If you have been watching the weather on the news lately (and who hasn't?) you know that the upper Midwest has been going in and out of the arctic deep freeze for weeks. Here in Minnesota we normally have cold winters, but even for us, it has been record-breaking. Yesterday it was 20 below zero (F) at dawn, and it never got above zero all day.
The dogs went out, did their business, and came right back in within minutes, looking at me as if to say, "Do you really expect me to stay out in that?" No, I don't. All ten of our cats are in the house now, too, and showing no sign of wanting to go outside. Who can blame them? We are all beginning to feel that "snow" and "cold" really are four-letter words.
The chickens, geese and guineas are snug inside their coop, which I designed with a passive solar collector on the south side that helps keep their water liquid during the day. Out of the wind with the sun shining in, the air inside is actually above freezing at noon. Still, I have to go down there and empty all the waterers at sundown, or they will be frozen solid by morning.
|Snow on top of my sukkah frame --|
I hope it doesn't collapse it like
it did a few years ago.
The pipes to the shower are in a outside wall, so we are just about guaranteed to have days with no water there -- meaning you try the faucets in the morning and take showers when the water flows. This morning the shower was frozen but the sink was still running, so I washed up and did the dishes. Three hours later, there was no water, period. Hence the title of this post: Melt Snow, Carry Water.
|The bird feeders have been busy --|
this downy Woodpecker
is a regular visitor.
I am finding that it takes about 5 times the snow to make one unit of water. Luckily I have a lot of big pots and kettles from canning and pickling, so I fill these with snow, then haul them in on a sled. To save propane, I let the pots just sit at room temperature until I need some water. The snow packs down as it melts, making slush that I can put in a smaller pot to warm as needed. It's a lot of work, but we are surviving. Snow might shut down Washington D.C., but here in Minnesota we know how to deal with the white stuff. As the saying goes, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
|Missy Cat has the right idea:|
Stay inside and find a sunny window!
In spite of all the hassles, the snow can be beautiful, and offers some interesting photographic opportunities. Every other day we have been getting another inch or two, refreshing the landscape and adding to some interesting natural sculptures, like the "loaf of bread" below. I take my cell phone along when I go out there, though, and I tell my wife where I'm going and when I expect to be back. A fall or other mishap in this cold can be very dangerous.
That's all for now -- I've got to log off and go melt enough water to last me through the Sabbath (when we don't cook things) -- so stay warm, stay safe, and have faith: Spring WILL come! Shabbat Shalom!
|That's not a giant loaf of bread -- |
just snow piled on top of my potting bench!