Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cold Snap

Wow! It is above zero today! I am so excited, and amazed at how warm 10 above feels, after weeks of below zero weather.
The main challenge for us with this cold snap has been having our bathroom pipes freeze each night. The sink is on an outside wall, and though the pipes are in the house, and the house is 65 degrees, if we don't keep the water running at least a trickle overnight, we have no water from the faucet come morning. A few minutes of hairdryer on pipes thaws them out, thank goodness.

New Years Eve we went to church in Ninilchik and the heat had gone out, so we had a very quick 30 minute service, with our gloves on and hoods up. That day it was around zero, but we weren't dressed for the cold weather. The chill didn't leave me for hours, and I appreciated every bit of warmth in the house when we returned home.

Amazingly, we have gotten out cross-country skiing nearly every day throughout this cold snap, which started a few days after Christmas. The kids get out too, but they're not good for playing outside for as long, and I keep an eye on them. When Denver starts getting white patches on his cheeks, I know we've been out a bit too long. I find that the cold is very tiring, and I am more worn out from the same amount of skiing. Skis just don't slide as well in cold weather, so I can walk right up steep hills on my skate skis, with no kick wax! Guess the added workout is a good thing--keeps me warm!

We are blessed that both our cars started right up, even when parked outside in sub-zero weather. From what I've heard, AAA in Anchorage had 250-300 calls a day (compared to their normal 10), and car battery sales have been awesome recently. Firewood is precious, and one man in the bush is burning logs he had planned on using for a new cabin.

The effect of being on the ocean is quite pronounced here, as you would see if you look at the weather map of Alaska. Homer is warmer than Ninilchik; while both are on the water, Homer has Kachemak Bay on one side and Cook Inlet on the other. Ninilchik just has Cook Inlet on one side. Just heading a few miles inland, such as in Kenai or Soldotna, means the temperatures are about 20 degrees colder than in Homer. So when our temperatures are at -10, we can guess Soldotna, 2 hours north, is at -30. This was the case Thursday when we drove to Soldotna. It was -4 when we left Homer at 8 am, and it was -26 in Soldotna at 10:00. Brrr!

The one thing we are very thankful for is that with this cold it has been completely calm with not a breeze. A wind would have plunged the windchill beyond tolerable, but at least when it's calm it is bearable! The Kenai/Soldotna area always seems to have frost-covered trees, which are gloriously beautiful, as you can see from the photo above.


Robyn said...

I am waiting for this cold snap to be over. I live in Soldotna, and it's has just been to cold for me.
I bet that skiing has been beautiful despite the cold weather and thank goodness that it has been windless.

Carol/K-Roll/C-Bone said...

you ahve a really nice blog here.
I am new to the Homer area and wanted to read up on the area. I'm also looking for contacts or any recomendations about the area.
-Carol Bontekoe

Lorraine said...

We have a new woodstove in the lower level and it is short sleeves and barefeet, even when the weather is in the teens and zero. I LOVE IT! We are hoping for positive impact on our heat bill because of this.

Lorraine said...

The trees are beautiful, but for me; I would have to have a lot of bright color on and in my house (clothes and everything else) to manage all that white for months on end.

Lady of the Lake said...

Thank you for answering a question I've had for awhile. Can you really enjoy skiing below zero? Obviously you must have since you did it more than once!

I had wondered if it was even possible to get out in the weather you have been experiencing. We get cold, sometimes very cold, but it doesn't last.

Your latest cold snap seemed to drag on forever. Anyway, I'm glad to have 'that' question answer - and I'm glad to see you are thawing out a bit!

Michelle Waclawski said...

When I XC skiing the high school championships in WI in '89 it was -29 and there were hundreds of people out skiing, and my mom even did her first ski race that day! I got frostbit under my chin where my metal zipper rubbed against my skin, but otherwise, it was just another day out there!

Anonymous said...


I like your blog and found it looking for a food coop in AK. We live in Homer and want ways to cut the grocery bill without sacrificing health. Are you a member of a coop?

Thanks for any input you can give. Keep up the great work on your blog - Gay Taunton