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Showing posts from December, 2016

Xmas Chainsaw Massacre

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(Lou, Yukon)
One day is the same as another here. A man-made event like Christmas can easily pass us by if we aren’t paying attention.

There’s no dithering on Oxford Street trying to find presents, no carols playing, no family rows about who’s going where and with whom. Nothing to differentiate the day unless we somehow make it special.

We have two criteria for celebrations and festivals- an easy day with no hard physical work and an unusual activity.

A day of chainsawing was our easy day for Christmas Eve. We are burning logs from last year’s woodpile stacked behind the house. They need to be bucked (cut) into stove-size lengths then heaved round to the front of the house in a wheelbarrow. (See our How To on firewood)


Not particularly relaxing or festive, I grant you, but compared to trail breaking or felling trees and hauling them back, it felt like a day of light housework.

Our unusual event was BEER. We haven’t had a drink for months so that made it very, very special. And unusua…

Meat, fur and festive bones

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(Lou, Yukon, Winter Solstice)

It’s dark now.

We haven’t seen the sun for months but apparently it rises somewhere every day, just as usual. Sunrise is around 11.20am and sunset at 3.15pm (making a guess from data in towns to the south and north of us).

Our world is softly lit. There is no shadow except that of the moon when she’s around. Wonderful for portrait photos if you are a middle aged lady with the occasional wrinkle, which of course I’m not.

We get up early, and by the time grey begins to seep into the sky we are often ready for a snooze, but we grab each hour of daylight with mitted hands. It must be utilised and, most importantly, witnessed.

Then we are in bed very early. 10pm, still bang at it on the Kindles, is very rock’n’roll for us.


Darkness is a luxury. You don’t have it in the city. Electric light blasts you through winter at the same pace as summer.

A kerosene lantern glows in each corner of our cabin. That is all they do, they don’t exactly light the place up. So w…

Bollocks to it

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(Lou, Yukon)
We have crisp, sharp days and fathomless blue sky. The thermometer slinks between -30 and -37C.


So as well as failing in most of our endeavours this week, we’ve had the fun of aching fingers, freezing feet and eyelashes glued together with ice.

Our first “Bollocks to it” was getting the snowmachine along our new land trail, to save snow shoeing for 1.5 hours each way carrying heavy tools to finish clearing it.


Not enough snow, not worth the wear and tear on the machine. We gave up.


Then we chose a delightfully breezy, 35 below day to attempt to cross the river at the far end of our trail to inspect the ice. 

It was bitterly cold. I had my coney hat and wolf fur parka ruff velcroed tight leaving a square inch gap to see out. It was like peering through the ass of a wolf that’s just eaten a rabbit. 
I stumbled blindly over the ice boulders, pressure ridges and potential danger spots.
We made it. I immediately plunged into a (dry) hole and turned round to shout to Neil to h…