‘Twas Cold Out Thar!

dec12013 060We had been watching weather reports, and we knew it was going to be cold in the Ozarks. Two of our neighbors called us a few days before we left to see if we were still planning on coming up there, and they both warned us that it was cold!

You always think you know…but nothing can prepare you until you experience it. We went prepared. Thankfully, we had the flatbed, which allowed us to bring much more stuff. In the past, we’ve only been able to take a bare minimum of supplies due to the chickens taking up the whole back seat.

We took blankets, sweats, coats, boots, scarves, and gloves. We had one space heater already, and bought another one to take with us. They are both ‘tower’ type heaters and we thought the one we had was pretty good.

The house up there has no insulation; none in the walls, none in the floor. We have not yet gotten our big propane tank, nor have we gotten our wood stove.

You have no idea how cold that first night was. We are sleeping on an air mattress on the floor. We had two quilts, one blanket, one comforter, plus, an extra heavy down-filled comforter as well. We were wearing several shirts, sweats, two pairs of socks and I wore gloves the second night. The cold was too painful to keep my head out of the covers, so I kept the blankets over my head with a small opening by my nose for fresh air. The best heat came from snuggling with Bud.

dec12013 048Those space heaters didn’t do diddly squat! There is a thermometer on the window in the room we slept in that registers both the inside temp and the outside temp. The inside temp was 45 degrees. I had put Simba’s bed close to the space heater, and during the night he crawled underneath the comforter by me. Normally, we don’t allow him on the bed, but I made an exception this trip. Simba pretty much stayed underneath that comforter for several days.

Getting up the next morning was painful. We got fully dressed in our boots, several layers of clothes, coats and scarves, and made a pot of coffee. We brought chairs into the living room where the space heaters were to drink our coffee and ate our cold muffins. It was too cold to try to cook or do anything, really. While we struggled to get warm, we made plans to get another heater.

I kept the chickens in their hen house all day. It was just too cold for them to be outside. We had not yet gotten the heat lamp for their house. I put their food and water in the hen house and we took off for Home Depot.

dec12013 011The first thing we did was stop by the Dixie Cafe for brunch. We were hoping to get a hot breakfast, but they didn’t serve it there, so instead, we got coffee and had lunch.

When we are out there at the house, all vanity pretty much goes out the window since we haven’t had a toilet or a shower. With it being that cold, we weren’t even thinking about how we looked. When I sat down at the Dixie Cafe and thawed out some, I looked down and noticed I had cat hair and dust all over my coat. There were wood shavings clinging to the knit scarf around my neck. I was so bundled in clothing underneath my coat that I looked like a Hillbilly Redneck Oompah Loompah. I was afraid to look at myself in the mirror when I went to the restroom.

We went to Walmart and bought some boot socks (our crew socks kept slipping down in our boots), some long underwear, and some other supplies we needed or had forgotten. We looked at space heaters, but we had our heart set on a butane heater, or a wood stove. We felt like we needed something more powerful than a space heater.

We decided to head to Home Depot. They didn’t have wood stoves, and we didn’t find  a gas heater we felt comfortable with. It was Sunday, so our choices of places to look were limited. We got our pressure pump, the water heater, and the heat lamp for the chickens and headed out to the Tractor Supply, which a lady at Home Depot had suggested for wood stoves. Their limited supply of wood stoves were too big for our needs. We bought a gas heater which can be put on the floor, or hung on the wall. We were hoping to use it with our little propane cylinder like the one we use for our camp stove, and we bought an extra one for the heater.

When we got home, at my pleading, Bud set up the heat lamp for the chickens first thing. I love that man for that. I had been so concerned about them…probably more than I was for myself. That heat lamp was fabulous. I’m thoroughly pleased with it.

I fixed hotdogs for supper that night. I cleaned up the supper dishes while Bud worked on getting the heater up and running. Though we have running water to the house, the water has to be heated on the camp stove to wash dishes. In the cold conditions, it was not pleasant.

Bud was having trouble with the heater. It was dark outside, and the temperatures really dip quickly when the sun goes down. I got ready for bed with layers of clothes and gloves, and got under the covers to try to stay warm while Bud continued to work on getting the heater set up. Bud figured out that he had the wrong connector for our butane cylinder, and decided to go back into town to see if he could get the right connector. It was Sunday, so everything closed early, and it was a race against time to get there. It takes 40 minutes to get into Harrison from our place.

I couldn’t fathom getting out from under those covers, so Bud went by himself. I tried to convince him to just wait until tomorrow but he wouldn’t hear of it. Simba and I snuggled with the covers over our heads and I read on my Kindle while Bud was gone. My feet and hands were stinging. They were so cold, even with the layers of clothing and all of those covers.

Bud drove into town, and got there five minutes before they closed and got the part he needed. He got a cup of hot chocolate for the drive home, and I later learned that he took a ‘selfie’ for Facebook, LOL. That guy.

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He drove all the way home, only to find out that there was a plug that was stuck that he couldn’t get off. He tried for a long time to no avail.

Bud finally came to bed, and we snuggled for warmth. Simba snuggled in too. We covered our heads and left breathing holes for fresh air.

Monday morning was the same routine as Sunday Morning: Make the coffee, get dressed, drink coffee, eat muffins while sitting in front of the heater. The good thing is that the sun was trying to come out. Monday night was supposed to be the coldest night so far…down into the teens at night, and Bud was concerned about getting us some more heat.

