Dead Calm and Zero Degrees

This morning when I got up, it was dead calm and zero degrees. Actually, a little below zero.

The top window over the sink was so frosty that I couldn’t even see outside. (Fortunately, the frost is on the outside storm window.)

And here is the view from the window by my desk.

With the wood furnace going, it’s a balmy 65Β°F inside. We might have to turn on the electric heat tonight as the temperature drops further.

The title of this post comes from one of my favorite documentaries, Alone in the Wilderness, in which one man, Dick Proenneke, filmed his experience of living by himself for one year in Alaska. (The documentary is narrated by Bob Swerer Jr.)Β  During that year—1968—he used hand tools to build his own cabin as well as many other things he needed for daily living. Proenneke’s skill, ingenuity, and creativity are nothing short of astonishing.

Here is a short clip that gives a sense of this extraordinary documentary.

During his time in the wilderness, Proenneke recorded the temperature every morning, and often it was “Dead calm and zero degrees,” just as it was this morning in Maine.

A little brisk, as my Yankee husband would say in his understated way.

62 thoughts on “Dead Calm and Zero Degrees”

  1. It certainly has been a frigid day, we’ve had the wood stove going non-stop. I’m still astonished that it’ll only be a day, warming up again tomorrow. I recall not too long ago that we used to get a week of this type of cold. I know the maples prefer a good cold spell, but I’m not likely to complain too much! (Clearly, you won’t find me in Alaska. πŸ˜‰ )

      1. Unfortunately, watching ‘Grizzly Man’ has put me off Alaska for life. Id’ rather not have that kind of adrenaline adventure at my age. πŸ˜‰ I might consider a cruise however! πŸ˜€

  2. Oh, we LOVE “Alone in the Wilderness!” Didn’t he wake up and need a spoon and made it? lol We first watched it when the twins were 5 or 6 and my son just loved it. We put it on for him whenever it was on. He’s 24 and building his own camper for hiking trips.

    That thermometer and the window make me cold to look at them. I can’t believe your wood stove keeps it that warm in the house!

    1. He does indeed make a spoon. And a bowl. And…;) Quite a guy. Neat that your son is not getting ready for his own wilderness experiences. We have a wood furnace in the basement. It has blowers and is hooked up to ducts throughout the house. Otherwise, it would indeed be pretty chilly here.

    2. Alone in a Wilderness is a favorite here. PBS has been such a wonderful enrichment for us and is the only channel we watch. We can get it free with an antenna. Our local PBS station and the local Indian tribe also bring us FNX— mostly Canadian First Nations programming. I remember first seeing Canadian TV in a hotel in Maine. I am very glad you are cosy inside with the frosty outside!

  3. That is old compared to here! It is grey with ceiling of rumpled, tortured clouds here today, but 54 degrees. And thank you again for another interesting link, Laurie. I will look up that documentary!

  4. Wow. I am imagining the scene… try as I may, I can’t get my head around what those frosty temps must feel like. The toasty warm in your home is less difficult to imagine!

    The frost on the windows is quite frighteningly awesome!

    1. The cold is intense, biting if you’re not dressed up for it. But being Mainers, we are used to it being very cold in the winter. Fortunately, our home is snug and warm, even though there is ice on the windows. πŸ˜‰

  5. That is so cold, Laurie! I do like Clif’s understated comment on the weather, too. Hehe! Thank you so much for the link – I really enjoyed watching the excerpt from the documentary πŸ™‚

  6. I love those beautiful frost ferns, Laurie, but oh so cold. I hope those subzero temps don’t last too long. And I remember watching that documentary. It was amazing.

  7. I can imagine the beauty of the kind of morning you describe – note, imagine – but cannot envisage having to bundle up in order to enjoy it. We have used Celsius here for so long now that I am pleased you included your thermometer so that I could appreciate the temperatures you mention.

    1. Yes, it helps to have a visual reference for the cold. As lifelong Mainers, we have learned how to deal with the cold. But the older I get, the more I like to stay inside when the weather is that cold.

  8. When we have a chilly stretch, as we are now, I keep my place at 66F at night, and 68F during the day, but there’s one big difference. I don’t need any more than an occasional hum from the heater to keep it there. I do remember below-freezing winter nights in a hill country cabin where the only heat was a wood stove. While I was learning to use it properly, there were a few nights when I had to open a window to cool things down! I hope you stay just that cozy; it sounds like you have a great system.

  9. Wasn’t the cold magnificent? It absolutely took my breath away when I took Colton out for the bus yesterday morning. I just love it!! (And am thankful for a warm home.) Thanks for the documentary recommendations. It looks like something my husband and I would love!

  10. Thank you for giving me a vivid idea of what Zero Degrees can look like. Thank you also for telling us about the Wilderness documentary. I watched the teaser in the link you provided and was really drawn in. I’ll need to find it!

  11. That documentary looks fascinating and I will watch it later. It has been frosty here the last 2 mornings but not as cold as with you. Stay warm and enjoy it from inside.

  12. It warmed up today, but during winter I would take the very cold days with blue skies over the milder gray days. Stay warm and I would love to visit Maine and Alaska any time of the year!πŸ™‚

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