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Here in Montréal, we are digging ourselves out of yesterday’s snow storm that closed down schools and caused traffic chaos. The storm caused $17 million in clean up to remove the 20 centimetres of snow, but today it is bright and relatively mild. The Onion, of course, had an article two days ago with the title, “Punxsutawney Phil Beheaded For Inaccurate Prediction On Annual Groundhog Slaughtering Day” — are we not glad this is an Onion article?

Happy first day of spring!

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Ranch Chez Cowboy
1125, chemin Sainte-Marie
Mascouche, Québec J7K 3C2
(514) 754-7492
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Not everyone thinks about driving up to Mascouche, north of the islands of Montréal and Laval, just to go horseback riding. But that is precisely what we did after my boyfriend told stories about this ranch that he visited in the past called Ranch Chez Cowboy. I was curious; as a city girl I rarely deal with horses though I admire the horse-drawn carriages in the Old Port neighbourhood of Montréal. And I love animals, that is for sure. So we thought we would go visit the ranch in the old, sleepy town of Mascouche as a fun and different activity.

When drove through the rural town, passing the developed downtown area, an old cemetery, a tiny church, and finally into the driveway of the ranch. We were greeted by gaggle of geese and their token turkey friend who huddled beneath a trailer adjacent to the barn. A pen of outdoor dogs barked furiously at us and did not seem subdued by my waving and smiling. They acted tough but I still liked meeting the clowns.

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Since I came back to Montréal from a holiday break in Toronto, it has been snowing pretty much non-stop. The precipitation plus the frosty weather — it has dipped as low as -28ºC (or about -18ºF) without the wind chill — means digging out snow from the road to park the car while shivering under several layers of clothing.

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I call these parking spots on snowy streets “car graves” for a good reason: Many cars get stuck in their spots from the snow, and many drivers absolve to leave their cars buried in the massive snow so that the vehicles remain barely visible. It is only in the last two days that the city-owned snow removal trucks made their way into the Plateau neighbourhood of Montréal to completely clear the residential streets and exhume the parked cars out of their graves. The snow may be removed but the cold temperature stays with Sunday dipping down to a low of -20ºC (or about -4ºF) once again. Brrrr!

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Well, it finally feels like winter is upon us. I was walking through the Plateau neighbourhood today and admired the second day of snow blanketing the city after a few measly flurries earlier this month. Today was pretty great weather, actually, despite the lack of sun, which is the city’s usual winter climate. The high was -1°C, which apparently really felt like -5°C; this is balmy weather for winter here in Montréal! It looks like more snow is coming our way tonight so it might actually be a white Christmas come December. Speaking of which, it is the end of the year — yikes!