Monday, December 09, 2013

Thaw Please

Ok, I'm over the cold spell. Let it be done I say.  Supposedly its about 12 degrees out right now, which would seem warm by comparison to yesterday morning.  I need to get my car working and go get some food.

Cat food to be specific.  Some vegees would be nice also.

Whine.  Whine.  I have a couple of sweet potatoes left, and plenty of canned food, ramen for emergencies, and rice and beans.  I could probably survive months here on the ramen alone.  I'm a fruit and vegee eater, by and large.   I made cabbage and potato soup yesterday, enough to last four meals.  So I'm really just fine.  I've just got cabin fever.

When you're stranded with no way to get to a grocery store, because the closest one is miles away, you start to think about survival.  My tendonitis and leg muscle issues are no help right now.

I could walk the miles to the store, but carrying back heavy items is not something I can do with my current injuries.

So far no luck on finding a "volunteer" to take me to the store and to get a new car battery.

Last night the cold felt colder.  I couldn't figure out why.  Then I realized it was a wetter cold I was feeling.  I hung blankets across the garage door windows.  Yesterday I fashioned my own snow plow out of a 2x4 and piece of osb to clear part of the driveway.  I figure if I do that, with sun today, the bare concrete can soak up some heat around the house and help out some.

The Snow Plow

Driveway mostly cleared.
Sure I'm worried about the electric bills to come, in December and January, and how I'll pay for the warmth I enjoy with the extreme cold outside.  The space heater going in the garage for the colony cats is also on my mind, because those amp up the electric bill considerably.  I have a much better idea now for if this happened again, and I had cats in the garage.
Space heater, hung from cage side in trap inside Catlandia

Huckleberry inside Catlandia this morning.

But the heat in the house also kept my pipes (so far) from rupture, a fate others have not escaped.   There will be lots of people scrambling to find ways to pay for heating after this episode.  I won't be alone in that struggle at least.  This is a very rare cold event for Oregon.

My neighbors' pipes froze.  She came over wanting water.  I gave her three liter bottles I had for emergencies and later she came and filled up some big empty cat litter jugs, with more, for flushing the toilet.  She seemed a little put out that my pipes aren't frozen too.  I said, "Yeah, but my car is dead and yours isn't."  She then could see that life is fair and all was well.

Lucky though I guess that my pipes did not rupture and that I have had power throughout this weather event.   If power had gone out, not only would life have been very very cold, but how then would you keep pipes from freezing?  I guess I would have turned off the water to the house and drained every line and left them all open.  I guess I would have had to also drain the water heater, saving only enough water for drinking, to unfreeze if necessary, on my camp stove.

I try not to think about the suffering animals are going through in this cold including many many stray and feral cats in this area.  Many have died, I know.  There is nothing at all I can do about that at this moment, however.

It's good to think about these things, to better plan for the next such event.  There is always another.

If power went out for a lengthy time, how would I charge my cell phone? It's not a huge deal for me because I get few calls anyway.  My car's cigarette lighter outlet has never worked.  Twice I replaced it and then I gave up.  Seems it was one of those problems of that year with this car.  So I cannot charge my cell phone or run anything else with a power converter off the car battery.  I need to remedy that.  I can also get a cheap power portable source.  They have them at Walmart.  You plug them in to charge them up and then you can carry them, to charge your phone.  There are also cell phone solar chargers out, some better than others.

If I can ever save the money, I think I will get a 12V car battery power converter, one of the larger ones you hook to the battery terminals and it converts 12V DC to 110 household power, with plug in outlets.  You can at least charge a car battery by running the car if you have gas. And later, maybe i can get some solar panels, that would charge a 12V battery.  I've seen setups where you charge a 12V battery using an alternator and a bike, but you have to have some extras, add ons, and it all costs money.  I know how to make a washing machine that you can spin with a bike or by hand now though, thanks to the internet, if I ever needed to do that.  In warm areas, where organics ferment faster, I could use cat poop or my poop, or my food waste, in a tank to produce methane for lighting, but the climate needs to be warmer than ours here in Oregon.   I'll never be able to afford a gas or diesel generator.

Probably be next week now, that the Catlandia cats leave for their new home.  Finally.  Once everything at the farm where they will soon call home, has thawed too.

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