Image: Our home, a little bit of paradise.
Winter solstice has passed, and the days are getting longer, albeit it is still hard to notice much change. The weather has been a bit crazy – periods of icy cold, but sunny, “deep freezes” followed by torrential rainfall.
Here in the Inlet, the weather has been keeping people pinned down. A few of our community members have escaped to spend the holiday season elsewhere, and the remaining few have hunkered down. We tried to do some visiting on December 20th, but got storm bound by a serious westerly blow. After solstice, we were up for making a run into Kelsey Bay before Christmas, but again, heavy rains made us reconsider – we could have made the trip if it were an emergency, but it wouldn’t have been fun. Then, on Christmas day, we were once more frozen in by another cold spell. It seemed that Gaia just wanted everybody in the Inlet to spend a quiet Christmas at home!
We’ve been at the cabin for about two months since our last “town” trip. We had supplies enough for another month or two, but each time we got a cold spell, the head of the Inlet iced up, so we figured that we should do a “grub” run as soon as we had the opening. That small weather window came on December 27th. We were out at first light, in a damp misty morning. There was no snow, and although the ground was frozen, it was above freezing and raining lightly at the cabin. The Draiocht was a little snuffly about the cold weather – her starting battery had gone flat, but we were able to get her fired up on the house batteries. It’s very good out here to have backups like that! In a half an hour, we were out on the Johnstone Strait; a little bit rough, but otherwise a good crossing. And then we were tying up at Kelsey Bay.
It was at this point that I began to realize how lucky we’ve been and how much of a good place our home really is. Up to now, I had been wondering if my careful selection of our homestead site was really as good as it should have been, with all the crazy weather we’d been having. But clearly, many other places have been having it much worse. Kelsey Bay had been hit by freezing rain/snow, and the docks were coated with ice. After slithering our way up to the truck, it was an hour’s drive to Campbell River on treacherous icy roads. There was lots of snow, and it was clear that the weather on Vancouver Island had been both colder and snowier than what we’d been seeing in Port Neville Inlet.
The road crews were busy ploughing, sanding, and salting, and the morning sun was coming out and starting to melt the worse of the ice off, but I could see the potential for black ice as soon as the sun went behind the hills. So we decided to do a fast and abbreviated shopping trip in Campbell River, make the drive back to Kelsey Bay while the roads were thawed out, and get back home to better weather!
The weather cooperated and we had good driving on the return trip, and calm waters on Johnstone Strait. We were back home, with a cozy fire in the stove, and the groceries unpacked by 6 pm. After seeing what everyone “out there” has been coping with, I’m convinced that we still have a little piece of paradise!