It was so cold, that the pond across the street froze. The sellers said he never remembered that happening. Bud threw a rock over onto it, and it didn’t bust through.

dec12013 047I let the chickens out for a short while to stretch their legs, but it was too cold for them. They mainly hung out under a bush, and didn’t forage much.

We had a neighbor come by (one of the ones who called us). She invited us to come for Thanksgiving dinner. We can’t get cell service at the house, so she can’t call. We can send texts and emails. It seemed that the service on my older I-phone was better than Bud’s new one. I was able to send and receive texts much quicker than this past summer.  We had a nice visit with her. It was good to see her. She is the lady who had us out for burgers and to use her shower over the summer. She just stopped by to touch base about dinner on Thursday and to see if we needed anything.

dec12013 046Bud was concerned about Monday night’s temperatures, so after the lady left, we put the chickens in their house, piled in the car and headed for town to return the gas heater. It was really designed for a permanent propane tank that is piped into the house.

We were very discouraged. We went to Ace Hardware to see if they offered anything better suited for our needs. We were eyeing some other portable propane heaters, but I didn’t want to buy something temporary and waste that money. The other heater would have been one that we could hang on the wall…what we intend to get for the future to supplement the wood stove we will get. This just seemed like money down the drain. I started to cry in the store. We were so discouraged, we were tired, we were dirty, we were cold.

Bud suggested we leave, and we sat in the car, discussing what to do. I suggested that Bud call my Dad for advice. We couldn’t even think. Dad had planned on coming to meet us up there at the house, but had decided to postpone till the future because of the weather. We were disappointed, but we understood. Bud called Dad, and he offered some good advice.

We went to Walmart and got another electric space heater of a different type. MAN, what a difference! We only got one because we didn’t know how it would work, and we returned the next day to buy another! That heater was the turning point for us. Even Simba came out from under the comforter.

Thanks, Dad, for your encouraging words, your advice and your prayers.

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(To Be Continued…)

8 thoughts on “‘Twas Cold Out Thar!

  1. You know me and cats. I just had to say “Simba is so cuuuttteee! LOL. 🙂 Seriously though, Abby Gail’s hair is so short that she shivers violently in cold weather. She even refused to go outside for three days even though the Bigs went! LOL. 🙂

    I don’t think I could survive that kind of cold. In fact, I would have broken down and cried sooner than you! The cold can cause my very bones to hurt and the tips of my fingers almost always hurts in the cold no matter what. This Fall has been mighty strange for Texas. The temps went down below freezing in the nights! Sheesh!

    I have to cut this short. Dan just texted saying he was on his way home. That is earlier than usual!

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    1. Thanks, Lee Ann. 🙂 I love him. I felt very bad about having to travel with Simba. He’s old, and I’m sure his bones feel the cold acutely, too. He seems to be glad to be back home. I’m hoping that he will soon feel at home at the other place, too, when we can get some good heat in there.

      I agree with you about the strange weather! I tend to like the colder temps, and I feel better with cooler weather…but our experience up there was a little extreme, even for me!

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  2. I am really enjoying hearing about everything that happened. I know that it is nearly impossible to function in bitter cold. So good to know that you finally got some heat and that the hens had warmth. ONe year while we were camping, our little white poodle got under the covers down by our feet to stay warm. He was a toy and so small. When we finally got that old travel trailer moved up to Colo. we had heat and it was great. It was the way to go while we were trying to build our place. And we left it up there all year until the next summer. What a life saver. Tom got plywood and made a skirt all the way around it so the water wouldn’t freeze in the lines. I wouldn’t take anything for it and how we were able to live while there. I was wishing you could get your dad’s travel trailer and use it during this time of building.

    Anyway, thanks for the fun to read journal. I don’t know how you remembered all the details to share, but I am enjoying reading each chapter. LOL

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  3. Thank you, Aunt Suzanne. I’m glad you enjoy reading it. Sometimes I wonder why I’m doing this blog, but knowing that there are a few out there who enjoy it makes it all worth while.

    My memory is not what it use to be, and I impressed myself with how I was able to recreate it. I might not do so well with the rest of the week. LOL. We’ll see. 😉

    Your adventures in Colorado sound fun. It’s funny how things can be tense while you are in it, but you can laugh, reminisce and enjoy later.

    I think we’ll have the house more comfortable next trip. We’re hoping to have our tub, water heater, pressure tank and the big propane tank by next time we go up in December…as well as either a wood stove or gas heater. It just all takes time, and it’s so hard to do seeing how far away we are and how little time off Bud has. In some kind of weird way, I’m grateful to have had the rough experiences. It makes me appreciate the resolution so much more, LOL.

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  4. I’ve had exprience with air mattresses in the cold. Because they are filled with air, the air in the mattress will be the temperature of the air in the room. You need to get a layer, maybe two layers,of that egg crate foam to put on top of he air mattess. We keep our house at 65 degrees at night and we are in a warm bed with many blankets on top. If we get out of the covers it is very cold in the house. I can’t imagine you sleeping in 45 degrees…you are definitely troopers!

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    1. Yeah! I’ve definitely noticed that with our air mattress, now that you mention it. The air mattress WAS cold. That’s a good idea about the egg crate. Thanks for mentioning it.

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  5. Your Grannie this right, there is nothing colder that an air mattress especially on the ground or floor. We had remodeling on our house and slept on an air mattress. Even with it up off the floor it was cold. No number of blankets over us could get rid of the cold beneath. I’m glad your Dad was able to help with the heater.

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