Sun on Snow
It is an absolutely gorgeous morning. It’s been several days of trying to keep ahead of plunging and then steadily below zero temperatures. This morning I went out to find the sun shining brightly across the snow in crystal clear and yes still frigid air. the golden quality seemed to promise the high of 14F we are anticipating today, moving on to a ridiculous 49F midweek before plunging again into more seasonal temperatures.
That fickle nature of CNY weather, and I expect most northern states of the US, is what makes many folks complain, and fantasize about, if not actually, move out. It fits my personality. I guess I get bored easily.
It is fun to bemoan and worry over the bad weather. It is also amusing to contemplate our reactions. Zero F and below are not unusual here. What is unusual is an extended high of zero. keeping the house warm is problematic, but you can always put on more clothes or an extra blanket, or pull up another dog or cat, or both. Keeping the water from freezing is another story. If the wind blows from the wrong direction, watch out.
The problems are multifaceted. Modern housing has been built with the idea that we will have central heat and continuous electricity. If the power goes out, or you can’t afford that extra tank of oil/propane/kerosene you have a problem. Plumbing is installed with the idea that you will have that central heat and will crank it to a Floridian level. I am in the planning stages of retrofitting my house to be like a seasonal ADK camp. In the mean time it means strategically place electric heaters (see note about power above) and letting the faucets drip to keep them from freezing. in addition we no longer get the snow pack that traditionally would seal and insulate the foundations of our houses.
Yesterday I spent the day thawing pipes, and just when I succeeded the power went out. Faucets don’t drip once the pressure goes down. The heat tapes on my main water pipe won’t work without power, and the heat from the wood stove won’t move well through the house without the fan. I am working on that. There is a fan that works on via the heat given off by the top of the stove. On the other hand, without electricity, a furnace wouldn’t work either.
To keep warm I like to read about people who manage to deal with real cold weather. One January I read about the Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition, and what a saga of endurance it was! This year I am reading about a woman who homesteads in Alaska, 45 miles from her nearest neighbor. It kind of puts our idea of hardship in its place. Of course I really needn’t go any farther than my Cousin Ken who has modern day experience of living in a camp in the ADK’s with an outhouse for the sanitary facility.
I sometimes recollect stories from my Dad about what he and my Uncles did for entertainment in the winter. My grandchildren do not seem willing to try a snow bath after a sauna with me.