Each time I return to Monkey Valley it is an adventure. There’s no telling what I will find. This time I arrived about 7:15 pm, well after dark. The outside temperature was -4 degrees, and the inside temperature was 0 degrees! In the power room it was a bit warmer—4 degrees—due to the solar boiler keeping a tank of hot water warm.
So the first order of business was to turn on the power (let there be light!), then to make a fire. If any of you have experience with heating a house that is 0 degrees, you will know that by bedtime the house was still much too cold to go to bed! With constantly feeding the fire as soon as there was room to put more wood in, I managed to raise the temperature to 10 degrees by midnight. I tested the feeling of the bed upstairs, and it was way too icy to get in! So I brought the down comforters downstairs, pulled the couch close to the wood stove, and settled in there for a few hours. Around 4:00 am I went upstairs with the warm blankies and was able to stretch out full-length on my bed and get some comfortable sleep. In the morning it was 8 degrees in the living room, and time to get that fire going again!
By bedtime the second night the temperature in the house was up to a balmy 18 degrees downstairs, and 20 degrees upstairs in my bedroom. Heating is obviously very important! I have a backup propane heater, which is due to be repaired on Friday. So hopefully after that I will be able to keep the house a little warmer while I am away for short winter trips. For longer trips there’s nothing to do but drain the water, put anti-freeze in the p-traps, and hope for the best. If heating is the top priority, plumbing is also very important (second priority), and has been a continual struggle. So has pest control, which can become top priority in a flash… (to be continued)