I can do it

On Tuesday, at yoga class (where I go to a private class with my mum, my sister, my sister-in-law, my mother-in-law, my next door neighbour and Rachel H.) our really clever teacher asked us to do something very hard. It was an arm strengthening pose (which I am all in favour of, wanting the muscles under my biceps to stop waving when I do) and she said “It’s good to do this, to remember that life can be difficult but possible”, and Rachel H. exploded with giggles.

“I’m Ok.” she said. “I’ve got that figured”, and I took the yoga teachers side, and said “Yeah, but it’s good to know it physically and not just emotionally” and Rachel laughed, that way that people laugh when they know that a statement like that is totally going to come back to bite you hard on the hind parts.

Well today I got my come-uppance. Today was challenging. I got up early, packed up all my stuff and Joe took me to the CBC building downtown to do an interview for Fresh Air. (If you’re in the area, listen at 7:30 (HA!) EST on Saturday to hear the interview with Karen Gordon. If you’re not in Canada you can listen to CBC internet if you like.) Work completed, we took to the highway in Joe’s mum’s car (thanks Carol) he drove me North East for almost four hours to return me to the house in the woods where I can think straight, be alone and finish my book. This trip is the second wave, planned to compliment the first trip up here, and to allow me to manage the fact that the kids are off this week for “March Break” which is what Canadians call “Spring Break” to avoid having to kill ourselves out of disappointment that it’s really not spring, but I digress.

We headed up here, and truly, it was not spring.

Whitout1303

It was white-out conditions on the highway for much of the way, and it was when things looked most dismal that the thought first occurred to Joe and I. “Damn. I hope the plow has been.” As we considered what we were up against, our trepidation only grew. If the plow had not been, then there was no way to drive up to the house. If we couldn’t drive up to the house, we would have to hike in all of my stuff. Six days in the woods demands a lot of stuff. Water (the well water has not been tested) food, yarn, clothes….. it was a lot, and carrying it a kilometre appealed about as much as licking yaks does. We repeated the mantra all the way up. Please plow. Please plow. Please plow.

We arrived, and our hearts sank. Not only had the plow not been today, it was worse. The plow had clearly not been in some time, and there has been an easy 50cm (20 inches) of snow since then. We both stared. We were both agog. Joe looked at the clock. It was late. Later than it should have been and he had to get back to the city for a gig. it was really, really important that he leave, and soon…but how was I going to get all the stuff up?

We decided that Joe had time to make the 2k (slightly over a mile) hike in and out… once. We loaded him up like a pack mule with the heavy stuff I couldn’t do without, I took the perishables that wouldn’t last if they froze in the car, and we set out.

Joehelps1303

Dudes. It sucked. The snow was deep. Way deep, and we didn’t have snowshoes and we had seriously overestimated what we could carry and by the first half km, we were both thinking about lying face down in the snow. Never before has a string of such filthy language been strung together by two people. This was, and if you don’t live in a snowy place, you might not know this sort of snow…. Exhausting snow. It’s the deep fluffy sort with the hard crust on top, so each step punches through and mires you in, then requires you to extricate your leg, only to embed it with the same force and hopelessness with the next step. It took forever, and the only reason we did not cry was because neither of us wanted to look weak to the other. Abject misery.

We finally made the house in the distance and were stunned to discover it damn near buried.

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(Note location of door, marked by yellow arrow.) With this image came the knowledge that I shall be shovelling until my arms ache, which was hardly the main issue, since only half of my supplies had made it to the house. Joe and I dropped off the stuff, began to trudge dejectedly back to the car (still snowing) and Joe had a brainwave. We ransacked the place and found a superslider. One of those round sleds for careening down hills at a thousand km an hour and scaring the hell out of your mother. Joe rooted around his stuff (he made a record at this house in the summer, and as with all engineers, he left stuff in his wake) until he found some spare wire.

He rigged it to the sled to make a handle, and we headed back (heavenhelpuswhatkindofforsakencountryisthis) to the car. When we got there (I will spare you the gnashing of teeth) we made a decision about what absolutely had to go up to the house with me. (Food. Wine. Yarn.) and what could be stashed by the town road in snowproof garbage bags until I could stagger back for it. We loaded up the sled with what I could pull (or thought I could pull) and Joe took this picture:

Meplansled1202

and left.

I began my time alone, towing food and six days worth of water up the hill (there is surprisingly more up than down.) I will say this, and only this of the 1km hike in with that stuff. IT SUCKED.

I abandoned stuff all the way up to the house. At the 1/4 way mark, the wire on the sled broke

Wirebroke1303

and I said some language that was unladylike in the extreme. I retied the wire and abandoned a couple of kilos and kept staggering. At the halfway mark the wire snapped again and this time, I was going uphill and I dare not write of the thoughts that I had as the sled slid backwards down the hill, and away from me. I will tell you that my reaction scared birds from nearby trees. I swore all the way back to the sled, abandoned more stuff and retied the knot again. My foul mouthed self and I made it about another 300 steps (I was counting) before it snapped again, and this time I lay in the snow for a moment and may have wept a few tears. Then I abandoned more crap. (At this point I was wondering WHY I HAD SO MUCH CRAP but I suspect I shall desire drinking water sometime tomorrow and go retrieve it.) By the time I made the house, scrambled my way in, hauled the crap in and lit a fire, all I could think of to do was think up filthy cruel nicknames for the plow guy, and lie on the floor.

I’ve recovered somewhat and I want you to know that as I am a woman of some sense, I did not abandon the things that one really needs to survive in the woods.

Copingtools1303

Damn straight. I’ll go get the rest of my stuff tomorrow, and Rachel H?

Sorry I laughed.

322 thoughts on “I can do it

  1. And here I was thinking the tech gods at home had been vanquished.
    What a story – I am glad that you and your red wine persevered through all adversity.
    Next time I bet you will bring rope, or at least a length of sturdy i-cord!

  2. This sounds like something that would have happened to me, only I would have probably forgotten the wine. And would have cried.

  3. You are, as they say, a woman of substance and keen intellect. You chose well – except I couldn’t see any yarn in that photo. I’m sure I must have missed it. Here’s hoping not too many of your vital things disappear under more snow.

  4. Reminds me of the time my sister helped me move into my dorm…three stories up, across the quad, with a semester worth of snacks, juice, clothes, bedding, and oh yeah, books.
    Never again.

  5. Oh dear. I’ve already thought you were amazing for quite some time, but this takes the cake. I’m glad you’re indoors and have the essentials. I’ll be thinking of you.

  6. Darlin’, I hear ya.
    I’ve done a 12-hour snow study in 60cm of snow before. Hiking for 12 hours, measuring snowpack thickness and density. Carrying food/water/things to provide heat/dry clothes that weighed about 30lbs.
    Never again.
    Anyway, the universe is still challenging me – I have 2 term papers, daily labs, and a thesis to complete, and I just spent more than a week unable to work, move, or even knit because of this mysteriousgodforsaken illness that has caused me to lose 15lbs since January – leaving me at about 92lbs. I’m 5’4′”. Not cool.

  7. Looks like you are in my neck of the woods. Enjoy the tranquility. Wine, food, yarn, computer? You’re all set!

  8. I hope you have enough very hot water to soak in so that you don’t get too stiff from walking through all that snow.
    You could probably knit a new rope for the sled by tomorrow. Take care.

  9. As this is my first winter in the White Mountains of NH I must say that I felt VERY upset for you…..but you did good, girl. You got the wine;-) Okay, NOW WRITE THAT BOOK.

  10. Aww honey..that really really stinks..but you made it! You didn’t give up! You can do it! sometimes I’m glad it doesn’t snow here..

  11. PS: we call those slides “flying saucers” up in Northwestern Ontario – but I’m just glad you didn’t call it a toboggan. Nothing gets my goat more than people calling something that *isn’t* long, thin, and curled up at one end a toboggan.

  12. Seriously, where better to curse so creatively you make yourself blush than in the middle of some Canadian freaking winter wonderland. Also, for reference purposes, should you ever find yourself without a superslider…trash can lids, plastic tarps, and cafeteria trays work in a pinch. Not that I’ve ever tried any of those.

  13. Ummm…this is just a thought…but um…was there some reason you didn’t ditch the water and melt some of the frozen stuff burying the house? You do get uber-points, though, for keeping the wine! Happy knitting and writing, and beware the deer.

