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

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.

9 responses

  1. You are two brave soldiers.

    Stay close, stay warm.

    December 9, 2009 at 6:11 pm

  2. Snez

    Hi Lisa,
    You guys are incredible! Cannot imagine some the hardships you must endure- thanks for your icy story.

    December 9, 2009 at 6:15 pm

  3. Awesome, thanks for the replies and for reading my post. 🙂

    hugs for you both, lisa

    December 9, 2009 at 9:19 pm

  4. Dan

    I too am just stunned, and impressed at the same time. If you can survive this, you can survive anything!

    December 10, 2009 at 1:10 pm

  5. So an informal update/edit here. Turns out our thermometer has frozen at 23 degrees. Won’t go any lower so I don’t really know how cold it has been getting but the weather forecast websites showed a current temp of 9 degrees F last night in Olympia and we always are at least 3 degrees lower here because of the elevation.

    Brr! lol 🙂

    December 10, 2009 at 1:12 pm

  6. Hi Dan 🙂

    Its actually been really easy with this cold other than when we were worried the power would be out several days. Keeping very toasty most of the time, just takes lots of planning to get to this point. First winter I think I’ve been this warm, it is Wonderful! 🙂

    December 10, 2009 at 1:13 pm

  7. Hello tent dwellers,

    I have just come to visit via TheCanaryReport, and can relate to your reassembling journey. We are only nine months living from our tiny vardo built to be an mcs-safe haven, so know the path is awesome in broad strokes.

    Your strawbale home will be a gift worth believing in. Even with frozen feet, “see the fire of the hearth down at the foot of the mountain” … blow on that faith.

    Many good wishes blow your way,

    January 28, 2010 at 9:15 pm

  8. P.S. I see we visit the same Dr. B. He has helped a lot, and at just the right times.

    January 28, 2010 at 9:17 pm

  9. Hello Mokihana! 😀

    I’m very happy you posted here tonight! Someone I know from a CFS forum directed me to your story at Planet Thrive a few months ago and I loved reading about the two of you building your vardo. Had I come across it a few years earlier, I may well have gone the way of a vardo instead of the strawbale home.

    My mom used to laugh about how I have gypsy blood in me from somewhere because I was always happily on the move. hehe

    Thank you very much for the good wishes and kind words.

    I’m pleased you have found some help with Dr. B too. He really is a fantastic doctor!

    Have a warm and sun filled day, Lisa 🙂

    January 28, 2010 at 9:37 pm

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