Questions keep coming at me….it’s just hard for people to imagine what we do in the middle of the woods at 45 below zero…when school is canceled two days in a row. No respite trips to Target, that’s for sure.
Some feel sorry for us. Andy’s folks worry about their grandchildren. My college roommate gets our local temperature on the weather channel of her phone…and writes me “Sheesh…what are you doing there?” emails.
When it is really 45 below we hunker in. But the last couple days our subzeros have moved up into the 20 below range…and yesterday maybe even a warmer.
So, I’ll detail our snowday yesterday…
Our bus driver Annette usually calls the night before. We’re one of the earliest pick ups…even though we also get an auto-email notice. The kids explain why she is the best bus driver ever: she keeps the climate just perfect, she doesn’t play the radio too loudly, she never speeds, but she gets to school on time always, she can get up any hill “Mom…last year on that icy day when we couldn’t get up the hill by Gunflint Lodge…Annette just kept gunning it somehow…we went up that hill. You can’t believe how she got that bus up the hill sideways……..”
School was cancelled= kids are always pleased. Daniel has been making some kind of artisan bread dough that waits in the refrigerator…something Justin the crew cook taught him last summer. So he started the morning making carmeled rolls (experimenting with some kind of mystery flour from the coop yesterday…more on the disaster pizza dough later). Our friends from down the road called…wondered if the kids wanted to come over…and if we wanted to get together for a snow day dinner.
I was heading into town for a meeting at the school anyway. Surprise! When it’s cold, we still drive! We don’t have a garage, but we do have a place to plug in the plow truck. And faithful Christine (the other truck) starts every day, she only complains with a little toot of her horn at the start when it is so cold. (not sure what that is about). We had sun, we didn’t have wind…it was 10 below-felt downright balmy.
So, I dropped the kids off on my way to town…the rule is that we always travel with enough emergency articles of clothing to cover all exposed flesh—just in case we need to hike down the road for some reason.
The four friends spent the sunny afternoon climbing “Mount Anna” somewhere near Hungry Jack Outfitters. A place with really deep snow and impossibly hidden windfalls and trippers. Good warm clothing, sun, a warm house for breaks…the cold wasn’t a problem.
I drove home as it was getting dark at 5:30….the snowpack on the Gunflint Trail doesn’t melt these days…and as I rounded one curve, a moose scared the bejeebers out of me. I didn’t actually come THAT close to hitting her, but it was really up to her to amble off the road, and my veins were coursing with adrenaline so my knees and elbows ached. I have a friend who claims it’s good to practice with adrenaline, to stay sharp…..my dose for the day! Whew.
Our families met back up here at Tuscarora for homemade pizza…with Daniel’s nasty bread crust. I imagine good chefs make learning mistakes like carpenters do…and this was one small snafu on the road to great chefdom. After polite dinner we played “Small Change” on the local Grand Marais radio station WTIP. It’s a goofy call-in trivia quiz show. People call in to compete for….nothing. Not even a score. Great fun.
Then, all eight of us went out to the snowshoe trail. Last week I had a magic storybook moonlight blue snow deep woods hike, and I was dying to share it. Only, last night– complete cloud cover, not even stars. The established trail was much trickier in the pitch blackness, but they were all good sports about it. Somehow the white snow reflected some light from somewhere…and we picked each other up again and again. Only a few partial group domino experiences. It’s almost impossible to stay standing when someone falls onto your snowshoes then on your legs. The snow was soft and deep, we had good hats and layers and scarves/gators.
Good to go….lucky snow day!