Thursday, December 8, 2016


Ina's "panorama" -- 1934

In real time, it has turned cold in this region – got down to 10 (officially 15) in the valley overnight and is approaching 30 as I post this. It’s supposed to snow this evening and then turn to rain over the weekend, but right now the sun is shining. Well, we’ll see what happens.

Managing in the cold was difficult in Ina’s day. Remember – they had no electricity, no indoor plumbing, no central heating, no insulation in the walls. Here’s what she wrote in February, 1936. (Never mind that it isn’t a December entry. They would have managed just the same no matter the date.)

Right side of panorama, 2015
Well, I wish you were here right now. The hill east [June's field] is a marvelous pink and the shadows fall blue to its top. We have about three feet of snow and it is cold. It began piling up week before last and we have had sub-zero weather off and on ever since. Week ago Friday at 9:30 p.m. it was 12 degrees below. That is the coldest we have noted. The last few days are colder – yesterday a.m. it was 8 degrees below, this a.m. 6 degrees below and the highest today we noted was 4 degrees above. Dad keeps a lantern in the cellar “of a nite” and nothing has frozen. At Musser’s it registered 19 degrees below. Reports from Saskatchewan are as low as 55 degrees below, Montana 40 degrees below. I dread to think of Pearl [her daughter, living the farm life in northern Alberta]. They were on a little trip to Stettler in January and got onto ice and nearly had an upset and then couldn’t get the car out of ditch and started, so Al had to go for help half a mile and Pearl and Fred in the car 31 degrees below. They go to get Christmas trees, etc., in such weather with a sleigh sometimes.

We are feeding the little birds on the front porch. They are so cute.  Two native pheasants come every day or so and feed in the service bushes on the buds. A band of 11 chinks are wintering here, too. It is so beautiful! A picture wherever you look!

The front door is corked up. We have been using the dining room evenings this cold weather. It is so much warmer [when we close the living room off], but I’m going back there as soon as possible. I make a little fire in the bedroom every evening now and then the bed is warm. I also hang up some things by the stove and so keep comfortable. You have it fine with the register in your room. Ina Dobson to her son Vance, February 1936

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