Thursday, December 11, 2008

Battening Down the Hatches

Joel and I spent the day getting ready for a major Arctic Outbreak as the weather forecasters call it. This is a fierce outflow of very cold air that comes down the Fraser Canyon in British Columbia from the dark of the arctic and blasts right across the Strait of Georgia and hits us. The air is really, really cold as the sun isn't shining up there at this time of year and the cold of outer space seeps in in the absence of the sun. It is supposed to get down to the low teens (that's Fahrenheit) with a couple of days of high winds as well. We frequently get a week or two of this sort of weather most winters. We don't usually get snow with it unless we are right on the convergence zone between the warm moist air off the ocean and cold dry air off the land mass. It usually is just very dry and very cold. If we do get snow first then that really helps protect growing plants. Snow is a great mulch.
So Joel raked up the leaves under the birch tree, hauled a couple of loads of maple leaves from the side of the roads, and raked up a bunch of loose waste hay from the floor of the barn. We covered the dahlias and glads and carrots,
dug up the last of the potatoes, brought in a bunch of cabbages, and will dig the beets and pull the celery tomorrow. We have until tomorrow night before the cold hits. All of these vegetables and half a dozen boxes of apples and all the squash will be brought into the house for us to trip over until it warms up. There used to be a root cellar on this place but when we came here it had collapsed and wasn't restorable. It sure would be nice to have it now. When we were just gardening for ourselves it wasn't so much of an issue, but with the winter market we have a lot of produce out there in the garden. This is our 7th year of the winter market and we haven't had cold like this in those years. This could well put an end to much of our winter produce for this year.

So we will fill buckets with water for us and the livestock, bring in lots of firewood, get out the wool socks and the long johns and hunker down for the duration. Boats won't be going anywhere so we won't get mail for a few days or be able to go to town. At least the power won't go out and we will be warm. We have plenty of wood and food and warm clothes. We could be in a lot worse situation.


  1. Sounds as though you have done this many times before, Margaret. Good luck and keep warm and snug in the cold Arctic weather. I am trying to imagine your island in such conditions. Stoke up the fires and make lovely bread to toast on them. Keep warm. Best wishes.

  2. Good luck! I hope you have some chocolate to see you through (it warms the soul!)

  3. We get this sort of weather most every winter. But this storm is supposed to be the coldest in 20 years. And I remember that one. Siri was 4 and we went down to the beach to look at the water. The wind was blowing a gale, the temperature of 5d F, the wind chill -40. I have never felt cold like that, ever. It was scary. The water was steaming as its temperature stays about 52d all the time and that was a lot warmer than the air. We all hoped out of the truck for a minute and then got right back in and went home to a warm fire.

    Kathy, I should have mentioned chocolate in my list of survival supplies. Lots of cocoa and canned milk in stock, with a bit of brandy to add to it.