Welcome, Sudan! This is Dee the cook, bottle washer, dog owner and very amateur weather person.

I have clues. The flag. There is one on the beach below but the government takes it down for six months a year during the winter. It allows me to know in which direction the wind is blowing, and how fiercely.

The trees. Unfortunately they lose their leaves for six months each year (same as when the flag is gone) so they tell me nothing.

The lake. Calm or strong waves (whitecaps) going in a particular direction give me a clue. I don’t have time in the morning to check the weather because I need to get out of pajamas and dress and take out the dog immediately. Above are the signs I normally use, but there are more.

After all I need to know shoes or boots, denim jacket or winter coat. Today it is foggy and I can barely see lights below and no houses. That means warmer air is coming in.

When it’s cold and the skies are clear there are more signs. One is the direction the planes are landing at the airport. They always land against the wind and start coming in at 5:00 a.m.

Signs of spring include squirrels finally leaving their safe tree “apartments” and bird sounds. Of course bulbs start sending shoots up from the ground but when that happens everyone knows it is spring.

To judge cold, I look at the “quality” and direction of smoke from chimneys below. Living in a cold climate much of my life I’ve learned to do it by sight so I can’t explain. If it’s not snowing but very cloudy, I know it is probably under 20 degrees and with wind chill probably below zero. Heated coat, boots for warmth, scarf, fur Cossack hat, serious gloves. Then I need to decide if ancient dog Zoe needs a jacket, even though she is wearing fur, always, as her dog-ness dictates.

If it’s a two minute walk before her breakfast I don’t take all these precautions, but in the few moments when I dress (long undies or not?) I take clues in and decide on outerwear for the both of us. I can probably get us out of here in under five minutes if I quickly read any clues available at the time.

Even in cold weather I know Zoe needs four walks a day. The first walk of the day is the test. The rest I know what to do and have time to check weather online to see if it became spring when the sun came out! The weather here is crazy. Flag people, return it to its rightful place. Trees, send out some buds. Birds are welcome from everywhere, geese, even our resident turkey who is pardoned every year. Cheers and enjoy the day, Dee


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