Temperatures continue to be on the cold side. Last night, we were supposed to reach a low of -27C (-16F), with a windchill of -34C (-29F) – at least that’s what The Weather Network predicted. My phone’s app was predicting low of -24C (-11F). Either way, bitterly cold.
Our high for today is supposed to warm up to -17C (1F) with a windchill of -23C (-9F), so warmer than yesterday, but still a day I would have stayed home, if I didn’t have to go into town to pick up prescription refills. I made sure to start the van near the end of my rounds, to let it warm up a bit before I headed out. Yes, it was plugged in, but I still didn’t want to take it out before the engine had a chance to warm up at least a little bit. I still have bad memories of a cracked engine block (on a rental with no block heater)!
One of the things I started doing years ago, back when we were living in the city, where it wasn’t unusual for me to be heading out sometimes 3 times a day for various things, was keep water bottles in the van. I used to keep them in an insulated grocery bag until we finally found a really nice cooler that fit between the seats. Though we don’t go out anywhere near as often as we used to, it’s still been handy to keep the cooler in the van, with a few water bottles. In the summer, when we go into the city to do our monthly shop, we can put ice packs in it for our insulated grocery bags with frozen items, or those that need refrigeration. Sometimes, when I’m getting gas, there are really good deals on energy drinks, like 4 for $7, so I’ll get a bunch and put the bag in the cooler with the water bottles, just to have them handy for days when we’re heading out and feel the need for one.
This morning was one of those days.
Back in the van after locking the gate behind me, I remembered the drinks in the cooler and reached back to grab one.
The first thing that came to mind when I opened the lid was “hmm… the lid wasn’t closed.” It was down, but not pushed all the way.
The next thing that came to mind as I dug into the bag for a drink was, “what the heck is that? That’s not a can.”
So I got out of the van so I could check the cooler from the side door.
I was wrong. It was, indeed, a can.
An exploded can!
Yup. It got cold enough last night for the cans to burst!
Now, we’ve had things survive just fine in colder temperatures – yes, they froze, but they didn’t burst. How full the cooler is makes a difference, too. When it’s almost completely full, the water bottles at the top and bottom would freeze completely, while the ones in the middle would still have liquid water in them. But with the lid not pushed all the way down, it was enough for things to get messy!
After I got home, I made sure to bring the cooler inside.
The damage was not as extensive as I thought. Only 2 cans exploded.
Two more cans, plus the remaining water bottles, were frozen solid, but intact.
I guess the take away from this is 1) make sure there’s more bottles and cans in the cooler, and 2) make sure that lid is pushed all the way down!
Otherwise, things can get messy!
After publishing the above post, I went to check the files on the memory card from the trail cam. Yesterday, knowing the cold had already brought the battery level down to one bar, even though fresh batteries had been put in just a couple of days earlier, I brought the camera inside and switched out a new set of batteries. The previous set, now warmed up, will be switched back again later.
When I checked the trail cam this morning, I saw the battery level was down to 1 bar already, so I was curious to see how many files were made before the camera shut itself off due to low power.
There were no files.
That means that the fresh, room temperature batteries I’d put in became too cold to power the camera before anything triggered the motion sensor. And I know it should have been triggered at least twice. As I was heading out, I saw tracks in the snow showing that someone had backed into our driveway to turn around, as well as tracks from (most likely) my brother’s dog going through, including the smudge in the snow where he squeezed under the gate.
Even with two months of bitter cold last year, this is the first time I’ve had this happen to the batteries in the trail cam!