Sundog –noun 1. parhelion. 2. a small or incomplete rainbow.

Archive for December, 2009

Snowy Updates

It has been a three days since the cold front finally broke. When it did we got a couple inches of snow, not really all that much for around here. I expect a couple more snow storms before winter is done. This one only lasted a day this time which was very nice. Luckily behind the snow was a warm front and now it’s a balmy 50 degrees today, though it does come with the price of heavy rain showers. Such a huge change from our well below freezing temperatures less than a week ago, feels almost like spring! Here are a few pictures I took of the snow:

View from under our tarps.
View from under our tarps.

Jeremy getting jars for us to stay warm.
Jeremy having to keep dry while getting hot canning jars for us to stay warm.

The beauty of the snow.
The beauty of the snow.

The rest of this is just a quick update to my previous blog articles.

For almost the entire month of November both Jeremy and I had a really difficult time around here. I wrote about the crash in “Tides of the Storm” and “Ex nihilo”. It was probably one of the hardest months we have had since moving into this tent and very possibly the hardest in the last 2.5 years. November ended with me having one of the worst flu bugs I can ever remember having and Jeremy having a tooth extracted that had been abscessing for the last several weeks at least. But with the first week of December we both started feeling slowly better and getting our feet back under us solidly. We decided that a rest was much needed and are taking a month off of all detox inducing supplements so our bodies can heal and be ready for the next round.

I have written a few times of the animals we have around here in “A More Simplistic Life” and “Squirrels!” We still see our little Winter Wren friend and he has become much braver in the last couple months. Just a week ago he was hopping around and looking for a tasty bug to eat when he got some crazy notion in his head that the pill Jeremy was handing me must have been for him. Right as I grasped the capsule I suddenly see this little form dart from the corner of the tent and do a quick swoop past my hand. As he went by I felt his little feet grab my finger nearest the capsule and quickly let go as his momentum carried him onwards. What he was thinking, we will never know but it did provide for a nice bit of comedy.

Our squirrel friends (or annoyances as was the case for several months) have been quieting down as the winter progresses. Surprisingly we saw one just behind the tents digging in the snow on Sunday, looking for some maple seeds. I wouldn’t have expected to see them out on the one day of snow, but can’t argue instinct with something who’s vary life depends on it. Luckily they have been much quieter in the mornings and so we get to finally sleep as our circadian rhythms need. I think this is certainly one of the big things that is helping us to recover from our crash in late October and all of November.

Also, an update on our progress after the big doctor visit we had early October and written about in “Back from the Wizard”. We have been taking our b12 shots every three days, using the hormones as prescribed, and taking all the additional vitamins suggested (vit D, more C, more Selenium, and more CoQ10). I have changed several of the brands we used for our vitamins. Where monetarily possible we are now on food based vitamins which feel a lot better to be taking. I wasn’t sure if there was a real difference between food based and something developed fully in a lab. However, when I had the nasty stomach flu a few weeks ago I quickly felt the difference between the two types as the fully lab manufactured ones were not even able to be tolerated by my stomach for five days, while the food based ones caused no stomach trouble.

That affected a lot of my decisions when it came time to buy our vitamins the following week and I think I have us on substantially better vitamins now because of it. I also was disturbed to find a possible source of mercury ingestion in our fish oil, apparently at some point it changed from “free of mercury” to “lower than industry allowable limits.” Ack!!! We now take krill oil and it is worth every extra penny to know it will not be adding to the abundance of mercury we must deal with.

In small ways we are seeing the benefits of these changes. It is very likely that the crash we just went through was brought about by some of the readjusting going on in our bodies to the new therapies. Certainly the vitamin b12 shots (administered at home) would be a huge catalyst for change even if nothing else was. I have noticed some good changes in Jeremy as his hormone levels are going back to normal and some positive things as mine do as well.

Within two days of our doctor trip we also stopped eating all soy products, though I did just find a couple supplements that had some soy still in them. These are now gone too. We have stopped being vegetarians, something which was hard from me as I had been one for 12.5 years, but can feel a lot of benefit happening from now eating animal sources for protein. I think this is also responsible for some of the good changes taking place in us. Currently we are working towards a large change in diet and are excited to see what might happen once we have fully made the change. We feel better in small ways every meal we eat differently now, I have high hopes for what may occur when all meals are changed.

