It has been two weeks since the winter solstice, and the small increase in our daily ration of light is already noticeable, and welcomed. It definitely helps when the thermometer is plunging. Wednesday morning's full moon was setting just as the sun was rising about 11 am, when I took this photo. It was a quick trip outside before the camera lens froze shut! A few minutes later I went back to get this shot of the thermometer so you wouldn't think I'm exaggerating.
Once you pass minus thirty, you're in the "pretty darn cold" part of winter. Life becomes survival focused to keep cars running and houses from freezing up. Frozen water and sewer lines make winter life much more difficult. Dutch and I are very lucky (knocking on wood here) that our house doesn't freeze easily; our only problem is with the bathtub drain when it is colder than -10F. The drain freezes shut between showers. Fortunately, the drainpipe is accessible from underneath the kitchen cabinets, so each shower requires a twenty minute session with a heat gun trained on the pipe to keep the water flowing. Crawling halfway into the cabinet with the heat gun is the challenge.
Sled dogs do amazingly well in this weather. They have pretty thick fur (most of them, anyway), and as long as their houses have plenty of straw and are faced away from the wind, the dogs stay warm. The Big Dog is both an indoor and an outdoor dog; he spends his days "on guard" outside the house. When it gets colder than -20F, I hate leaving him out. Dutch often takes him to work with him, where he is petted and adored by most of Dutch's staff, and particularly his administrative assistant. She feeds him Cheetos and potato chips (deep sigh). Big Dog doesn't mind.
Labels: Tundra Life