Cold Snap

Many parts of the USA are in a massive cold snap, including heavy snow in places. Supposedly about 60% of the US population is under some sort of winter weather advisory or warning!

Here in my part of Florida we are having a cold snap that is unusual for us. Below-freezing temps have been forecast three nights in a row, with last night being the first night.

Yesterday afternoon I took the precaution of shutting off the watermain at the curb, and opening the taps inside the house as well as the outside tap. (We always have several days’ worth of drinking water stored in jugs inside the house. And of course the rainwater in the barrels.)

Rainbarrel prep: I took the lids off the rainbarrels, and also scooped out a few inches of water from each barrel to allow for expansion in case of a hard freeze so the expansion of the ice wouldn’t crack the barrels.

This morning I woke up toasty warm in bed. Went outside and indeed it’s very chilly out there but there’s not even a skim of ice on the public dog-water bowl I keep filled at the corner. No ice in the tubs on the south side of the house; I will go out and check the north side next.

North side all clear also.

(Later: Oops I spoke too soon, there is a skim of ice on the birdbath so obviously we had a freeze in at least some spots here last night. It’s on the west side of the house which is where the banana trees are. I watered all over the yard yesterday as best I could (by hand, from the rain tubs) so hopefully that’ll help protect some of the trees & plants. Tonight & tomorrow night are supposed to be colder than last night.)

Oftentimes here on beachside the temps are a few degrees warmer than the official reading. The weather station is over on the mainland by the airport.

Inside the house feels like the temp is in the high 50s or low 60s, very reasonable with layered clothing. In line with what I have written elsewhere on this topic, we keep the bedrooms and porch entry room closed off from the living room and kitchen, and that creates cozier pockets and minimizes drafts.

One housemate uses a space-heater in his room; one does not. For me, I think this is my 15th winter without using air-heat in my space. We are all comfortable.

I actually think the hot air coming out the back of the fridge may be helping to warm the living room. Other than that, the low-angled sunlight coming through the large window of this south-facing room is the main heat source for this room in winter.

(The fridge is in our living room because it’s one of those giant American fridges and won’t fit through the deeper interior doorways of our 1950 house. A neighbor gave it to us — either they were getting a new one or it was an extra they weren’t using. To even get the fridge inside our house, the fridge door had to be removed. I was on the verge of vetoing it — my usual house rule is nothing comes in here that I myself can’t carry in and out — but I really wanted it for my housemates’ benefit. Also, even though I had been living without a fridge for three years at that point (my longest “fridgeless living experiment” to date), I must admit I appreciate the convenience of refrigeration especially in summer.)