Tag Archives: chickens

The Thaw

The last couple of days have been, well, tough. A taste of long ago without central heating and water that fills our glass at the turn of a knob. We experienced sub zero temperatures two nights in a row like a good portion of the USA. With those temperatures, or lack thereof, we also had strong wind, thus serious wind chill and power loss. Last summer’s efforts by the power company to clear trees and branches from near the power lines has helped with the outages, but in the rural mountains, they are the inevitable. We buried our lines when we build, but that is rare here, except in new development in the nearby town.

We build our home with an efficient fireplace on the main level and a woodstove in the basement rec room and a good thing we did. The house is total electric, heated with a heat pump. The electricity started flickering early in the morning and failed right after I got my coffee made. Due to expense overrun during construction, the whole house generator was scrapped.  The other construction flaw is a utility room joining the main house and the garage. It is not real logs like the house, but log siding and unheated except for a wall installed space heater. We keep the door open to the house, so it stays warm without the space heater during normal winter temperatures. Our contractor, foolishly put the water pipes in a poorly insulated north wall instead of flipping the room and facing the pipes south to benefit from passive solar warming.  When the temperatures are expected to dip, I leave the laundry sink dripping, and I did, but the hot water line froze anyway and during the day with the power out, thus no water pump and no space heater, the cold water line froze too.

We spent the day hauling wood from the bin in the garage to keep the wood stove and fireplace going. Dashed into town for gallons of water and lunch and home to keep the fires blazing. The house holds heat well and we stayed comfortable until they restored our electricity in about 6 hours, but the pipes are still frozen.

It dropped to -3°f again last night, but is supposed to get above freezing today. There is a heat lamp on under the utility sink, the space heater is on high, probably causing the electric meter to spin off the wall. If it warms up some more, I need to go repair the chicken pen, the wind took down part of the fence. After one day of being literally cooped up, the girls went on strike and only layed 2 eggs and in the cold, I managed to drop and break one of them. This morning when I finally freed them, there were 5 and again I dropped one with my cold hands. They are glad to be out again, we are glad to see the warm sun and to watch the outdoor thermometer climb already well above yesterday’s high.

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Hopefully, the pipes will thaw without incident.