17 November 2007

Blustry Day

As I drift towards a waking state I am first alerted to the noise of the wind howling outside my house, pebble sized pieces of snow and debris hitting the windows, the sound of a trash can doing cartwheels down the down the street, an odd chiming noise that comes from a loosened piece of metal roofing somewhere in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, as my rental house is not terribly well insulated (I know! I live in Alaska! What were they thinking?) I can also hear the sound of my electric box rattling as the wind moves through the walls and if it was light enough I would see my curtained doorway blowing gently. I'm just glad that the wind didn't blow the window open in the middle of the night as it has done in the past, cold air rushing into my cozy bedroom peace and me having to stumble into my layers and go outside and shove it closed while balanced on a ladder.

Believe it or not, this photo is in color - notice the wave smoke?

The husband of a friend told me once that if Alaska was a whale this town would be it's blow hole. I must say, the image works. The Disreputable Dog and I brave the weather (the Disreputable Cat is cheering us on from the window more then happy to not join) and seek refuge in the forest from the sandblasting caused by the airborne sand that was put on the roads to prevent us from slipping on the ice. The wind, at least 75mph this morning, is quickly polishing up the roads into a fine glare ice and solidifying the snow plowed medians that already stand taller then my head. It is not unusual to see cars driving on the wrong side of the street this time of the year because drivers cannot possibly get across the barriers of snow that are taller then their cars.

Layering is absolutely key to this kind of weather. I'm still trying to get back into judging exactly how cold it will be with the windchill after the summer. In Fairbanks I could look out at the thermostat and dress exactly for that temperature. Granted, it got very cold there, the occasional minus 60 was nothing to sneeze at, but this wind is harder for me to judge. The thermometer says we're just below freezing but with 75mph winds? Ever since they changed the way they measure wind chill a few years back I'm all confused. All I know is that it's cold and that the wind cuts through many otherwise warm layers and so everything must be topped with a wind proofing, even my hat. It is also very critical to make sure that the ears, ankles, and belly have no secret exposures at any layer and that the fingers and toes are appropriately covered. The ears, fingers, and toes are all susceptible to frostbite and with the ears you never know it until you come in and warm up.


  1. That paints quite a picture, standing on a ladder in the dark of night to secure a window. I've had a door blow open before during hurricane season. It's a sound you don't forget. Incidentally that was also the last time I heard garbage bins blowing down the street as well.

    I read your post about the oil spill, but didn't have a chance to comment. Deplorable the way we neglect our planet. I didn't find out about the SF Bay spill until Thursday, The powers that be thought the Democratic debate was more important, I beg to differ...

  2. I really can't imagine living in those conditions. Thanks for such a well painted glimpse into a world totally foreign to me!

  3. bundle up, Wafarer, bundle up! We want you to stay all in one piece.

  4. you make life look so beautiful!

  5. And I'm just trying to wrap my mind around running outdoors in 30 degree weather! I won't run outside if it is windy.

  6. I love reading about your world. Because without you I would never get to experience a small part of it.

  7. ms chica, funny, sometimes what the "news" deems inmportant, isn't it?

    gill, thanks for being interested!

    maypole, :) thanks on the header!

    orangebloosoms, you bet I will! I'm not too keen on blowing away or freezing. At this time of year you learn to idenify people by their coats, scarves, and hats.

    liv, awwww..thanks, mostly I think it is really beautiful (even the cranky bits).

    qt, heee! It's a bit of a challenge but it's all in the layering! And boy canit be gorgeous!

    hel, thanks! I love reading about yours too!


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