Saturday, January 07, 2017

Winter musings

Interesting winter this year. 

First, those who don't live here in the Great White North may not be aware that we consider winter as being from November to at least March.  Autumn is usually long gone by a snowy and cold Thanksgiving and spring is just a dream until mid-march; sometimes later. 

This also depends on where you live in Montana.  If you are in West Yellowstone or Wisdom you can pretty much add a month on each end.

Anyway, our winter started out kind of warm.  I was only lighting a fire in the evenings all through November as it was too warm during the day to bother.  Once December got here, though, the Gods looked around and said: Oh!  Winter!  Sorry, we forgot." and took away all the heat from the sun.  Here in Townsend on December 17 we were at 26 below zero.  That's not wind chill, folks. That's the temp before wind chill.  West Yellowstone was the official cold spot in the nation, a distinction they "win" many times each winter, at minus 43.  The unofficial (I don't know who the officials are) cold spot was near Butte, MT at a place called Elk Park...48 below...

Then, we got some decent temps with a little more snow and it was starting to look as if things were going to be ok for a while.  Sorry.  The Gods were watching again.  Single digit and sub-zero temps for almost a week.  The worst I saw here was -16 but, again, West Yellowstone got into the -30s and won at least one more cold spot designation.

This wouldn't be so bad but I live in a rusty old trailer house and my water lines run inside the furnace ducting so when it gets really cold I let the wood stove go out and allow my furnace to run.  So, I lie in bed listening to the nickels blowing around in my house!  The happiest people in Montana this time of year are those at Northwestern Energy!

Growing up in West Yellowstone made me kind of blasé about cold temperatures but now I think back on the ice and frost climbing up the INSIDE of our door and going a month or more with subzero temps.  I remember the bus drivers standing around in the motel parking lots with little fires under the oil pans of the busses so the oil would thaw enough to start the bus.  I think about these things and then wonder what our heating bills must have been back then.  When you're a kid, you don't think about that kind of thing but I sure notice the heat bills now!

Well, the temps are climbing a little today.  We're already up to 10 above and I'm going to get the woodstove fired up, at least for the day.  If we can stay above zero, I'll let the furnace rest for a while.

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