Sunday, January 27, 2013

Record Low Temperature in Thunder Bay

I suppose I should have changed the entry on that other post to read more like "Climate Change Comes to Thunder Bay". While it is unquestionably warmer than in the past here, there are occasional blips. We were treated to one this past week. It broke a new record cold temperature in the city. Mummu and Grandpa Oiva recorded forty below on their thermometer, which agrees with the general rule that we are 5-8 degrees cooler than the city up here in the bush and further from the lake.

We managed to survive in the yurts though. Donna stayed up rather late feeding the fire, while I got up once or twice during the night to revive it.

Even so, we are becoming use to sleeping in the yurts and allowing them to drop to the freezing mark. It certainly will be a luxury if our cabin can be made to keep us a few degrees warmer, and allow us to burn a little less wood.

These temperatures have really played havoc with our internal combustion engines. The truck refuses to even turn over. The car was the same, so I trotted out my backup battery and was able to start it in that fashion. After a day of jump starting the car at every stop, I traded out the car battery for my backup when we returned home. Now I'll use the old car battery to power the winch.

The large generator was unthinkable to start, as would be the tractor.

As I said, the smaller generator was broken. I believe the cold weather made the plastic brittle, and the recoil starter uses plastic for its main cam. I was shipped a replacement promptly, and it promptly broke! I had wanted to give a super-positive glowing review of this generator, as it is shockingly efficient (even if not so eco-friendly), but these two broken cams have been disheartening. I must say though that Guy at King Canada Generator division is a real prince! There is a third one in the mail for me...

Coinciding with this cold weather, I have begun to get a few service calls for my computer business. This has been re-assuring (and also was a good excuse to replace my workboots). Here are a pair of shameless plugs - KC Automotive and Recreation and Howie's Saw (and Woodmizer) both have asked me to help them set up websites that they themselves could edit and control easily. I have also done a number of calls for private parties too. Howie's Saw was also kind enough to offer me some extra work in the office from time to time. This will be a nice chance to reduce pressure on our finances, while still giving me lots of time and flexibility to continue with the homestead.

The past few days the temperature has warmed up quite a bit, beginning to bump against the ten and fifteen below marks. I decided to try to start the larger generator (120 pulls) and used it to pull in a few more logs for firewood.

Happiness is a full woodshed!

Unfortunately while skidding in the logs, I lost one of my brand-new chains!

Offering up a chocolate bar reward sure came through with results though - Kenny and I retraced my route, and with a cry of victory, he pounced on it after about a half hour of searching. He totally discovered it on his own, and earned a well-deserved treat.

Grandpa dropped by, feeling that the mild weather (?!) warranted a try at thawing the well. We poured down all the hot water we could find, with no effect. With the large generator running, it was decided to make one last attempt to use an electric kettle to see if that worked.

I boiled up a full kettle, and slowly poured it down into the hose (for a change), and, just as we gave up, water began to run out!

Breathless with excitement I ran to the yurts to grab our pails and then back to the well. We filled two buckets when suddenly the water turned murky. I'm not sure why, but a large amount of sediment suddenly came through. We dumped out the brown buckets, and ran the well dry in an attempt to get back to clear water.

I brought up the two full buckets to the yurts and we shut off the generator and pump. Hopefully as the well refills it will clear too.

Meanwhile, back at the yurts, a combination of a toasty warm yurt, and too many mugs of hot tea, drove me outside to answer the call of nature in a state of "relaxed dress". Of course, these temperature encourage one to not dilly-dally, so by the time I finished my business, I was ready to sprint back to the fire.

Thankfully Donna was ready with the camera to capture my abilty to maintain my dignity in any situation.

 

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