Mother nature, I know you are reading this. So this is for you…I dare you…no, double dare you….nope, I triple dog dare you to break me and have me beg for it to stop snowing. I know you are a tough old gal and have many tricks up your sleeve, but I am ready. Give me all you got! Not just this week, or this month, but in any time frame. I promise that I will admit defeat if you are able to break me. But I doubt you can.
Tough talk I know, but I really do mean it. I am ready. I probably have not been more ready to be snowed into submission than the first year I lived up here. I do have to admit that I am probably as set to handle the snows as I have ever been. Big Red is all set to go, the truck has new tires on it. All of my needed outdoor chores are done and the fact that I will not have to trudge through the snow and cold to feed the wood boiler. No more laying down in bed for the night, having my head hit the pillow and remembering that I still need to load the boiler! It was a great piece of equipment to heat the house and shops, as well as hot water, but I sure do not miss having to go out in the brutal cold and wind to load it. The other silver lining is that it looks like we will probably end up spending less to heat with our new setup than we did using wood.
It’s still early and we have not had any bitterly cold air, but there was some pretty chilly temps in mid-November and we have had enough need for heat that I am able to do a rough comparison. Since the new take was charged with fuel back on October 28th, we have used around 30 gallons of propane. That is roughly 50 dollars. In that same time frame, we would have used nearly a cord of firewood at the price of $125-130 a cord. So not only has all the work been removed, but new setup is going to save us money! While I cannot say for sure, I believe that the fact that the water had to travel around 150 feet from the boiler to the house and lost heat during the entire trip to and from, is the biggest reason for the savings. I know that there was quite a bit of heat lost from that traveling of the boiler water. The snow would always melt some where the pipes were buried. The pipes were insulated, but even with the best insulation, there is still going to be heat loss. Of course when we started using the wood boiler, we got our wood for free, so it was free heat. Things change.
It was a pretty quiet week as far as the weather goes up here this past week. It was a nice break from all the rain and snow that we had in the 3-4 weeks leading up to last week and allowed for me to get the last of the outdoor chores done in decent weather. With the conclusion of main firearm deer season Thursday, the pups and I were also able to take to the woods Friday and did just that. There were still a few patches of snow left, but for the most part, the woods were nice and dry. Most of the puddles that had formed with the wet weather earlier were able to disappear and the melting of the snow did not really make things too wet. It was very comforting to get back into the woods. The stillness and tranquility is something that is very good for my soul. We did pay a visit to Old Granddad. He was still standing proud and seemed to be all ready for winter. Some of you must be pretty tired of me sharing pics of him, but for some reason, that tree is very special to me. Much like the Keweenaw is. I cannot say exactly why in either case, but am grateful that I have both in my life.
In addition to the lack of precip this week, we also had some rare November sunshine. Some days gave us almost completely clear skies, while others allowed us some nice glimpses of the sun. Coming out of the Calumet Coliseum Friday night after Grace’s skating lesson, we were treated to a magnificent sunset. We don’t get too many that look like that this time of the year. I also caught glimpses of what was a magnificent sunrise we had this morning. I had let the pups out after breakfast and saw a beautiful red-orange glow off to the southeast.
A fairly monumental thing did happen at the Dee compound this week. On Friday, the folks that bought the wood boiler came to take it away. As much as I am not missing having to load it twice a day, I will miss it. It was a fixture for longer than we lived here. Put in around a month before we moved in and has been here since. So it was bittersweet to see it being carried away and is a little strange to look over to the spot it kept for the past 11 years and see only a bare slab and a couple of pipes coming up from the ground. Again, things change.
As mentioned, Big Red was fitted with his snowblower and is all ready to go. I took advantage of the nice weather to get the loader taken off and the blower put on. I also added a nice feature, an electric powered chute adjuster. I did not have to adjust the elevation of the snow coming out of the blower much, especially when I do our driveway, but clearing the ice rink did find me having to get out of the cap and adjusting it manually more than I wanted to! The funny thing is, I have had that attachment for about 2 seasons now, but just never got around to putting it on. Being one of those persons that prefers to do as much as they can themselves does have it’s consequences!
This afternoon I had to head over to the groomer barn for a bit and Gracie said she was bored, so she accompanied me. It was a huge thrill for her to get up close and personal with the huge machines and she even got to climb up into the cab and take one for a spin. I promised that we would go on a ride-along sometime this winter.
Just prior to our trip to the groomer barn, Gracie, the pups and I went for a little stroll in the woods. She had a girlfriend over yesterday and the two of them did some playing in the woods and discovered a frozen “pond”. I know that we do not have any real ponds in our woods and if we did, she would have been instructed to never go on it until I said she could, but there were stories of them having fun on the ice, so this afternoon she took me out to see it. There was talk of her getting her skates on and skating around on it, but I was able to persuade her to wait for the outdoor rink to open up! Speaking of outdoor ice, the parking lot that I showed in a previous entry is now ice free. I do not know if it was done naturally or if salt was put on the ice to melt it, but they are back to bare pavement…for now. Our parking area actually still has a few ice patches on it, we’ll see what the rain does to that tomorrow.
So the ground is mostly bare right now, but that will change soon. There is currently a winter storm watch posted for our area. We look to see rains tomorrow and then those rains will change to snow tomorrow night or early Tuesday morning and then it looks like the lake snow guns will open up on us by Tuesday and continue for the rest of the week and possibly into the weekend. The snows will likely come down pretty hard at times and given the fact that they are suppose to occur almost non-stop for 7 days, I have a hard time seeing us not get at least 2 feet of snow, perhaps more. It also looks like much of the Midwest will see at least some snow fall in the coming week, along with all areas seeing the coldest air of the season take over. So hope you all are as ready for winter as I am!
Good night from the Keweenaw..