Tag Archives: cold

Winter morn

A light dusting of snow settled between the blades of brown grass.
Gray sky, cold and bleak.
A flock of Robins, harbingers of spring, feeding along side of snow juncos, a winter resident.
The chickens showing little enthusiasm for their morning release from the night’s captivity.
A head cold, compliments of grandson last week.
If we aren’t going to get real snow, I wish winter would go on and exit.

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What Do You Do When It Is Subfreezing Temperatures?

We are warm and cozy indoors, the thermostat is set at 68f, but that is not what it is like outdoors.  This is what it is:

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It is still gusty wind, so the wind chill makes it too uncomfortable to go play in the snow.  Let me qualify that and state that I have played in the snow, on skis at that temperature, wearing lots of windproof and waterproof layers, but I don’t want to put on ski clothes to take a walk, so until the sun warms things up to the upper teens and the wind dies down, I’ll stay inside and …

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Start http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/zuzus-petals, a cowl out of Mountain Colors Bearfoot yarn in Lupine color for me.

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Make chili, enough for lunch and 2 quarts for the freezer.  Actually, I spent yesterday while it was snowing making this, starting with dry beans, my small crockpot, lots of onions, jalapenos, garlic, and tomatoes from last summer’s garden and a pound of grass finished ground beef from the farmer’s market.

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Collect and admire the hen gems, admiring the variation of color and size that the hens produce.  I need to enjoy this now, because come spring, I will be replacing many of the hens with more Buff Orpingtons and the variation will cease, but the flock will be self sustaining.  The collecting process involves layering scarf, hat, gloves, barn jacket and barn boots several times a day as eggs freeze and crack at these temperatures more quickly than you would believe.

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The pretty tan birds are the Buffs and again they are in their coop, refusing to step out into the snow and the cold.  The Oliver Egger, my Houdini finally peeked out and I learned how she has been escaping, chased her back in and sealed up her escape hole.  If she gets caught outside the fence with no way back in, she will likely end up with frostbite or dead.

The dogs and I enjoyed some of their gifts for breakfast.

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And read of course.  The current book is The Bloodletter’s Daughter (A Novel of Old Bohemia) by Linda Lafferty.  An interesting historical fiction, set toward the end of the Ottoman Empire, utilizing authentic locations and some characters but playing more on their insanity that history truly reveals.

So how do you spend shut in days?

 

 

 

Anticipation

The day is mild, almost springlike. The thermometer has risen to 53f (11.66C) though we still have gusty wind.  The forecast is for our first real snow, not a huge one, but 3 to 6 inches, I’ll settle for that.  The transportation departments are out in force, spraying their salt mixture on all of the roadways in anticipation.  We live on a 2/10 mile gravel driveway, downhill from a 2/10 mile state maintained gravel road, downhill from a real paved road.  With only 6 inches, no drifting and the 4 wheel drive feature of the vehicle engaged, we can get out if necessary.  The only time we couldn’t get out, we had 20 inches two weeks after we had 22 inches that had not all melted and the second snow drifted.  We were stuck for 3 days until our contractor/farmer neighbor came down our driveway on his huge tractor with a blade and plowed us out, then waited to make sure that hubby’s vehicle could get to the top of the driveway.  For about 2 weeks, that is where the car stayed and all supplies that we had to bring in here hauled down to the house on plastic toboggans, sometimes with us racing each other down the driveway in two of the them.  That was 4 years ago, the year of the last Winter Olympics and we posted many photos of our Cave Hill Olympics, our antics in the snow.  We may both be senior citizens, but we still like to play in the snow.

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As the transportation folks are preparing, so are we.  Knowing that snow and wind often mean power outages, some for only a few hours, some for days on end and when we don’t have power, we also don’t have water, I have preemptively filled the downstairs tub, the water jugs and will shortly go bring in a couple days worth of wood into the garage for the wood stove and fireplace.  We went to town and resupplied some of the staples that were low from the natural food store.  I added another 8 or 9 inches of dry straw to the chicken coop and put a fresh layer under the coop and where I enter their pen.

With this potential snow, we are facing single digit temperatures at night for the second time this winter.  We will have to leave the hot and cold water faucet in the utility room dripping, pull out the space heater and hope the pipes don’t freeze in there again.  I also need to figure out how to keep the washing machine drain from freezing, though I can always drain it into the utility sink if the water is running.

With any luck, we will have a layer of white to enjoy for a day or two.  The dogs will love to romp in it, the chickens will be less thrilled, but I am still kid enough at heart to be anticipating some snow and a long walk in the cold white world.

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.

The Deep Freeze

The wind howls,

The snow blows ( wish it would stick),

Chickens are locked in their coop with extra straw, food, water and scratch grain for entertainment and digestive warmth,

The wood stove is blazing and will stay stoked

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Wish I could stay in and enjoy, but eggs will quickly freeze in these temps so forays to the coop will have to happen til late afternoon.

Stay warm and safe my friends.