  14. Not laughing at all. Totally empathetic.
    I know that kind of snow. And I think I’d have just sat at the side of the road and cried. My goodness. Glad you hauled the important stuff in!! (we always leave a bottle at the cottage in the winter – in case someone needs to break in and be sustained)

  15. OH
    MY
    GOODNESS
    All these years and we never knew that Wonder Woman was really a Canadian! You are amazing!
    (shaking head in awe)

  16. No wonder you are such an amazing knitter and writer – you simply do not give up…ever! I felt like I was right there with you. The following quote reminds me of you:
    Come To The Edge
    No, We Will Fall
    Come To The Edge
    No, We Will Fall
    They Came
    He Pushed Them
    And They Flew

  17. “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
    I get the picture, but I admit I would like to have heard the words…

  18. Surely you could have knit (or braided, or crocheted) a very sturdy handle with all that yarn? But then you might have run out and the knitting you planned might have been a problem. Glad the wine made it to the house!
    Wow…. I’m glad to know that knitters and their friends are strong, resourceful, and prepared for the unexpected!

  19. Erm. Can I make one teensy weensy suggestion?
    Maybe a brita water filter next time? Melt snow, boil it, cool it, filter it?
    Remember, these problems are not real problems. They’re annoyances.
    You *get* to make a living writing books about knitting. Sheesh.
    Have a glass of wine, go through some gentle yoga poses, and relax, woman!

  20. It is an interesting experiment to learn what is is what we NEED and what is that we desire.
    It’s never an easy lesson. (and alas, all too soon, we forget what we have learned!) I hope when you went back out to retrieve your abandoned belongings, they were still there.
    I think, frequently, its absolutely amazing that humans have populated the earth. I wonder what hardships drove them to land frozen for half the year, or to tropic forests, (with heat, and rain and bugs) or to mountaintops, or desert valleys..
    How easy we have life.. (and how rarely we think of it, or appreciate it!)

  21. Um. I see wine but no yarn. No yarn? Please tell me you brought at least one little ball of sock yarn, or you’ll never survive ’til morning!!!
    I shall be checking your profile on Ravelry to discovery newly-invented favorite curse words.

  22. Good glory. Perhaps this puts to rest any concern of unwanted axe-wielding visitors?
    (… as opposed to all those desirable axe-wielding visitors …)

  23. You must be close to me. Cause 4 hours NE of Toronto is North Bay. Oh my……. could you be that close???
    If you are that close, and need a shovel or just some company, I am in the book under David and I can bring chocolate and Timmy’s.

  24. Tis both a blessing and a curse to be Canadian. Anyone else would have crumbled to a heap and wept in the snow… only a bred-in-the-bone Canuck gal could have made it. On the other hand, only we would try.

  25. Well, bloody hell! I’m glad you made it but hopefully the plow won’t run your stuff over, now that you are there! I’m sure after that you’ll scare even the bears away with the language that you will be spewing.

  26. Yep…been there and done that and screamed out probably those same words….I used to be a country girl…now I am a town girl and that is precisely the reason(s) why.
    Enjoy the wine!

  27. And I thought this stuff only happened to me! Glad to know that as a true Canuck, you made sure that the wine made it. Have a glass because tomorrow this will be funny as all get out!

  28. All I can think of is that tomorrow will be the day the plow comes and buries your abandoned things…
    I’m so sorry for saying that. I hope you are appropriately warmed by now. And I hope Joe made his gig in a safe and timely fashion.

  29. Yeah, no pioneer type me…the first thought in my head, after seeing that no plow had been by (this is if you could have gotten me into the car in the first place), would have been “Stay in car. Go back home.”
    But thanks…those pictures make our March weather seem like high summer in Cannes.

  30. I thought taking the dog for a walk was tough today. I live only 1 hour NE of Toronto, I have loft space available. Have a good 6 days.

  31. Holy sh_t. You’re one tough writer. Must come from the vocabulary.
    Can you send me a list? I think you may actually know some I don’t.
    Glad to hear you’re safe. And still very, very envious of all that lovely quiet.

  32. At the risk of life and limb, dare I point out that snow is made of water? And you have a stove, and presumably some sort of pot/pan? Why carry water when there is clearly so much of it around. I know I live in the desert, but what am I missing? We boil water a lot here.

  33. Oh my, I would have given up at “no snowplow”. I live in a part of the world that is blissfully snow-free, but I do remember the time I took a trip to Lake Tahoe in the “spring”, and decided to take a hike through exactly the snow you described – soft underneath with a hard, crusty layer on top. No boots, even, just tennis shoes and my jeans. I went with friends, who kept saying, “We’ll just go a bit further.” I’ll refrain from too much commentary and say that it. sucked.

  34. “engineers leave stuff in their wake”???? My engineer husband GATHERS stuff in his wake, drags it home and scatters it everywhere… like my yarn, only not as pretty πŸ™‚ that wine looks really good… but it’s only 3:35 here on the west coast…

  35. I feel So Sorry for you, but the way you wrote that was hilarious. This is the kind of post I make my muggle friends read to prove how funny you are. Stay warm!

  36. this brings back fond memories of a trek into our cottage for Christmas one year(Bruce county). The last km. is on foot and we hauled turkey, presents, wine, tree in by sled. My problem was that I was 7 months pregnant and couldn’t lift my legs high enough to clear the deep snow because of my belly. Fast forward eighteen months and we are spending the winter in the same cottage due to no job. We had to ski or walk in towing a 16 month toddler, left him in a snowdrift(very temporarily)one day. At the time it was tough on many levels, but it was also a magical winter.

  37. Anyone else I would be worried about but for some reason I am not worried about you. Have you got enough yarn to make a good slider-pulling rope that won’t break? Afterwards you could unravel it and use it for more delicate purposes, like knitting.
    Stay warm, safe, and write, write, write. I suspect the book being birthed in that cabin is going to have an unusual degree of vitality . . . we all can’t wait to hold it and open its pages.
    See you in a few weeks at sock camp here in non-snowed-in Washington – most likely you’ll get to enjoy some sunny blue skies, weather in the 50’s, and lots of sparkling water out the window. And the deer, which you will realize are much smaller than those in your northern woods, since you will have seen them so recently.

  38. Bummer to the max!! but soooo looking forward to more wonderful snow house posts…you’re one gutsy lady. I would’ve gone back home with Joe at the No Snow Plow point. ;O)

  39. While I admire you enormously for not just lying down in the snow and becoming a human popsicle, I must admit that I would probably have got back in the car with Joe and checked myself into a nice quiet hotel for a few days – or at least until the snow plow had been.
    I wonder if you could claim a nice tropical cruise as a necessary business expense if you actually wrote the book whilst on board?

  40. I’m pretty much speechless. And you just reinforced why, every time I threaten to move for Canada for better health care/government/what have you, my husband says we can’t. I hate winter. My Mediterranean blood never could have handled that.

  41. Don’t you miss the Austin Spider from hell now??? πŸ™‚
    Seriously, I like Cat’s idea…I-cord superslider pull!
    I am pleased that you and I have similar ideas as to what is vital! Have another sip of wine and think about the fact that even the deer aren’t going to bother you! πŸ™‚

  42. Nope, not laughing. Snorting in commiseration, maybe. Reminds me of way too many adventures in the hills of Vermont.

  43. That much snow is unimaginable to me. I am impressed that you went up and down twice. Glad you saved the wine…but where was the yarn???
    You could come hang out in Texas for a few days…balmy 70’s here today…

  44. Steph! Here, I had thought you were posting late because of tech problems related to the change-over of service at home.
    Writing a book isn’t supposed to be life threatening. Not knitting a book, anyway. Stay safe.

  45. At least you were able to get the important things in your first trip. I hope you are able to get the writting done, and do some more knitting, and of course blogging. Say hi to the deer for me!

  46. Wow. I mean, seriously. Wow. Bless you, darlin–you didn’t give up! I mean…it almost (almost!) makes the knitting pale in comparison.

  47. I really, really hope that you do not receive some additional white stuff overnight causing your “mile markers” to hide. Also, no hungry or inquisitive animals in the night …

  48. Oh my goodness! I was holding my breathe for the whole of the post, then had to have another Weightwatchers Caramel Shortcake to help me recover! You have no idea how brave this UK reader thinks you are…this post is awe inspiring and I’m sure you’ll get this week’s job done.

  49. Ooooohhhhh…..I think I’ve have packed it up and gone home…You are clearly a very strong woman. I am very impressed. (And I agree about the wine being a necessity!)

  50. I’m glad you have plenty of wine. If the deer get in, you can bludgeon them with empty bottles.
    Stay safe and warm, dear Harlot!

  51. Forgive my ignorance as I grew up a Southern California Girl and so have a very limited background in snow ;), but instead of hauling in water, can’t you just melt snow in a pot on the stove, then boil to purify it? (again, a So Cal babe, I’m probably better with sunblock lotion questions but I thought I’d throw this out there!! :))

  52. Umm–dare I point out that if you warm up the cold snow you will have water? The kind you can drink & cook in?
    I have survived more than one winter power outage this way. But I’m glad to see you didn’t ditch the wine. Bon courage!

