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November 15, 2020: The Sustainable Life: Inside, where it's Warm, Outside where its Cold

Winter seems to have come with a vengeance, following on the shortened path of a remarkable fall. Last year, it didn’t snow until early December. This year it snowed late October.

We were (we thought) ready for the onslaught – we had (again) hay in the barn, wood in the shed, salmon in the cupboard and freezer, and berries in the freezer. Pete should speak for himself, me, I found myself psychologically unprepared for the snow and cold.

It’s a tossup, which one I least prefer. Snow has to be moved and this takes time, Cold doesn’t have to be moved but it is an ongoing presence. What I hate

Pete's Bagels

most is temperatures below 10˚ F. It is then that my fingers hurt when I remove my gloves. I then get frustrated. Today I got more frustrated than usual because I realized that it’s only mid-November, meaning that it could remain this cold until March or April.

I spent the morning attempting to rig up a containment area for the mares, so that I might more easily dole out their hay. Alas, the configuration of our paddock is such that this is an impossibility. So this means that they are going to continue to mug me. It would be different if they were behind a barrier.

And this afternoon, we drove to Hatcher Pass and cross-country skied. We would have skied on our trails, but we don’t yet have enough snow. Hatcher Pass is up in the mountains, so the deeper snowfall there makes for better skiing. At least this is what the hundreds of other skiers who were there were thinking.

The number of dwellings on the area below the pass has markedly increased as has the amount of traffic. And over the years, the number of skiers at the top of the pass has been on the upswing, making an outing to be to be more of a social hour than a wilderness experience. There were skiers there of all ages, some with dogs, some pulling pulks. Some were skate skiing and some were classical skiing. Some were also walking. I would have been dismayed if for some reason I decided that I was to ski there on a regular basis. Instead, the one after foray was more of a novelty.

We were planning on meeting Judy and Brian, friends I met at the conclusion of my summer bicycle trek. We were an hour late because I could not get my preparation act together quick enough. I was working on my essay and thought that I had more time to get ready than I did.

Judy and Brian were not in the parking lot when we arrived at the Archangel Trailhead. We deliberated, wondering if we should wait for them or head up the trail. We finally decided on the latter, and we met them a few miles distant.

I was struck by the fact that things are sure different now. In the past we might have gone back to town and gotten something to eat. But because of Covid, we talked for a while upon our return to the parking lot, then headed home.

Once at home, I took care of the animals. I got chilled, and consequently impatient, so Pete finished up for me. It’s only November; this is not a good sign.

Next: 317. 11/16/20: A Postcard from Squalor Holler

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