Real Snow in Minnesota . . . and Real Warm in My Real Austrian Walkjanker

Snowplow clearing snow in a snowstorm at Eden Prairie, MN, Community Center. Photo 2013 by BF Newhall

A snowplow cleared snow — tried to — from the driveway of the Eden Prairie, MN, Community Center. Jon and I and the kids went there every day during our visit to Minnesota so we could work off the meals we sampled during auditions for our May rehearsal dinner. Photo by BF Newhall

Writer Barbara Falconer Newhall wears her vintage Austrian Walkjanker in Minnesota 2013. Photo by Jon Newhall.

My vintage, preindustrial Austrian Walkjanker finally got to strut its thermal stuff. Photo by Jon Newhall.

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

My genuine Austrian Walkjanker had hung forlornly at the far end of a plastic garment bag for decades. It had no place to go.

Till my son got engaged to a Minnesota girl.

A classic Walkjanker, just so you know, is a traditional, no-nonsense Austrian winter jacket of real wool. It’s densely knit and, using an ancient, pre-industrial technology known as Walke in German and fulling in English, it is aggressively soaked, heated, beaten and shrunk until it’s two-thirds its original size and the scales on the wool fibers have loosened and hooked on to each other. The finished fabric is as thick and stiff and impenetrable as a slab of berber carpeting.

It’s a garment so old-timey and so Old World that even Google [Read more...]

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Snow in California

Apparently, it snowed last night on our little hill in Oakland. There was still snow all over the place at 11 a.m. — on cars, on the lawn around a hilltop swimming pool, on Mt. Diablo to the East, and dripping and plopping off the trees.

There was even some on the roof of our house and sprinkled around our garden — a first for us. In the thirty-plus years Jon and I have lived on this hill, I’ve never seen this much snow in our neighborhood.

Behold:

There are two people in that swimming pool, and another three in the hot tub beyond.

There are two people in that swimming pool, and another three in the hot tub beyond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That's Mt. Diablo snowy and steamy, tucked up under the clouds to the left.

That's Contra Costa County's Mt. Diablo -- snowy, steamy, and tucked up under the clouds to the left. You're seeing it from the top of our hill in Oakland. Photos BF Newhall

The snow still hadn't melted by noon in our shaded front yard. Will our sun-loving California-born plants survive?

The snow still hadn't melted by noon in our front yard, which is shady in winter when the days are short. Will our sun-loving, California-born plants survive?

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