  53. Oh my goodness, Stephanie. This was one of the few posts where you humorously described your trials & tribulations but I didn’t laugh. You poor Harlot! You’re a stronger woman than I am, because I would have asked my own Joe to take me back home, despite the “spring” break and all the craziness you must have going on with the book & the seamless/fast/easy technology consolidation.
    Holy cats. I hope you get lots of productive book things & knitting done, despite the deer watching you.
    Forgive the Ravelry reference, but love(1).

  54. I’ve been sitting here stunned at the computer, just silently going, wow. Just wow. I would have turned the car around halfway in the storm, I would have gotten back in the car and said “Home, James!” I would never have been able to do that “boldly go where no man has gone before” thing. With a mostly-a-smile on your face, even! My stars. I’m glad you made it inside! I’m hoping the snowplow doesn’t veer off and plow your stuff under: I remember one winter in New Hampshire where it took us months to recover our mailbox.

  55. Yikes! I would have gone back home with Joe and just locked myself in a room somewhere to write!
    This book is going to be something else!!!

  56. Yikes! I would have gone back home with Joe and just locked myself in a room somewhere to write!
    This book is going to be something else!!!

  57. Aren’t you two newlyweds…I would have seen that as a marvelous excuse for a night at a remote cabin in the woods…damn dedicated adults…I’ll buy the book anyway even if you and Joe didn’t see it as a night of fun, lust or whatever :>)…

  58. That last photo shows that, at the very least, you kept your wits about you (and that you and I share many of the same priorities)!

  59. How do you plan on getting out of there? I truly hope Mr Plow shows up. Or a skidoo.

  60. Oh I know that snow! I had to do the same kind of hike one “spring”. Let me tell you, the snow shoes did no good, I still sunk in and labored on like a pack animal, sweating and steaming all the way. Later, I heard I could have walked the d#*ned frozen river in a tenth of the time. Pass the wine.

  61. If yarn doesn’t work as a pull, you might be able to make one out of duct tape, if there is any on hand.
    I’m sorry it really sucked. For your sake, I am really glad that it doesn’t look like you were post-holing the whole way. That is when each leg sinks into the snow up to your crotch, each and every step. And the only thing keeping you from sinking further is the way that your legs branch off of your body. If the snow is really powdery, as opposed to firm spring snow, you have to flail and struggle to get on top of the snow each step after you sink in. That generally means trying to lie on your stomach on top of the snow to get the weight off your leg.
    Luckily I’ve only had to post-hole for one quarter of a mile. And I’ve only done it in powder on cross country ski trips where I have taken my skis off to go over to a nice spot to sit for a picnic lunch. I learned that in powder you go over to the nice spot and stamp down the snow with your skis one way, and then perpendiculary on the same spot before taking your skis off.

  62. Oh! At first I was all excited that you were back up there, in the wild. But I’m sorry it was such an odeal for you to get there! You did carry the most important thing in though; your sense of humor seems to have survived the journey, and it didn’t even weigh anything. I hope you can retrieve most of the stuff before there’s more snow, or the snowplow dude comes and buries it!
    And even though I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area, I totally know that kind of snow you mean; it’s miserable!
    keep on purlin’

  63. Oh my! And this is why the “snowbirds” of the Midwest dream of desert vistas when the first snowflakes appear and why many migrate South every year almost as soon as the last Thanksgiving dish has been washed. For what it’s worth, the hyacinth are up two inches in my front flower bed. Spring is creeping ever so slowly towards Canada.

  64. geez Steph, maybe it would have just been easier to send Joe and the girls someplace for the week………..i’m just sayin
    pretty funny stuff though and i hope you are enjoying yourself now.

  65. Sounds like a “one-woman” Outward Bound wilderness course. Quite an accomplishment…I’m impressed.

  66. I don’t even know what kind of comment is appropriate here. I’m impressed you DIDN’T open the wine right there in the snow.

  67. I felt like crying for you as I read your post. Stay safe and warm.
    You know, I love all of your books, but knowing what you are going through to write this one makes it much more special.
    Happy knitting!

  68. Oh dear. I had a Colorado boyfriend once who had a cabin in the woods, and visiting it in winter required a walk uphill in the snow with all the gear on sleds, followed by shoveling out the door. I remember the feeling. I know the dispiriting crusty-on-top-but-not-crusty-enough snow. I’ll take the yoga pain any day. (What did you have to do, like, hold plank pose for a long time?)

  69. steph, steph, steph … I think you coul have forgone the water — you have plenty of snow to melt. Lets hope you don’t end up taking photos of the deer with your yarn wrapped around their antlers …. lol

  70. I’m with you on the priorities. About the first thing I pack for knitting camp is the wine. You can always boil snow to purify it for drinking.
    Another thought on the sled rope. Clothesline. Its out in the woods, is there really a dryer in the cabin? Just saying.

  71. Note to self – call plow guy before heading to cottage for Easter.
    Thanks for the reminder – I’m not sure I would haul my stuff in by foot…

  72. I laugh in recognition. I am a schlepper. I never make 3 trips when I could make 1 and drop things all along the way.
    Plus dragging sleds through the snow has got to be excellent for the triceps.

  73. And I thought swimming a mile in a nice warm pool was exercise. Just think of how slim your thighs will be once you collect the rest of you belongings. (I agree with the above, melt the darn snow and leave the bottled water. Isn’t snow in the wilds supposed to be pristine?)

  74. We have a place in the Sierra and are also unable to plow down the driveway, but it’s only about 30 yards from the road to the house – not nearly so difficult, but I have sympathy.
    However, woman – may I be the umpteenth person to remind you that SNOW IS FROZEN WATER! Melt/boil/drink. It may not be as tasty, but it’ll do. Failing that, bring along a little water filter pump and you’re set. Mine weighs about 8 oz.
    Enjoy your time in the woods – your posts make me miss mine every day …

  75. Oh MY! A story of courage and daring. I am super impressed. Best of luck with your digging.

  76. OMG that sounds horrible. But what about the stuff you abandoned en-route during your last walk in? If it’s still snowing, won’t it be buried and hard to find when you go back for it later? Or is that a dumb-arsed question from an Australian who has no experience with snow?

  77. well, you’ve certainly earned your yogi-hood with that particular physical challenge! I am sure I could hear you laughing while you were swearing. just hope Joe makes it back to TO safely and that when you wake up in the morning, you’ll be able to move! better take some arnica with that wine πŸ™‚

  78. See there, I was so astounded by your predicament that as a homeschooling teacher of fifteen years I messed up the punctuation of my previous comment… I’d say there’s A Lot of yarn therapy in order.

  79. Um…well…at least the wolverines had a good laugh. I am, frankly, impressed..because I am a bit like “Sprite”…I would be lying frozen in the snow…wait, no I would not..I would be in the car with Joe on the way back home..I am not that dedicated to my writing.

  80. I’m going to crack up if the deer follow YOUR trail and have a DeerParty with your abandoned items. Any party hats or salad greens out there??

  81. Now you know why the Unabomber turned out the way he did.
    Honestly, I work from home and am alone all day and so don’t mind being alone, but I could never be THAT alone without having a nervous breakdown. I am in complete admiration of your fortitude.

  82. I take back everything I said about today being difficult, I swear. And I just love how perky you look standing with your Very Clever Sled O’ Supplies! Enjoy your wine…

  83. I know that snow, and once was lost in the woods in it, trying to walk to safety before dark. Ve-ery memorable and whoa, I’m having wine with you to deal with the post-traumatic stress of your description! Glad you’re in and warm!

  84. You are amazing……Glad you are okay. Enjoy the wine. Your sense of humor is fabulous. Good writing!!

  85. Oy. I hope you still have time to get some writing done, what with the having to go and retrieve all of your stuff over the coming days. I’m wondering what will make the cut, and what will be abandoned out in the woods until spring.
    You’re a woman of power and possibilities

  86. I don’t think that I would have persevered. I’m a wimp, and I think I may have just turned around and found a hotel.
    Who needs yoga when you can hike a km uphill in the snow with several kilos worth of supplies?

  87. Man, I hope you brought the ibuprofen to go with that wine. You’re gonna be hatin’ life tomorrow for sure. Maybe you should think about a nice Caribbean retreat next time instead of one filled to the brim with snow.
    Maybe one that comes with a cabana boy that brings your wine to you?

  88. OMG I haven’t stopped laughing yet! (sorry about that) I certainly hope the plow doesn’t come and bury your things.

  89. OK. That would have done me in! You are far more of a woman than I. I have heard that you can live on wine without water, for awhile, at least. I hope you drank yourself into a stupor.

  90. Whoa…you are a braver woman than I! I’m glad you made it safely and I can’t wait to read of your adventures this week. πŸ™‚

  91. So I guess I shouldn’t tell you that it was so warm here today that I turned on the air conditioning in my car? Right. I didn’t. It totally wasn’t 70F here today.

