Monday, September 24, 2018

Revising the Crawlspace Vents

Since we first built the cabin, I have made it a biannual tradition to suit up, crawl under the floor and either open or close the vents in each corner.

I curse, struggle, swear (quietly) and then return to the land of humans spent and crusty.  Finally this year I decided to try to change that, even if only slightly.

Originally I hadn't thought much of it - I had the screens mounted flush with the outside of the cinder blocks, and would crawl up to each one under the cabin and push foam into the space behind them.  Or pull it out, depending on the season.

The original setup - screen flush with the outside of the blocks.
Finally last year I realized that if I had had the foresight to mount the screen flush with the INSIDE of the blocks, I could be pushing the foam in from the outside, where I only need to crawl under six feet of deck in the great outdoors, rather than six feet of dusty rock in the pitch black.

Assembling my tools.
Looks about right for going down below.
Once again I went under inside this year and caulked in new screens as flush as possible to the inside of the blocks.  This was frustrating enough but hopefully it's the last time I need to do it in this manner.

A few days later, I lay down a tarp in the corner of the cabin under the porch, and crawled up to the screen.  It took a bit of work with a hammer and elbow grease, but I managed to break the outer screens off the blocks and clean them up.  Then I measured some cedar board to line the entire cavity, and spray foamed around them to try to ensure a good seal.

Tearing out the old screen.
The new screen was too tight, I had to flex it into position.  Hopefully unintended consequences of this don't return to bite me.
Boxed in nicely, ready for the outside foam plugs.
In the next week or so, I'll stuff the openings full of additional foam to seal up the crawlspace for this freezing season.  Hopefully this process will be much less frustrating than having to go under the cabin itself.

If only I could figure out a way to drain the water lines without having to go under the cabin either.  If only...

Sunday, September 23, 2018

...And First Snowfall of the Season!

Yesterday we attended the NOHE to help us have a better background in the ins and outs of being a small landlord.  Afterwards we dropped by on one of our tenants to put up some blinds for them and have a bbq (as well as to enjoy their shower!)

They mentioned once or twice that there was supposedly a chance of snow overnight.  I saw the same thing on the local news broadcast just before pastry time as well, but it was really hard to imagine it.

At two a.m. this morning I woke up to a tingly bladder, and noted that the scene outside the patio doors was unusually bright - likely due to the nearly full moon (no, not mine - the real one - I do wear at least underpants at night!)

As you can imagine, without my glasses, I couldn't see accurately, but upon sober second look, things weren't the same...  shape...  outside.  I put on my spectacles to be treated to, well, a spectacle!  Everything was covered in a thick layer of snow.

I lay down, not sure if the proper reaction was excitement or dread - my body didn't really care, it feels both of those emotions the same way.  I decided that it wasn't anything I couldn't handle.  I still would like to have more wood put up for NEXT winter, but at least this winter should be covered for the most part.

An Aiki tradition - the annual marking of the first snow in Donna's windscreen.

I didn't realize how much we seem to have a used car lot here!
Now I have to go through my mental checklist of things to ensure I'm prepared for.  Bring in things that shouldn't be left out for the season...  Find the ladder and set it up to sweep off the solar panels.  Find the broom for the solar panels.  Dig out the oldest pile of humanure to make sure there is lots of room for this season's contributions.  Maybe take a trip or two down the bush trail and bring in some logs that have fallen across the trail.

At least the pond didn't freeze - today.  I think it was frozen yesterday though.
It's likely best for me to make this list elsewhere, as it is sure to grow throughout the day.

A close up.  Is that a patio chair there?!  Another thing to put away!
Where are my winter boots?
Sauna looks very wintery!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

First Fire of the '18-'19 Season!

Whelp, I was hoping it would never come, but here it is.

This morning it was 17.7 in the cabin, and I can see that at this moment it is 0.0 outside.

In an effort to promote and maintain familial happiness, I finally put a match to paper and wood and lit the first fire of our season.  It has currently warmed the cabin to over 18, but it's not roaring for some reason.  I put in some large chunks of well seasoned birch, so at least it should go for awhile.

Not bad for a 5am picture!  Note the electric heater which supplements in late afternoon when the sun is still strong and the batteries are almost floating.
The main woodshed is full, which is nice.  The sauna woodshed is three quarter's full, which is honestly, more full than it's been at the start of any given season, so there's that.

Slightly worryingly is that the wood pile for the '19-'20 season has only just begun - hopefully in the remainder of the month and up to Christmas, I can take advantage of the Brrr Months to get some wood put up for next year.

At least I can warm up large quantities of water now without using butane or watching the power levels 😀!