frolicking bison

i probably should have waited on the last post, until i knew the full extent of the situation. new stuff has come to light.

  1. the steal frame of the airstream is an excellent thermal bridge. keeping the pipes from freezing inside the trailer, including the p-trap under the shower has been an ongoing challenge. a small heater under the sink and a heat lamp outside under the shower have gotten me through, but i’m a bit surprised that i didn’t consider this when putting the trailer together.
  2. you probably didn’t notice the tractor tire in the last post was flat. neither did i. i drove on it and quickly unseated it from the rim. after some good advice (thanks andy!!) i jacked it up, and used a ratchet strap to make it bulge enough that my compressor could get air into it. before and after: 
  3. the driveway still isn’t plowed, as the tractor wouldn’t start. which stinks because we’re supposed to get more snow tonight, the driveway is in a bad state, temperatures are supposed to drop significantly for the next week, and i’m worried the tire might deflate again. i spent an hour with a heat gun and heat lamp but eventually gave up. tomorrow i’ll be trying to purchase a block heater.
  4. friday morning the truck wouldn’t start. i think the cold slightly ruptured a fuel line. after an hour or so of messing around in the darkness and rain i found i just needed to pump the fuel filter a few times to pressurize it, which was a nice quick bandage, but will need a long term fix in the near future.
  5. we got above freezing for a few hours friday morning and had some rain. this rain came off the roof and directly on to the propane regulator. temperatures dropped a few hours later, freezing the regulator. this cut off my access to hot water. it took a while to figure this out, including getting a full new tank (the other tank is frozen to the ground, so i had no way to know if it was full or not). but then i just used the  heat gun to warm and dry it up. i was able to cook on the wood stove throughout, which was a very nice option to have.
  6. beer on the porch is slushing up somewhere near 15F, but is not exploding. it takes an unfortunately long time to thaw out in this state.
  7. on my way into town i watched some bison chasing each other in the snow. they looked extremely happy. it was one of the more appealing things i have seen in a long time. most critters have some sort of nest or den for the winter. bison don’t. it occurred to me that to thrive in this environment, without a  shelter, you literally need to be built like a bison — huge, hoofed, and covered in thick wool. the rest of us have to carry on making fires and fixing leaks.

all in all this has been a relatively minor cold streak, and i’ve spent most of my non-working hours just trying to keep basic things functioning. the fixes have all turned out to be relatively easy, but now i’m expecting to babysit them for at least another month. needless to say, i did not get that rustic farmhouse deck table built for cait today.

despite this list, i should note that my spirits have been reasonably high throughout. we don’t really have any other options. it’s too cold to be sad. i guess the only thing appealing about the situation is the struggle. and, unlike the summer heat, this is a surmountable struggle.

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