Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Way We Spend Our Days

Winter has descended on us unexpectedly early. Well, perhaps not "winter", but let's say we had an unseasonal cold snap that left everyone in the Valley scrambling. The temperatures dropped to all time record lows for four days in a row. The mercury dropped to -10 C (14 F) overnight on Saturday.

The grapes in the many vineyards around us had ripened early, due to a wonderful summer and a warm September. Grape harvest doesn't usually begin until late October. Now vineyard owners are working desperately against the clock to get frozen grapes in within 48 hours, before they begin to spoil.

In the garden, frost has claimed the tender plants though the brassicas have perked up and are exceeding cheerful in the chill. (More so than me.)

Before it froze I gathered in about 20 pounds of green tomatoes, mainly from the "cherry" type vines, which were loaded with tomatoes. I brought three plants inside, garlic chives, parsley and my pink mini-rose. These are on the kitchen table where they get an hour or so of sun a day, when it's sunny. It won't be enough, but it's all I can do at the moment.

We were not physically or psychologically prepared for winter. We had to quickly pack summer shorts and tee-shirts and dig out the winter clothes. We made a trip to town for a new thermostat, insulation, weatherstripping and various bits 'n bobs to keep us from becoming aged popsicles this winter.

This is the simple life. But even a cave needs a sweep and the stalagmites dusted now and again. Our little home needs constant attention. I think a very small place probably needs as much upkeep as a larger place, simply because the "wear" is concentrated in a smaller area.

We've started putting up the storm windows, to be specific we have put up one storm window. "Storm windows" in this case being that heat shrink film you tape to the sill and then tighten with heat from the hair drier. In our case it takes a while, as it's a big job for my wonky arms.

The window frames in this unit are aluminum, with no thermal break between outside and inside, so they conduct cold inside, and can even develop a layer of ice on very cold days. The difference between cold and heated air creates an uncomfortable draft. This year, rather than attaching the window film to one of the inside fins of the metal frame, leaving the outer frame exposed, I decided to add a weatherstripping gasket around the outer frame, and put the storm window plastic on top of it. Eureka! This is much better! There's no draft, and the air next to the window is as warm as the air next to the wall!

So, we need to put up storm windows, put the insulation (a layer of Reflectix) on the inside of the front door, put some additional weatherstripping on the back door, since we had a two inch build-up of ice on the bottom of the door last winter. I won't subject you to the rest of the List. It is endless, or seems so when you are underwhelmed by your ability to accomplish much in a day.

This morning I was walking the cat, and noticed that the earth along the skirting at the back right side of the trailer was wet. When we finished our walk I came back with my hoe and pulled back the top layer of dirt. It's wetter the deeper you go. We must have a leaking waterline. Oh joy.

This is a more or less fix now situation. The skirting will have to come off, the line will have to be dug up. The RV Repairman will have to be called, as this is not a job we are capable of tackling.

And so, off I go, to make the calls, to do the chores, to trace the steps that will bring me to close of day. The way we spend our days....


newwaytowrite said...


Get cozy. Stay warm and dry.

We are finally getting some rain. I wanted to do a dance when it finally arrived but I woke to a seized muscle in the centre of my back. OH JOY! NOT!

I had a sore back expert in the house and he kindly had me out of bed. On the floor with my feet on a chair, wrapped me in a sleeping bag and with a heating pad and two Advil I stopped screaming pain.

Who knew such pain could make you so tired.

Glad the pain is gone though.

Thomas said...

The poor farmers. I've always held somewhat of a romantic view of farming...the really seems much more treacherous.

Stay warm! We had our first frost a few days ago and it seems as though the weather will not be warming up anytime soon.

Great post Deb!