Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Notes on the Cold

Today marked yet another day in which we didn't get any of the snow that was predicted. Wah!

We have certainly had our share of cold, though.

I'm sure I was in colder temps when I was a wee tot living in North Dakota, but I can't specifically remember any temperature colder than the 7 below zero we had here a couple weeks ago. I do have a vague memory of a -13 reading, but I can't place if it was something in my own experience or... a book? a movie? a math problem?

Anyway, we had a real, live, specifically memorable cold streak here and our little wood stove was working hard. She was doing great, but with that kind of cold, we decided to shut off the doors to the bedrooms, concentrate the heat in the middle of the house and all camp out in the living room. Somehow the first night Mr M and I ended up sleeping head to foot on the couch while the kids got the double mattress on the floor. The additional problem was that 3yo Mr Handful ended up next to me so there were three of us sleeping on the couch. Funny how I still forget I'm too old to sleep in such a set up and still move comfortably the next day. Night two we had wisened up and put the half-our-size Miss Headstrong and Mr Thoughtful on the couch.

So we woke up to -7 degrees and I just had to know how cold the closed-off bedrooms had gotten... the kids room was a chilly 30 degrees and this gorgeous, unbelievable piece of art is what was rendered on our bedroom window:



Those botanic-looking fronds are ice formations! You can see another close-up image over at my photo blog. How exactly does this happen? Science lesson for me anyone? Or maybe I'll just continue thinking of it as a bit of magic...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Imperfect Cold Frame

I am trying to keep my perfectionist tendencies in check these days. You know, those ones that keep me from doing anything I can't do "just right". (I'm pretty sure that period is supposed to go inside the quotes, but it has always seemed to me that it should be on the outside. Plus, remember those tendencies I'm fighting?) Wait, am I supposed to put any punctuation after a sentence completely encapsulated by parentheses? Bogging. Down. Must. Continue. And you wonder why I didn't blog at all for almost a month...

Anyway, I have a new friend! And I knew I had found a good one when I tasted her homemade bread, drank tea with her, and wished my house was decorated just like hers. And did I mention our kids- her three homeschooled children (girl, boy, boy) and my three homeschooled children (girl, boy, boy)- get along wonderfully? Oh- but what really topped it off was when I mentioned to her that my dear Mr. M heartlessly threw out my beautiful, salvaged, intended-to-become-a-cold-frame windows instead of putting them on the moving truck, and she cried out, Oh! I just saw some old windows today in the dumpster at the recycling center and I was going to pull them out but couldn't think exactly what to use them for! I'll go back in and get some out on my way home today if you want. (I'm not using quotation marks, because it has been over a month and I don't remember exactly what she said.) It was friendship at first dumpster dive.

So, the whole point of that lead-in is that I used the reclaimed windows that my new friend so excitedly salvaged for me, and after a month of not having time, energy, or exact know-how to build the perfect cold frame, I decided that something was better than nothing and built an imperfect cold frame. It isn't angled toward the south. Heck, it isn't even angled. It isn't airtight, and it isn't level. But it is sheltering my mixed greens rather nicely. Here it is, in all its imperfect glory:

 


Thanks, Colleen!
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