Winter is upon us

Winter for most people is the often dreaded of the four seasons. Shovelling snow, bitter cold and ice aren’t fun for most. Where we live, you had better like winter or plan to move further south.

Winter north of Highway 11 in Ontario is long. We’ve had snow as early as mid-October and last until late May. The lake we live on usually breaks up late May. We joke that we only have two seasons here – winter and bug. I don’t know if we’ve really experienced spring season because as soon as the snow melts and the ground thaws, we’re already into middle to late June.

So far, this winter seems less harsh compared to two years ago. We have snow, but barely a foot. Couple years ago we had three times that amount by December 1st. Even the temperatures are below what we’re used to. Typical days are between 0C to -5C. No doubt that my writing this, we’ll soon plunge into a deep freeze lol.

Things are pretty quiet around here. For exercise, I’ve had a few walks along the road towards our other property, but the roads are a bit icy. Soon I’ll need to wear crampons. Last year I used to drive 25km to the nearest town and get a bit of exercise on the treadmill. Unfortunately, doing that more than a couple times a week isn’t worth the risk driving in bad conditions and wasting unnecessary gas. Purchased an indoor, non-electric recumbent bike. It’s been fantastic for “riding” 15 miles a day, yet I don’t use any of our valuable solar power.

We’re in the tough part of the year with regards to solar. From early November to late December, the sky is grey. Not ideal for generating solar power. Come January, while temperatures plunge into the -20 to -40 range, we’ll have blue skies. We should be able to get 5 to 6 hour days of sunlight. Far cry from summer when we had days of 15 hours of sunlight. Living this far north, the sun rises earlier and sets late…as late as 9:30pm in the summer.

It’s nice and cozy indoors as we have the wood-stove running 24/7. I laboured many hours this past summer building up our wood supply. We’ll use approximately 10 cords here at the house, and John will use another 6-8 cords at our other property.

Been doing a lot more baking as of late. In the past couple weeks, have made blueberry, cherry and apple pies. Today made a rice pudding. This past summer was really productive as I pressured canned about 70 jars of prepared meals – spaghetti sauces, chicken cacciatore, split pea soup and stews.

Yesterday decided to give the propane stove a break and made a pork stew on the wood stove. I like to call this cooking my “slow cooker” method. I’ll put all the ingredients into a cast iron dutch oven and set it on the wood stove. The house is buzzing with the aroma of the stew. Took about 6 hours or so…about the same time as a slow cooker.

Other than that, just sitting back and reading a lot. Soon the lake will be frozen over enough that I can safely snowshoe across. John is busy up at the other property with his hobbies, woodworking and fixing stuff. We are both well and healthy. As John jokes, it’s not hard for us to social distance – we have no neighbours for miles.

2 thoughts on “Winter is upon us

  1. Hoppy

    Hi guys, we are fine, keeping busy and staying safe. Kinda sorry to hear you guys are not heading this way around Christmas, but we understand. I was just thinking that you should get John to hook up an alternate/generator to your bike and use it to help charge your batteries. LOL. Anyway stay safe and keep in touch. Hoppy.


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