  92. I definitely would have cried! I’m proud of you girl! You certainly deserved that glass (or two) of wine. Have a great retreat!

  93. I am truly in awe. You are an amazing woman and I am proud to be a Canadian!

  94. Now you know why I don’t like the number 13–and I usually don’t go anywhere if I don’t have to on the 13th day of each month–I don’t care if it’s Friday the 13th or not. I have had too many close calls driving on a day numbered 13, and other bad stuff, so I avoid going out if possible.
    That said, I feel for you, and I know what it’s like to break through the snow crust in deep snow–very tiring indeed.
    I am sure that glass of wine was price-less.

  95. Wow. We have had that same Exhausting Snow here in NH, and I put off going the 50 yds. to the compost box because of it.
    Enjoy that wine – you’ve totally earned it.

  96. Wow! I am so impressed. Down here in the south (Virginia) that much snow would have everyone barricaded in their house forever. We would have turned around at the first sight of that highway and blowing snow, never mind going far enough to check on the snowplow. You are a much better woman than I! Be safe and get lots of writing done.

  97. Hmmmm, maybe being home with the kids during spring break doesn’t seem so bad after all. πŸ˜‰
    Have a wonderfully rejuvenating retreat!

  98. wow. THAT sounds painful. I feel for you! Drink a LOT and it’ll make it go away…. Of course, then tomorrow you have to get up and consider dragging more stuff in, which may very well make you unhappy about having drunk so much in the first place…. Very unhappy predicament. πŸ™

  99. Maybe I’m missing something but doesn’t that white stuff melt into drinkable water?
    I feel for you. And it is #*$(&#%)( snowing here again tonight. So not springlike.

  100. Wow Stephanie. That’s really awful (I would be crying in the snow as well) but also empowering. I can only imagine how much that must have sucked, but I also know that you’re going to be just fine. Enjoy the quiet, and the wine.

  101. Hope the critters don’t get into your supplies! And look around for some snowshoes! If they have a sled, surely they have some snowshoes!
    Glad you made it…with the wine and the laptop!

  102. Can anyone write ‘Franklin Party.’ Now I know why my husband won’t go home to Cape Breton after sept and before june!!!

  103. Ye gods–you’re giving me vivid flashbacks to a childhood full of spent in the Midwest. Each one involves miserable, damp coldness, and yet compared to this, I think I got off easy.
    You did bring chocolate, right?

  104. The whole situation seems a little scary to me. I’m glad you are inside safe and warm.

  105. oh my the snow melts you will
    get a summons for littering
    we have chevy chase canada has you
    i have always thought you were
    laural and hardy have you ever
    seen the two trying to get the
    piano up flights of stairs
    a good idea watch some of oldies
    silents now please leave a bottle
    of wine for the plower
    we always had a very happy postman
    in the winter be careful where you walk
    there are flowers under the snow

  106. Ratz. I had to teach tonight and Julia beat me. My new favorite word last week was learning the verb “to posthole” to describe punching through snowcrust (wrote “snowcurst” — that, too)and here was a chance to use it.
    Write on, dude.

  107. oh my… I hope 1) you can refind your stuff and 2) the water in the jugs don’t expand too much…
    But i’m a worry wart at heart so don’t mind me =P

  108. Dude, you wouldn’t be you if you hadn’t laughed.
    I, in turn, wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mock you silly for this for months to come.

  109. Quite the stamina there. How did you even get in the house?!!! I am wondering why you didn’t think to take your snowshoes after your last trip up there and the falling in the crevasses and all ( I seem to remember you had some in a previous post–maybe that’s wrong though). Oh, right, who can think during March Break?!

  110. Dude. That’s called Cosmic Payback.
    Perhaps you should lay off the knitting for a few days… all that cussin’ might’ve pissed off the knitting goddess. And girl.. you need some cake.

  111. I just hope that the snow plow driver doesn’t think the stuff you left by the road are pressies for him! You never know — he might be a knitter! (And how DID you get into the house??)

  112. Upon reaching your third paragraph I had a total stupid-US-citizen freak out moment, “Holy s***!! Harlot’s going to be interviewed by Terry-freaking-Gross!!!” I then read further and was confused. Duh. Didn’t occur to me you might have your own radio show up there with the same name. (In case you don’t know, Terry Gross is a big-freaking-deal in public-radio-interview-land here. She’s amazing.)
    Meanwhile, sorry for the snow adventures. May your remaining five days be glorious and productive.

  113. All that fresh clean snow and you’re carrying a week’s worth of water? Just make a cozy fire and melt some snow. I would only return for supplies that contain yarn, cheese, or wine. Though if you’re working you probably need some nutritous food as well.

  114. I haven’t read all the comments, but I have to agree with several that I did see, and say WHA??? You are in a cabin in the pristine woods, with a fire in the fireplace, surrounded by snow, and you’re toting WATER?
    Still way jealous of your cabin, by the way…

  115. Yeah, exhausting snow is right. I know exactly what you mean, and from the middle of Ottawa too.

  116. For the people who suggested melting snow, two words: Deer pee (Yes, it would work. I’d still have dragged in the bottled stuff myself, given the option. It’s just the ew factor.)
    Congratulations on making it through, and happy peaceful writing.
    And on a completely different note, I was typing your name earlier today and initially wrote it as “Purl-McPhee”- oddly apropos! (But you must get that a lot :))

  117. wow. visions of Into the Wild abound. no need for you to practice warrior pose as clearly you are living it.

  118. Thank God you made it through OK. During your first week in the cabin you mentioned that you considered it safe to walk in the deer tracks and I didn’t say anything. I saw you made it home OK and decided not to say what thoughts crossed my mind but now that you are back there… Am I the only one who thinks that bears, big cats, and any other meat-eating animal would also look for deer tracks when looking for their next meal? You are so brave! Take care.

  119. Oh geez. You can make me laugh at anything, Steph – – and if it weren’t for these #@.* situations, how would you take us on these wild rides with you? I read in anticipation, laugh out loud and breath a sigh of relief when you get there in one piece. Over and Over Again. My day wan’t so good either – but like the yoga leader said, we just move on. Thank you, and good night – visiting in Richmond, VA.

  120. Wow! I am impressed. And jealous. It’s just hit 40 degrees celcius here in Geelong, Australia. And looks like being high 30s for at least the next week. And this is supposed to be autumn! I could so use a dose of snow right now!

  121. It will all be worth it. This is why you stay healthy and strong.
    Six days with no contact and everything you need needing to be brought is a lot. Then there’s the chance the weather won’t let you out on day six. Don’t drink the water too fast.
    And the next time you use this place, or a similar one, for writing in the winter you will be prepared for moe possibilities. And you’ll know another cicumstance you can conquer.
    Do you get to use the palce in the summer sometime?

  122. You are my hero.
    Your survival story makes my tale of woe of slogging five pounds of ungraded papers from ninth graders back and forth to school seem quite ridiculous.
    I was going to ask if it was true about people in Ontario and Quebec going quietly insane and killing neighbors who steal shoveled parking spots. Now I’m wondering how you will greet the plow guy when (not if) he comes. Wine and yarn? Death glare and a weapon?
    Good luck to you, our goddess of survival!

  123. Where I was born they build houses just like that cabin but with a way out through the roof – just in case you wake up one morning and can’t get out. My brother once built a ski jump that used the roof of the house as a take-off ramp. There are roadside snow markers with heights marked to forty feet. You will notice the past tense – “where I was born” – because three years later my parents moved to Vancouver. They weren’t so dumb.
    On the lighter side, I have a mental vision of some happy knitter snowshoeing through the Ontario woods and finding a cache of knitting wool. I hope you included the needles for her.

  124. thank you for this post.
    it’s been a reallllly rough day, a day upon which laughter of any kind does not seem reasonable, possible, or likely to return.
    you made me laugh, and then cry a little too, for the surety that there will be more laughter.
    thanks.

  125. Oh. My. God.
    I know this snow whereof you speak, and it sucks beyond words…pulls the boots off your feet and HURTS after awhile on your calves. And you did it TWICE.
    I’m actually glad you made it okay. I can’t *imagine* how freaking beyond frustrated you were by the time you finally got there. Thank the gods for wine. Take it easy for a couple days….

  126. OMG, my kinda gal. God love ya. Actually I wish I was your kind of gal, you have a lot more guts than I do, but at least you have your priorities in order.

  127. I hate it when that rotten white stuff cops an attitude. Sometimes I think I can hear those nasty little flakes giggling.

