December 22nd, 2008

Kevin and Lisa

Snow Stories

Somewhat surprisingly, it has been snowing less here in Mehama than it was in Salem. For most of the past two days, except for the snow that dropped about 10 cm that stuck, it has been freezing rain instead. Indeed, that's what I faced this morning when I walked over to Lisa's father's house to get to work. But while I worked on setting up my computer and making coffee, the snow returned, and as I look out the window here, the snowfall is getting heavier. It's pretty to watch, but preferably from inside where I am now, with a warm fire going.

The walk across the field was made a fair bit easier by something Lisa did last night. While I was working on e-mail and such, she -- to my great surprise and not by my suggestion at all -- shoveled a path about a meter wide across the approximately 100m-wide field that separates the two sides of this property and Lisa's trailer from her father's house. I was flabbergasted that she'd done that, but she brushed it aside as routine.

When I got back to the trailer last night, Lisa started making dinner and discovered that we were out of propane. She cursed herself for having forgotten to refill the bottles when she got back from Columbus. There are two seven-gallon bottles of propane attached to the trailer, and normally she leaves the automatic cut-over valve (which switches bottles when one goes empty) turned off -- that way she always knows when she's at 50% capacity -- but this time for some reason she'd left it on. No real problem, however, as there are two additional bottles (plus a smaller one as a last resort reserve) stored in a shed elsewhere on the property. So it was back on with our boots and coats as we broke out the rolling cart to go retrieve one of the spare bottles.

I was thinking we'd go get the empty bottles refilled later today once I got my work finished, but looking at the snow fall right now -- and the clumps are getting heavier every minute -- I'm thinking maybe we'll just stick with our reserve supply for now and see if tomorrow or Wednesday is any better.

One advantage of living in the trailer out here is that we have a battery supply and are somewhat isolated from power outages, and with a sufficient propane supply we can stay warm for a while. If the power fails, we lose most of our AC appliances -- especially as Lisa hasn't yet reinstalled the DC-to-AC inverter -- but we can certainly get by for a day or two on the onboard supply. In case of need, Lisa can connect a vehicle to the trailer to recharge the batteries, too. She has wanted to buy a generator as well, but has dismissed most of the models on sale nowadays as cheap junk, mostly made in China, and won't touch them.
Kevin and Lisa

A Record Snowfall

Lisa has lived much of her life in Mehama and tells me she's never seen this much snow accumulate. She shoveled the walk this morning while I was working and there was close to 5 cm accumulation when I walked home for lunch. Total accumulation in the uncleared areas when I walked back to work was 15 cm since the storm began, and still the snow is falling. Lisa encourages me to hurry up and get work finished so I can come back home and not have to make the walk in the dark.
Kevin and Lisa

Snowpocolypse Hits Mehama

We were knocked offline this afternoon when the power glitched. My laptop was okay, but we couldn't raise the internet, presumably because the ISP lost power for a while. So I knocked off work for the rest of the day and went out to help Lisa shovel snow. We knocked snow off of trees overlooking the path and tried to keep the cleared path at least a meter wide. We estimated the accumulation was running at about 3 cm/hour, and now the accumulated snow is up over 30 cm; fortunately, because we keep going back and shoveling, we don't have that much at a time to push. OTOH, the snow keep sticking to the shovel, which is a pain. Having worked hard in the snow, we had dinner, and having eaten too much, we went for a walk of maybe a km or so -- but it was slogging through all of that snow, so we think it counted double. At least I brought my heavy boots with me, so my feet have been mostly dry. My gloves, however, are not waterproof and have been thoroughly soaked.