Our home heating is very poor and our house is old and drafty – or, more charitably – full of Victorian charm. Before the cold set in, we taped over the windows in the master bedroom to conserve heat, then opened the door to the room next door where the heating works better.
We also cut up a bunch of pallets yesterday so we could light the fireplace in the bedroom. This gave us two somewhat warm rooms, so Rachel and I camped out with seven out of ten children. The remaining three decided to brave the cold in their own rooms.
The power went out some time in the night. When we got up, the main area of the house was down to the mid-30s. We banked the fire up in our room again, then I found an old cast-iron kettle and we made instant coffee in the fireplace. The kids in their own rooms had survived under piles of blankets and we all got together and drank coffee and thawed out by the fire as the morning light streamed in through the plastic-covered windows.
Outside our warm rooms, things got very cold even in the areas I didn’t expect would get that cold. Some of the tropical plants in the enclosed porch actually froze stiff – like my aloe. I doubt it’s going to live. But all the citrus inside the hallway seems to be fine.
In the yard, the cows and chickens didn’t mind the cold at all, though we had to smash through ice in order to get water from the trough for the birds.
With a couple of hours, it was re-freezing.
This is cold weather for a South Florida family…
Anywhere there was water in the yard, it froze hard – like in this tire rut in the cow pasture:
In the gardens, the radishes that were covered with sheets seem to be okay. We didn’t have quite enough sheets to cover all of them, and you can really see the difference a thrift store sheet cane make.
On the left, the radishes were uncovered. On the right, they were under a thin cotton sheet.
My children ran a sprinkler overnight in their play area:
Up close, it’s really cool:
And the grass under the sprinkler is magical:
In the row gardens, some of the leaves blew off the cabbages and broccoli, but they should be mostly okay, judging by how the radishes did.
It’s rarely this cold down here. We didn’t get snow, but this was nasty by Lower Alabama standards.
The power came back on during the day but tonight will be icy cold again. Hope you all are doing okay. We’re really not set up for this kind of weather. It’s a good test to tell us how we need to prepare better. This is our first winter on this property and we’ve got to learn as we go.
It’s a blessing to be together, cold or no cold, and we know many others have had a much worse time through this wickedly cold weather.