Posts Tagged ‘wind chill’

Wicked Cold

20160213_225428_resized.jpgIn the six years we’ve been in Maine, the coldest it’s ever gotten with wind chill factored in is -45F.  Right now it’s -12 outside, but the wind is blowing with several major gusts.  I recorded -55F.  Then I decided to press the “recall” button on our anemometer to see what I might have missed.  At 10:33 p.m. it was -67F with windchill!  That’s our newest record.  It will be fun to see what tomorrow brings, as the coldest part of a day is usually right before sunrise.

Our woodstove is serving us well, and currently is our only source of heat (we have radiant hydronic PEX heat under the concrete floor that can be used as a backup or boost, but it just hasn’t been necessary) .  Inside it’s a cozy 70F.  The fantastic closed-cell spray-foam insulation we used at the time of construction is proving that it was worth every penny.  Our house is airtight with no leaky drafts, and nice and cozy, easily retaining the heat from the woodstove and in the daytime, from passive solar.  I don’t expect to use more than  1 ½ – 2 cords of wood over the course of the entire winter (1 cord = 4′ x 4′ x 8′ of split and stacked wood). Considering the wood comes from our own land, it’s not a bad deal.

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Walking and Rocking

The last few days have been torture.  Not because it was too cold (not that -31 F with wind chill factored in is fun, but you can always dress for cold), but because the unceasing, extremely high winds meant that there were lots of flying debris outside, making it unsafe to walk through the woods.  My very strong, fortress-built home actually shook and rattled for three days nonstop; the wind howled and often woke me up at night.  Lots of trees down (nothing major on our property, thankfully). Fortunately we were unaffected by any power outages since our house is run on batteries and we do have a back-up generator if necessary.

While “housebound,” I used the time to cook, bake and clean.  I did a little strength training with dumbbells but really my body just did not get the necessary amount of exercise and boy, did I feel blah.  My old bones and muscles were stiff; I  needed to move.  Fortunately today the sun came out, the wind died down, and I was able to go for a 4-mile walk (it was a pleasant, sunny 20 degrees F).  Unusual for me, since I prefer listening to the sounds of nature,  I walked with headphones plugged into Adele.   And suddenly, I don’t know, the music just took over.  I started jogging, then skipping, which segued into dancing.  There I was, this grey-haired grandmother, bundled up in Polartec and looking like a penguin, and I’m jumping, twirling, turning, high-stepping, and rocking out on my country road, just me and Adele.  And here is what is great:  I felt totally free. No one was around.  The trees didn’t think I was weird.  Oh, my kids would have thought me ready for the asylum had they seen me.  But it felt great.

Nemo

Due to complications from my recent surgery, we were unable to return to Maine according to our preferred schedule.  Unfortunately this meant that we missed Nemo entirely.  I say “unfortunately” because we love snow and extreme winter weather, especially when experienced from inside our woodstove-heated house that has plenty of stored food and emergency supplies, along with 2 different backup systems if there is a power failure:  indeed, we are snug as bugs in the rug, despite windchill temperatures of -30F.

And when the storm finally clears, there is nothing more magnificent that first few hours post-blizzard than a deep blue, crystal clear sky; the brisk frigid air that is tempered by the sun’s reflection on the powdery white, gleaming expanse;  the branches heavy with clumpy snow; the intermittent chaos of sliding and pounding snow falling off the roof at any given moment; the fun of trudging and exploring on snowshoes or cross-country skis; my dog jumping and diving and burying himself in the drifts with utter exuberance; the clean whitewash of terrain as far as the eye can see; and especially, the still quiet that is so profound that it makes your ears burn and your soul leap.

Our friend Peter was kind enough to send us a photo from Old Orchard Beach, where a tiny pocket of Jewry maintains its presence along the Atlantic shore.  Oh, how I wish I could have seen it!

Where sand, snow and surf meet, post-Nemo:  Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

Where sand, snow and surf meet, post-Nemo: Old Orchard Beach, Maine.