Cold Morning Test

This morning this the temperature here at Walden Puddle was -33c before a little wind chill was figured in. It was the first really cold morning, so this is a good time to look at our progress in coping with the cold.
I rose this morning at 4:30 and stoked the stove in the tiny house. I had a good bed of coals, but it was slow to take off. E noticed the problem first, the top damper was still partly closed. With that corrected, we jumped back into bed to wait for the house to warm up a bit. At 5:00 I rose, dressed and went out to the generator shack to light the propane heater. This was where I ran into the first problem of the day, the bar-b-q lighter that I keep in the Gen Shack was too stiff from the cold to function. I grabbed a different lighter from inside the shop, and got the heater going. I had hoped that running the heater about 30 minutes would be adequate to allow the generator to start. While I was waiting, I cleaned out the stove in the shop and started a new fire there. The shop had fared reasonably overnight with the interior temperature dropping to only -3c. I tried to start the generator at 5:40, but it was clear that it was no where close to starting. Since I needed to be able to get E’s vehicle to start by 8:30, it was time to shift to a backup plan. I dragged the small wood harvesting generator out of the shop, started it and plugged in the Jimmy. I tried the main generator again at about 6:00, but it was making little progress. We decided to take a chance and attempt to start the Jimmy at that point, it protested a bit, but fired up. That was a big relief, with the truck running I could switch the generator to running a parabolic electric heater in the gen shack. By 6:30 that strategy paid off and the main generator sprang to life. This was the real breakthrough, because now I could make coffee. As the homestead thawed out this morning, I took stock of how things were working and what improvements could be made. The woodstoves work fine, with improvements to insulation and sealing, comfort will improve and wood consumption will be reduced. Electricity is still a worry, the generator shack needs improvements and soon. Not sure that I will get too far on that today, more firewood to split and stock for tonight, a trip to town this afternoon for errands and my very first flu shot. Everybody have a great day and stay warm.
Mark.

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