Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Cold Snap

 We finally got over a terrible cold snap here - high winds straight from the Arctic Circle blasting past my poor little house, temperatures down around 19F., just miserable; and despite our best efforts, the supply lines to our washing machine froze.  Luckily, only for a day, but still.

This is what happens when you live in an uninsulated house.  Well, a partially uninsulated house.  Well, a conglomeration of strange additions and subtractions that might be insulated or might be a howling hole full of ice giants and fear.

My poor bathroom was stuck onto the back of the house by someone unconstrained by modern building codes sometime back in the 1920's, and is three sides to the wind, facing Northwest, from whence all the evils of winter do come.  In a high wind it creaks and groans and snaps like a wooden boat, which is alarming, and the wind going down the sump ventilation pipe makes the water in the toilet bloop and blurble, which is also alarming but also hilarious.  

The same benighted soul who put in the bathroom also decided that it would be an excellent idea to put all the plumbing into the Northeast walls of the house, so from late November to February we have the water trickling from the kitchen tap, the bathroom tap, and the tub spout.  This business about 'only keep the water running out of the the source furthest from the service attachment' does not hold true here, as we have found after years of experience - and last years Plumbing Explosion/Rat Chewing Extravaganza, when  the pipes under the house burst AND a rodent chewed the plastic pipe that runs from the main line to the hot water heater, which, why?  

This year we were lucky.  The cold winds only lasted for eight days, and only for a couple of days were they battering my poor little house in gale-force gusts.  The majority of the time, they were just a constant.  But that constant literally freeze-dried all the exposed bits of earth around here and kicked up enormous tall dust ghosts, which was an odd sight as they seem to literally walk across the fields, twenty feet tall, on long spindly legs that trail rags and swaths of grey.  It's hypnotic to watch, and also disturbing.  I'm beginning to understand why people move to Phoenix when they get old.  Of course, I'd bitch about that too once I was there.


We have been maxing out on historical documentaries here at Rancho FirstNations, chief among them 'Timeline' and 'Absolute History.'  I am once again moved to wonder how anyone manages to complete a building project in the UK as it seems like whenever someone sticks a shovel in the ground they hit a Roman whorehouse or a king or a mass plague burial or some shit.  But God bless y'all, you do history RIGHT.  Nothing is outside the scope of your studies, and specialists range from Roman  Era Deviant Grave Depositions to Edwardian Sanitation Experts.  Half of you are archeologists and the other half are living in re-enactment settlements in the Midlands, I swear, but it's all fantastic stuff!  You find a Viking hoard full of diamond dildoes and gold spittoons, you display that behind bulletproof glass! You happen across a fossilized turd, then you get in there and examine the hell out of that turd!  And that turd reveals it's turdly secrets and the historical record is immeasurably richer for it's turdular testimony.  You find evidence of headhunting, scalp taking and cannibalism?  You just lay it all out there, nothing loth.

We don't have that same strong spirit of inquiry here in the Northwest.  The fact that our ancient history isn't ours has a lot to do with that.  The other thing is that our more recent history is so recent that it was hardly recorded, and where it was recorded, it was done so in a perfunctory manner with little thought for the vagaries of drunks and clumsy persons who used fire indoors.  You guys had stone buildings to keep your records in; we pioneers only had wood for the most part.  My little dot on the map lost the first 50 years of it's settlement history to a fire that swept through.  (My front room, once a one-room cabin, escaped that fire by a hair; I've seen an old photo and it's amazing.)  The only way we even know who owned what is because the Canadians had, yup, records - kept in stone buildings - that the survivors could consult.

I've found a few artifacts here during gardening.  I have a couple of old medicine bottles,  a porcelain dolls' arm, and a stone hide scraper. Lots of hand-forged nails, so many that I've piled them in my perennial herb bed.  Our poor little town museum is kind of lost in time around the 1920's - anything earlier is a loan from one of the nearby towns that no longer exist.  And that's sad.  I've donated a few things I've found going through old barns nearby, and to see them on display makes me feel that nice tingle of civic pride.  No fossilized turds yet, but I keep the flame of hope alive.  Fingers crossed.  Someday.  


anne marie in philly said...

yikes! no building codes used there!

Jon said...

I'd suggest that when you do find that hoard of fossilised mammoth poo, rather than give it to a museum, you should use it to make some sturdy frost-proof wall cladding for your "igloo bathroom"..! Jx