Snow Clouds

It doesn’t snow very often on Mayne Island but it does all around us. Some days I can smell snow and people frown when I say so. Raising one eyebrow, they will say “I didn’t hear of a snowfall warning.” Then I have to explain that I can smell it from where it is snowing on the mountains around us… 30 or 40 miles away.


Sometimes I look up and say “those are snow clouds.” It is not just the look of them. It is how they feel… and smell.



Sprout question: What smells in your neighbourhood?


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From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada



20 thoughts on “Snow Clouds

  1. You have a great sniffer! Hmmm what smells in my neighborhood is lots of things depending on the time of year, fresh mow grass in the beginning of mowing season, sometimes flowers, lots of icky smoke during leaf burning time. I can smell the river sometimes. The worst is smelling the neighbor’s septic system. peeuoooie.

    • Celebrationgoddess the neighbour’s septic system would be the worst for me. One the things about having a great sniffer is you can smell the good things and the bad things equally well. Not always a plus. Glad to have you come by Creative Potager from over on your Tuesday hot spot with Britney Spears this morning. Anyone who thinks it is too mellow here today only has to drop by your blog for a whole different vitalizing experience.

  2. Terrill – That’s a lovely photograph, it feels like the blue is drawing me in. I can’t smell snow (that’s pretty darned cool!), but I can smell rain well before it arrives.

    Sprout question: What smells in your neighborhood?

    The smell of burning leaves. Some people don’t care for it, but I do.

    • Laurie I was just asking David about burning leaves because both you and celebrationgoddess mention them. I have never burned leaves. I don’t know of anyone who has but I am sure some around me must. Not on Mayne Island that I have noticed though. Ours go in the compost or are left to mulch right where they land. David’s old gas lawnmower chews them up to small bits and they are dirt before you know it. We don’t even bag the lawn clippings. So I asked if he had known people who burned leaves. He said “oh yes! it is awful!” pulling a face like one I hadn’t seen in awhile. When he lived in Windsor Ontario as a child people burned leaves and also once in awhile when he lived in Victoria. I also remember in Victoria that you could pile all your leaves on the curb and a big truck would come pick them up and haul them away for huge city-wide mulching and then the compost was sold back to residents or used in the city gardens.

      That is a long answer to say, I am not that familiar with the smell of burning leaves.

  3. What pretty clouds!! There seem to be several kinds mixed in together. I’ve never thought about snow having a smell, probably because we’re right in the middle of it when it comes!

    What smells in my neighborhood? Definitely after it rains, it smells like a fishing pier!! All the worms come up from under the ground, and bring the smells with them! I’ve never been a fan of the “fishy” smell, so it’s not very nice for me!

    • Holly my daughter could relate to your lack of enjoyment of that “fishy” smile. She doesn’t like it either. I am alright unless is decaying fish from say a salmon run.

      When I was growing up we lived on the Stuart River. In the fall it would get miserably raw and cold before the snow came. So we were always smelling for snow and hoping for a bit colder weather because then it would feel warmer. The hush and smell of that first snowfall. Hopefully the potatoes were already dug and in the root cellar because if not dad would sitting under mom’s dark cloud as he set off deer hunting. If we were lucky, he would wake up one – just one – of us kids to go with him. There would be a thermos of black tea with lots of sugar in it… maybe some cookies and a sandwich or two. Fruit possibly but that would be for us. He didn’t usually eat fruit that was in his lunch.

      I am pretty sure it was waiting for this first snow that I learned to tell what it smelt like. To this day it makes the hairs on the inside of my nose tingle. I think vehicle exhaust fuels interfere with the smell some but we don’t have a whole lot of that on Mayne Island either. There was even less on the Stuart River. We were 27 miles from town with our nearest neighbours 4 miles away. There were moose, grizzly and black bears, swans, geese, deer, elk, grouse, river boats but no public transit.

  4. Terrill – We use our leaves for compost as well, but most of our neighbors burn theirs. I don’t know why I like the smell, but there’s something inexplicable about it that makes it pleasant.

