A New Year
Nate is off on his first of many dog tours of the winter season. Needless to say he was very excited to get back into the swing of things. We have several pups who are showing remarkable spirit and Nate took 2 of them on this tour. Orca and Corky. They are not quite a year old and we are all looking forward to seeing how their first winter as sled dogs turns out. We have very high hopes for our younger batch of 6 month old pups as well and we can hardly wait to get them into a harness and see what they can do!
Since Nate has been gone the girls and I have been busier than bees around the cabin. We took down all the Christmas decorations, which was a day long process in itself. I have been cleaning and organizing and just generally taking advantage of time inside. Temps have started to drop again and they are hovering between 20 and 40 below. Tonight is especially cold. It could get colder still.
fortunately our cabin is snug. I like to keep it around 75 inside, just because it takes a lot of heat to keep the floor warm. The heat is also helpful in drying clothing and mitts and hats, as well as keeping the area in front of the door thawed out from constant snow being tracked in.
Our stove is efficient and I use it everyday to cook and heat water as well as heat the cabin. We always have at least 5 gallons heating at any given time.
Each night before bed, while tending the fire, I fill out water kettle so that in the morning I have hot coffee water waiting for me. The surface of the stove does not get hot enough to do a lot of actual cooking, but its perfect for heating up leftovers, toasting bread, and making pancakes (hopefully waffles soon too thanks to Aunt Judy!). I have a system for proofing my yeast and bread dough that involves stacking my wood cutting board on top of a large kettle of water and then placing the proofing bowl on top of that. The ambient heat is perfect for allowing the yeast to activate and dough to rise. Soon I plan to experiment with baking small loaves of bread in my very large dutch oven. I have tried making standard size loaves, but I just cant get the stove hot enough without making it miserably warm in the cabin.
You would not think that a cabin in the dead of winter near the Arctic Circle could possibly become too hot, but it has happened several times. It’s usually when I let Nate stoke the fire before bed (love ya Nate!) and we wake up at 3 am barely able to think straight it’s so hot. Thats when I get up and prop the door open for 10 minutes or so. Even then, if the stove is really going it goes right back to being hot.
I have read stories about folks who have put up blankets over their doorway for this very reason. That way you can regulate the temp inside the cabin without it getting drafty. Not sure I want to go that route. I’ll just stick to tending the fire myself and we should be fine…
The girls and I walked to Scarlett and Wayne’s house yesterday for lunch. I had some fresh vegetables mailed in by a friend who traveled to Fairbanks, and I made a salad to share. Fresh produce is the biggest luxury this time of year, and when we do have some its always nice to share because it is such a welcome treat.
We had a fine lunch, and afterwards I help Scarlett and Wayne take the dewclaws off their new puppies. My task was to mostly keep Nugget (the Mama) calm so that Wayne and Scarlett could get the job done. It went really smoothly and the girls enjoyed watching us return the puppies to their Mama.
After lunch, we returned home slowly, while playing in the heaps of fresh snow!
The girls enjoy the snow so much, especially with their new snowsuits. It makes playing outside warm and fun for them, and easy for Mama too.
New Year’s Eve I let the girls stay up late and we cuddled on the grown up bed and watched Shreck 2. We even had popcorn! The girls enjoyed the movie and cuddle time with Mama, and after the movie the fell asleep within 10 minutes. It was 9:30 and I think that is the latest they have ever stayed up. I stayed up late too watching the film Pearl Jam Twenty. It’s amazing to think that its been 20 years. I found it beautiful and emotional. It surely was not what I was expecting in a music documentary, but nonetheless it was extremely satisfying to watch. I have loved their music for 20 years and find their philosophy inspiring and refreshing. Especially among so much negativity in the mainstream pop-culture these days.
As always… Cameron Crowe never fails to deliver thought-provoking entertainment in a way that connects to your inner, vulnerable self. Here’s to another 20 years of PJ, and may I live happily to see them…