Thursday, January 23, 2014
Gonna Be Another Rough Night
I certainly can't say last night and today were fun by any stretch. Mostly it remained reasonably comfortable inside the house but that has taken quite a bit of effort to keep it that way. Once again I would say I have burned through about a week's worth of firewood in only a few days but now that I see what I am dealing with it's much easier overall.
After a bit of trial and error I finally figured out it was better to nap in two hour stretches than three. Trying to push my slivers of sleep to three hours put me on the downside of the curve and made it that much harder to fight back the encroaching cold. Normally I load the wood stove in four hour amounts and then let it go a full six hours over night so you can easily see how going to two hour rotations really increases the wood use. However choosing to split up that freshly felled Locust and mix it in with the Oak has paid off and hits just about the perfect burn temp for dealing with these super low temperatures.
My inside grates though are taking a beating. When this is all over I am going to pull the back grate out and show you how much iron has been melted off it. At least one of my grates is going to need to be replaced after this Winter is finished.
I wonder if my biggest fan Beetle Baily will try and insinuate I should have foreseen melting my furnace grate? C'mon Beetle where ya been Buddy? No more anonymous words?
Anyway putting the remote thermometer in the basement has been my best idea this Winter. I can sit here at the cold weather command center and get accurate temperature readings from all over the house and farm and act accordingly. I have found that almost without fail the unheated basement is spot on 28 degrees warmer than the outside temperature. If the winds are high you can simply calculate half of the windchill effect and subtract that from the actual temperature then add the 28 and come out to the basement temperature as well.
I have tested this method all the way down to 29 degrees in the Basement once before turning on the emergency heater. It was 4 degrees outside with a windchill feel like temp of negative 2 at the time. So far so good except I have been violating my goal of surviving Winter with no external energy use. Of course in a grid down situation I wouldn't be worried about water pipes in the basement either which would mean we would just have to live with cold feet.
Last night during the peak wind blast and bottom end low of zero it was all I could do to keep the house at a constant 65 degrees. That was with 30+ MPH winds though after the wind dropped off to under 15 MPH earlier today it now sits at a balmy 10 degrees outside and 76.3 inside.
The wife is happy and that's the important part. That and since I was up and down all day I made dinner and did all the dishes and cleaned up her mess she left in the kitchen besides.
Tonight we are predicted to get a low of zero once again but with tapering winds and a high of 30-something tomorrow. Just got to get through one more night and then we will have another reprieve for a few days.
Right now I am most worried about my bees. Those girls gotta be going through some serious food resources right now. The long term forecast is saying maybe up into the 50's by Sunday so hopefully I will be able to top off the girl's emergency stores again.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!