La Nina leaves this lady leery

Forty below they said. Nine feet of snow they said. First flurries by Halloween they said. All of these threats weighed heavily on our minds since loading in at the start of summer. We prioritized our to-do list accordingly by trying to amass a mound of firewood, situating and insulating the water tank to avoid freezing, raising our solar array, mounting our snow tires and securing chains, ordering snowshoes, stocking up on dry goods, and enclosing the potty, among other things. While there is always more to do – And you never quite feel adequately prepared going into the cold season no matter what you do – we were also making mental preparations to steel ourselves against a typical bitterly-cold winter to arrive on schedule. Now, it’s almost Thanksgiving and we’ve barely touched 20 degrees overnight with only a random rain shower. As if we didn’t have enough to anticipate for the first of the year with the election fallout, we’re left wondering if La Nina is going to make this winter a non-event, or bring it on with a furious force.

As I write this, the winds have started to howl and are driving in tense grey clouds. Our local weather station logged the peak wind speed at 18 mph with 6 mph sustained, and the temps have dropped from 48 to 45 in a matter of 20-30 minutes. We were ready for this as the weekly forecast called the front, but we’ve been used to enjoying 60s in our short sleeves during the past few weeks. In fact, some days it was warmer outside than in the yurt!! Speaking of yurt, we had a lot of concern from people wondering how warm we would be when the cold weather hit. Thanks to ‘Ostaf,‘ we are going to be just fine inside our little 20’ circle. In fact, we’ve had the inside temps up to over 90 by the time we tucked in for the night. (Well, we didn’t really ‘tuck in’ that night because we were sweating on top of the covers!!)

Just in case you wondered #coldoutside #warminside #sahaleeviews #sahalee #weatherreport #yurtlife

A photo posted by Sahalee Off Grid (@sahaleeoffgrid) on

The anticipation for winter is palpable here, especially in the high country. Skiers and boarders are anxiously awaiting the first fall of fluffy white stuff on the slopes while the summer resorts shutter up and turn out the last of the campers. The buzzing of chainsaws continue to provide the soundtrack around town, and the elk bugles are coming out more subdued across the hills. Dried leaves in red and brown swirl around the naked scrub oak, and the mice and pack rats are burrowing in to whatever cozy spots they can- Including the Ford!! We’re taking stock of all the outstanding projects that we need to knock out before we’re buried under a chilly blanket while the mountains seem harder and less sympathetic to our plight. We still don’t know what’s in store…

First good frost of the year! #sahaleeviews #itscoldoutside #yurtlife #yota

A photo posted by Sahalee Off Grid (@sahaleeoffgrid) on

What does the aberrant La Nina mean to us here in Northern New Mexico? There are plenty of sources with predictions and explanations. Reading between the lines, we try to balance between tales of a wet winter, and an estimation of short snowfall. Our little piece of heaven lies between two distinct biomes- timber forest and high desert. We can only make our best guess as to which side of the frost line we will fall. One reliable real-time source that we keep our eyes on gives us the ‘big picture’ and is completely mesmerizing with its purple swirls…


In closing this post, the temperature has dropped below 40 and the winds continue at a sustained 9 mph. We have beans cooking in the All American Sun Oven between the patchy clouds, and I am looking forward to trying my hand at making tortillas for the first time on top of the wood stove when the sun bids us adieu. Is La Nina friend or foe? I’ll sip hot tea under the covers with my little dog and let you know what I figure out…


3 thoughts on “La Nina leaves this lady leery

  1. Gotta love our Encyclopedia Young!!! ;D Yes, I think prepare for anything is the mantra… If we follow Radar’s lead, we’ll be a-ok in the snuggle department. Warm tortillas won’t hurt, either!! ;P

  2. Greetings!! Yes, I saw the large mass of cold air moving down into the Rockies yesterday. Looks like you’ll be colder tonight. The last meteorological projection I saw stated that the Polar Vortex has split much earlier than usual this year, and this has led to a strong Pacific Jetstream that SHOULD weaken the effects of La Nina. However, as a result, they expect more intense oscillations over the western U.S. that would alternate a warmer winter with sporadic bursts of intense cold. If that isn’t a scientific way of saying “You better be prepared for anything”, I don’t know what is!

    Hang in there Radar!! Love her fleece. Tell me how the tortillas turn out.

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