Today is day two of total sunshine! What a difference it makes to heart, soul, energy--especially solar energy. I woke this morning about thirty minutes after sunrise to find my batteries which usually read anywhere from 12.6 watts to 12.4 first thing of a dark and brooding winter morning, reading 13.5 and full of happy solar energy. Yes the lack of cloud cover coupled with glorious sunshine means the temperatures are colder and the canal wore a thin rime of ice across the surface but for An Alaskan, or a Canadian for that matter, the cold is relative. While it dropped to -2 C/28F last night, it isn't even comparable to the eight degree Celsius thaw my dear friend Bryce Lee enjoyed in Burlington, Ontario, Canada yesterday, bringing the temperature up to a whopping -30C/-20F! Lake Ontario is frozen with an inch and a half thick lid of ice. The wind chill makes it feel soooo much colder. Mind you, In Alaska the children still pile on their outdoor gear and have recess outside until the thermometer drops below -20F.
A few days ago my daughter Jesse posted a meme on FaceBook asking "What is your favorite memory about snow?" Bear in mind my favorite oldest child hates being cold and wears sweats pants and and shirts until it is 80F/26C outside! No Joke...
She posted: "Yeah, no...it’s pretty if I don’t have to be out in it but since I am forced to leave my house it’s a cold, gray land of suck."
I adore gathering vehicles around a snowy, pristine field, passing around a bottle of Schnapps, and slipping feet into the creaking binders of snowshoes to gallop on giant's feet across snow up to our knees to play a game of snowshoe baseball. I love the crackle of a good fire and the smell of wood smoke on the wind. I love following the Iditarod sled dog race each March as it blazes a 1049 mile trail across the northern snow and ice. I love the delicate peeping chorus of Black Capped Chickadees gathering in a mass to strip a suburban shrub of its freeze dried berries or the sharp lonely caw of the Raven echoing across the barren landscape of frozen snow. I love that the Siberian Yupik Eskimo's have 40 terms for snow, the Canadian Inuit have 53, and the Inupiaq of Alaska have 70! There is not one thing I don't love about snow and I am thankful I was born and raised in Alaska-- the Great Land which fills my senses with memories of winter. xxx
My favorite picture of me and Les was taken in January 2013 when we were iced in at Blisworth on the Grand Union. We went for a walk with friends on a snowy winter day. I discovered that Les didn't know how to make snow angels!! I stopped, looked at him with incredulousness on my face and slowly fell backwards in the snow and began to move my arms and legs. I held out my hand and Les pulled me upright and viola!! A snow angel. He was enraptured, bent over with laughter, just like a little kid.
Okay on to the next odds and sods as my hubby called these left over bits and bobs that are not necessarily directly related to boating or are to short to make a decent blog post: Coca Shell for composting loos. Our dear friends and fellow boaters (and the very fist boaters to install an Airhead Marine Composting toilet on their boat over here, blog about it, and the rest as they is history!) Ken and Sue Deveson have located a stockist who has tons of bags of cocoa shell much. Here are some pictures of Ken accepting a delivery!
Finally, tea bags. I discovered recently that tea bags are only 80% paper fiber and the rest is plastic! No matter what shape your "bag" comes in, it is sealed with plastic. The only brands to use 100% biodegradable materials is TeaPigs© which has moved from Nylon mesh tea pyramids to ones made from Corn Starch and Clipper over here in the UK.
It is amazing what one learns when trying to avoid developing cancer from environmental pollutants. When my Oncologist and my Homeopathic Physician both told me to avoid using a microwave on my food and drink I knew I needed to pay attention. After all it is seldom that conventional medicine practitioners and alternative medicine practitioners agree on anything. So when they do agree I tend to listen. Another item I was warned about by both of them is heating any food or beverage in plastic or consuming anything which comes in plastic.
Why? Because plastics are notoriously unstable chemical compounds unlike glass which is inert. When plastic is heated it releases volatile compounds into the air, water, and our food and drink. Now think about all those cups of tea you've been consuming over the years, not to mention all the bottles of water you've drunk. Yeah I know, you may find the bottled water in the grocery store on a temperature controlled shelf or a cooler but do you know where those bottles have been stored for the many months before they reach your local grocery store? If they have sat out in the sun for any time at all then don't drink the water!!! This is why I have a good stainless steel water bottle and fill it at home. Now I know a lot of folks are going to pooh-pooh this and say, "Well you cannot avoid it and I've been doing this for years and I am fine," however bear this in mind: our immune systems can only tolerate so many hits before they are overwhelmed and fail to protect us. Cancer is a change in the cellular level of your DNA. It starts with one cell and generally takes many years to grow into a tumorous mass large enough to be detected or to cause mayhem in your body. I was told that the ovarian cancer growing on my right ovary had been slowly multiplying over about 26 years. I was 52 when they found it. I would have been 26 when it began to grow from just one cell on my ovary and interestingly enough I was 26 when I started experiencing hormonal issues and pain in my right ovary every month, which my male GP's ignored. One last thing to consider: When my mother was diagnosed with cancer in 1993 the statistics were one in eight would develop the disease in their lifetime. When I was diagnosed in 2008 the statistics had jumped to one in four. When Les was diagnosed in 2013 the statistics were one in every two of us would develop cancer in our lifetimes. Cancer used to be extremely rare hundreds of years ago. I have gone to loose leaf tea and I have to say, it is amazing how different it tastes from the same brand (PG Tips) that I used to buy in enclosed rounds. It tastes better without plastics. Do your own taste test!! I dare you.