January 8th, 2017


Really really winter

I remember cold snaps growing up and i remember accumulation of winter precipitation growing up, but i sure don't recall both here in NC.

The two together, "snow" first, is a good thing! I know the little green plants out there are all encased in the inch plus of sleet and ice pellets with a decorative coating of snow on top. It's 8° F this morning, but the ground is, i'm sure, still above freezing. We didn't get much in the way of the ice glaze that weighs down trees and snaps them, so continuous power has made this all the more pleasant.

My memory growing up was that one woke the day after the snow to a drippy mess. This morning it is spectacular outside. Tomorrow morning should be the same.

We are "stuck" here, though. Road plowing is a good ways off, i suspect: it's not snow plowing, either. It's the inch of sleet pellets that those who have been out in their vehicles have packed to ice. We have decent tires on our Ranger pickup Liandra, but as we don't need to leave, i see no reason to test just how good the tires are.

The HVAC is running on electric heat, so i've just cranked the gas logs. Should have thought of that earlier.

Hot cocoa to come.

I haven't been feeding the birds. In California i realized just how much we were paying for bird seed, and when we quit (due to the apparent ease of predation), i resolved not to feed birds unless i could grow the food. That's one nice thing to say about the Autumn Olive: it's bird food. I'm looking at oil-seed sunflowers and millet for next year, as well as popcorn and peanuts. For now, i threw out the bug riddled rye grass seed, some old peanuts i roasted in the shell, and buckwheat seed. No one has descended to inspect the seed, but i've seen birds come around foraging in the woods. Maybe today.


(no subject)

I made a grits and greens casserole tonight. So. Many. Pots. Hmph. It's like the food is twice cooked: fix the greens, fix up the textured vegetable protein, fix up the grits. Then bake it all. The kitchen got quite warm, which was fine, all things considered. I fixed the vegetable protein with apple cider vinegar and sorghum molasses, ingredients in NC eastern BBQ sauce. I think that turned out pretty well, although maybe it was just a bit much vinegar and not enough red pepper.

We've been running the logs for a while, then turn them off when the thermostat reaches 70°F. When it gets to 65°F we turn them back on. I'm running the ceiling fan in when the logs are on. Note to self: clean the blades BEFORE reversing the rotation direction. Or, maybe, note that a real quick way to clean the blades is to reverse the rotation. But the rest of the room has mats of cat fluff spread everywhere.

I do feel thrifty in that i figured out that the HVAC system has a "circulate" function. By turning that on we could circulate the heated air throughout more of the home. I'm not sure what to do tonight. We let the temps drop down to 60°F at night, but the heater is going to need to run frequently to make up the 50°F to 60°F difference with outside.

I haven't had a heat pump as a heater since becoming an adult. The heat in Philly was unstoppable steam heat. It ran, and you managed the temperature by opening windows. In San Francisco we had gas heat. In Mountain View there were several electric base boards. I grew to distrust all of them, and we just used a space heater.