It was -36 F (-38 C) this morning, and is -20F (-29 C) now. The whole week has been like this. Brrrrr!
What are the practical aspects of life in such weather, both inside and out?
We heat our two room cabin with a woodstove. At such temperatures, we are burning about 50 pieces of aged, dried birch logs per day. Last MONTH, which was warmer, we depleted our wood corral by more than 1/2 cord ( 4 x 4 x 4 ft.) This WEEK - probably the same amount! In milder months, we let the fire go out during sunny afternoons to empty cold ash from the woodbox to a metal storage container we stow in the snow. This week, we dare not let the fire die, so we shovel hot embers into the metal bucket and carefully carry it outside, hoping that the walls won't rust and perforate from the heat... for a few more weeks.
Even with a vigorous fire, the cabin is cool. The kitchen area measured 46 degrees while I made breakfast yesterday. Cooking oils had congealed. The juice and tea that I store by the front door (away from the fire) floated ice flakes. The snow we track into the door mats takes an hour to melt. And this chilly interior occurs despite my husband's dogged night time efforts to pile on additional logs every few hours while I snuggle under a down comforter.
Even though the windows are double paned, we close the lined draperies as a third line of defense. Every window interior is rimmed with ice until the sun hits half of them, mid - afternoon. The metal of screws and hardware INSIDE the doors is coated in hoarfrost.
Sunshine makes an enormous difference, psychologically and physically. Our view is lovely and bright with reflection off the snow covered lake and yard. It looks deceptively warm. I don't mind puttering around the house for several deep cold days, working in sunny nooks on one project or another. But my husband, more energetic than I, gets cabin fever. He longs to go outside and do something... until he does, and then returns faster than he intended, for some hot tea and warm cake I have ready and waiting.