Enforced Hunker Down Days

Early on in our life here on the homestead, we embraced the concept of the Hunker Down Day (see “Hunker Down” Days). I’m not sure, but I believe that post holds the record for most words—at any rate it’s way longer than the majority of our posts.

Even so, part of the reason it’s so long is that it goes into what often happens on a regular “Hunker Down Day”: after we decide to stay put, to shelter in place, we often get out and do things outdoors after all.

So, lately we’ve had Hunker Down Days that to me feel downright celebratory. Michelle and I took a moment to examine precisely why.

wind on Alaska's Lynn Canal

The wind had laid down considerably by the time I got bundled up to take a few daylight photos (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

First of all, the Hunker Down Days come from a serious cold snap. While this doesn’t qualify compared to what much of the Lower 48 are facing these days, it’s enough for us: our highs lately are in the single digits, accompanied by high winds, which bring the wind chills down to frostbite levels. We can barely keep the cabin comfortable, as we constantly stoke the wood stove. Going outside to answer the call of nature has become an ordeal.

And yet, I’m feeling great—elated even. Every meal becomes an invitation to arrange a treat. I want to snack between meals. I want to goof off and play games. I want to celebrate! You’d think it was Christmas every day around here.

We discussed this early on, and soon realized that a cold weather “Hunker Down” day is more restrictive than a “normal” one. We may balk at heavy rain, or other weather that urges us to hunker down, but we know that we can get out into it if we want or need to. The cold weather is a bit different. Yes, we can and do go outside, but it doesn’t take long before we start to feel the effects of the cold, and get driven back inside. These Hunker Down Days are more or less enforced by the elements. Michelle has put off hiking out to work as much as possible.

So, we stick close to home, and look for distractions. Coming off the Christmas season so recently, many of those distractions look like the same overindulgence we committed during the holidays!

storm litter

The high winds have peppered the snow with pieces of the forest around us (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Unfortunately, Aly’s not with us for this. She took a fall on the ice in town a while back, and ended up in the emergency room with a possible sprained wrist. She went to town for work, and has stayed there, which is just as well. Hiking in to the homestead from town is a cold and risky endeavor, and her car is a standard shift, which has been hard on the wrist she’s trying not to strain.

She’s joining us today, however. Tonight, we make pizza! The overindulgence continues . . . .

The forecast calls for this cold snap to persevere for another week. We know the firewood won’t hold out, so I’ll have to overcome the urge to celebrate in order to get out and cut some more. Other than that, I only hope the snacks hold out.

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