  128. Note to self: Put phone # of Snow Plow Guy into cell phone-call before setting out to make sure he is able to plow.
    All that Cardio ,while great for the body, with the leg lunges(I live where there is lots of crusty snow)should have you in perfect shape for the short summer bikini season in Canada!
    HOpe there was no food in the bags left behing-the bear will find it, and since they are extremely non fussy about what they eat,will have eaten and destroyed everything.
    Hope you called the Plow Guy to plow before Joe returns to pick you up.
    And why did I keep hearing the phrase”redrum,redrum” go through my head??;>)

  129. I seriously almost peed my pants reading this. I’m glad you are able to relax now. I have had a few of those trips myself. The road that I have to walk in from the road that is plowed in 5 km…and like you…there is surprisingly more up than down. Cheers!!!

  130. My kids are a serious challenge and would guarantee poor prospects for writing production were I forced to spend Spring Break (I live in South Texas)writing with them at home, but I would have abandonded the writing retreat way before the first trip through the snow and headed back home. You are one tough broad–or is it just that I live in South Texas and can’t even begin to imagine that much snow!

  131. I half expected Grizzly Adams to come out of nowhere to help you. That story is exactly the sort of stuff that conjours up pictures of Canada in my head — handy that it’s a story about Canada.

  132. I usually read here but not comment. I or rather our family can totally relate to these winter adventures!. We have a “vacation” house in the Sierra mountains in California — about 2200 meters up. In the winter the road is closed, and we don’t do snowmobiles — so all goes up on our back, or in the plastic sled or round plastic flyer. Bungee cords are worth their weight in gold. The first time we went up with our infant son on one of my brother’s back the comment was “who the ****’s idea was THIS?” as the trek from the carparking area to the house is TOTALLY uphill – a little over a mile, I think. We have three snow doors to use, depending on the level of the snow. The whole place is lovely in the summer and the winter, and amazingly, over 100 people live there year round. We get there when we can, and my husband doesn’t mind digging snow stairs or digging out the car. You are grateful when you open up the house that the furnace works or you can get hot water in 1/2 hour.
    But … enjoy. Red wine NEVER tasted so good, I know! And next time…. take snowshoes!
    (another great “new” invention). Even a klutz like me can stand up in deep snow in them!
    And good luck on the book!

  133. OMG! I just laughed so hard and long I may have peed my pants. Then I cried. Thank you for sharing your life thru this blog.

  134. I know you have a book deadline and all, but something tells me that faced with that I would have said the hell with it and gone back home. Who knows when the Plowman will come back.

  135. Um, I hate to be a total engineer tool, but was carrying in water necessary?…isn’t all that hateful white stuff just frozen water you could melt to drink?
    (ducking snowballs and running) πŸ™‚
    Seriously, you have my deepest admiration. And I can’t wait to read the book that is coming out of all these adventures! And I’m glad you didn’t abandon the computer or the wine. I hope the yarn makes it into the cabin with you soon…

  136. Umm, I’m weighing in on the melt the snow, boil it to make sure it is safe if you need to. Water is heavy to haul around. Do you have a water filter/purificator for camping/backpacking? That weighs a lot less than water too.

  137. Oh. My. God. Stephanie.
    I admire your tenacity, your determination. I would have given up. i would have gone home to my kids and tried to write with them in the house.
    I would have probably called my editor and said: Give me an extension or I will kill you.
    I bow before you. I’m not worthy …

  138. Wow Steph,
    I live in Michigan. At first I said “Oh sh–” a coupla times when I saw the driving conditions and that you were hoping for plowing.
    It quickly became “WTF” when there was no plow…Then I used the “G_d” word and the “F_ _k” word in the same sentance.
    The “F_ _k” word won..cos I screamed it loudly (with the longgggg U) for ya several times by the time you had to leave the water.
    “Sh_ _” I hope you got drunk!!!!!
    BTW How did ya get in the fuggin’ house???

  139. That Sucks. I hate the Snow Ill take the rain anyday. I hope if the plow comes by it doesn’t bury all your stuff. Your better then me I wouldn’t have had the energy to write that blog.

  140. I just remembered the reason why I think Canadians are pretty neat. You all are a tough, hardy, resilient lot, and kinda crazy too. I also remembered the reason I have no desire to visit Canada from October til May. SNOW

  141. am I the only one who is a bit jealous of you having snow there? Here in southern Finland we are experiencing the first “winter” ever with no thermal winter at all (= 5 days in row when temperature stays below -0 celcius). No snow either. Hate the climate change!! and really – really miss snow. I never thougth it would come to this. No snow at all (and this is Finland, so very far up in the north!!) – and I thought I would be skiing and skating with my daughters but no…. maybe next year – right?
    Anyways , your blog has been a pleasure to read:-) Also, enjoy your alone-time.. sounds wonderful:-)

  142. oh man, I can just feel those sharp shards of snow-crust sliding down my boots and the sled careening over the hard snow. My deepest sympathies, and thank you for sharing. I seriously never laughed so hard than I did reading about why no one cried. So classic. Enjoy your well-earned wine!

  143. I am glad you “lived to tell the tale”! That you managed to take pictures is amazing. I am familiar with that type of snow, Mass., though we don’t see it often. Your fortitude is unbelievable! Hopefully it won’t snow overnight and you will be able to retrieve everything! I had a similar tale of unbelievable everything that can go wrong, but it was in the most unbearable type heat during a move!

  144. LOL!! I know exactly what kind of snow you mean, because I grew up on the opposite side of Lake Ontario! It takes about 10 steps and already you know that your legs are getting a serious workout and you’re going to be bruised from the crust on the snow. All I could think of, as I was reading and laughing, was “Oh My God! I hope the plow doesn’t come tomorrow!” Glad to see that you made it with the necessities. Hope you remembered the chocolate. Just like a previous post, we call those sleds Flying Saucers, or just plain saucers. My DH calls them The Death Sled 3000 because you can’t control them very well LOL! Obviously, they were living up to their reputation. Have you shown us the mittens that you were wearing? I love the detail of the thumb that was in the picture. Nifty. Hope you enjoy your peace and solitude.

  145. How awful for you. That would have been more than I could handle if I was under the pressure you are experiencing right now! Hope you get the rest of your things.

  146. Holy crap! It really did come back an bite you on your arse.
    Um, all that stuff you left? Wont it vanish into the next snow storm? Sorry, Southern Girl here so do not know much about real snow. Atlanta stops at 1 inch of snow. No kidding. The whole town stops

  147. Wow! I cannot imagine your day. I just want to thank you for sharing your life with us all. Your skill at painting the picture and telling us a story is incredible. I read your story and felt the ice cold snow and heard all the “special words” you shared when moving your equipment. I laughed and laughed yet still felt your frustration toward the snow plow person. I live in Alabama and will never know that kind of snow, but through your beautiful writing skills I was there with you in spirit. Keep on writing, you are like a best friend who lives in Canada, and I look forward to the next chapter in the story.

  148. Bless your heart! But I am laughing, because you reminded me of a not-so-fun time I had on the slopes once. I HATE to ski, but my husband had dragged me to Colorado for a vacation. I am cursed with big calves, and ski boots are my mortal enemy. I had rubbed blisters on the back of my legs! But at least when I gave up, threw my skis down the hill, sat down in a huff and cried, I was headed downhill!!! After my husband offered (threatened) to call the ski patrol (a humiliating offer), I picked myself up and walked down the mountain, cursing all the way.
    Enjoy the wine. Hot spiced wine awaited me at the bottom, making it all better!!!

  149. Yikes! I hope it’s not terrible retrieving the rest of your stuff. Please be careful, and best of luck with the writing.

  150. After I finish knitting opposable thumbs for the deer, I shall knit you new toes, as I assume you have none left.
    I don’t know whether to admire you or call you an assmonkey. I can’t see why it can’t be both.

  151. I can’t say I’d have had that determination. I might just have gone back with Joe for the gig.
    Here’s to hoping you make it back to retrieve your abandoned items before the plow makes an appearance!

  152. Oh for crying in the mud, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, but that is just too funny. I know, you can ban me from your blog forever now. It’s just I can see the birds flying up and away with the outburst of your obscenities. *snort* The silence that is winter woods suddenly broken by @)$*&%&)#^@*(@#&&&*#!!!!

  153. Stephanie: I am so looking forward to more adventures at the cabin. How long did it take you to dig into the place? I was wondering- what is your new book going to be about? I is not the same one that is going to be released soon is it??
    Enjoy that glass of wine and the solitude.

  154. Awww! Good luck in the retrieval of your items! Hopefully there’s paths where your feet were and after a good rest the rest of the stuff will make it into the house. If you had taken the time to train the deer last time you were there, they could have been used as pack mules. Let that be a lesson. All deer must obey and carry yarn.

  155. Dude.
    I would have just gotten back in the car and gone back to the city with Joe. No WAY would I have contemplated carrying all that stuff through 2km of snow. You must have REALLY wanted to be alone – I understand the whole March Break/kids at home thing, but I think I would have found a way to barricade myself in my office for a week rather than face a forced march through the snow in the woods.
    You have more fortitude than I, my dear.

