The Frozen North

Good morning. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and are suitably full from all the delicious food that was consumed. I for one have probably put on a further 20lbs. I shall attempt to get rid of this by hiking lots in the spring, but until then I shall enjoy my middle-aged spread.

This week saw me start a new job at the local ski hill. Hurray, the end of the financial crisis in the Hunter household, or at least you would have thought. It turns out that Canada has been hit with some extreme cold weather this week, which meant the ski hill was too cold to open for the majority of it. I ended up doing 3 out of 7 days. Typical. On the positive side it was probably a good thing that I was at home for the majority of the week, and here is why. With the freezing temperatures our fire has been raging and burning through wood at an alarming rate, so of course the usual wood gathering missions have been in full force. On top of that, it turns out when the temperature outside drops below -30oC many of the water pipes in the basement freeze, as well as the drain pipes, the washing machine and even the well pump. I awoke on Friday to no running water. My first thought was that a pipe had frozen in the basement. I went to investigate and after around 30 minutes I had come to the conclusion that the well must be the issue. I wrapped myself in multiple layers and headed outside to the well. Upon inspection, I eventually worked out that the pressure switch had frozen shut. I threw my ladder down the well and climbed down into the watery depths. I stripped the pressure switch and with lighter in hand melted all the frozen parts. I then put it back together and hey presto. It worked. Problem solved. Not quite, I should have known things are never quite that simple for me. When I returned to the house there was a rather large puddle of water in the basement. This puddle of course was coming from behind one of the only areas that had been dry walled. After several minutes of head scratching and hoping I could rectify the issue without removing the wall, I reluctantly started to dismantle the panel, very delicately with a hammer. With the wall removed and the pipe work exposed, it became apparent to me that the soak away pipe coming off the bathroom toilet had frozen and split at one of the joins. This was reaffirmed to me when I heard the toilet flushing upstairs and water began to spray all over me.  I was a little frustrated. Some might say I was even grumpy. Hard to believe I know. Anyway, I patched up the joint none the less and then very cleverly poured hot water down the pipe until I heard the ice blockage clear. Problem two solved. Onto the next one, which I discovered when attempting to use the washing machine. One thing I have found out whilst living here is that if the water stops running and I turn it on again, then the first minute or so, that water comes out looking rather rusty. I think this is due to a high iron content in the water and the filter being back flushed. With this knowledge, I decided that I would run the washing machine empty to begin with to clear the crappy water out of the pipes. I set the machine to a quick wash, pressed the start button, and nothing happened. Very quickly I discovered the water intake pipes that connect to the washing machine had frozen. I thawed them out and again hit the start button, and it fired into life. At this point I went back upstairs, as I needed a very well-deserved cup of tea. Having calmed my nerves and feeling ready to take on the washing pile in the laundry room, I again ventured into the basement to begin the washing. Only to discover that the washing cycle hadn’t completed. It was still full of water and making funny noises. I realised that the discharge pipe was frozen. I emptied the machine of water by hand with a jug, then refilled it with hot water which unblocked the discharge pipe. I’m wishing at this point I had checked the soak away pipe that the washing machine empties out into but alas that is hind sight. Instead what happened was, what only can be described as an indoor fountain began to erupt, covering me and everything in the laundry room in water. I’m pleased to report I have rectified all the problems now and eagerly await the temperature falling below -30oC again, so I can outsmart the ice blockages.


In other news I saw a wolf! I was of course gathering wood. Whilst doing this I could hear two wolves. One was howling behind where I was in the garden (yard), and the other was howling somewhere on the other side of the lake. It sounded amazing. Archie was getting excited, and was running around as if looking for the wolves. I was watching him, when suddenly, he took off towards the lake at top speed. It was at this point I saw the wolf running across the frozen lake. I called Archie back to me and ran towards the house to grab my camera. Sadly, I wasn’t quick enough, and the wolf was long gone by the time I had camera in hand. This maybe due to the middle-aged spread I mentioned earlier. The next day I went down to the lake and followed the tracks. I now have found a good spot to put the wildlife camera, and hope that I manage to see one of these beauties on it soon.

Wolf tracks on the frozen lake

I must bring this post to a close as I have more wood to gather. Have a good New Years Eve. I hope whatever you’re doing involves consuming lots of alcohol and celebrating with family and friends. May 2018 bring you everything you wish for. I’m pretty sure mine will be eventful.


©Nick Hunter

2 thoughts on “The Frozen North

  1. Blimey mate ! Wot a pain in the arse , still at least you know now , excellent news about the Wolf , a challenge to get some photos though . Have a Great time and a Stonking New Year to you all . Cheeeeeers !

    Liked by 1 person

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