Wednesday, December 19, 2007

OK. Winter.

After weeks—nay, months!—of being wishy-washy and non-committal about it, Jack Frost has finally decided not to pass us by this year after all. We didn’t so much slide into winter as jump off feet-first into full immersion. Last week we were glad just to get below freezing so the mud would stiffen up. Snow fell with some promise, but melted as it hit the ground. A few days ago that changed.

This morning when I checked outside well before sunrise, the thermometer was reading minus 25 degrees. Brrr. That will get your attention.

One of the nice things about this much cold is that the dogs don’t require leashes for their periodic pee breaks; they will rush out, pee quickly, and come right back. That means Dutch doesn’t have to dress up in full Polar Bear gear every morning and evening for a fifteen minute walk down the road. Bear and Princess do spend part of each day outside on a chain while I am at work, but they have thick fur and snug houses with lots of straw, which is all they need to stay warm enough. The old girl, Pepper, who turned 14 last month, has unlimited house privileges and spends her days snoozing on the sofa.

We are two days from the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. I went to the river’s edge this morning and took photos of the rising sun. It edged over the southeastern horizon at almost exactly 11:00 AM. That won’t change much by Friday. The word “solstice” actually means “when the sun stands still,” which it does for about two weeks around the day designated as the solstice (both winter and summer). Here at latitude 61 degrees north, we have about five hours of daylight now; the sun will set sometime around 4:30 PM, and twilight will be brief.

It is hard to imagine being overdressed at this temperature, but this morning I definitely was. With enough fleece, down, and fur, anything is possible. After walking around down at the river to find the photo angle I wanted, I stopped at the caselot grocery for a load of heavy stuff; next I went to the post office where Dutch and I had six packages waiting, half of them over 25 pounds each. By the time I hauled it all home and carted it into the house (many trips from truck to house) I was sweating in my layers of gear. I sat outside coatless for a few minutes to cool off.

One of Dutch’s foremen who watches the weather patterns closely, and is a better predictor than the weather guys on TV, says we have a low pressure system headed our way which will probably raise our temperatures by about forty degrees by the weekend. As long as we stay ten degrees below freezing, I won’t mind. Maybe Dutch and I will be able to get our snowmachines out at last. It is hard to stay outside long at 20 below, and machines are cranky to get started. Life is a lot softer at 20 above.



Anonymous Sky said...

Hello there again Tundra PA :)

Thank all that is holy and blessed and the great spirits that control the revolution of this earth around the Sun, because, as you said... the solstice is only two days away! I am holding on to each light particle that comes this way with everything I can, cause, well, I'm tired of the darkness. I should know better eh, being up here for this long, you'd think a girl would get 'used' to this.. Nope, not this one. And the cold has finally arrived with a sharpness, but that's okay alright. I was out shooting some pictures and when back in the house the condensation made for some nice glowy pictures from the tree lights. I told a friend of mine, who's down there in California... he said 'what's condensation?' hehehe The best way to explain it to him was to have him put his reading glasses in the freezer for a bit and then take them out, walla, condensation. 'Oh, it's sorta like steam on a window.' 'Ya, but in reverse.' Then trying to explain what baseboard heating is was another learning curve for him. But hey, that's California and you can't blame him for that.

That's a beauty of a shot you got there on the riverside, absolutely beaut!


Wednesday, December 19, 2007 9:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to put in my two cents about the infamous city council, in particular, the obnoxious four. What happened in their upbringing to make them so determined to have complete and total control?

Their approach always begins with, "my constituents". Right! Their constituents are the other two or three council members that they party with. They are their own constituents feeding off of each other. It's a sad state of affairs when they come up with an agenda that they claim is for the best interest of the city but really, it's not. Their personal agendas are clouding the issues, city business needs to get done. At the rate they are going items on today's agenda may still be there a year from now because the obnoxious four want to tear it apart and throw it in every direction they can just to stop progress. That's the council for ya.

The voters of Bethel need to realize that the current management within the City's administration are truly professionals and more importantly, they know what they are doing. Instead of appreciating them and their dedication and hard work the council chooses to micromanage and look for anything and everything to discredit them. What a shame and truely a shame it is.

The City manager has many years of experience, trust in him and let him do his job. He's got the college credentials as well as years of experience under his belt. Many of us don't care what the council thinks of him on the personal level but you know what, you don't have to like him to work with him. That's where you are missing the boat. Maybe if you went to college and took courses in business, personnel management, how to deal with diffcult people, how to strategically plan, budget, COMMUNICATE, and especially how to be a true professional council member we would all be better off. By the way, KuC has a great instructor for this, Wally Baird. It would be great if you would consider coming to school and earning a few credits, the benefit reaped is two fold, you would be learning something and the local campus would be earning credit hour production. I strongly advise you four to consider this.

All in all nothing seems to change the attitute and mentality of the obnoxious four, the only avenue the voters of Bethel have is to have them removed.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008 4:00:00 PM  
Blogger The Tundra PA said...

Anonymous 4/1/08: Thanks for you time and effort in writing this comment. I agree completely.

In my mind, this comment needs to be with one of the posts on the city council; it makes more sense there. I am going to leave it here, and also copy it to the last post on city council.

Thanks for caring enough to write!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008 12:21:00 AM  

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