It’s the freeze up season again, that horrible time of year when you forget all the wondrous times living on a floating house, and instead begin to question if all this craziness is actually worth it. This year I made darned sure to miss it. The dogs and I have decamped south. While we’ve been enjoying balmy British Columbia temperatures, hiking amidst autumn leaves, and rolling on the still green grass, (the dogs anyway), the Spaniard has been at home waiting for the freeze up.
Perhaps this seems like an unfair separation of responsibilities, but it all boils down to one fact. If we aren’t home for the freeze up, there is about a 1 in 5 chance that the house might freeze in on an angle, in which case we’d have to live in a crooked house until the thaw, some 7 months. Now this bothers me not in the slightest, but the Spaniard wants to prevent it. It took me a while to figure out why this might be important, but finally I understand. If you know the Spaniard, you know that really life is all about food. Eating and thus cooking. And so having a tilted stove for 7 months is a big problem. And therein lies our respective geographical realities. I’m currently in San Francisco at a emergency medical conference, and today it’s 22 degrees. (The photo of me was taken this morning at Blue Bottle Coffee, surely the best coffee in the new world). Martin is in Yellowknife where it’s been -25 for a day or two. (The rest of the photos below are taken by Martin yesterday. I think the one of Martin pretty much says it all). The lake actually froze up yesterday. It sounds like it was pretty awful, more so even than in previous years. Here is the email from Martin yesterday:
We are frozen in.
Last night was one of the longest and ugliest nights since we moved to our houseboat.
The strong north wind pushed the waves onto the deck, and despite my efforts (moving full propane tanks around, filling a 45 gallon drum with water, as well as emptying our water tank) the waves still splashed and covered the north side deck with thick ice. Between 3:20 and 4:45 am I could only watch, as at minus 24 degrees, the lake went from sloshing to complete stillness, leaving the northwest corner of our deck sloping down gently but noticeably.
You may think – so much for me being here for freeze up in case something goes wrong – but the fact is it would have been much worse if I had not counter balanced the weight of the ice build up with all that added weight on the south side.
Glad it’s over and I hope I won’t have to do this any more.
Long story short: we are frozen and if the wind from hell (south) doesn’t blow and break up the frozen lake we’ll be OK.
Even though I couldn’t have really changed things, I feel like I should have been there. No one should have to deal with that sort of thing without at least moral support. I could at the very least have cooked him some eggs, somewhat imperfectly, on the slanted stove.