Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Jack Frost Nips At Toes, Noses, and Much, Much, More

We are having some cold weather again.  The temps are in the single digits and our wind chills are way below zero, so outside isn't much fun.  We do what we have to do and as quickly as possible.  K has been out several times today pushing snow.  It gets too cold for him and he'll come in to warm up before heading out again.  He loves 'playing in the snow,' so this is very much out of character.  Usually, he will spend hours going up and down the street, clearing as many driveways as he can before he gets too tired.  Not today.

Living in the cold north, we have learned a few things about dealing with frigid temps.  Driving in snowy conditions, of course, is a challenge for us, but we're pretty used to it by now.  As long as you keep your speed reasonable, you can pretty much get anywhere you need to be.  Our road commissions are quite good at keeping the roads open and, for the most part, at least one lane in both directions is fairly well maintained even during the harshest of conditions.  Again, if you are driving reasonably, there should be no problem.

We deal with icy conditions, too.  Black ice is the most treacherous, as it is next to impossible to see.  To combat this, our roads are always covered in a mixture of sand and salt.  No matter what time of the year, or how cold it gets, we drive through car washes regularly--that salt eats away at vehicles like nobody's business.  We use special salt to melt the ice on our porch and steps outside, too.  One thing people who don't deal with this don't realize, however, is that salt can't be used when the temp is too low.  It actually creates more problems than it solves, as the melted ice will freeze quickly in the low temps, causing even bigger problems that you had to begin with.

One of the biggest problems we have right now is the shortage of propane, which many people use to heat their homes.  The price of a gallon of propane has risen more than $1.50 a gallon since November--and even if you want (need) to pay that, you can't get the amount you might desire.  Right now, some companies aren't letting anyone get more than 100 gallons of fuel at a time.  Your tank has to have less than a certain per cent of fuel for them to sell any to you.  To fill up a tank in November, I know someone who spent $800--in December they spent $1000, for less than what they got the month before.  Within two weeks time, they had bought themselves a pellet stove and will be using the propane for supplemental heating, rather than their primary heat source.  This is absolutely insane.  And there is nothing we can do about it.

With the cold temps, there are times when I miss our wood-burning stove.  The heat that thing pushed out was so different and nice and I truly loved how warm the house was when we had it.  I often romanticize how nice it would be to have a wood fire again and then reality hits.  I can't go back to the amount of work involved in keeping a wood fire going.  I hated the mess of cleaning the stove and chimney.  Bringing wood into the house was awful--not only would I have allergy symptoms at times, but many, many bugs would find their way out of hibernation as soon as they warmed up in our house.  YUCK!  And I never felt completely safe with the wood stove:  I ALWAYS was waiting for a chimney fire to start.  So, I guess I'll suck it up and turn the thermostat higher and pay more to keep warm.  At least we're able to afford it--THANKFULLY!!!!


meleahrebeccah said...

It's been CRAZY cold over here too. But I'm not complaining. I love the winter. And I love having 2 fireplaces in the house, although I do wish they were wood-burning, not gas.

chrkos said...

We are doing okay here in our house, too. As long as I don't HAVE to leave the house, I don't really mind the cold that much--I just worry for those who are struggling with keeping their houses warm.

meleahrebeccah said...

Yeah. Totally.