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Thursday, January 09, 2014

Surviving the Polar Vortex

We went all Ma and Pa Ingalls. 

As you may have come to understand, this house was built by extreme amateurs. The frame is sound, but the mistakes made are. . . Well. . . Troublesome. The window frames are crooked, the siding was installed upside down, they didn't put decking in before laying the metal roof, the floor is not tongue and groove so seams are splitting. But it's a start and a roof over our heads.

It has been difficult to keep the house warm and dry. The metal condensates profusely. Raining down on the plastic sheeting we put up, eventually causing the sheeting to condensate or split open and rain down on us. So it has been fun just keeping up with that.

When news reached us, two days before hand, that we were not only looking at air temps in the -7F range, but wind chill of -25 to -40F Husband and I quickly went on the offensive. 

We got a couple of bales for the cows and sheep. Unlike popular belief, we get some nasty wind down here in the holler. Remember me mentioning the wind tunnel effect? And as we don't have a barn, there is little for the cows to hunker down and find shelter. The trees here aren't the best of wind blocks unless you are as skinny as the tree you are hiding behind. Plus the cows followed a deer trail and ended up at Small Farm Girl's place, a bale was incentive for them to stop roaming. And it worked. 

Next I suggested to Husband that we have Medium and Small bunk together, let Large have Medium's bed and Husband and I take over Large's. That way we could contain the heat to one medium sized room rather than trying to fight a losing battle heating the entire house. Instead, Husband moved the picnic table that is used as our dinning room table and put our oversized bed in its place. Now all five of us are sleeping in the kitchen/living room area.

We then stapled the same plastic sheeting we are using for the ceiling to the ceiling. . . Huh?. . .and then draped it to the floor. Creating a wall between us and the rest of the house. We managed to heat the large new bedroom/eating area to a balmy 66F on the coldest night. The bathroom however was not in the heating zone. Brrrrr! Eeek!

Have you seen the movie "The Day After Tomorrow" ? The scene in the library where they can see the frost coming and they are running to a fire place, and when they slam the door shut the frost crawls through the cracks freezing the inside of the door, and the frame? 

Well I watched it happen in person, not memorex. Our front door, not in the heating zone, was covered in frost. The windows frozen on the inside, the door handle and deadbolt glimmering. It was freaky. Just on the other side of the thin sheet of plastic was a winter wonderland. Ok, maybe not that bad, but anything that was damp was now frosted. On the worst night I contemplated a chamber pot, as venturing to the bathroom could take your breath away, and sitting on that seat. . . Oh my!

The differences in the rooms was amazing. If anyone complained about being too hot, they merely needed to cross the barrier and the complaints ceased. 

But we survived, warm and comfortable.

I loathe this house, but it is what we have for now. If I knew what would be happening, I would have waited to move.


Donna said...

Gad to hear you folks were able to stay warm.Where there's a will,there's way!

Sandy said...

Be careful, and stay warm. I think we all have had enough of the cold, snow, and ice. It's time spring hurry's up and gets here.

You had no idea how much work was needed before you arrived at the cabin. Now that winter has exposed those things needing repair come spring you'll be on top of it.

Deidre said...

I have a very dear memory of something similar when I was a kid. We all piled in the kitchen which had the large wood burning stove. At one point the electricity went out and the water pump froze. In the warm glow of the stove, we sang, we had hot chocolate and told ghost stories. My Mother said it was one of the most fearful nights. I remember it as being an adventure. You are making memories! Glad you made it through safe!

Harry Flashman said...

I would imagine you had it rough. We are not set up for this kind of cold either. Sounds like you all did very well and made it through. Good head work.

West Tx at Heart said...

You are the Queen of making Lemonade out of Lemons. It truly is your quality.

FancyHorse said...

I wondered how you were doing. I'm glad you made it, and hope there's no more of this polar weather. Too bad you're the only female; I guess that does keep you from lingering in the "powder room"!

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