“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Ice Age

I walked down to the mailbox today, but I was cursing myself on the way back.  I never seem to remember that walking down the mountain is one thing, walking back up it is another. Especially when it is so cold that you can't sit down on a log for a rest.  The wind is blowing out there, and it's icy.  I just got back inside from doing the afternoon chores. Mostly running water through the outbuilding pipes, checking the temperatures in the outbuildings, and feeding all the animals.  I ran the Jeep and the truck for awhile.  Had to use ether to get the truck going, diesel engines don't deal with cold very well.

I checked the propane gauge. I'm using a lot of propane but I would rather do that than be cold.

This seemed like a good time to do some reading so I'm going through Lucifer's Hammer again.  It's a really old book, maybe a contemporary of Alas Babylon.   In terms of preparedness, people had the same concerns and issues when that book was written that they do today.  I suppose the basic requirements for staying alive in a disaster don't change, even if cars and clothes, and other things do.

  The one book from that period on this subject I don't really like was Neville Schutes' On the Beach.  It wasn't a bad book, and I like a lot of his military aviation based books. It was just so grim, with not much hope in it.  If you've never read it, the story line deals with the aftermath of a nuclear war, when only Australia has been spared the fallout. But the winds are bringing it down on them, and everybody knows it.  I like stories that give you a chance to "get out alive."

  That's not terribly realistic but one of the reasons for reading is entertainment.  Maybe not the most important reason, but it's still there.  I make fun of my wife because she won't go see movies unless she knows for sure they end happily.  That's why we didn't go see "Sole Survivor" this past weekend.  But I can see her point, things are grim enough and when you pay money for entertainment you want to leave the theater feeling uplifted and positive, not sad and dragged down.

I suppose I'm that way with my books.



On the Beach was good enough to be made into a movie with an excellent cast, whatever I may think of it.


I have been digging out some old cold weather equipment that I've had stored for eons. One of the things that has come in handy is a device that plugs into the wall socket on my barn, and "jump starts" vehicles. I need to put a new battery in the Jeep, because the one I have is ok for normal events but not for this kind of weather. However, the handy dandy ancient jump starter has fired it up when need be. I'm glad I have that, because maneuvering the truck around to use cables on the Jeep is impossible in the limited space I have here.

So far the power has not gone out, but I've been running the generator with a dummy load periodically to make sure it will fire up if I need it.  Because it's diesel it's getting a shot of ether on start up as well.  Even the cans of ether are from barn supplies, and I couldn't get along without them.  It's nice to have what you need, when you need it.

The rest of today I'm staying inside.  I've had enough wind and cold.

10 comments:

  1. So far our cars have started in this bitter cold. I wish my husband would give me the garage back. Our old bathroom floor is on the garage floor. I wish it was gone. His boss thankfully lets us dump things in their dumpster when needed.

    I think we read at our house more than watch movies. When we watch movies, usually I just go buy a DVD. It's cheaper than for us to all go to the theater. We can have whatever we want to eat to.

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    1. I don't have a garage. I sometimes cover my vehicles with tarps when really bad weather is coming, but this cold has gone on so long, it's just in the too hard category. Also, frozen tarps are really hard to unfold and put on the truck in particular. I really felt for you folks when you were going through all that with the bathroom, but I admired they way you all "adapted and survived." I like to go to the movies with my wife. We enjoy having popcorn and coke, and then the drive back home is through a particularly beautiful part of the national forest. When the kids lived at home that was something we enjoyed doing together, even when my daughter was going through her "goth" phase. :-)

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  2. Up here most diesel owners plug their stuff in to keep em warm. Everything has started around here except my little FORD tractor during the last cold spell and it really tried hard to start.

    It was zero this morning when I went to feed the sheep. Mom had a very conveniently timed doctors appointment today so I added sheep feeding to my normal chores. By the time I was finished my face was numb and my beard was ice.

    Not fun.

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    1. It really isn't fun. There doesn't seem to be any real relief in sight either. It's supposed to warm up here in a couple of days, then repeat the deep cold cycle. I bought myself one of those Chicom hats that covers your ears and your face and just leave a little place in front of your eyes to see through.

      I don't have any way to plug the generator in to keep it warm. I do have a heater in the truck, but since I drive it so rarely I hate to spend the money for the electricity to keep it warmed up. My power bill that just came was $203.00.

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  3. You are having it worse than us just now Harry, we have avoided the snow so far just getting lots of rain, hail, sleet and frosts. At least you have everything covered and can stay warm and safe up there. Besides getting snowed in is sort of like having permission for some down time, plenty time to catch up on books and films while you can't get out and about. The Robert Redford film looks like one Ian would enjoy, it's out on dvd here in April so I will watch out for it then :)

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    1. Dreamer, I'm sure Ian would enjoy it, both because he's led an adventurous life in his own right, and because of the positive portrayal of older men.
      The weather here is catching up to us. A day or two of this is awkward but three weeks is brutal. People just are not set up for this. As the sun set tonight it was 17 F and the weather broadcast is now predicting 4 below zero at the higher elevations, which is me. Sounds like your weather is none to great either.

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  4. Yep, we've terrible weather too. High today of fifty. Think I'll build a fire when I get home. You've a fine reading list, my friend. Our taste in literature, twins.

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    1. I saw that the weather down your way was not looking good. Maybe we should steal a boat and head for warmer climes. My Spanish is pretty good.
      :-)

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  5. I may check out one or two of the books you mentioned. I need something new to read.
    Like Stephen said, it is really un-naturally cold here too. Wind chills in the Am are supposed to be in the teens. I can deal with cold weather..but the wind really does need to stop.

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    1. Stephen has a good personal library. I bet he would lend you the books then you wouldn't have to buy them. It's hideous here. 2 degrees above zero a t dawn, never got near 32 all day. The weather says we get the same for next Tuesday and Wednesday.

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