Sunday, January 04, 2009

Flic's Essential List for 45 Below

The speckled dog contemplates re-enacting the Cremation of Sam McGee

Temperatures below -35 tend to bring out the hoarder in me. This past week, when I have been forced out of my wood-stove heated lair, I scurry around in the ice fog gathering up more and more of what I perceive I might need, should the News Minus’ predictions of -50and -60 materialize*. This includes, but is not limited to the following:

(1) brand new truck battery – since the old one has proven itself unreliable at temps below -35. Note that the new battery is in the hall, not in the truck, waiting for a) the time when the truck does not start, such as the night before, or b) the weather warms up to a more suitable temperature, oh say, -20, for working outdoors.

(10+) bottles of HEET, power-steering fluid, motor oil and antifreeze – purchased every time I am at Fred’s or an auto parts store as I recently was (see above), because I cant ever remember if I have enough at home. Indeed, I do, enough to supply a pit at NASCAR.

(4) pounds of assorted coffee beans – because there is nothing worse than being stuck at home with a dead truck, extreme temperatures, and no coffee.

(4)(minimum) bottles of wine, (1) bottle rum and (1) bottle whisky – because there is nothing worse than being stuck at home with a dead truck, extreme temperatures, and no booze (do any of us wonder why Alaska has one of the highest alcoholism rates in the nation??)

(12+)(at least) unread books covering a vast range of subjects – from the profane to the just outright silly.

(5) old jigsaw puzzles smuggled from my parents’ home last trip East – to while away the long, cold nights.

(2) heat lamp bulbs for the chicken coop. No matter how much I enjoy my chickens, they are not moving into the house should their heat lamp bulb burn out, and they wont survive in their coop without one in these temperatures.

(1) TV series (third season of Deadwood in this case), borrowed from my blogmate.

(4) old, really trite movies that are held in reserve for the night when I just cant read, blog, or puzzle any longer.

(1) fully charged calling card – to natter daily with various village friends who are battened down under even colder temperatures. Listening to people in places where the last plane was days ago, the snow machines wont start, and fuel oil is starting to look scarce is a darn good way to feel like it’s pretty warm and safe here in town.

(3) 50# bags of dog food, (1) reserve jar of tropical fish food, (1) reserve 40# bag of black oil sunflower seed, (1) reserve 50# bag of chix scratch, and (3) suet blocks for birds – wouldn’t want any of the critters to go hungry.

It also goes without saying that the freezer is stuffed with food – moose, fish, vegetables, and berries; spring would long be here before provisions ran low. Last night I concocted a wicked good batch of chowder – made with garden potatoes, razor clams from CabinDweller and her S.O. and dry fish from my upriver friends. A fine wine from the Wine of the Month club at Goldstream General Store (the result of Christmas largesse from blogmate and S.O.) completed the feed.

You know, without sufficient exercise turtles will expand to fill and indeed overflow their shells. I know this because I spent 20 years of my life with a red-eared turtle in the family, and Big Turtle, as she was affectionately called, lived high on the hog dining on bluefish, sea bass and trout. Despite daily crawling around on the floor, her appetites outpaced her exercise regime. As a result, she could not pull head, tail and all four legs into her shell at once - a serious survival disadvantage for a turtle.

I am hoping, and trying through daily dog walks in the Valley, that I do not do the same and expand to fill my house before this cold snap ends.

*it should be noted that so far the coldest I have had at my place is -45, but my friend in NP has had -55, to say nothing of the essentially 60 below weather my village friends upriver are enjoying enduring.

1 comment:

JMBC said...

Bottles of HEET. I had almost forgotten bottles of HEET. And being fool enough to carry a bottle in a plastic bag to the truck - half way there the plastic bag shattered and the bottle broke - a mess to clean up - what was in the bottle - can't remember now, maybe juice...

I was up in your area for several years - many years ago. You are a brave soul. Here's hoping this high breaks soon. (After this summer, its more than a bit ironic that I'm whining for clouds!)