Located in Central BC

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


Matty in her snow cave she made.

Its cold. At least I consider -31c cold. Before I moved to Pr. George, I had lived a sheltered life in Victoria and Vancouver. The coldest it had got in Victoria was -9c and I had snow on Christmas when I was 12 and that was it! I had always wanted to live somewhere that had all four seasons, not: Wet (winter), not so wet (spring), dry but not hot (summer), starting to get wet (fall). Well I have all four seasons now, sometimes to the extreme. The coldest day that I have experienced was 20 years ago when it was -52c outside our kitchen window. That was a prolonged cold spell with numerous days below -40c as their high temperature. I remember lying in bed thinking that it was 70c degrees warmer where I was than just behind me, one wall away. Sometimes in the winter as I am bundling up to go outside I laugh just thinking about being outside in a tank top and shorts. That green, warm world seems years away.

There are a lot of aspects of living where it can get so cold are so foreign to those living in more southern climes. Like the sound of snow. As in, when it is cold out, the snow is very crunchy and in fact at times is so noisy as you walk along in it, that you can't hear the person beside you talk. In fact in the cold everything is louder as sound travels so much better through the drier air that comes with the cold. The train whistle, kilometres away can be heard as if it is much closer. Another thing that is hard to describe is how cold the car seats are in winter. Especially vinyl ones. The cushions are hard too. Animals get frosty, come to think of it so do humans. When it's cold, the cows and horses get a white sheen to them from the frost on their fur. As well, they get very frosty on the face. Yesterday, when we were feeding the cows and fixing the cattle waterer, Spirit, the borean angus bull self released and for reasons unknown to us humans, he and Fatty, the angus bull decided they should find out who was boss. To see two large beasts battling at -30c, slipping on the ice and pushing back and forth, back and forth across the pen was amazing. It looked like there was a fire with all the steam coming off of them during the fight and afterwards they continued to steam while they were cooling off.

The kids are used to being outside in the cold. They were all born here and this is just what happens in the winter. But sometimes they can be so dumb! Today, they were feeding grain to all the different animals, so Peter drove the truck with the grain up to the pens and they all helped feed. Willy came in the house afterwards, red cheeked and with his jacket wide open. He couldn't be bothered to zip at -28c. I guess it wasn't worth the effort. Not surprising seeing as he tried to go to school without gloves or a hat this morning. The teenagers are silly. They wear their runners. They don't need toques or gloves to wait at the bus stop. At least mine aren't as bad as those in town, who can be seen hanging around with their jackets wide open at these temperatures. They are just too cool to zip.

Ever since we moved up here we have noticed that there seemed to be a disappropriate amount of blond haired kids in town.  In fact, the other day I was telling my friend how nice her daughter's brunette hair was. Just yesterday, I was dropping Maggie off at preschool and there was group of blond kids playing in the corner. I always thought this was odd, all these blond kids. Well, it turns out that fair haired people, like the Norse and Scandinavian fair better in the north. Their skin is better adapted to absorb vitamin D from the sun. And up here in the north, with short days in the winter, this is an asset. So, it seems, that the fairer haired people do better under these conditions and are happier so they stay in the north disproportionately to the darker haired people. Hmmmm, John and I both have blond hair...

Georgie and Henry in their snow cave.