A Real Winter for a Change?

1 sunriseAfter our week of spectacular cloudless weather, we had a red-sky-in-the-morning-sailor’s-warning sunrise.  It stayed dull all day and the sun set over the mountains in the way I would normally expect for November.

2 sunsetThe kale in my garden, which was frozen seriously on September 9th but picked up a bit while I was on the book tour, was obviously not going to survive the recent cold spell (see the previous post).

3 kaleThe temperature became very mild again, and I spent a week burning brush before going back into the attic.  The junk had been shuffled to one end…

5 attic…and I spent a couple of days building a storage unit.  How easy it is when you have store-bought lumber!

6 shelvesAnother re-shuffle of Stuff.  I now have piles of things more or less where I want them and can go through slowly when time allows.

One morning we had a brief burst of sun before the mountains socked in again.

7 orange trees

Snow and colder weather was forecast and I wanted to get to the church washing machine before it happened.  Wet snow fell most of the morning, thawing almost as fast as it came.  The roads would have been very slick, but they were well-sanded.  On the West Chilcotin only the middle of the road is sanded because that is where everyone drives…

Highway 20

The next day we had a few inches of snow – more at one time than we ever had last year.
9 first snow

And it kept snowing.

10 badger

11 chickadee

It snowed all night and all the next day.  I could not keep the snow off the solar panels.

12 snowy panelsThe battery guage started to drop.  (Mine is a 24-Volt system.)

13 battery guage

I had been warned not to let it go below 23 Volts as the batteries would take a long time to charge up again.  As we had experienced about a week of sunless weather altogether, I watched the guage closely.  I forewent my nice new lighting system and started using a single LED light during the dark hours.  At this time of year the nights seem so long.  Especially when the cloud socks in.

Finally I could no longer receive an internet signal.  When the cloud cover is thick or snow fills the air, signals are often deflected.  But the satellite dish was also getting snowed in.

14 dishIt is pretty high up with no easy way to reach it.  I climbed a wobbly small ladder and poked at it at arms length with a cotton mop.  It was enough to get a signal, but soon I had to shut down anyway to save power.

After 48 hours of snow, this is what we had.  More than I’ve seen here for years, all in one fall.

15 deep snowThe tape recorded nearly 18″

16 seventeen inchesThis is not so usual in this part of the world (last winter I never once used skis or snowshoes) but the first year I was at Ginty Creek (2007) the eventual snowpack was chest deep.  And on another occasion – also at the end of November – we had 4 feet in one day.

Fortunately, the temperature was below freezing therefore the snow was dry.  Despite more snow falling, I started shovelling.  It was -18C at first light, and stayed that temperature all day.

17 self portrait

That afternoon a vague sun tried to poke through the clouds.

18 sun at lastDuring the night, the sky cleared.  The forecast was for -27C.  But when I got up, this was what I saw.

19 thermometreIt’s not supposed to warm up a great deal for quite a while, either.  The rewards, however, are incomparable!

20 pink light

21 pink mts

22 view

23 lone treeExcitedly, I waited for the sun to reach the panels.

24 waiting

The guage was right down to 23 Volts.

IMG_1006First it poked through the bay window.

26a sun in window

And finally!

27 sun on panelsFrost on the back door window makes an interesting abstract of the light in the yard.

IMG_1027Here it is, unfiltered by glass.

25 back door

The big trees shed the snow – they can hold only so much.  But the little trees get drowned.

28 gnome trees

And here are my vehicles, painstakingly dug out waiting for the snow plough.

26 dug-out vehiclesI talked to my neighbour, who usually ploughs my road, several days ago and told him I might want to get out today to the Tatla Lake craft fair.  But there was no sign or sound from him.  I phoned him this morning, and it appears that the pickup he uses for ploughing broke down.  Our roads join about 1 km towards Highway 20, and he apparently was able to keep his road open by going back and forth continuously, and he was able to take a cat out to a mechanic in Anahim.  The cat was broken, too, but he knew he would not be able to deal with my unploughed road with a pickup, even if it was mended.  So now we have to wait for parts to arrive and the cat to be fixed.  Still, at -36C, those vehicles aren’t going anywhere (solar power is not condusive to plugging in block heaters.)

So all that is left for me to do is explore!

29 adventre awaits!(The poor little chickadees do not find the weather so exciting, though.)

29 chickadee



9 thoughts on “A Real Winter for a Change?”

  1. Chris – – just yesterday my husband asked me how you were getting along. I did not have a chance to see your blog because we were having some of your same issues. We have a 48 volt system and ours was below the safe mark due to lack of sun! We had to use our generator to juice up the batteries. And you are right – – these dark nights seem so very long with candles and kerosene lights! What a beautiful snowfall you had! We had about 7 inches. And our coldest night was 15 below F. Thinking of you as we wait for that special day, December 21st! Hope you finally got to the church Laundromat………

  2. Chris you’re so cute in that window reflection. I’m so glad to see more images on your blog. After you’ve been gone for so long it’s a real treat.
    It’s a shame I never happen to be close enough to meet you. One day !
    You may not think so, but I think you’re an extraordinary person. I have to say one more time how much I enjoyed your book. Actually I have them all but this one told your story in detail before the adventure in the Rockies.
    If I ever meet Mr. Patch Sewn jeans, I’ll say ‘Hi’.
    Lots of precious hugs Chris,

  3. Enjoyable as always Chris. I think you should build a strong ladder to get to your sattilite and a good brush to clean it! I have now finished all 3 books I bought from you in Osoyoos. “Lonesome” for the 2nd time. I love that dog and how brave he tried to be! I never like the ending a whole lot. “The River still Sings” — great memoir – I always feel like I am in your books – although I never would survive! Anyway, stay warm and safe – I’m a big fan of safe!

  4. Great post Chris, it covered everything. Good to see Badger up and around. Don’t forget to give him extra treats when my check arrives. LOL

  5. A real winter wonderland with sunshine! Hope your woodpile lasts! Do you get much wind around the cabin to add to that chill? Chris how do you manage for water? Do you have to go down to the river each day or are you able to melt enough snow for your needs? You probably have mentioned it before in one of your blogs or books and though I’ve read them all my recall is not the best. Thanks for the great pics and blog. Hope the sun keeps shining on you!
    Marjo Dipalo recently posted…A Real Winter for a Change?My Profile

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