Running then. Siphoning now…

…water…..out of the up-hill tank.  The surface ice layer in it is only half an inch or so and we can poke through that, stick in a hose and siphon off thirty gallons or so and get our daily water allotment. If we do that every two or three days, we are good.  A smidge on the rustic side, some would say, but good enough for us.

Siphoning water into containers--technically, water IS running...

Siphoning water into containers–technically, water IS running…

We are also pounding through a wheelbarrow of wood a day now.  That’s double what we have ever had to do before.  Minus 8 C is cold for here.  I’ve been in -50 up in the Yukon in January and there is no doubt that it was colder then but -8 on the coast feels somehow much colder than -8 in the interior of the province.  I am just ‘Davidizing’ on this but -8 here feels like -25 in the Okanagan to me. It’s likely the humidity factor.

This weather doesn’t bother the guys who have been here a long time, tho.  At 13 years, I am still a newbie.  I find it cold.  DG (40+ years) just dropped by in his boat and handed us some fresh caught fish.  “That there Ling is just 18 minutes from seeing the light o’ day. Filleted it fer ya, too, ’cause KB loves the carcasses.  Fer her garden, don’tcha know?  I am headin’ up her way now.”

“Dawg!  It’s like 90 below.  It’s colder here than Mars or something.  What the hell ya doin’ fishin’?”

“Nah.  It’s nice out.  Warm, really, what with all the clothes I got on.  And, anyway, I only fish where it’s sunny in weather like this.  We gotta go out fishin’ sometime.”

“I dunno.  I tend to repel fish like I do militant feminists.  I am one of those guys with the wrong polarity or something.  Anti-magnetic…..Bi-polar, maybe.  Where I go, fish don’t.  Some guys can’t catch fish.  I am one of them.”

“No question there are people like that.  When I was a guide, I’d have one guy catching fish hand over fist on one side and the other guy, on the other side, would get skunked.  Sometimes we would swap sides just for the fun of it.  Gear, too. Made no difference.  One guy got lucky.  The other not.

The doctor came out to the twice-monthly clinic at the community centre the other day.   She had chains on all four wheels, her VHF radio was on (no cell service) and she was bundled up for survival.  That’s beyond intrepid and almost heroic.  Sal picked her up to bring her over.  Twenty kms down a frozen logging road with ice valleys and snow everywhere and then a small boat.  So bloody impressive, I almost faked an illness just to go see her.

Sal’s into it, too.  She and a neighbour are headed up to visit the accident victims (see blogs re end of the day at end of the road) and have a ‘nice cuppa tea.’.  That will be 6 – 8 miles in -8 in a small boat through one the most dangerous passes on the coast.  Currents run fast and furious through there.  They’ll likely chat about dogs or quilting the whole way.

Me?  I’ll write this and then go under the house to try thawing some pipes so I can drain them better.

Fifteen years ago I was parking the car in a parkade, grabbing my briefcase and heading into a boardroom.  I, too, was running then.  Weird, eh?  This is better.  By far!


20 thoughts on “Running then. Siphoning now…

  1. Yep. Cold on the coast is much worse than an “interior” cold.
    I’ve lived and worked on both coasts and Calgary ( and Whitehorse a few Christmasses ago.
    Humidity definitely affects the cold
    -10 on the coast feels the same as -20 in the interior.
    No argument.


    • I remember driving west on a highway into Whitehorse. It was minus 40 or worse and 7 in the morning – dark and miserable as hell. We passed a junction and there, on the side of the road heading south was a FN guy. He was wearing black jeans, running shoes and a jacket that was like a college kid’s (leather arms, large letter on the vest). “Crap! Dan! That guy’s gonna freeze. Shouldn’t we go back?”
      “Nope. He’s headin’ South. We’re going west.”
      BUT HE’LL DIE!
      “Nah. Those guys are all over the north. Hitchin’ in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere in the winter. Crazy. I have no idea how they do it. Hardly wearin’ nothing. Running shoes, for %$%#@ sake. But they don’t die. They just get cold and keep on truckin’. Weird. But true.”
      At the time, he had his truck heater on full tilt, I was wearing all my skiing gear and had manged to wrap a sleeping bag around me and was still cold.


      • here’s MY oneupperguy story.
        My nephew is a fireman in Whitehorse.
        They get a call about a native kid picked up by the cops on the Hwy in -40 wearing a a jean jacket and sneakers …..MISSING A HAND !
        They pick the guy up and take him to emerg….cops had another emergency.

