Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Definitely Winter


It's like waiting for the other shoe to drop. You know it's coming, it's only a matter of when. Last night when we turned out the lights (around midnight) the thermometer read an almost-balmy ten above zero (-12C). My favorite winter temperature range is zero to ten above; not cold enough to be overly harsh, but plenty cold enough not to have to worry about melting tundra.

This morning we awoke to just about minus ten degrees (-23C), which is headed toward sharp. Minus 20 (-29C) is truly sharp. Your nostrils just want to slam shut and stick together to keep out the cold air. Understand that I am not whining (yet); Fairbanks has already been down to -40 this month.

Though a little slow to arrive, winter is definitely here. Daylight crept in around 10 AM and will fade away around 4:30. It is hard to believe that we are already so close to the winter solstice.
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Today's day-off agenda includes a number of errands to run, so it is time to plug the truck in for an hour or so before starting it up. The plug connects to a block heater, an oil pan heater, and a battery blanket. An hour's worth of current before starting is a great kindness to the engine. Twenty minutes of warm-up with the heater going full blast is a great kindness to the driver, even at $4.65/gallon for gas! Money well spent, as far as I am concerned.
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Cold hardening is a process that begins early in life among the Yupik Eskimos.




All photos by The Tundra PA

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8 Comments:

Blogger always learning said...

oy vey. My eyeballs are cold just looking at that thermometer. Am not sure what's worse - really really cold, or really really hot. Just hoping that I'll end up moving to someplace temperate... :D

Wednesday, December 13, 2006 6:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell us more about the process of cold hardening sometime.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006 8:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Cold hardening?" Never happen with guys! Once I was on the way out of Colorado Springs in a snowstorm. I had to pee so bad I just stopped in the middle of the right lane because I couldn't see the edge of the road. Hoping now one would come by soon, I whipped it out and started decorating the road. When I thought I had finished, I replaced my frozen lizard only to realize it was still going! I hate cold weather!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006 10:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's interesting, you only have about two hours less of daylight than we have here in northern Michigan. We are a bit warmer now though, which is unfortunate because the melting really makes a total
mess of things.

Thursday, December 14, 2006 5:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Leah in Fbks said...

Your hardening photo reminded me of my daughter and I ten years ago - but the time I'd drug her sled the mile to grandma's her fat little cheeks were hardening, indeed. My mother berated me and I never, ever took her out without a scarf again. Now, as a beautiful Native girl of 15, I occassionally see splotchiness on her cheeks when she's cold and I feel shame for being such a stupid young mother.

Thanks Tundra PA for your wonderful blog - your writing and photos are a wonderful treat!

Thursday, December 14, 2006 9:33:00 AM  
Blogger TheTundraPA said...

Always learning--my eyeballs get cold sometimes being out in it. I'll generally take really cold over really hot most times.

Anonymous 8:28--cold hardening is my own term for the process of getting used to the cold. I wrote about it in an earlier post in September called Waning Autumn.

Randall--ooookaaaay! Maybe TMI, but thanks for sharing.

Anonymous 5:51--melting in mid-winter is really miserable. Around here, the melting is usually followed by a hard freeze that creates arse-busting slickness. I hate it when it rains in the deep of winter.

Leah in Fairbanks--thanks for your kind words! I'm glad you enjoy the blog, and it is wonderful to know that it is appreciated.

Thursday, December 14, 2006 8:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are making me so glad that I am currently on elective in Malawi. I don't want to go back to winter in two weeks!!!

When I lived here before I went back to visit my sister in northern Alberta, so I had the fab experience of a dugout canoe under the full moon on tropcal Lake Malawi, followed a week later by my first view of the Northern Lights on a highway in Saskatchewan covered in snow.

It's a hard life.

Saturday, December 16, 2006 2:06:00 AM  
Anonymous mchebert said...

I can't imaging living in such conditions. I guess, however, everyone has his or her own tolerances.

For me, I'd rather be in 110F any day of the week.

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 21, 2006 10:45:00 AM  

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