Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside

When I woke up this morning it was 12 degrees outside. It is now a balmy and positively smoldering 18 degrees. We are not projected to get above freezing today and haven't broken freezing all week. Supposedly, by Friday we are going to be skyrocketing up to a high of 37 degrees. Whoo Dolly! Break out the shorts!

When I went out to get water for the dishes yesterday, the nozzles wouldn't turn. It took me a second before the realization occurred that I shouldn't force them. It appears that all five of our 55 gallon drums are frozen solid. Complete ice boulders. When Jules and I first discussed attempting to pull off of city water for the majority of our household, this concept came up. However, it was dismissed because how on earth could our temperate zone get cold enough, long enough, without any rain/snow/freezing rain to cause a 55 gallon drum of water to freeze tight? We would be using them; water would be cycling. We don't get snow here, and even when we do, it isn't like it is that cold. Well, this year it is. Last year we had 3 weeks of completely snowed in. We're talking feet. Our city completely shut down. Even though we were going stir crazy (we were saved by a crazed break for the grocery store to pick up formula for the neighbors) we still had water.

It appears one of the drawbacks of having the barrels raised on a stand is that the frigid air can circulate around them, causing a complete lack of insulation. If they were placed directly on the ground, the dirt could keep the bottoms slightly warmer and possibly keep the lower portion of the barrel able to still freely flow. With some circulation you might be able to prevent the complete lock up of the system.

Luckily our auxiliary barrels get sun for about 6 hours a day. They have managed to thaw out in the centers enough for me to cycle some water and keep them running. It isn't as though the water doesn't come out of the tap, but in January we are going to attempt an even further removal from city water. We hadn't planned on the concept of having 85 percent of our water unattainable due to being frozen. If it thaws at all this next week, I'm going to attempt to acquire three more auxiliary barrels and fill them as fast as possible. This will put our total count at 12. Next year we might try to figure out a way to have them slow drip, however that might actually work out for the worst. If the water forms icicles and expands in the spigot, it could bust clean. We would have no way to fix the barrels or drain them. When the weather warmed the foundation of the house probably couldn't take that much water all at once.

So, for now, we will hunker down with our fire and slowly circulate any water we can. I will say, though, learning to live with the seasons puts you so much closer to what is actually going on around you. There is no denying just how cold it is outside (that would be hard to miss regardless). However, the time frame of the cold has a different perspective for me now. Before, it was just the flip of a household switch. We'd go to bed in a warm house, wake up in a warm house, and only experience the cold when going to and from the car. To realize that in almost 168 hours the temperature hasn't been above 32 degrees is a concept which would have been foreign to me before now. Nature now impacts my life daily, time has a new feeling, and I'm experiencing the world through a new perspective.

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