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Get ready for winter

Much like the ant in Aesop's Fable The Ant and the Grasshopper true Yukoners are getting ready for winter. They are not, like the grasshopper, spending their entire time chirping the summer away.

Much like the ant in Aesop’s Fable The Ant and the Grasshopper true Yukoners are getting ready for winter.

They are not, like the grasshopper, spending their entire time chirping the summer away.

Instead, like the ant, they are busy getting ready for the cold season.

The advantage of getting ready for winter now is that it gives one the entire summer to take full advantage of all the offers that the Yukon, and by extension the Yukon territorial government, bestow on its citizens.

The big one is the wood cutting permit.

Go visit the forestry branch just north of the Alaska Highway and Hamilton Boulevard intersection.

One of these permits the holder to go to public-cutting areas and harvest a couple of cords of wood for personal use.

The forestry branch will explain where individuals can cut wood for personal use.

If a household is burning a lot of wood to stay warm in the winter, they probably might want to consider bringing in an energy efficiency expert to look at how well their home is insulated and sealed.

The Yukon Housing Corporation has lots of excellent advice on who to contact for an energy audit, how much it will cost, and the like.

The website, at, also has information on building new houses to Super Green standards.

An important consideration for those living in subdivisions built on slopes is getting some grit in to sand the driveway.

Grit is usually made from rock, and it is available from any public quarry.

Each Yukoner is entitled to 35 cubic metres of rock as long as it is for personal use.

That is a lot of rock.

It should cover the driveway nicely and provide a modicum of grip during the icy months.

Of course, you have to get a quarry permit to do this.

The Land Use section of Energy, Mines and Resources issues these permits for pits controlled by the Yukon government.

Be warned that the material obtained from Yukon government pits is in its natural state.

So it could be silt, or it could be boulders.

One might have to crush it at home to get the desired consistency.

Also, a person is responsible for their own loading and transportation to get it back home.

There is apparently no charge for a permit to get 35 cubic metres of quarry material for personal use.

Contact the Yukon lands branch for more information.

Now that the home is warm and the driveway is not icy, it is time to give some thought to the electronic appliances inside.

The Energy Solutions Centre offers a program whereby some portion of the price is rebated to a consumer if they purchase energy efficient appliances.

There is a $100 rebate for the purchase of a new Energy Star qualified refrigerator, clothes washer, dishwasher, or freezer installed in Yukon communities powered by hydroelectricity.

The rebate jumps to $200 in Yukon diesel powered communities.

The diesel-powered communities are Beaver Creek, Burwash Landing, Destruction Bay, Old Crow, Upper Liard and Watson Lake.

For more information visit the Energy Solutions Centre website at

One of the weekly activities that happen in summer are the garage sales.

Now, while the heat is on, is the chance to pick up second-hand skis and slightly used down parkas.

The prices will be low, and a person can probably haggle the price even lower.

No-one is going to quibble over taking a few dollars off the price of a pair of snow shoes when it is plus 25 outside and the bugs are biting.

Try negotiating that discount in the middle of winter when there is more than a metre of snow out front and wind-chill is making it feel like minus 40.

Check out the listings in the back of this newspaper to see where and when garage sales are happening.

Summers in the Yukon are short and sweet, so enjoy them.

Just do not forget to plan for the real Yukon season of winter.

Lewis Rifkind is a Whitehorse based part-time environmentalist.