Wednesday, January 18, 2012
I Grow a Beard
Well, it's finally happened. Winter figured out that it's running several months behind; now it's in a hurry to catch up! To think that only two weeks ago we were lounging around in 40 degree weather. Today it is -14 (feels like -40), dropping to a low tonight of -22.
As you can imagine, these kind of temperatures can make a house feel a tad chilly. Especially one that's built over an ice skating rink. Before the ground froze for the winter, the fall rains raised the water table sufficiently that it flooded back under my house again. And then it froze. Some houses have heated floors--I have a basement iceberg to keep my floors chilly in spite of the best my heaters can do.
It all got to be too much, and the day before the cold was supposed to really set in, I decided to bring some carpet down from upstairs. Our neighbors had given me their old carpet--still in good condition--after they had theirs replaced. Due to a certain unreliable feline whose name rhymes with Blazarus Ooopsie, I didn't want to put the carpet down until I was sure he was cured of his bad habit of viewing the world as his own personal litter box. And as soon as it got cold enough, I decided I was sure.
Caleb helped me move out all the furniture, then I swept and scrubbed the floor. You would not believe how dirty that floor can get in so short a time. Besides being warmer, carpet has the advantage of being able to be vacuumed. We unrolled the smaller of the two pieces and I was pleased to discover how big it was--it covered nearly all of the larger living room area. I will have enough of my scavenged carpet to actually install it someday.
How cozy it is to have carpeting under our feet. The animals approve also, though the cats seem to feel that it should double its usefulness as a whole-room scratching/chewing thing. As long as they don't experiment on its value as a combination litter box/tushy wiper!
Temperatures have dropped steadily all this week, but we are reaching the deepest part of the trough before the highs are forecasted to climb again. Can't happen a moment too soon! This morning, I ran some water and all of the sudden lost all water pressure because SOMEWHERE in the line there was a frozen place. Time to do what all hardy, independent pioneer women do when confronted with these types of situations.
My most wonderful dad was able to come out and help me figure out the problem. My pump house was barely 30 degrees even with my electric space heater on full blast. The first thing was to get the propane furnace hooked back up to a tank and turned on. The cold was bitter and I was dressed and wrapped anywhere dressing and wrapping could fit. Was it only yesterday I was wishing I could grow a beard? And see, I did!
I helped a little with wrestling the tank into place, but most of the time I stood there and handed him screws, tools, and things. I looked like a young veterinarian in a calving suit (see James Herriot if you don't get that). Then it was time to turn on the furnace and see what that accomplished.
Thankfully, almost as soon as the furnace turned on the pump started working again. What happened was the switch on the tank was sitting there doing its thing. I had enough water pressure in the pipes, so it was in the open position. The temperature in the well house dropped just enough to freeze the switch open, and when I used up the water in the pipes, it was still stuck there thinking I had plenty of water. When the room warmed up, the switch melted enough to snap shut again and activate the pump. Whew! Glad it was so easy to fix!
Tonight is the big night, with temperatures dropping to almost -30. The house is certainly holding more heat than last year, but I had to break down and block off my stairs with blankets to keep more heat downstairs. There's a certain morbid fascination to watching the heaters struggle to keep pace with the encroaching cold. Will they make it? I don't even WANT to see my electric bill next month!
Yes, boys and girls, that is what -14, feels like -40, looks like!