Bitter cold, and sad news

The cold snap that has been working its way across the prairies has hit us.

It was -31C/-23F, with a wind chill of -39C/-38F this morning. At the time I write this, we have warmed up to -29C/-20F with a wind chill of -31C/-23F. The weather alert on my app is still saying wind chills may reach between -40C/F to -50C/-58F. !!!

Hard to believe that, tomorrow, we’re supposed to warm up to -9C/15F!

Heading out to feed the critters meant layering up. Two pairs of socks in my new, rated to -40C, winter boots. Two pairs of pants. A t-shirt under my sweatshirt. A hoodie – hood up – under my down filled park – also hood up! and double layered insulated gloves.

I was rather impressed when I saw this under the door.

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It's warmed up a bit…

Of course, that’s a relative statement.

When I got up this morning, it was -33C/-27F with a “feels like” of -42C/-44F.

I’m happy to say that the van handled the temperatures quite well. Yes, we’ve been diligent in maintenance and improvements as much as we can, but it’s still a 15 yr old vehicle with almost 430,000 km on it, so I’m always going to be paranoid about that thing. :-/

Motivated by the temperatures, I stayed up last night to finish a shrug I was crocheting for myself. When my upper back gets cold, it triggers my chronic cough, so I just wanted a little something to throw on while around the house. I am wearing it right now, and feeling nice and toasty!

I think this is the first time I’ve deliberately made something, just for myself. 😀

The Re-Farmer

How things are this morning

After our adventure last night, I’m rather impressed by my current lack of pain this morning! 🙂 I expected to at least be stiffening up by now, but at the moment, there’s just some minor tension in my neck and shoulders. I’m taking pain killers, anyway, but that’s really more for my arthritis.

I really don’t know a whole lot about my mother’s car, but my older brother had tried to help her with it a lot over the years, and knows it a lot better than I do. I wasn’t able to fill him in on what happened last night, but he was able to take a few minutes from work and call me this morning.

I was reminded of another reason it’s a good thing this happened in my mother’s car, and not our van.

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Explosive!

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!

😀

The Re-Farmer

addendum:

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.

Nothing.

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!

Well, that’s not good

The formation of icicles outside our bathroom window was noted recently.

Since that window looks into the sun room, not outdoors, this is something that should not be happening.

My first thought was condensation, but after thinking about it for a bit, I realized that didn’t make sense.

So when I went out to do the cat stuff this morning, I remembered to check out the window from the other side.

I found this.

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So much for predictions

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It seems that every morning, when I check the weather, the cold snap keeps getting pushed further and further into the upcoming days. We should have been in the low -20s and high minus teens by now, but instead I woke up to -31C with a wind chill of -42C, and the cold is now supposed to continue through Monday. Last Monday, it was supposed to extend until today, then start warming up.

Ugh.

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Let it snow

Whoops. I started a draft with this screen capture on my phone, then moved to my desktop to finish it – only to find the WordPress app on my phone published it instead of leaving it in draft.

Ah, well.

As you can see, our temperatures have plummeted overnight, and that wind chill is pretty nasty! I’m happy to say, however, that this is no longer accurate. The Weather Network says we are -24C, with a wind chill of -37C, and we will continue to warm up. Over the next while, we should be in the low -20s and high minus teens.

One thing about living in the boonies. The weather is a much more serious subject than when we were living in the city, where even if we couldn’t get out ourselves, we could get things like groceries and even prescriptions delivered, is absolutely necessary!

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So… we’re home again

We didn’t make it to the city.

Yes, things have warmed up. We’re a “balmy” -24C, with a wind chill of -36C right now. However, we haven’t warmed up long enough for the van to notice.

It started well enough. We even drove it the couple of miles to the general store to pick up the mail, deer feed and bird seed.

By then, I had to make a decision.

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