Hygge NOT

By , February 2, 2018

Yesterday, February 1st, I flipped my calendar page to reveal a lovely work of art by Kathleen Edwards. The scratch board rendering of a wood fired cook stove, with its border of cozy emblems, including steaming mugs of coffee and tea illustrated nicely the month’s essay, which, while not explicitly mentioning the Danish concept of Hygge, certainly evoked it.

Kathleen Edwards calendar art for February 2018 ©2017 Llewellyn Worldwide

Kathleen Edwards calendar art for February 2018 (©2017 Llewellyn Worldwide) (Image: Amazon.com.)

The essay, by Blake Octavian Blair, observed that February is often the coldest part of the year in the northern hemisphere, and urged getting cozy by the hearth, snuggling up with a nice hot drink, and perhaps a good book.

This sounded excellent! Why not indulge in a little hygge on this first day of February!

Then, Michelle tried to take a shower . . . .

When she turned on the shower taps, the low water pressure was immediately apparent. Our water system had frozen up!

Suddenly, everything changed. We scrambled to secure whatever water we had on hand; we put a pan in the sink to catch whatever came out of the pipes as we tested for improvements; we poured old rinse water from various containers in the sink into one pan, which we heated for pouring down the drain. (Our water supply enters the cabin snug against the main drain; hot water down the drain often thaws this section of the inflow, which is vulnerable to freezing as it comes up from the buried line.) We heated a kettle to fill hot water bottles, which we then took up to pack in around the outflow of the winter water tank, the other vulnerable (and accessible) point in the line. We had a heater full of hot water, but had to access it through the bleed valve at the bottom of the tank, as we lacked incoming water pressure to drive it out of the tap.

All of this took place in 14°F and storm force northerly winds.

Yes, we here on the homestead regard February 1st as the first day of spring (see The Circle Turns Toward Spring). No, the irony isn’t lost on me.

Further complicating the whole operation, Michelle needed to get to town ahead of the rising tide, to train a new employee. She commandeered a small bowl full of our hot water for a spit bath, then threw on clothes to work on thawing the system until she had to leave.

thawing the water system

At the winter water tank: hot water bottles applied to outflow pipe (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

We’ve been here before. In fact, we froze up for a while in March last year (see Dry Cabin).

Even so, fighting a freeze up was not how I’d imagined spending my morning. This is why I defend our need to hold spontaneity in reserve.

But, I do plan to “pay myself back” some morning soon with a bit of hygge by the hearth side, with a nice hot drink, and a good book. And, hopefully, running water . . . .

By the way: Happy Groundhog Day!

4 Responses to “Hygge NOT”

  1. Angie says:

    Happy Groundhog Day, Mark, along with St Bridget’s Day, Imbolc, and Candlemas. And remember, here in Alaska it’s Marmot Day because groundhogs we ain’t got.

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Thanks, Angie! This reminds me, did I ever tell you about the enclave of true groundhogs in a particular area of the Yukon that I learned about a few years ago? Fascinating, trivial information, but the kind of thing you and I get a kick out of.

  3. Angie says:

    Maybe nothing says “global warming” like groundhogs in the Yukon!

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