As for our house… well nothing seems to have come of all my efforts to find help finishing it and described in “To dream of a Home” and “Fate’s Quirky Sense of Timing.” One woman at the NW EcoBuilding Guild did seem receptive to talking about my situation but after hearing how bad things are she completely disappeared. It is unfortunate she couldn’t at least have been kind enough to say she couldn’t help, but to act as though we do not exist anymore is pretty ridiculous.

I also spoke with the president of the guild who upon learning that we were not paying members she immediately became very aloof and wanted nothing to do with us either. I had tried to explain that being almost completely housebound, on a fixed income with high out of pocket medical costs, and scrimping every cent we could to finishing building our house that it just hadn’t made much sense to pay monthly membership dues for meetings we would never be able to attend.

But it did not matter at all. Unless we had been paying for services we were too disabled to use even once in the four years we have been trying to build, she wanted nothing to do with us. If it were me, I would have looked at an opportunity to get us as new members and make a statement that it is an organization not just about recycling building products but about the people who live in the world we are claiming to want to save. I have to wonder who they are trying to save the planet for if not for the people who are in their community.

There are a few other exciting bits of life that have been going on around here but I will save those for later as they develop more fully. I am starting to finally feel like there is some progress being made from all the hard work we have been putting into life for the last four months since starting the climb back up out of the hole this summer’s crash left us in.

Ok, maybe this wasn’t such a quick update after all. Surprising to see how much has been happening when most of the last few months I often felt as though very little was going on. Small things have a way of adding up over time to much bigger things.

Stars Brightly, Brightly Shining

We have been having some surprisingly cold weather here in Washington State. Given that Jeremy and I live up in some foothills in our tent, its gets just a bit colder still because of the elevation and being on the frozen ground. I think it has been at least four days since it got even as warm as 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the freezing point of water. Most days it’s been hovering in the low 20’s and drops almost ten degrees more during the night.

Two nights ago the power went out for about four hours. Those were a very long and dark four hours while we wondered when it might come on again. It was very good luck to have power back so soon, usually it takes a few days this time of year for it to come back – a few days with no heat but our body warmth. I am very thankful to have gotten power back in four hours, with these below freezing temperatures life would become incredibly difficult without it.

But even with power and heat, not everything is a piece of cake. Anything with much water content is freezing solid; some supplement bottles have been bursting from the expanding liquids inside as they freeze. Cooking is made much more difficult; imagine if you stored all your food, including vegetables, in the freezer before using it. You can cut the vegetables into a hot skillet but they actually freeze back together again before they can be stirred. We can hear the buckets creak outside from where the rain water that was accumulating in them is now freezing solid and expanding. Even a glass of water half drunk and left sitting till next time I am thirsty will freeze before I can get it finished.Ice that was in a bucket
Ice that was in a bucket

The worst of it though is what Jeremy must endure many, many times every day. His boots are always wet because of our poor dish washing facilities. When it is cold like this they freeze and get caked in ice. Imagine having to put frozen, heavy boots on your feet every time you left your bed to do anything at all. Washing dishes, getting a drink of water, cooking, even going to the bathroom all get done with frozen boots on. He could put a different pair of shoes on, but they would just start to freeze too after the first time they got the slightest bit wet.
Jeremy’s Frozen Boots
Jeremy’s Frozen Boots

The good news so far is that the weather has been dry, the nights absolutely breathtakingly beautiful as the moon waxes darker every night and the stars shine magnificently. However, the forecast is for snow in a couple days and I can fully believe it. Any precipitation right now is guaranteed to snow. We have already had a minor bit of snow about a week ago but it was warm enough that the snow did not stick, that will not happen again this time.

After a small reminder of how incredibly cold it can be without power to provide us with means for heating, I find myself praying several times a day right now that our power stays strong till this cold spell is over. Meanwhile, I will enjoy the dry weather, clear nights for brief glances towards the heavens where the amazing stars are reminiscent of a more primal era long past, and the excuse to stay cuddled up to my Jeremy most of the day.