“Just Right”

By , November 16, 2011

Yesterday I pulled the milk jug out of the cool box, reserved ½ cup to make sourdough bread, and used what was left to sample my new batch of coffee liqueur. The jug was freshness-dated November 5, but ten days later it was just as sweet as the first sip. The outside temperature hovered around 25°, likely as warm as it would get that day.

We are in the zone that a certain blonde-tressed housebreaker of legend would have dubbed “just right.”

Living without refrigeration, we appreciate these times when our precarious, swiftly-changing weather conditions stabilize within temperature parameters that allow us to use groceries at a leisurely pace without waste. We’re at the time of year when we can actually expect to freeze some leftovers for more extended storage.

Of course, appreciating it isn’t the same as growing complacent. Shortly after noting the long-lived milk, I got busy with other chores that need to be done. There’s a storm a’comin’.

The marine forecast has been focusing on Wednesday and Thursday, waffling back and forth between predicting two days of 50-55 knot storms to 40 knot gales and back. Something’s going to happen, we’re just not sure what. They also issued a winter storm warning for Tuesday evening and today, and say that an arctic air mass will drop our temperatures to uncomfortable levels. Since our homestead has missed most of the snow that’s been dumped on Haines, it’s hard to say how that will affect our little compound, but it’s best to be prepared, anyway. I emptied buckets to make sure they don’t split out, chopped and hauled extra firewood, and made sure the outhouse duff wouldn’t freeze.

The funny thing is, one of my chores was incidental—I did it because I’d had it on my list, not because of the impending storm, although it would have been a vital preparation for this sort of weather in our “old” life in suburban Juneau. I cleaned and filled the oil lamps for the coming holiday season. True, there is a slight chance our wind generator could fail in the next few days, but I have no reason to expect that to happen. I don’t imagine we’ll get a lot of power from the solar panels, even if I do go out and sweep them as often as I’d need to in a snowstorm, but it’s unlikely I’ll face the kind of power outages we used to see. There’s a real irony in that.

On the other hand, there’s nothing like a nice quiet meal by lamp light with snow falling hard and fast outside. I may even read a poem for the occasion . . . .


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