  156. I know that kind of snow–you can take a few steps on the crust before you break through and the snow is up to your patooties and then you have to drag your by now snow-filled boot out. That is not fun to do even once. I don’t think I could have made it to the cabin. I probably would have just laid in the snow, cried, and waited for hypothermia to set in. By the way, in your trail of jettisoned objects, I hope there wasn’t any yarn. Perhaps one of these mornings when you’re sipping your coffee and looking out at the woods, you may see a deer wearing a really beautiful sweater. Or, more likely, a squirrel. Enjoy your writing time, and may the plow guy come by before you have to leave.

  157. Being the pround ex-owner of a place just like that, I can absolutely relate. One advantage I had was that it was downhill in, uphill out. Thank god. I would never have gone. I remember one year pulling my nephew down the hill by the hood of his snowsuit since if he tried to walk he sank up to his armpits in the snow!
    I’m making a large sacrifice this weekend (since I am childless) and setting my alarm for 7:30. Fresh Air, indeed.

  158. God bless you. I truly hope there are no photos of what the animals ate in the trashbags.
    If it were me, I would have been found a 1000 years from now. The abominable snow woman with swear words on my lips.

  159. I think we all need a glass after reading this! You’re a brave woman, I salute you!

  160. OK, now I can chalk Canada of from my list of ‘need to visit on my world trip once I am retired’ (or at least in wintertime/spring break).

  161. Please invest in a water purifying mechanism. Probably lighter to carry. Campers use them. I appreciate your hardiness. A week in that surrounding would make it worth it – she typed from her manhattan office building. My westchester boyfriend thinks his catskill-born girlfriend comes from the great north – oh, please! You have the real thing up there.

  162. Bless you! If it had been me I would have cried for the better part of all those trips. And probably laid down in the snow and let some wolves eat me or something.

  163. Eeeww…what a terrible time! I don’t envy you that. I don’t think I could or would ever make a trek like that in that kind of weather with that much stuff. Ever. Ever. Nope. However, I have started trying yoga. I bought a couple of DVDs and had them sent here (from Amazon) to South Korea. The one I’m starting with is called Yoga For Inflexible People. Because I am inflexible. Yeah. Note to self: don’t laugh at comments like Stephanie did or you might end up lugging tons of stuff on a little sled (or without said little sled) for a long distand in 80 bazillion feet of snow…

  164. Having been raised in the snow belt near Lake Erie, I’m aware of the 20″ of snow with the crust on top and the fluff beneath and what a pain in the arse it is. Sending good thoughts your way (and I’d send you some rope if I knew it would cross the border and arrive before you left the cabin.)

  165. Jeez, lady, it takes some cajones to hike yourself into being snowbound. I don’t know whether to admire you or to think you totally off your rocker. Or maybe both πŸ™‚
    Hope the plow guy shows up soon. Mine disappeared for 5 days… when he showed up, he told me “The nice weather made me go to the bush.” Which is a euphemism for heading out to a snowbound cabin with alcohol… and he doesn’t have either kids or a book as an excuse πŸ™‚
    Good luck. Keep in touch so we know you’re ok.

  166. Yeah, I’d have turned around, got in the car to head home πŸ™‚ Kudos to you for slugging through the snow!

  167. I just figured out why I can’t see your photos. It seems they only work in Internet Explorer and not in Firefox. Do you/anyone know if there’s a way I can make them work in Firefox?

  168. And I thought *I* was stubborn. In the face of that kind of snow I would have just gone home and snuggled up with Mr. Washie.

  169. Boy, living in sub-tropical climate all my life I would never dare to make the trip alone like you did. If my husband dare to left me to trek back to the house, I think the judge would consider it perfectly acceptable reason for divorce! You’re one brave and strong woman!

  170. If Catharine Parr Traill had been honest, this is how her book would have read. Minus the wine. And the wire. And indoor plumbing (presumably, since I don’t think you’ve mentioned the “o” word). And with small children under foot.
    I honestly can’t imagine how the European settlers survived this. They were obviously made of sterner stuff and/or whatever their situation was at home, made this look good. Scary thought.
    Enjoy your hard-won solitude.

  171. YOU…. are …. INCREDIBLE!!! i would have been SO dead in the water in that situation! Something tells me I TOTALLY need to get in shape! if armageddon ever comes, i suspect you’ll be one of the few who survive in order to carry on re-building earth with some new super-race! crap! unless one has actually tried treading in snow like you describe, i don’t think one can truly appreciate the EXHAUSTION and perhaps, insurmountability of it! MAN! i don’t think you have to worry about those bears. they wouldn’t stand a chance! πŸ™‚

  172. Sweetie: Snow. Melts. Boil it. Clean drinking water. (But yes, I empathize. I was a Guide leader. Camped in the pouring rain in flooding tents with giggly, cold, whiney 11-year-old girls.)
    Consider yourself hugged. And three cheers for red wine!
    πŸ™‚

  173. Good for you! I am particularly pleased that you went back to the cabin. It was an adventure, and though annoying it was only a tiny version of pioneer spirit. Though I will admit, if it had been me – I would have found out that I didn’t have a key to the cabin after I dragged all the stuff up there and my ride had already left. So good fortune smiles upon you. (I use to ‘run away’ to our camper sitting on 10 acres near state land along Lake Huron in the middle of the winter. I would take the dog, leave the kids and husband and stay for about a week. It was a wonderful quiet that I had never experienced.)

  174. Seems like this is giving flashbacks to many of us – for me it’s the time I was moving from Glasgow to Randers, Denmark, and decided there were about 40 books I couldn’t live without which were all stashed in my rucksack. By the time I staggered to the hostel in London, I had come to the sad conclusion that only about 5 were really going to survive. Someone in that hostel got some good books, I want you to know. But I learned to knit in Randers so the trek was worth it. So will it be for you.

  175. Holy Hannah your a brave woman. I live in northern Canada where we still have 6 feet of snow and I would have turned back at the site of unplowed road. Good luck with all your hauling.

  176. Steph- I think you should knit a tank to show off your now strong arms for when Spring arrives—-please tell me it will arrive (and soon) !

  177. Your fortitude amazes me!! Your experience sounds like a bad movie script, a nightmare. You certainly are a survivor…and of course, my idol!

  178. How about next time you get up in the mornings and spend the day in your local library so you can write and not be interrupted… this is starting to sound like the show “Survivor”…
    Unless someone has walked through that kind of snow – they can’t understand how bone-crushingly-achingly awful it is. I hope it didn’t snow last night and bury all the packages littered up the driveway for today’s retrieval.
    I’ll echo past posts – why not melt snow? I’m curious why you need to bring water.
    I bought your “Yarn Harlot” and “Knitting Rules” books at Barnes and Noble yesterday (I’m new to your work!) and it’s kind of cool to be “in” on the writing of the next book.
    Stay warm – and thanks for your beautiful/funny books!

  179. jen at 9:13 — I use Firefox and see ’em fine, so that’s not it. Anyone else got insight?

  180. You are a brave and hardy soul. I would have turned tail and gone home.
    One question. Why not use yarn to create a handle for the sled?

  181. It’s the relief. The ‘after’ that makes the trip worth it. I like that you gave the rest of the stuff a pass until the next day. Really, why kill yourself when you don’t have to? It would have been such a ‘guy thing’ to go back for everything right away. Good on you, Girlfriend!

  182. OMG.
    There is no way in hell..to paraphrase…
    “You’re a better (wo)man that I am, Gunga Din”
    I hope you’re warm. And there’s more wine where that came from!
    (((hugs)))

  183. Oh boy, weak lol. I’ve walked in snow like that north of Peterborough several years ago. I was alone, too. Please DON’T give in to the temptation to lay down in the snow to “take a break”. EVER.

  184. I’m sorry . . . I laughed so hard when I read this I almost wet myself! I give you a lot of credit for saving the wine (and yarn I hope!). I know the book will be worth it!

  185. This confirms it. You are cerifiably nuts. I know I could get alone time at home (when my kids were young – 5 of them in a 7 year time span). All it takes is lots of that questionable language and a bit of door slamming. Good luck in the woods.

  186. My first year in grad school was like that. When I think back on it, all I can remember is trudging through snowdrifts dragging my posessions with me. And promising myself to simplify my life. Which I haven’t done.

  187. so, i’m from california, so take what i say w/ a grain of salt, but considering the temperature, wouldn’t your water freeze by the time you got around to it? and in that case, wouldn’t it be easier to just grab a bucket full of fresh snow for water? (easier = less walking).

  188. Oh. My…
    All I can say is that I’ll be buying this upcoming book (and probably a few spares or friends), regardless of what it’s about (it wouldn’t even have to be knitting – well, maybe it would, a little!!!!) as a tribute to the effort it has cost you!

