Brrrr…. A few weeks ago I thought Vancouver was cold when the temperature hovered around 0 C. I’ve become soft and forgotten what real cold feels like. A week in Manitoba with -30 C temperatures quickly reminded me.
I had a great Christmas visiting with family but I’m grateful to be back in relatively balmy Vancouver. Emily and I spent a week staying with my parents in their somewhat winterized, off-the-grid retirement cabin in rural Manitoba. The new additions this year were a wood boiler for heat and a composting toilet. The composting toilet made the washroom smell of hamster cage, but it was way better than trekking to the outhouse.
Christmas was pretty quiet this year. My cousin and their newborn baby ran into car problems in Yorkton and had to turn around on Christmas Eve. So the only noise and excitement was provided by the puppies. My dad spent most of Christmas Eve dinner yelling at Hanna to sit and my mom kept telling my dad to be quiet. It was amusing.
We had a traditional Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner with kutya, perogies, borscht, cabbage roles, and the other meatless dishes. With all the dietary constraints in the family (vegans, celiacs, and nut allergies) there were lots of variants this year. We made vegan, gluten-free perogies and red rice kutya.
When the temperature went above -20 we bundled up and strapped on the snowshoes or grabbed the toboggans and went outside for some fresh air. There wasn’t a lot of snow, but the trees were all covered with hoar frost and looked beautifully eerie.