Sunday, January 9, 2011

Flaming Vacuum Cleaner

Photo: Label quilt #1, produced as a form of meditation while in college, 2004 - 2006
On New Years Eve, Rob was eager to welcome the warmer weather so he could clean out the wood stove.  It needed a thorough scrubbing from the roof as well as below.  In his estimation, this requires a vacuum cleaner but in winter it's a bit more challenging with the odd errant ember.  Soon the cabin was filled with thick smoke, cussing, and the scent of burning dust and plastic.  The funny thing about this flaming vacuum cleaner, after the initial rush to get the thing outside and the place aired out (again thanks to above zero temperatures) is remembering that we originally rescued it from the dump 11 years ago, when we first moved here.

And now, back to -30 C, we watch the ice form again on the inside window sills and the hinges on the door.  Billows of frosty air wafts in every time the door opens.  Everything outside has an extra crispness to it and the cabin makes loud creaking thud sounds.  Once in a while, the lake too will give us satisfactory groans, pings and moans, while it adjusts to it's new colder environment.  It's hard to explain why we love this life really.  It's not an intellectual thing but a serious matter of the heart.

Like most cabin dwellers in winter, we read adventure, gardening and cook books, and experiment with new exotic recipes.  We keep fit by shoveling, skiing, and snowshoeing.  Rob likes to feed sunflower seeds to his critters at the feeders by the windows.  In their excitement, the grouse beaks and chickadees throw the seeds on the ground, feeding a lively colony of squirrels that have dug tunnels under the snow.  We could watch this action for a long time.

For me winters is a creative time when I take on wild projects like hand sewing a full size quilt made entirely of clothing labels.  I also made one out of doilies but it wasn't as satisfying.  I'm now finishing up a second label quilt and I'm seriously scrounging for more labels.  Any assistance in this matter would be hugely welcomed.  Labels are fading out, especially the embroidered ones I cherish, which I'm told are mostly silk.  Imagine that, I'm able to say I have a silk quilt that cost me nothing, just thousands of hours of labour!

Add garlic, chocolate, our own blend of Crag Lake coffee and global music blaring (the latest favorite is "Pacifika", a juicy Latino/Canadian blend). Well, there you have it, our formula for a sweet life on a frozen Yukon lake.


  1. Ok, I haven't read it yet... but the photo is fabulous! Will read next.... xo

  2. Hi,
    I will be staying at your bed and breakfast at the end of august! We are coming from Ontario. I could definitly supply with some of my clothing lables. I am only 10 so I have lots! I am so excited to come and I am especially excited about baking sourdough muffins with you and making a journal. I love writing! Also I am excited about the treehouse library! I have a treehouse and I actually made it into my own little library! Great blogby the way!