There’s just no nice way to say it. The line has been crossed. The off-grid chores that keep us running around outside even during winter have officially become NOT FUN. The four feet of snow and the number of times we’ve had to shovel the path up the hill to the generator shed; the number of times our pipes have frozen and melting snow for dishwater; getting up in the middle of the night to run the generator or build a fire; the frozen boots, subzero mornings, hoarfrost in your eyelashes – it’s past the point of bothersome. It’s downright mean.
According to the National Weather Service, our region has had over 23 consecutive days of subzero temperatures, beating the all-time record of 22 days set back in 1936 and 1963. Lake Superior, the deepest freshwater lake in the world and usually the last lake to freeze in the Great Lakes region, has reached its largest ice covering in 20 years. And at record-breaking speed. NBC news reports satellite images show the lake to be 95 percent frozen, with an average ice thickness of 10 inches, and several feet thick in other places. The President of the Canadian Shipowners’ Association, Robert Lewis, recently told Global News during an interview that his has been the toughest winter we’ve had in 24 years. It’s certainly resulted in the most amount of work we’ve had to do since moving out here, just to keep up with the basic needs of warm shelter.
Our region is not alone in breaking records this winter. The extreme nature of this season has a way of bringing us all together, in that we all have one thing we can agree on, and unite against. We’re all out there pushing snow, bundling up, gripping our steering wheels to stay on the road. We’re all trying to come up with things for our kids to do during all these days of missed school. The ice caves of the Apostle Islands are reachable by foot for the first time in 5 years, making it possible to view spectacular ice formations, daggers, and crystals designed by Mother Nature herself. Perhaps this beauty is our compensation. At any rate, for the first time since I’ve become a resident of the Midwest, the ideal of a tropical vacation on a hot beach actual appeals to me. Very much.