Thursday, January 19, 2012

Frugal Luxuries From The Deep Freeze

It is cold. Very, very cold. I am writing this in the pre-dawn hours and it is currently -21.2C (-6F). Yesterday morning at this time it was -26.5C (-16F). Somehow, given the temperatures we are dealing with, it seems wrong to say it's a warming trend even if technically it is true. I think this cold and dark of deep winter needs to be countered by some Frugal Luxuries. Here are a few things that warm my heart in the midst of the chill.

These are my mukluks. Twenty five years ago, when we were living in Fort St. John (this would be way up north), Jay gave these to me for my birthday. They are the best birthday gift I have ever received. Natives living in nearby communities make these by hand. The red material is felt and the bottom is the hide from a moose. I still marvel at how the women who made these were able to sew those beads onto the leather. The brown is beaver fur. It is possibly the softest thing I have ever touched, and as someone who works with many different fibres that is saying a lot.

When we lived up north you would often see people wearing mukluks. I have no idea if that is still true. Thanks to the extremely cold temperatures I have been able to wear these for the past few days.


Frugal Luxury #1: Toasty toes on a cold winter's day

These mittens were a quick knit. I love the braided tie that wraps around the mitten cuff to keep out the snow and cold air.

Frugal Luxury #2: Warm hands on a cold winter's day





Jenny, our cute but rather wimpy miniature dachshund, absolutely loathes the cold. It became apparent on day one of the cold snap that a trip to the pet store was in order. When we took her outside she tried to walk on three legs, and when that didn't work out too well for her she just gave up and plopped down on the snow. Telling her to channel her inner Siberian husky did not work.

Frugal Luxury #3: laughter


I hope wherever you are you are managing to stay warm. Spring is just two short months away!

27 comments:

  1. I am SMITTEN with those mukluks! They're really gorgeous. It's funny you also post about doggy shoes, because I have a variety for my dogs called MUTLUKS. Ha! They do "mechanical dog walk" with them on but are grateful to have their paws spared in these temperatures. STAY WARM!!!

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    1. Thanks Michelle - they are one of my most prized possessions. Do the dog shoes you have work? The ones I got are really hard to get on, and they don't fit all that well. We have laughed ourselves silly over the mechanical dog walk thing. It is hilarious!

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    2. The Mutluks work, but they are also a little tricky to get on. They look like baby mittens, you know the kind without thumbs. And, they're made out of a water resistant material and are lined with fleece. They have a velcro strap that wraps around the "ankle" to help keep them on. Overall, they're very functional. We've tried a couple other brands, but like mutluks best.

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    3. I think this is what I am going to try to find for next winter. Several people have mentioned them. Thanks for letting me know how they work!

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  2. Haha! You didn't knit Jenny a sweater....and you bought her shoes!!!!!

    We've become one of "those" kinds of pet owners...grant you, Jenny really doesn't have much protection against the cold.

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    1. I am still working on the sweater. It got set aside for more exciting knits and the weather was so mild for so long I got lulled into thinking we weren't going to get winter. Are you disowning us now that we have become one of "them"? :-)

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  3. Jenny looks so comfortable in your lap. I can picture her giving up against the snow in defeat.
    I keep trying to tell myself that we are lucky that the cold weather was delayed for so long. Spring is coming soon!

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    1. Jenny loves being in people's laps but definitely hates being out in the snow. We have had a miniature dachshund before who didn't mind the snow and cold, so it has been a surprise to see how wimpy Jenny is. I think Jenny will be happier than anyone else in our home when spring finally arrives!

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  4. Aww bless her!

    We've had a couple of very snowy winters the last couple of years and I found that waxing the whippets paws with paw wax helped to stop the cold affecting their paws. The speed they go - and faster in snow, they love it - I can't see boots staying on! Wilbur, our mini dachshund, also has his paws waxed in cold weather even though he doesn't go out much in the snow beyond taking toilet breaks, it might help Jenny too.

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    1. I have never heard of waxing a dog's paws. I am intrigued and will have to do some online research today. Thanks for the tip!

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  5. Aww, poor Jenny--1) because her body is so close to the snow; and 2) those booties! Thanks for sharing the picture. Bandit once had to wear red booties. He hurt his paws by trying to slide on concrete, so the vet put booties on him to aid the healing.

    The mukluks are treasures. So, how much do you want for them??? Haha, just kidding, I know you wouldn't part with them.

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    1. Sorry. The mukluks aren't for sale. :-)

      And I agree with the "poor Jenny" sentiments. It is demeaning, but it is that or suffer frostbitten paws.

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  6. PS - A medication that causes gout??? OMGosh, I hope it doesn't in her case.

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    1. It actually has in the past. It is a nasty drug, but also a miracle drug.

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  7. I love those mukluks. I have long coveted a pair, and even have a pattern and naturally smoked deerhide to make them. Which I've had for 20 years...minus 11 F here in MN this am, not counting the windchill.

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    1. If it is -11F I think you need to start making those mukluks! I have to admit to being a bit jealous of you having the deer hide. Where did you find a pattern?

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    2. I bought it in Winnipeg a zillion years ago. My boyfriend at the time was a big deer hunter and his ma was a guide near a rez, she had some tanned the old fashioned way. I got to thinking about the stuff and wondering where it is. This home remodeling has everything moved around, and I hope I didn't give it away. But if I did, then I don't have to worry about making them! I'm pretty sure I have pattern, when it turns up, I'll send the details.

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    3. Thanks Mary Lou, it would be fun to see the pattern. The moose hide on my mukluks was smoked. All these years later there is still the faint smell of woodsmoke when i wear them.

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  8. Fort St. John...interesting I that today...looks like that will be my central base for a couple years starting in approximately March of next year. Maybe I could still find some mukluks to deal with the cold a bit better. Cuz though I can handle cold temps, really I'm sort of like your pup in that I'd rather not!

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    1. seems 'saw' wasn't included in that incomplete sentence! Let's start over...interesting I saw that today. OK.

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    2. I am sure you can buy them when you are up north. If not I think there are places that sell them online, but they are pricey. Interesting that you are going to be based out of Fort. St. John. We lived there from 1982 until 1988. My husband was the regional fisheries biologist. Will you be there year round? And if you end up driving north you will most likely go through Kamloops, in which case you have a free place to stay!

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    3. We'll be there probably 6-8 months/year for two years (2013, 2014). We'll be living in the woods most of that time so 'in and around Fort. St. John' is more accurate. We'll be driving up...I'll remember that invite! ;)

      Didn't realize your husband was a fisheries biologist...very cool! Different sort of wildlife politics to deal with in Canada. It's a learning experience to say the least.

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  9. My wife's dog looks very similar. But he doesn't need to wear additional clothing, it's pretty warm here :)

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    1. Your wife's dog can consider himself very lucky that he doesn't have to suffer the humiliation our puppy does! :-)

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  10. I just LOVE that photo of Jenny! Poor humiliated little thing! ;)

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    1. Isn't she funny? At least she is a poor warm humiliated thing! :-)

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