    (pssst, I just discovered that I’ve been “freshly pressed” today)…

    • Oh Laurie! I am jumping up and down! Congratulations on being “freshly pressed” That is awesome! I have yet to experience this wonder but I know it is special from the times that it has happened to Kathy…. Well now, I must stroll sedately over and appearing quietly reserved, shoulders down, nose lifted slight and leave a comment.

  5. “Smells like snow,” I am sure mom said that as it doesn’t sound strange at all to me. Living where we did growing up, nature and its changes, were something to be observed and lived as it did dictate seasonal and daily activities.
    At this moment, I smell damp earth and horse manure as it has been raining here several days. I search the darkened sky for glimpses of blue, as there are still a few fall chores to get out of the way before the snow I can see on the tips of the mountains settles over the gardens.

    • Yes Sue I think mom said that more than once. Can’t you just see her in your minds eye… squinting slightly. “It is going to snooow.” You looking up curious. “well, can’t you smell it!”

      Okay, there is an odd kind of smell I like – horse manure. Especially when they are fed on proper hay and grass and not pellets.

      Wishing you some sun Sue so that you can get those chores don. Just now we have had a wee break in the sky but it is not likely to last.

  6. That is so interesting–that you can smell the snow. I think you have a more deep sense of sensuous connection to the world than I do. I am just learning how to be connected with the world through the senses. deeply connected. What smells in my immediate neighborhood? Well, I am in a hotel in Detroit…I smell coffee. a Bleachy-laundry smell. Perhaps the smells of jet fuel. What a good question! Thank you…and soon I shall be smelling snow, as well.

    • Kathy thank you for taking the time to come by. You were in the spam comments here this morning. Must be the bleachy-laundry smell that wordpress didn’t recognize:) We are having a bit of high winds this morning but there is no wind warning so I expect it will just be bluster. But maybe the wind didn’t read the weather forecast before setting out.

      I think I just happen to be one of those people with an extra sensitive nose which is declining as I get older. One of my step-sons once tested the accuracy of my nose against a meat thermometer. He had done this very fancy two day marinated roast for a special family dinner. We were all strewn about the house visiting and ready on the day dinner was being prepare. He was in charge. All of a sudden I jumped up from where I was reading. I sniffed again and headed for the kitchen. I told him. I think your roast might be done. He looked at me and looked at the clock and then looked at me. “It should be” he said, “it should have at least another 30 minutes.” But knowing my nose he grabbed the meat thermometer and pulled the roast out for a poke. “I’ll be” he said, “right down to exact degree I was wanting!”

      The hard about a great nose is the things you don’t like to smell – people’s body odors, wet dog, urine in public washrooms, cabbage fermenting in the garden before it is turned under. I also never liked the smell of other people on my babies when they were first born. If people visited and passed the babies around, I would give them a bath and change all their cloths after everyone left. Mostly I kept they tucked away from everyone until they were about six weeks months old. Then it didn’t seem to matter so much if others handled them. My nose seemed to be more tolerant then.

      • I’m not getting notices of reply to my comments either. Sigh… Glad you found me hanging out with those spammers. 🙂

        My nose doesn’t seem to smell as acutely as most folks. It takes a lot of conscious attention to zero in on smells. Your sense of smell sounds amazing. I am glad you have a tolerant nose. It would be hard if it were otherwise.

        • Kathy sometimes I think it is good not to have a keen smeller. The truth is I am not very tolerant to odd smells. My family will be the first to tell you about me digging through the fridge desperately searching for what died when no one else can smell a thing.

          Are you home yet? Must be getting close. I really enjoyed your last post about yet another delay.

  7. I can smell the rain before it arrives and the pressure in the air I can feel….lovely image.

    We all felt and heard the earthquake yesterday morning in the midst of our amazing wind storm…I really liked it – the power outage was not so fun and now running around and cleaning the neighbor’s drains so that they will not clog and flood my house is not so fun…I am very wet now and as I sit here, think I need a bath…I am not a pleasant smell right now!

    • Patricia I missed the earthquake experience completely. You are in Washington yes? Lucky for us our power stayed on this time but we do get frequent outages over the winter.

      Note to readers: if I miss a blog posting, check the weather. It will likely be the culprit.

      My head sometimes aches from pressure changes and as the only other time I usually get a headache is from a high fever my first weather change is my first thought.

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