  189. Well, OF COURSE you had to bring the wine!
    I hope you brought ALL of it, because if you didn’t, it’ll die, and you’ll have to drink that wine first. The yarn will unfreeze, although that might not be good for wool, but frozen wine is dead.
    I hope the rest of your stay is good, and that the trip home is better than the trip there.

  190. Thank you.
    I will buy the book, like Mandy, if only because you endured all this in order to make me laugh.
    Should I mention that my daffodils are about six inches out of the ground now?

  191. I do so hope that the plow guy didn’t come by and bury the stuff you left back at the road. Excellent winter story, one to tell the grandkids, “I remember when I had to hike 2km uphill both ways through snow past my head to get food and water for a six-day writing intensif….”

  192. Dude. I hope you brought the yarn in too!
    Thinking warm thoughts towards you. Dare I tell you that it was 70 degrees F here yesterday? No. I didn’t think I should.

  193. Boy howdy, do I know that kind of snow. I felt every step with you. And I have relatives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula who, in the winter, routinely go in and out of their houses through a door into the second floor through neat little entrance is built onto the top of the downstairs porch roof. Winter was one of the big reasons why we moved from the Upper Midwest to New Mexico. It gets cold enough to wear nice wool here, though.

  194. This is why you have a widely-read blog, and the rest of us mostly don’t. You have adventures! One wouldn’t think that a thirty-something mother of 3 who knits and writes books about it would have much in the way of adventures. But you do! Only adventurous souls have adventures after the age of about 22. So go you!

  195. Knitters are persistently and excessively-stubborn people, obviously. There’s no other explanation for why you did not turn around and go home.
    I’m cracking up now, wondering what the deer thought of your, ah, comments. And good choice on bringing wine.

  196. Crap— with all that angst— gun-toting or not— I do believe the deer should fear you.
    The rest of us.. … are in awe.
    I will point out, that as a Canadian— we expect no less of you than to trek through and find a way….
    I am a weinie- hence I live in Michigan. “Roughing it” is a hotel without roomservice;)
    (ok- that’s a lie, we camp— but that’s not as funny to say;) good wishes for great writing;)

  197. Dear lord, I have been there. I mention it briefly here:
    http://blueyonderletters.blogspot.com/2008/01/christmas-in-finland.html
    But I never really went into just how absolutely, mind-blowingly impossible it is to haul heavy crap to a cabin by sled. In a bloody blizzard. In the middle of nowhere. (I wasn’t in Canada, but I was darn close.) I think that’s because I’ve partially repressed the memory.
    But I actually had help! Nobody left me there to fend for myself with a broken wire (I had a flimsy rope and a plastic sled with a hole in it)…I don’t think I would have had the McPhee strength that you have.
    I hear you roar, woman!

  198. What a trek! Makes me almost glad I’m in an office today.
    BTW, are those the striped mittens from Robin Hansen’s book? I just made a pair and absolutely love them – so warm!
    Happy writing.

  199. Oh my sweet blessed yarn…that is the worst time EVER! I would have laid there and cried from the frustration. Or made my husband take me back home.
    You are so stubborn..I mean strong! We are not worthy.

  200. Omg. You didn’t leave your knitting in the snow, did you? A squirrel could get it and you know how those back-country squirrels are…

  201. I know we shouldn’t laugh at other people’s misery and I truly feel sorry for you but I have to say I laughed so hard tears came to my eyes.

  202. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger! You will laugh about this someday. Have another glass of wine.

  203. I’m sorry that you had such a terrible time, I really am. BUT reading your blog today, I am certainly reminded of why I enjoy reading anything you write. I was empathising but laughing at the same time. You are a wonder!!

  204. Good heavens! You are hardy and focused and determined. Hmm…how DID you get into the cottage – drag yourself up and slide down to the door? Drag stuff up and drove it over? Egads – that is so wet and cold. Thank the Wooly Gods for many layers and for fire (except you had to MAKE the fire). This is amazing and I can’t wait for the book. Have a great time!

  205. Girl, when you go out in the wood, keep moving or the squirrels will recognize you as a big nut and try to bury you!

  206. Oh, *honey*. That sled needs brakes. I can only imagine what would have come out of *my* foul mouth and Irish temper as I watched the sled slide down a hill behind me.
    I do apologize for laughing at that point.

  207. oh boy broken sled not good. But alls well that ends well. have you ever thought about investing in a 4 runner snow mobiley thing.
    p.s. come back to cleveland on your next book tour… please. πŸ˜‰

  208. I know that kind of snow. It makes walking the overenthusiastic dog, an exercise in stamina! I can’t even imagine how much your heart sank when you saw the road not plowed. You’re either a)of very hardy stock or b) desparate to get out of a house full of teenagers 24/7. I’m guessing it’s totally a) with a bit of b) to push you over the edge! Glad you made it in and you HAVE to include this story in a future book, no?

  209. joe swore?? what happened to “oh come on”? congrats on making it in with all your provisions! but couldn’t you just melt snow for water?

  210. I don’t know that I would have even attempted to make it to the cabin in the first place. You must have yarn balls the size of…well, let’s not go there.

  211. Hi Stephanie – all alone in the woods again! with the bears and deer and other fauna. Here is something to do when you are bored:
    http://www.dothetest.co.uk/
    I promise you will laugh (make sure your sound is on). Plus, it carries an important message. Looking forward – again – to hearing about more adventures in the woods – can totally relate to the snow, encounter this in the Adirondacks when doing the peaks and it is No Fun. Hope you are relaxing now, all the stress melting away…

  212. I am quite certain that I would have gone back home with my DH as soon as I saw the buried house. I’m even sure I would have gotten as far as the house. Stay warm.

  213. darling, why were you bringing water with you? the cabin is surrounded by snow that melts into clean, yummy, water! …not that this is a helpful comment *now*….
    have fun and be safe!

  214. Several months from now, when you do your gig at WEBS, I’m betting you will still have the teeth marks, although I won’t ask you to show them to the assembled multitude. I recall having to shovel exhausting snow off our front walk while 8 months pregnant, a distance of maybe 6 meters. My condolences.
    When I saw the pic of the nearly-buried house I laughed. Am I a bad person?

  215. That is a straight lot of snow. Out here in Calgary it is brown and ugly. Buck up little camper, you can do it. Always remember, it either gets better, or you die. The sun will come out tomorrow. Blah Blah. Sending you happy vibes after your “ordeal” (read brush with death). thanks for sharing your adventures Steph, you are one in a million.

  216. Wow. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one things like this happen to.
    There was an event where I moved a 10-foot-high rhododendron from the back of a house, to the front, sans help, only to realize that the back of my van was 2 1/2 feet high, and that I could not–no matter how optimistic my attitude–lift two hundred pounds.
    Happily a nearby tree stump and the creative application of college physics saved the day.
    Enjoy the solitude and the writing! Youve earned them. ;>

  217. Seems like a quiet hotel suite right in town would have been a nice alternative. You could’ve even done the ‘dark glasses diva’ thing and been ushered in through the the lobby with Joe yelling “please, no photos”… I hope all things “writerly” worked out. Hopeing to get a chance for some ‘Harlot-stalking’ when you hit the midwest this spring. I’m bringing you a new beer to try. Cami

  218. I can’t even wrap my brain around that kind of snow. It is a record breaking 91F almost 33C in Austin, TX today.

  219. You are the most tenacious woman! Amazing how hard you are willing to work to get what you want. I am in awe.

  220. So much snow!!! You are quite a woman.
    I hereby offer you my home in New Mexico next time you need solitude. No snow, lots of yarn and wine. Just keep it in mind.

  221. Okay, we believe it. You ARE wonder woman.
    How are your deer-whispering skills – perhaps they could bring you the rest of your stuff?

  222. So after all that hauling, do the muscles under your biceps still wave when you do? Do you care?!

  223. That was just fabulous. You are not only a tremendously entertaining writer, you are woman of steel!

  224. welcome to my entire childhood. that kind of snow totally sucks. however, instead of packing water, you can melt it next time, and drink that. make sure you eat and drink all that stuff, because otherwise in 6 days you’ll be dragging it all back out of there.

  225. You were in hell and still thought about ‘us’ and documented. wow. Thank you Steph. I wish you only good things for the rest of your stay in the woods. Cheers!

  226. I am sure someone said this 220 comments ago, but your husband is a one understanding man. Hmmm…or should I not try to wonder about a man who leaves his wife in knee deep snow with nothing but a super slider and a bottle of wine? You are one tough cookie. Happy writing!

  227. After sending you my sympathies, all I can think is that shovelling all that snow from the doorway will provide all the arm-strengthening exercise you could ever want!!!

  228. Wow. I remember one late winter/early spring when I was around 11 and my sister was 7 my dad thought we’d take a “shortcut” across a large lake to get back to the car rather than walk the rest of the way around. It was frozen enough to walk on, but the top layer was slush. We only had on sneakers. About halfway across, the kids wanted to lie down and not go on. I don’t know if I’ve ever been that cold in my life!
    I hope you’ve been able to recover all your stuff by now.

