Posted by: Rob | May 18, 2009

May Long

As anyone who’s from Canada, or has lived here long enough, knows, the summers are short.  Very short.  There’s an old saying about Alberta that we have “Nine months of winter and three months of poor snowmobiling.”  In actuality, that’s not far off the mark.

The too short summer is marked at either end by long weekends, with two more thrown in somewhere in the middle.  There’s the kick-off May Long, there’s Canada Day (July 1st – which falls on a Wednesday this year), the first Monday in August (used to be just called a “civic” holiday, but now may carry the moniker “Heritage Day” or some such nonsense, and the summer closer Labour Day.

May Long is a three day weekend with the third Monday in May being the holiday.  Technically, it’s rightful name is Victoria Day.  I think it’s supposed to commemorate Queen Victoria’s birthday.  I think Queen Victoria was some dowdy old monarch in England centuries ago.  I don’t know why we have a holiday in her name in Canada, but I supposed I’m glad that we do.

Hardy Canadians of all stripes, particularly here in Alberta, load up RV’s, trailers, tents, what have you and head out to some lake, campground or RV park to get the summer started right.  I’ve been there in the past.  I recall a May Long several years back when we (eventually) found a place to camp down near Drayton Valley.  I say eventually because on a long weekend, if you haven’t booked some place in advance, you’re usually S.O.L.  As I recall we found some place to camp that more or less in a field or pasture or something.  Not overly aesthetic.

I hadn’t prepared as well as I usually would as I forgot to bring a wrench to enable me to change out the propane tank.  I was able to borrow one (but that’s another story).  Good thing too, as we needed the heater.  It got cold that first night and we woke up to about one or two inches of snow on the ground.  Brrrrr!

I made it a rule after that to just stay home on the long weekends.  I would take an extra day off during regular weekends so we could get away camping or whatever without having to endure the crowds.

May Long has often been used as the indicator for when it was safe to plant the vegetable garden outside.  Not this year, though.

I started a bunch of veggies in little trays the weekend before we left on holiday.  After two weeks, the little seedlings were outgrowing the starter pods and were in danger of dying.  It was nice on Saturday, so I transplanted everything outside.  Last night I had to dig up materials to staple covers over everything as the temperature dipped yesterday and frost was forecast for the overnight period.

It snowed a bit today as we ran errands.  Forecast high was 2 C, but it made it up to 6 or 7 C by late afternoon.  We have the possibility for snow the next couple of days.  And, of course, frost overnight.

May Forecast - This is Spring?

I am still awaiting the true arrival of spring.


  1. The weather can’t decide here. After a weekend in the 60s and 70s, it’s back to cool, cloudy and rainy. Hoping for good weather this weekend for Folklife. I hate sitting in the rain to listen to music.

  2. I don’t know, Rob, I’m sure it’s beautiful there but couldn’t you relocate just a BIT further south? It sound like you’re doing hard time.

  3. WTF is up with the frost?
    It is MAY right?
    I thought two-four-weekend was typically nicer than this year…

  4. i’d take the month of Summer off if i lived there…

  5. It’s almost June- get ON with it, Alberta!

  6. You wear a Timex? Dude that is so retro cool!

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