        Seems the guy was skidooing on a trap line checking snares and he ran over some branches. The rubber track got hooked up on the branches. Totally jammed. So the only way to untangle it was to try and saw the branches off while the track was slowly turning with the skidoo in gear……. Got his hand caught/jammed between the track and the drive.
        So . stuck in the middle of nowhere, freezing, no cell, no help coming. He waited until he couldnt feel his hand and then he cut it off.
        Drove one handed back to the highway where the cops saw him and the rest is history.
        yep the natives in the Yukon are as tough as nails.


  2. Froze my earlobes at -25 degrees C and at that temperature a sharp intake of breath stabs ones lungs. Dry cold is a little easier to take. Damp cold is more punishing.


    • Edmonton. 1968/69 winter. Minus five hundred. Stepped outside, took a breath and my nose hairs froze, my lungs hurt and my skin shriveled up. Went back inside. Never gonna go to Edmonton ever again.


      • yep. Coldest I ever worked was a construction site in Calgary in 1980. -40 with wind chill to -65c
        Our ski masks were covered in ice, hurt to breathe, had to hold our mittens over our mouths.
        Hydraulic lines were bursting.
        We smashed wooden pallets by driving over them, lit them on fire with gasoline and then shoved the whole burning mass under our equipment to thaw the hydraulic lines so we could unload several dump trucks. Quite a site . A roaring fire under the frame of a dumptruck. Took about 15 minutes. Thawed the hydraulics, dumped it, ….next.
        Repeated the process again and again and again
        We were the only crew outside on site that day.
        Apparently the only ones stupid enough to work…


    • We had something like 59 out of 60 days with straight rain – and I only complained once. About the third to last day, “Geez, even I am getting sick of the rain!”
      But, normally, I am OK with rain. Grew up wet. If it doesn’t rain at least three days a week, I am not in BC. Weeks of steady sunshine in Mexico or someplace makes my head hurt. I am partly amphibian, I guess…


  3. We decided to cut some more wood yesterday we were going through the stash so fast. We probably won’t need it, but it will be in the shed drying in case we do. You can never have too much wood, especially when the stove is a hungry, hungry animal. – Margy


    • Agreed. 100%. More wood must get chopped and stacked. I am gonna haf to get some young people on it. W’fers, maybe. Sal is starting to balk.


      • Yup, planning another wood trip after Christmas (found a new term for this – Xmad). Got some windfalls spotted a little ways of the inlet. We’ll take the herring skiff up on a high tide, then chop, drop, and toss. Worry about splitting the stuff once we get it to the cabin beach.

        No w’fers for us – they’d have to sleep in the snow these days, and I think that’s not an option!!


  4. snowing in Burnaby again this am…..about an inch on the ground already and they are calling for 3 -5 .
    Should make mondays commute a joy.


    • You got that right! Not a snowplow in sight. Several inches of snow on the road. Buses not moving, summer tires everywhere and gridlock at many intersections.
      The piteous cries of, “We had no warning!”


      • yep.
        The inconsistancy of each and verey municipality in the Lowerbrainland never ceases to amaze.
        The roads were a disaster and I can just tell that either
        a) the overtime budget is maxed already
        b) they were hoping the rain would wash away the mess
        c)The lack of staff to drive the trucks after working for days without a break became apparent.
        I also wonder what the deal is with the buses. Incapable of climbing the most basic of inclines with the nearly bald tires.
        All this with inexperienced white knuckle drivers that MUST get to work ( even when they spend 4 hours to GET to work let alone the return trip)

        I hope it snows a lot this winter.


        • And , of course it only took ICBC to use 2 snow storms to grandly announce that our rates are rising by 4.5 % next year.
          THAT was a surprise…….
          Using that as a guide, a snow stormm per week should have their budget back in the black by Feb.
          Unless of course the Clark govt can refrain from pilfering all iICBC’s profits on Dams, self congradulatory election advertising pats on the back, and hiring ex Global TV employees that come crawling out into the light looking for any scraps the Libs will toss them.

          Merry Christmas


          • Talked to a friend of mine who works downtown.
            The snowfall on Monday dec 19 was a gongshow all over the Lowermainland.( He drives in from Surrey) to his office downtown.
            Vancouver streets and sidewalks were a disaster. Nothing plowed
            HOWEVER the BICYCLE route was plowed
            Apparently a different crew is responsible for the bike lanes.
            NOTHING in the Media about it.
            Spineless jellyfish dont just swim in the halls of Parliament.
            They also live in BC’s media.


  5. Still battling the frost? Or did you get smart and head for warmer climes?
    Once the snow gets over 18 inches I find it easier to go South rather than dig.


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