  229. This totally gave me flashbacks of one time when we forgot to go grocery shopping before an ice storm–Arkansas hills and ice everywhere made for quite the adventure.
    It might be a bit late for the suggestion now, but did you happen to bring a belt? Loop it under the saucer handle, pull it through the buckle, and I’d bet it’d be a sturdier handle.

  230. OMG! I can only imagine how much that situation sucked. Swearing is definitely my coping mechanism. Oh that and the wine too!
    Like your hat! Enjoy your solitude, again.

  231. Last time I was going to mention that you should have had cross country skis or snowshoes with you… I am surprised there aren’t some hiding somewhere in the cabin… but I was thinking for your walks.. not to bring everything you need for a week ! WOW – you are amazing, or stubborn. I know the snow you are talking about, and it’s no fun to walk and break through it. Now, put your feet up, and eat all you want because you have burned it off !

  232. You have a fire, wine and internet? That’s a damn fine cabin despite the snow.

  233. Having grown up in that kind of snow (an amazingly having the sense to leave that sort of place), I can feel for you! Hopefully there was some celebratory knitting as well, though maybe not after the wine–that sort of thing generally leads to bobbles or some such thing

  234. When I face difficulties currently, I remind myself of a 37 year old woman who is dying of Ovarian Cancer and her husband and girls. We can do all through Him who strengthens us.
    Be blessed in today!

  235. Geeezzz… I’m sitting here on a 40 degree (c) total fire ban day in Australia and I can only imagine what that would be like! I can’t get over the door picture. After a big grumpy hike to be presented with that sight must have been crushing…

  236. wow. i honestly can’t imagine weather like that. this week, our high was in the eigthies and the low in the mid to high fifties, Fahrenhieght. how can you stand such long winters at those temperatures? I’d have given up long before…

  237. ..Yo Rachel H. did you notice Steph is wearing a hat ??? Rams saw. A hat Rachel H. On her head ……………just saying.

  238. Please tell me you didn’t abandon the yarn in the snow. What if it snows tonight and buries it? OMG, don’t leave the yarn. Go back and get it if you did. lol

  239. I so feel your pain, having lived in rural AK in a house that, in winter, was a quarter mile walk from the car through blowing snow. I carried more useless crap to and from my car, including small children who would be sucked or blown into snow drifts if not secured to my back. One learns to carry 10-12 grocery bags at a time-I am still famous for my ability to bring the groceries in in one trip.
    And we called that snow you punch through with your foot “boot suckers”. The reason is self explanatory.

  240. Here’s how I know that I’m not the “outdoorsy” type. Had this happened to me, I would have been saying, “Take me home!!” My mind can conjure up way too many terrifying outcomes to that situation.
    And I can’t believe that in the midst of your misery, you were taking pictures for the blog. You’re a better woman than I.

  241. I hope you were able to get all you “stuff” to the cabin today. I am a little worried about you, all alone up there in the wilderness, gathering your goods in mountains of snow. I have been looking for a post today and none arrived. Hope all is well and you are just writing like a fiend. Looking forward to your visit to Lexington, KY next month. We’ll try to have good weather waiting for you.

  242. My heart goes out to you. Since January my VT neighbors and I have been working diligently to ensure that our houses never looked like your “country escape house” did. And we don’t have to hike in … I completely relate to your discouragement and to feeling totally overwhelmed.
    Perhaps Joe will return tomorrow, with snowshoes.

  243. Heck, I wrote on the last visit that you should read Jack London. Woman, you are LIVING it! Good for you for the slogging. Strong arms and legs!

  244. I am so proud of you for going ahead. I remember getting exhausted while building a snow fort one year and … I can empathize. (Note to self: do not ever take up writing.)

  245. Oh dear. I think I would have had Joe take me back to the nearest hotel. Warm, dry and not burried in snow. Since you had provisions with you, you could have just hung the “do not disturb” sign on the door and gotten just as much privacy.
    I hope you didn’t leave your yarn out in the woods. There will be some little creatures who will be glad of having some warm wooly stuff to line their winter burrows.

  246. i realize we haven’t heard from you now for over a day….and of course we’re getting a bit worried–envisioning you stuck in a snowdrift with only a #1 dpn for a tool….or on the receiving end of deer kisses….or god forbid without power…and insufficient wine. stay warm and dry and inside that cabin!

  247. Where are you? I’ve worried/thought about you all day. Let us know that you are alive and well.

  248. Yikes; this is starting to sound like something from “Mrs. Mike”! Only, you know, without the Mountie husband and so on. I hope you managed to retrieve everything safely; that nothing got covered by the belated snowplow/new snowfall, or eaten by wolverines before you could retrieve it; and you don’t have too many sore muscles. (You did bring some liniment or something, didn’t you? Wine’s great for internal application, but you need something stronger for the outside, even if you can soak in a hot bath.) Courage, ma brave! Or whatever the feminine version should be. I had more years of German than French. πŸ˜‰

  249. I just listened to the interview on CBC (while still in bed under all the blankets, best way ever) and it was very enjoyable. It sounds like the interviewer was ready to march right off to a yarn shop with you by the end of it! I particularly liked your comments about knitting vis-a-vis the rest of your day and other possible sources of worry/coffeemaker/bus/computer, so many of us can sympathize with that.

  250. That is one of the funniest stories I have ever heard. I can see the whole thing. I am sorry you had to endure it as i know that kind of snow. Just think about how much you will laugh while telling this story one day!!

  251. Just a newbe- found your site after your Fresh Air interview. My daughter survived lengthy UofT lectures by knitting socks (having learned at school) but I work diligently with thick yarn and fat needles. I am inspired by your reassurances that it will get better. Sue

  252. I hope your yoga teacher reads the blog. I also hope the plow operator does too! I do solemly swear to have a glass of wine when I start reading this next book.Can’t wait!

  253. Those suggesting boiling snow clearly have no idea how much snow it takes to even make a pot of tea! Just heard your amusing CBC bit as I drank my first cuppa this morn, looking out back at the 5ft or so of the white stuff .. and thankful for the amenities of water from the tap and electricity to boil it!

  254. OK Stephanie, time for you to post again.
    Can’t have my imagination going off wild.
    (Lost in a snow drift, roof snow falling on top of you, and on and on…)

  255. Hi Mrs Steph
    I zoomed in on the post just now and tried to catch your podcast but I must be having a senior moment cos I just can’t find your interview. Must be thick or what????
    Please email me if you have time, I’d love to hear from you. Hey, guess wot Teech???
    I am saving real hard to go to London in September for the Stitch n bitch day, my friend Laureen is coming too. Can’t wait to meet you and Mr Kaffe my Knitting hero.
    I’m a real fan of yours, I think your blog is real sound. Your a cool Mama. I got a blog too.

  256. Oh, am wiping my eyes now. I’m catching up from the last few days and it’s too funny. Had to read it to hubby too. Made him laugh. Only diff…if it had been me…the wine bottle would have broken as I tripped over the doorjam into the house. πŸ™‚

  257. So sorry, Steph. I had a passing thought that 14k was shorter than 14 miles, and since you walked a lot in Toronto, you must know what you were doing. (Weak excuse, I know. Next time I’ll get a conversion so I can be properly supportive. ;o) In a fit of pride I once walked home from work while in college, when I couldn’t find a ride home and had missed the last bus. It was 4.5 miles, (approx 7.8k) but I had only ever traveled it by car. It was horrible–and I didn’t own a car, so I walked just about everywhere. You’re quite the iron knitter to have walked just more than twice that far.
    And, thank heavens for Ron! (There’s a real example of country folk for you.)
    Enjoy your beer and tp . . .

  258. OK, I get that you were out of toilet paper and that is no small thing (maybe it’s one of the things you shed along the way when your sled rope malfunctioned), but I would have wiped my butt with poison ivy/oak/sumac before trekking 14K in the freezing cold! Lawd ha’ murcy!
    Clearly Ron is an angel, and his daughter is too, and you are one LUCKY woman!

  259. “…not one of you, not a single person, left a comment saying “Holy Mary Mother Of God What Are You Thinking?”
    Actually, I did have a similar thought when I read your walking intentions for the super COLD weather up there. I just did not think you would REALLY go through with it. The snow outside the cabin was practically up to the roof and covering ALL doors and windows.

  260. Your radio interview was perfection! And, I hate to admit this but I listed to about 15 minutes of ANOTHER interview with a wine expert because you two have the same voice. Honestly. Go listen. And with the picture of wine on this page, I thought, “she’s been writing ANOTHER book about wine?!!! And she’s French???”
    Then, I realized I had the wrong day. Sheesh!

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