Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

Anyone want to share their experiences from the Winter Storms of February?

Posted Monday, February 22, 2021, at 12:15 PM
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    MY power went off just long enough that I had to go around and reset my clocks. Living by and with myself I had plenty to eat and drink with or without electricity.

    Because my power didn't go out I didn't need to light my Propane heater nor my 2 Kerosene Heaters and could watch TV and use my computer the whole time. However, I couldn't use the car because althou it was filled with gas, it was covered in snow and ice for a couple days.

    On the first day of the icy weather, I stepped on the top ice covered step and both my feet went flying out into space and I came smashing down on the steps Back first then my head.

    I didn't even get a bruise from the landing any where on my body. I am still sore as all get out but able to get around. I imagine all my body organs were all broken lose from their places and got crammed inside where ever they found a place to settle. Not sure if the pain is in my back or inside my body.

    -- Posted by sui on Mon, Feb 22, 2021, at 2:59 PM
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    The pain could be all of the above. That will take some time to go away.

    Do you trust the newer kerosene heaters inside? I have three but chose to not use them in greenhouse because it is attached to the house. Same thing with propane.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Feb 22, 2021, at 6:39 PM
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    I live in Shelbyville. No power or water problems around my area. Glad you guys made it through this relatively unscathed.

    -- Posted by fair share on Mon, Feb 22, 2021, at 8:26 PM
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    It is strange that the cold, combined with lack of sleep for a few days and (at the time) no end in sight made me a feeling of dread. I went out to the van one night because I could not stay inside in the cold dark. The van at least gave me warmth and I had the car lights on.

    I always thought I would enjoy the Alaskan wilderness but the long winter nights gave me great apprehension. I had some acquaintances back in the 80's that worked the Alaska pipeline and they described how the lack of light affected many of them. Nah, no homesteading in Alaska.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Feb 22, 2021, at 8:34 PM
  • Well, we got very little snow. Just ice, sleet, freezing rain, and more ice. It was about 6 inches thick by the end, and looked like snow. There was a layer of snow in the middle, so it would break when you walked on it.

    It started out with that freezing fog that covered everything in an invisible layer of super slick ice. It was impossible to even stand up on that stuff. The next day was rain and sleet that covered the ground with about 2 inches of slush, which then froze into a skating rink. After that I lost count. It just went from sleet to snow and back to sleet and freezing rain. It broke down trees across the driveway effectively trapping us in the house. Fortunately the power only went off once, and wasn't off for very long. I don't know what miracle that was, but I am grateful.

    We got to delve deep into the freezer to eat the forgotten odds and ends. And I was able to work a lot, since I had my computer and power... and it was difficult to do anything outside. Like SUI I did take one really good fall. I was taking the dogs out each day for a mile or two in the woods, where the footing was terrible, but the uneven surface made it possible to stay on my feet (even if i did slip around a lot). The one day I made the 1/4 mile trip to the mailbox I went thru the woods, since the driveway was so slippery. Walking the last stretch on the driveway my feet were just suddenly in the air. I turned in the air, and didn't throw out my hand to break my wrist, because I know better than that. Just landed with all the grace of a sack of feed.

    We worried about the poor birds, who were all over the porch, since it was one of the few places they could forage without trying to get thru all the ice. We tried various things to feed them. Several types of crackers and other stuff. They ignored it all, but the dogs eventually ate it. We tried rice, which birds are supposed to like. But, I suppose it looked too much like snow, so it sat out there a couple of days before they figured it out, then we had a bird party on the porch.

    Standing outside it sounded like a battle was going on. Branches breaking for rifle shots, and whole trees crashing down for artillery. For about 3 days it was almost continuous.... and painful to hear. I love my woods.

    On the walks I had to remove new branches from the trails every day. Only a couple of trees, that will have to wait for it to dry out some. Saw lots of bobcat and rabbit tracks. The squirrels were, of course, asleep in their nests. Strangely no deer tracks, altho those are usually numerous. i am not sure where they went. And I kept one ear cocked in case a branch or tree decided to come crashing down on me.

    Friday we decided it was all over, and about time to come out of the woods. We spent the day cutting our way out. Once out to the road, there were 4 trees across the road in the first mile, but at least a passage had been cut thru them.

    It looks like most of the major damage was to cedars and hackberrys (no surprise). That isnt a real tragedy. All the hackberrys are good for is feeding birds anyway. There was a monster maple that split in two that will be missed. And, I have only been over about 30 acres. So, when it gets nice enough to check out the rest of the place, I am not sure what I will find.

    All in all, it was an interesting adventure. Next time I would rather have snow.

    -- Posted by lazarus on Tue, Feb 23, 2021, at 12:06 AM
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    Wow Lazarus! I thought we had gotten the “perfect” storm but it sounds like we dodged it but not by much. As bad as it was, I truly cannot imagine how you avoided major power loss. There might be a lesson there since you might be managed by a different group.

    I agree about the sound of trees popping. Deb kept asking how bad it was out there and all I would say is “come outside and listen”. Unlike you, I was not about to venture into the woods. Just feeding the cats on the edge of the trees was exciting enough.

    If we still heated with wood we would not be able to gather all that has dropped before it rots. I know I do not have the fortitude to return to an all wood heated house but I may get a stove insert for the fireplace.

    We just bought an air ninja so we could get a grilled effect without going out in the elements, but we ended up bringing the gas grill into the greenhouse so we could have some hot food. The cat that share that space thought it was great. :-)

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Feb 23, 2021, at 7:38 AM
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    Homes are built with unventilated Gas Heaters. Mobile Homes come with Propane heaters and stoves with the tanks outside the Trailer. The older trailers use to use Kerosene Heaters built inside the Trailers with storage tanks outside of course.

    As long as you don't spill the kerosene or have a leak it shouldn't be a danger unless sitting too close to combustible items and the heater is putting out too much heat.

    As long as the fuel tanks are out side and you provide some ventilation to give the flame some oxygen to burn and you to breathe you should be safe.

    If your house is so air tight that when you open an outside door and it makes an inside door open or close, you may want to open a window a little when you are using a Kero of gas heater inside. If you're afraid of gas or kero heater in your green house you could use heat lamps to keep it warm, but I believe you would be save with kerosene or propane in your green house if you don't set it too close to your house wall. Put it in the opposite end of the green house. Worry solved.

    -- Posted by sui on Sat, Feb 27, 2021, at 12:14 PM
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    Lighting is almost a necessity for us as we get older. SO if you don't want a Generator using up the gas to give you light, which is great source of electricity for the refrigerator, you could start buying up some motion sensor outside lights. You could just hang them on a nail outside so they could be brought in at night or whenever you needed some light. Some of these will light up for 6 to 10 or 12 hours maybe longer if you shut off the motion sensor on some of them so they don't come on when you don't need them. They should have a switch that would allow you to turn it off and on. Some are just on at dusk and off at dawn. Keep them outside during the day and bring them in at night. That should solve you light problem unless you have to read a lot at night since you can't watch TV. I just use a big candle on the dinning room table for light to see by and smaller candle to walk to other rooms. If the power goes off at night, I just go to bed earlier, lol.

    Also I see no reason why a person couldn't use a camp stove on top of his/her oven top for cooking a small meal as long as you didn't keep it on. A lot of people have gas stoves and hot water heaters inside their homes, lol. Most products have a shut off value if the flame goes out so as long as tanks are outside everything should be good.

    You should look into Propane gas. That way you could have heat and hot water during electrical outages.

    -- Posted by sui on Sat, Feb 27, 2021, at 12:41 PM
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