Friday, December 23, 2011

Strong Winds are blowing
It is kinda cold outside. A strong wind is blowing out of the North. We are inside the rig talking to family through SKYPE. Earlier I went to Holtville for drinking water, propane and to check on any mail coming in.
The Holtville Post Office is opposite of a hardware store, so following a sudden thought I went inside, looking for an outdoor carpet to put under our awning. 
Walking through the sandy soil we get too much dirt inside. A carpet is taking away most of that.
Bought a 20ft. of that green outdoor mat and installed it outside our rig.  It just hits me that I should have bought a red carpet - in case the Queen is visiting. :-))

Yesterday was the 21th of december and last night was the longest winter night. It is also called winter-solstice. 

WIKIPEDIA: The winter solstice occurs exactly when the axial tilt of a planet's polar hemisphere is farthest away from the star that it orbits. Earth's maximum axial tilt to our star, the Sun, during a solstice is 23° 26'. More evident from high latitudes, a hemisphere's wintersolstice occurs on the shortest day and longest night of the year, when the sun's daily maximum elevation in the sky is the lowest. Since the winter solstice lasts only a moment in time, other terms are often used for the day on which it occurs, such as midwinter,the longest night or the first day of winter.

There exists a tradition where people made a huge bonfire to mark this day. A short look-up on the internet shows that many cities worldwide celebrate the winter-solstice with a huge bonfire.

The bonfire is a true pagan ritual. The darkness of the long nights needed to be conquered by bringing light into the darkness. Huge fires where built, tar balls rolled down mountains and hill sides, torches where placed in snow. People needed to be reassured that the light would return, that the sun would return, lengthen their days and grow their grain. -
panevin treviso bonfires northeast italy
Winter Solstice Bonfire in Veneto, Italy
To this day the custom of lighting fires on the longest and the shortest night of the year have held the fascination of modern Europe. The Alpine communities of Europe and Scandinavia today have torch light parades down the ski slopes and bonfires on the foot of the mountains signaling comfort and re-assurance that the light will return. The pagan ritual has turned into a modern celebration of light

One year, we thought we would like to do that as well. It was up in Alberta when we lived on a lake. I gathered a big pile of wood and set up a bonfire just 10ft. off shore on the ice. We had invited friends from town to enjoy hot cocoa, and a BBQ.
It was getting dark when the first friends arrived. The thermometer showed -15C (5F). But the fire would warm us, or so I thought.
When we were ready to light up the fire, a slight wind started off the lake, making it really hard to get the fire going. The wind increased and we had a battle to keep the BBQ flame from being blown out. The cocoa was hot when we brought it down to the lake and placed it on the side flame of the BBQ. However, the cold became so fierce that it cooled down even on top of the flame.

Someone had brought a pile of pallets and those were set up against the wind. Everyone huddled behind them, ducking out of the blast. On the opposite side, where it actually was warmer, nobody could sit, as the area was constantly showered with sparks flying from the burning brush. Between the hot dogs and the somewhat cooled-off cocoa we had a great time, but I was surprised when the first guests were leaving way too early. :-((

After two hours in sparks, smoke and ice-cold wind also the rest of us succumbed to the elements and warmed up the bones inside the house.

But it sure remains a remarkable experience.


  1. hey just playing catch up here --the cookies look GREAT!!!! that mat will catch the dirt for sure...have a wonderful Christmas..and all the best in 2012...

  2. Take your wind back!!! It has arrived here in AZ and I don't want it. Cracked up at your bonfire story. I would have been the first to leave even with cold cocoa to tempt me to stay. lol


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