Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Real Weather Returns to Fairbanks, Grasshoppers

So, you remember the story about the ants and grasshoppers?

The industrious, type A, workaholic ants busted their gasters1 gathering and splitting cords of seasoned firewood, putting away smoked salmon, halibut, Cheetos, and DVDs, brewing vast quantities of beer that they didn't even sample - all to tide them through the long, dark, cold winter. (Apparently, there were no convenience stores in this story.)

Whenever there was a good party happening, they'd always say something like, "I'd love to go, but I have so much work to do" or "I have to get up early in the morning."

Meanwhile, the grasshoppers, no doubt suffering in the summer from the reverse of SAD (MAD, or Manic Affective Disorder) ran about partying like Nomeites: carrying on at parties in the Valley2 where live bluegrass was heard, there were twice as many dogs as people, and all sorts of alternatypes ate, drank, and were, generally, merry. At one point, there was a smoke machine involved.

They were seizing the day, my peoples.

First, off, I might be a grasshopper, but that is not why I ran out of firewood this week, just in time for our cute little cold snap.3

No, back when the grasshoppers were considering starting a band, back when driving 500 miles to go fishing seemed like a good idea, this grasshopper didn't even live in a place with a wood stove. The necessity of gathering, cutting and splitting firewood belonged to an entirely other category of lifestyle, one to which I might one day aspire.

So, upon reading the forecast for the week, (and the tone of doom in the voices of our local weatherpeople), I realized I had yet another heating situation. With a few days before our next foray into clearing out friends' property of seasoned wood, emergency measures were called for. So, I talked a buddy with a pickup into driving me to Northland Wood and getting a load of 'slab wood.'

It's the outsides, the leftovers from their sawmilling process. It's dirt cheap, it's spruce - and it's not seasoned. I knew this going in, no one misled me, but I figured that we could work with it for a few days. So far, the Blaze King Princess Ultra is not happily heating the cabin up to the subtropical temps to which we are accustomed in the loft.

At one point, the S.O. came over and observed my efforts.

"It doesn't want to burn, does it?"

1Ant butts. I looked it up.
2Goldstream Valley, not to be confused with the Whack-Su Valley. (Thank you Ishmael, for the term.)
3Don't get me wrong, anytime it gets below -35 it gives one pause, but really, my Interiorians, it could be so much worse.

Photo above: Some grasshopper friends sleeping off a few beers soaking up the sun on the beach at Homer, Alaska.


John said...

Ahhhh. Snow.

Ishmael said...

MAD, Manic Affective Disorder. I love it.

Is that a real thing? Because now that we're up to 10 hours a day here on The Rock, everyone, has got more energy. Helps too that one can actually see the sun, what with our clear skies and all...

CabinDweller said...

I think it's a real thing, but I don't know that the professional head shrinkers have identified it. Makes sense, though, don't ya think? If lack of daylight and cold have effects on a human being, why wouldn't the opposite effect occur from a surplus (if you can call 10 hours that) do the opposite?

I just know that by the time break up finally comes to the northern areas, everyone is squirrely as hell - kind of like that character from that Over the Hedge movie.

Anonymous said...