It's winter for real now: we woke up to a negative temperature for the first time this morning. Nothing too terrible—I think it got up to 3 or 4 above in the middle of the day—but tomorrow evening, we're going to start tumbling into the 20s below. Brr! It's certainly not early for this kind of cold to be moving in, but the first real thermal drop of the winter is painful no matter when it comes.
Had a couple of "we live in Alaska" moments today: As we were heading to Mass this noon, a moose was trotting down the driveway fifty yards in front of us. Since it was moving away in the direction I needed to go, I slowly followed, but halfway down the driveway I noticed the much larger moose bedded down in the snow off in the trees to the side. We were now between the cow moose and her calf, and she was definitely bigger than the jeep. Lots of Hail Marys were said the rest of the way out to the road, please let us get out on the road without the cow coming after us! She didn't get up, thankfully.
The other bit of stereotypical Alaskan life was much less adrenalin-boosting. On the way to pick Matt up from work this evening, we passed a dog team on the bike/foot/etc trail along the side of the road. I know that a lot of people throughout the valley we live in have sled dogs, but this was one of the first times I'd seen any. It was a small team, only five or six dogs, but they could have been just a part of a larger kennel out for a training run. Little Bear was pretty excited to see them.
We have an amusing/frustrating history growing of Matt and my dad going out hunting but not catching sight of whatever they're after, and we at home seeing the same animal in the yard while they're gone. It happened during several moose and grouse hunting trips last year, and today would have been another instance: they were supposed to be out moose hunting today, but one of the snow machines was making a strange noise and they didn't quite trust it to take them all the way out and back. Hopefully the hunt won't close until they've had a chance to get out! The limit on this hunt is 30 moose and at least 8 have been taken so far; this cold will strengthen the ice on the rivers they have to cross to get to the hunt zone, but we hope it will also keep other potential hunters at home...
Our diving temperatures have reminded us of why we're having such a hard time finding a house—the place we're renting is kind of like Mary Poppins: practically perfect in every way, aside from the shared walls. An attached garage, high enough in the hills to get the inversion, a fireplace: I'm almost certain that so far this winter, our heat has not kicked on at all. Will that change once we hit -20 F on Sunday? Unfortunately, the bedroom baseboards probably will overnight... The bedrooms are both on the same zone, which we keep at 65 because of Kit (and Little Bear's continued refusal to sleep under blankets. Seriously, child, you live in Alaska. Let me put quilts on your bed.) A good fire in the evenings will definitely keep the thermostat for the rest of the house from turning on the heat overnight, though.
No photos yet in this week's Takes... I was just flipping through my camera roll looking for photos of recent interesting things, and it appears that I haven't been taking many photos lately, but someone has. I give you, the last couple of weeks from Little Bear's angle:
Knuckles, her favorite food.
Special Car and Little Guy.
A lot of the time, he's just holding the button down to see the flash go off because he got ahold of my phone for 30 seconds—I deleted several hundred blurry photos just now—but some of the time, it sure looks like he's learning to actually take pictures more intentionally. All of the filters and cropping are his; I just watermarked and shrank them.
Here's the photographer himself, helping me prep a sweet dumpling squash for the oven this morning:
Have a good weekend! As always, lots more quick takes to check out over at This Ain't The Lyceum.