It is -45C here today, oh, just dropped to -46! That’s not windchill or exaggeration. Here’s a new thermometer I took out to the porch today:
We’ve just taken over the coldest place in the world! (source: http://www.wx-now.com/Weather/WxExtremes)
I’ve started wearing my parka more when we’re out walking Hank at night, or last night when we took him for a dog park date with his brother. With the hood up, it cuts off all peripheral vision, but it’s too frosty for glasses anyway! I stumble sometimes in the dark on the snow because without glasses I seem to lose my depth perception!
If you dress right, the cold isn’t bad. Not even fatal. If I’m walking, I wear snowpants, parka, face mask, neck fleece, hat with ear flaps, and a pair of mittens (or two). My only failure point lately are my mittens. I bought these Canada Goose down mittens a few years back that were too warm really, but this year they just aren’t keeping me warm at all. Not sure if the down fails over time? I’m having to use those hot pocket disposable hand warmers stuffed in each.
When I exhale, some of my warm breath comes out of my face mask by my eyes, keeping my eyes warm. Otherwise I’d probably wear goggles to complete seal me up! The warm, moist, exhaled air makes for really frosty eyelashes, which I just love!
This morning there was a nice full(ish) moon when I took Hank out at 7:30am. Here are a few pics of the ice fog hanging around, lit up by the moon.
The back door is having a hard time shutting. There is just so much ice building up around it, and in the grooves of the weather stripping. We regularly take a hammer to the ice to smash it off and then throw ourselves into the door to fasten the deadbolt to hold the door shut.
Unless we’re outside. I don’t want anything to risk my ability to get back in. I don’t mind if the door is loosely shut so I can quickly push it open!
We were supposed to get wind today but not much really kicked up, at least not in town. The ice fog was heavy though. I suspect the back up diesel generators are powered up. The territory is near max power consumption when it is this cold! The moisture in the exhaust from the generators, and all of our chimneys, and vehicles, freezes in the air causing this ice fog phenomenon.
That’s right, some people are still driving! The extreme cold is really hard on every part of a vehicle though, so Jeff walked across town to work and back today.
Although the sun isn’t rising high enough to shine on our house yet, it is waking up all my little solar toys (Uncle Paul is inspiring, what can I say). They have started lightly dancing for about an hour in the afternoons now!
So what’s it like when it is this cold?
Well we keep the wood stove fired up. We burn softwood, so I need to add a couple pieces every couple of hours during the day. We’ve woke up a few times through the nights lately to keep the fire going so we don’t have to start the morning with a cold firebox.
During the night, our oil space heater (monitor) kicks in when the fire heat dies off. We have it set to 64F to keep us from freezing.
We’re so glad we moved all our water pipes inside. No problems yet this winter! Drains haven’t froze (yet) either! (I hope I didn’t just jinx it!)
Usually with feeding the fire consistently all day, I can get it over 70F in the middle of the house by the time Jeff gets home from work. The back of the house, with the icy gap around the door, isn’t really so warm, but don’t tell my Dad. I’ll put my space heater in the guest room back there before he gets here in a few weeks!
What’s it like outside? At this temperature, when you step outside, you’ll instantly cough and choke when you breathe in through your nose. It’s just too suddenly cold for your lungs. I try to open my mouth and let my warm mouth warm up the air on the way in, but it is shockingly cold on the tongue!
It’s hard to really explain this type of cold. People who say it is all the same below -20 have never been below -20. If you need to take off your mitt to fiddle with anything, you have maybe a minute before you’re in trouble. If you have no heat left in your hand, shoving it back in a mitten doesn’t fix it. It’s screaming painfully cold and you quickly lose your ability to do tactile things with it. Have you ever read Jack London’s To Build a Fire? It is a pretty accurate description of cold. You should read it – here’s a free .pdf of it for you.
Hank is being pretty good. He doesn’t seem to want to hang around outside much either, unless he’s running!
It is going to be very cold for another couple of days. Any requests for photos or videos? Happy to entertain!
Oh, and if you are curious, I haven’t used the hot tub yet this week. Now that would just be crazy!