Sunday, 15 January 2017

Winter in the Shire

Facebook is full of photos of friends and acquaintances spending time in colourful warm places. Mexico, Africa, Thailand, New Zealand....I am stuck here but I don't mind too much. If this is the view from where you are stuck, how can you complain? 
The Shire is enjoying a nice winter. We have enough snow to make everything white and bright and fluffy, but not enough to make us worry about structures collapsing.

It has been cold enough to leave the snow on the trees and make the snow squeak beneath your feet, but not so cold it paralyses you. Day time temps between -5 and -13 during cold snaps. 
If this were the good old days Chris would be able to keep up with maintaining the driveway. Those days are gone, and I am too lazy, so we pay a friend who comes around with a machine (tractor? bobcat?) and are glad to do it.

We had some pipe freezing scares when the first cold snap hit before we had a good snow cover. Seeing the last water trickle out of your tap on a cold winter morning is no fun, though we have coped with it before. Thanks to my wonderful friend and barter buddy Rick disaster was averted. I thought I had been on top of things. Avoiding this was the reason I had made sure the fallen down, rodent-shredded insulation in the pumphouse was replaced way back in April, right? Thanks to Richard Young for taking on that horrid task.
Rick helped to surround the shed with Tyvek just before winter. 
Rick came to my aid twice, the first time to reset the pressure switch on the pump and lift the intake, a week later to diagnose a frozen pump. I thought the baseboard heater would be sufficient but as Rick pointed out that the pump sits below the heater and warm air rises, DUH. When it gets really cold extra heat is still needed. It was provided and Rick fixed the door as well so it won't let cold air in. I am so grateful that handy man likes Reiki and acupressure! We dare Jack Frost to his darndest now. Of course, if the power goes out for a long time all bets are still off. 

So far, so good. Power outages mainly happen when wind storms or heavy wet snow cause trees to fall on the overhead lines. The occasional blackout forces us to appreciate our army of energy slaves. Most of us can do with a reminder that we are spoilt rotten.

Should a blackout happen I am prepared for a siege. We have ample stashes of water as well as a clean garbage pail to melt snow in. The pantry and freezer hold enough food for weeks. There are candle thingies, LED lanterns, lots of batteries, camping ways to cook and now an indoor-safe emergency propane heater to stave off the worst of the cold. The setup is not as good as the barrel wood heater with the flat top we enjoyed in the log cabin years but it will do. 
On top of all that my next door neighbour made sure I had her cell phone, even though we are not close friends. I am telling you, this is a good place. Let it snow.

It has been colder than we are used to, but also sunnier. This is a trade off I am glad to make. We got less of the dreaded "flat cloud", though there are still days when we are socked in and it is brilliant elsewhere. In this picture from downtown Nakusp you can see both the cloud cover and the glimmer at the edges.
Below, top of Saddle mountain poking through valley cloud in late afternoon.
Even just running into the village for errands is a visual treat. I usually make it a loop, going in one way and returning another. The village is visible just a bit further along the road on but you cannot stop there.
On the way home over Brouse Loop. I don't care how often I see this, it makes me go go Wow every time. It was very cold with wind chill, I didn't even feel like getting out of the car.

And to help me enjoy the good winter the offspring surprised me with snowshoes in the mail! All in all, it may not be Hawaii or Cancun, you won't hear me whine about the season.