Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Friday, December 23, 2016

UnDrifted, Brain Dump & Potatoes Don’t Like Being Frozen

Posted by: Lynne

We are undrifted! The roads to town are clear (except for a few passable drifts in all the usual spots) and I am feeling human again. We are expecting snow on Christmas Day, but not a lot. Just enough to make it a true White Christmas. The sun is making a return again much to the relief of our solar panels and batteries.

We managed to get to the mailboxes and into town the other day. However, on the way home Lex (our Expedition) sent us a message via the dashboard that we had a low tire. Not exactly what you want to hear when you are headed out of town on the lonely dirt road home. Rick got out and looked and could not see any noticable differances. When we got home he added air to the tires and let it sit overnight. In the morning, the tire was low again. Rather than risk a flat tire again (the first one was not pleasant), he decided to go back into town yesterday to have it looked at. He also decided to borrow the neighbors' trailer and take the non-working snowblower in to have it seen to as well. 

They could not find anything wrong with the tire—no leaks, no nails—so its lowness was put down to weather changes. Thank goodness. The snowblower had a clogged carburetor and it took awhile for Heggie Logging (they sell and service Husqvarna products—we take them our saw chains) to tear it apart and put it back together, but it is now working. YEAH! It might not be the best snowblower in the world but hopefully it will get us through this winter and maybe next winter we can buy a more powerful one with winter tracks that Rick has been salivating over. Poor guy left home at 10:00 a.m. yesterday and finally got home at 4:30 p.m. 

While he was gone I did two loads of laundry and although it wasn't the sunniest or warmest of days, it was above freezing so I hung the clothes out on the line. They didn't dry completely, but enough that it didn't take long for them to dry once I brought them inside in front of the wood stove. Today it's even nicer, so another load of laundry is in my future. We are out of clean dish towels!

In fact, it's so nice it might even be possible to sit on the front porch and also nice enough to use the pizza oven for our pizza tonight. Woohoo! Now this is the Colorado that I remember and not that New Jersey-like stuff we've been having for the whole month of December.

Okay, where did all that stuff come from? Let's move on to the topics that this blog post is supposed to be about.

Some things we've tried have not worked out. Like putting our potatoes, onions and squashes in a basket in the shed. We thought putting them there was a good thing -- after all they like being dark and cool. We found out the hard way that although it's true that they like to be dark and cool, they do not one bit appreciate being frozen solid. We were not really expecting the frigid single digit temperature or the below-zero nighttime temperatures that we had this past month. The shed is nicely insulated, but not for those temps.

When I brought a couple of potatoes in with the hopes of baking them—oops—. We brought them all in and defrosted them, dried them off and tried to revive them. We were not successful and within several days, most of them had turned to mush. Such a shame too since we had three bags of potatoes (jumbo russets, yukon golds & red), and a butternut squash that had to be thrown away. The onions, it seems, took the freezing in stride. Now I guess we'll put them down in the crawl space where they can't freeze. It's just such a pain to get down there. Everything has to come out of the closet (trash can, dog food, vacuum cleaner, cat kibble, broom, dog feeder stands), lift up the floor and get down a precariously tiny "ladder." But, some things just have to be borne.

Our fancy shmanzy appliances have been mostly working. The fridge is now running perfectly after its latest part trade-out, but the stove is being picky. It lights and all is good. That is until you are midway through baking Christmas cookies or a beautiful loaf of bread and when you go over to check on it, it is no longer heating, nor will the pilot light even come back on. You wait, and wait, trying to light the darned thing several times, and then it finally comes on. I guess it just needs yet another adjustment to the flame sensor. Adventures in cooking indeed.

Life on the frontier is good.


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