We 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.
Those 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.
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.
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.
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.
Bud 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.
(To Be Continued…)