Winter Storm, High Winds Arrive with a Vengeance

at a cost under $6.50, this headlamp was a bargain.
at a cost under $6.50, this headlamp was a bargain.

It was cold all day Sunday. The snow finally arrived, but I can’t tell you if we have 12 or more inches yet. It’s so windy up here we have drifts of snow that are a foot high and we have other spots where the wind has scoured it away. Unlike many heavy snows, it is not piling up on tree limbs because wind is blowing it off. There have been times the snow was blowing sideways.

This morning, I put only my insulated overalls and parka. They kept me warm doing chores. I left the chickens in their coop with the door closed, although I gave them fresh water and plenty of food.

While this may not be a day fit for chickens, it was a great day for the dog, who was outside for at least two hours. She had a ball. She would stick her nose in the drifts and come up with a face covered in snow. The dog ran around but also seemed comfortable just sitting there looking around. I consider this her guard stance. A flock or herd guardian dog by breed and genetics, she sits there, nose up, eyes bright, looking for a threat.

I’m writing this Sunday night and snow is expected to continue into Monday.

Coyote Scat

Two or three days ago, we found what I assume was coyote scat, although I have been told it might have been bobcat. Whatever it was, it definitely ate fur-bearing creatures, and it was not from an owl. We didn’t see any coyotes or even a track today, although the dog ranged far and wide. At times, she disappeared for fifteen or twenty minutes and only her tracks told me which direction she headed. In fact, she didn’t come back from her late afternoon outing until after dark.

Wood Heat

It has been so cold and windy that the temperature in the house was dropping. When I got up around 6:45 a.m., I cranked up the fire in the wood stove, hoping to send some hot air up the stairs. The fire got away from me and our temperature gauge went from green into the red and kept climbing. While the stove wasn’t red hot, the thermometer on the stovepipe 18 inches above the stove read 700 degrees, more than we like. I closed the flue all the way and shut the dampers on the stove, which should have limited the fire.

Although the fire slowed down, it kept burning hot. I believe the wind was creating a strong draft up the chimney, which was in turn drawing fresh air into the stove, even with the dampers closed. (The doors do not seal perfectly; the stove is more than 40 years old.)

By the time the fire died down to what we would consider a normal range, 350 to 400 degrees, the temperature in the basement had climbed from 68 to 74 degrees. A big jump in just thirty minutes. I guess I should be reassured that the stove can keep us warm even on the coldest days.

This is a good example of why you want to have your chimney cleaned and inspected once or twice per year. If there had been damaged tiles in a masonry chimney, that kind of heat could have started a chimney fire.

Power Outages

Our power has already gone off three times, once for four hours. As a result, we cooked brunch on the wood stove. The blackout wasn’t bad in the afternoon when it was still daylight. When it went out again after dusk, I filled the generator’s gas tank with some of my fresh fuel and plugged in my big extension cord. Before I could start it, the lights went back on. They have flickered a couple times since, and it won’t surprise me if they go off again. So far, the power has been on often enough that there is no worry about food in our refrigerator or freezer getting warm.

New Headlamp Mini-Review

While the power was out, I tried our new headlamps, the “EEEkit LED 500 Lumens Headlamp,” which I purchased on at the unbelievably low price of $12.57 for two. (The price has since gone up.) As you can see in the photo, the box says “High power headlamp.” I would not consider this high power. I also question the validity of their 500 lumen claim. Still, they were great for reading and close-in work. I ran mine for 2.5 hours and it did not waver or dim. When you consider that this price included free shipping, paying less than $6.30 for a useful headlamp is a bargain, especially since lesser lights from Energizer and other battery companies sell for more.

Unlike the 1,000 lumen headlamps I use when I walk the dog, which are brighter and have a longer throw, these have a plastic body instead of an aluminum one. While they may not be as tough as a metal light, they are lightweight and comfortable. Also, the battery is not replaceable or user serviceable, but it is rechargeable. The manufacturer says it is 1200 mAh, which is far less than the standard 18650. Thanks to the dimmer light, it gives a good run time. If this were a full product review, I would give them 4 out of 5 pickles. Like the inexpensive flashlight I reviewed from Tractor Supply, these are exceptional lights for the price but not up to the standards of their pricier brethren. Still, if you need a headlamp and want to spend less than $10, this is an excellent option.