the weather is never nice. That’s just natives trying to keep anybody else from moving there. Of course, the sun might not shine for weeks at a time but the humidity does wonders for your skin. Here in Denver the only humidity is in the shower.

  246. Thanks so much for the pictures of Portland. My friends and family (from Indiana) keep asking why I decided to stay in Eugene, OR. Sure it rains in the winter but as you found out it is also GREEN. My neighbors mow there grass on Thanksgiving Day. I think he does it just because he can. The daffodils are about to bloom in some parts of town. Spring is just around the corner.

  247. Well, think of it this way. You get more cold-time both to knit, and to wear warm woolen knitted things. I live in Florida, so the cold season here is very brief, and we have a narrow window of knitty opportunity. I mean, it’s hot right now, for goodness sakes! February, hot!

  248. How lovely to see flowers in February. I can only see daffodil sprouts, here in WI. I would have been taking pictures left and right, too.

  249. Not to rub it in.. but I’m wandering around in flipflops this week in Central California. πŸ˜‰ I’m almost wishing for more cold, so I can wear woolen stuff!

  250. Reading this makes me remember to be grateful for our short winters in the UK, even if we’ve been -strike-complete pussies-unstrike a bit soft about the unusual snowfall we just got over. Most years, I plant winter pansies out in tubs or even in the earth, and they’re fine, even under snow.
    But don’t you think you’d have been a different knitter – maybe even not as good a knitter – if you had less incentive to make warm woolly things?

  251. Oh, yes. I’m screwed this year, as last, because I didn’t get to it and prune my roses in January. They’re already sprouting all over the place.
    Not that I’m continuing a theme or anything…

  252. I know just what you mean. I was in Phoenix last week and it’s downright warm there. Like summer warm. And there are flowers and grass and leaves and stuff. It’s an amazing thing. But it makes coming home to real winter rather painful.

  253. This post was hilarious, if only because two friends and I deliberately drove to a plant nursery (we were in Lebanon, New Hampshire), just to stand in the warm, humid jungle inside and hyperventilate like we were about to jump off the side of a boat for a long dive. I am READY for SPRING.

  254. Well, if we had growing things all year round, we wouldn’t need them as much, would we. I’m for different seasons, myself. I’ve just returned from Madrona, home to Fairbanks and snow. I don’t see how people can live in that climate, myself. Not enough contrast for me. Nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there!

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