“Wyrd biõ ful ãræd.”

Friday, February 13, 2015

Doing a load of laundry at one in the morning.



It never got above freezing here today.  About three in the afternoon,  the cold front passed through and we had several hours of building shaking wind. Lots of branches down, some shakes torn off the building roofs, but nothing serious.  Then the wind went, but the cold stayed. By dark it was 20 and now it's 12 degrees outside.

I just finished checking all the buildings, particularly the glass house where the new chickens are living. It's holding the heat well, and the electric heater, set on high, is keeping the space at about 58, even in these temperatures.

I'm also running a load of laundry. Not because a couple of blankets and some miscellaneous towels and dish cloths couldn't have waited til morning. It's to keep water moving through the pipes between the house and the well.  The well is down slope, about 300 feet from the main house and even further from the other buildings I pipe water to. So I need to keep the pump turning over and water flowing through the lines in weather like this, at least every six to eight hours. Running the washing machine is as good a way as any to do this in the main house.

Got a catalog in the mail today, one I enjoy reading.   They sell canned freeze dried food, water storage and filtration gear, and all the nuts and bolts you need to put a largely self sufficient homestead together. I buy number ten can lids and canned ammunition for long term storage, among other things.


I had to walk all the way down to the mailbox and then all the way back up the mountain, but it's part of my plan to get in shape for the great expedition this spring. I usually exercise on the eliptical in the family room now, but it doesn't do me any harm to get out of the house.

It will stay cold tomorrow, then Saturday night start snowing.  Sunday and Monday are "snow days" as well, though I don't yet know how much to really expect.  It's going to be a long weekend.



16 comments:

  1. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)

    It was in the 70's down here in South Texas. Its been warm for about the last six days.
    We have a big artic front coming down on Tuesday. I ain't lookin forward to that one.
    I did a big run at wallmart today. I saw more weird people at walmart. I saw a Charles Mansion wannabe.
    My winter stocks are starting to dwindle. This walmart run was for other items including beer, toilet paper and coffee (three essentials of life)

    I also got some of that 'Navy style fried rice' that has the pieces of egg in it. I ate the hell out of that stuff when I was onboard the 'Puget Sound' long ago. I found it frozen at walmart and it goes great with soy souce and beer. Just Microwave it.

    I have had lots of projects to work on in the past weeks and fourtunetly the weather was cooperating.

    The mosquitoes are out again. I gotta find a better way of getting rid of them. Maybe I can get them to migrate to Canada with the ducks this spring.

    Texas mosquitoes are the size of B-52 bombers so I think our friends up north are in for a surprise with mosquitoes with their own transponder codes, IFF gear and strobe lights.

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    1. CC, I'm pretty well stocked up from the last big cold spell, which wasn't long ago. I may go into town today for a bundle of shakes from the lumber yard, if the snow doesn't start.

      If it gets as cold there, as it is here this morning, you won't be having to worry about mosquitoes for awhile. I doubt very many insects who don't burrow underground or into wood will survive prolonged exposure to temperatures in the teens.

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  2. How do you dry such bulky items as blankets and towels? Put them in a room with a heater for humidity?

    Another blog I follow had a posting about collecting eggs from in the straw in a chicken coop - the eggs were so cold they had frozen and split open.

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    1. Dani, I have a gas powered dryer. I just throw everything in that. Years ago I tried to use a clothes line in order to save fuel. It didn't work. In spring, and summer pollen fell on the clothesline from the trees overhead, and got all over the clothing. In fall and winter the clothes would often freeze before they dried. So I just use the gas dryer and I get clean clothes year round.

      That's entirely routine in the winter if the hens lay outside. It's only been in the last several years that we get temperatures in the teens here often and for long periods. Prior to that, we got snow and temps in the twenties, usually followed by warmer spells. No more. Now winter is bitterly cold, and it stays cold.

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  3. City folks generally don't know about keeping the water usage regular for wells, since they don't need to. Springs are a little easier, if they have a good flow - you can just leave the tap on like some folks do to keep their house pipes from freezing.

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    1. Gorges, there are few advantages to using city water but you are absolutely right about that one. With a well, if the pump freezes, or the lines to the buildings freezes, you are out of water until it warms up enough for the ground to unfreeze and your pipes and pump along with it. If the water is spring water and under gravity feed or natural pressure, you can leave a little water running, as you say, and there's no problem.

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  4. In town some people have to keep their faucets trickling and open the cabinet doors if their bathrooms are on an exterior wall. I don't know if they are not as well insulated but sometimes the pipes freeze at the sinks. We have lucked out with snow this year but something is coming Monday but too early to say how much.

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    1. Kathy, I do the open cabinets routine when it gets in the teens here, although since my buildings are log I probably don't need to. Never hurts to take extra precautions though. We are expecting more snow and sleet this weekend, through Tuesday night. Temperature right now is still 19 degrees out and it's nine in the morning. The prediction is that the temperature will continue to fall here until it reaches the single digits on Sunday. Then stay that way until Wednesday.

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  5. It has been a strange weather year. Temps in the plus 30's, down to below zero and back up to above freezing. And very little snow so far. I for one will be really happy to see spring.

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    1. Me too, Vicki. There's no doubt that the last two or three years here in the Smokey Mountains have been far colder than was the normal winter even a few years ago. I'm ready for spring.

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  6. You seem to get a lot more choice of magazines and stuff than we do. Very little geared to it over here unless you want a magazine about keeping a pony on an acre!

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  7. Kevin, I don't even read all the small holding farm magazines. There are many, many of those, like "The New Pioneer", "Hobby Farms", etc. We also have lots of magazines on particular animals, especially goats and chickens. There are a large number of people who are trying to become more self sufficient and independent of the "rat race" lifestyle, for a variety of reasons. So the publishers put out magazines to take advantage of the increasing market.

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  8. Harry,

    It's good to run your washing machine keeping the water flowing through your pipes. We do the same, our washer is in a garage (which of course isn't insulated well at all). I usually run laundry late at night or early in the morning, and I have a tendency off washing towels and blankets more than once a week.
    We've also found (in this rental house) there's no proper ventilation in the one and only bathroom. We always make sure the door is left open when it's cold because there's no heat running through the bathroom. I purchased an oil heater for the bathroom to make sure the pipes stay warm and don't freeze.

    I've recently purchased "The New Pioneer", I like this magazine, I may have to purchase a subscription.

    Stay warm!

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    1. Sandy, I use just about every technique I know when it gets this cold, and I can avoid freeze ups as long as I don't forget to keep the water flowing in one way or other every six to eight hours. My pipes are two feet down, which was fine in the 1980's and 1990's, when we got snow and temps in the 20's, but never for long. The cold was always followed by a prompt warm up, and temperatures in the teens were remarkable. Now, they are routine, and two feet down in winter isn't deep enough for the pipes.

      I use a couple of those oil heaters, one in the shop and one in the apartment. They work well and I think they are more economical than the ceramic element type.

      I looked at "New Pioneer" and it seemed useful, but I already spend so much on survivalist and gun magazines, that I have had to start being a little selective and not just snatch something up off the shelf. Hearing that you like "New Pioneer" I think I will look at it again, I don't want to miss a good source of information.

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  9. Good idea on the laundry. It is bitter cold here too.

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  10. I knew you were going to get hit with some cold up there. I hope your power holds out.

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