March is normally the month that I start thinking about warmer weather and putting away my winter toys and start thinking about summer activities. It is also the time to start your garden plants and dig out the grow lights or putting up those new birdhouses. If you’re slow at some projects like me you even have to build them yet too. Thoughts of fresh water fishing always hit me about this time each year as well. It is also when I start thinking about moving my chickens back outside and ordering the meat birds. I get thinking about using all that grease and stuff my wife has been saving up for me for bear baiting. Soon the spring bear season will be upon us.
A few days ago I walked from our camp in Kuparuk to our drilling rig and was greeted with 42 below zero weather. I’m not talking about wind chill I’m talking about 42 below zero with a ten to twenty mile an hour wind. It occurred to me that there are a whole lot of people in the world that never even experience 42 below zero weather. Perhaps a whole lot more that have no idea at all how to survive in it. I have camped out on the ice in several different fishing shacks through out the years using a variety of heat sources. Generally I prefer propane because it is clean and efficient and used to be cheap. One word of caution is that sometimes propane does not flow or burn very well in extreme cold weather. Have you ever thought about trying to simply exist in extreme cold weather? You have to choose a heat source and in some areas of Alaska you are very limited. Some places have little if any wood or coal. Fuel oil can be very efficient but not as odor free or clean as natural gas. What about your vehicle? Do you carry survival gear just in case you get stranded or run off the road in a secluded area? Do you educate your children to carry a wool blanket, emergency food and a few candles in their vehicle too just in case the unthinkable happens? Have you ever explained about how deadly your car exhaust is to your children especially if your stuck in a snow drift and the exhaust has no place to go except up into your car? I agree in more populated areas like the Kenai Peninsula that it is rather unusual for someone to run off the road and not be found. But why not be prepared just in case you find yourself facing a rather unpleasant situation.
If you have never planted a garden in Alaska you really need to as the extra sunshine makes for some of the nicest gardens on earth. Fresh vegetables and fresh home raised grilled chickens are some of our favorites and something I look forward to each spring. Working on the slope in extreme cold weather again just makes it all seem a little unpractical at this point. I still hope to catch a few more meals of fish through the ice while waiting for the weather to warm upbesides that is more fun then pulling weeds anyway.
See you next week!
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