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Coping with winter

Yesterday evening when I returned from work the indoor temperature was +6°C - and that with the electric radiator being constantly on. Outdoor temperatures have fallen down to -30°C, and apparently in its present stage of renovation my house isn't yet fully winterproof =). I think there are three main factors involved. First; the entrance is unfinished. It only has the outer walls done, but inside the walls lack all the thermal insulation, and one window is missing. So, inside the entrance the air is as cold as outdoors. And the door in between the entrance hall and the main room was never designed to keep the cold air out. Second; in the autumn I wanted to check if the inner sides of the main room walls can be finished without tearing out the floor. So, in my great wisdom, I tore out a strip of floor next to the walls. And found out that yes the whole floor needs to be redone, and it is wiser to do that before finishing the inner sides of the walls. I decided to leave that for the coming summer, thinking to myself that I can manage the winter, somehow, although it is likely to be somewhat drafty now when a portion of the floor is missing. Third; there are a lot of smaller unfinished spots here and there, leaking warm air out and allowing cold air in.

As I have decided to somehow manage through this winter, so better just cope with it. I still had one more portable electric radiator which I haven't been using until now. I placed it into the side room, where my bed is. I hung a woollen blanket on the inner side of the door. I filled some tiny holes with linen. And stuffed some more old woollen blankets into hole in between the wall and the floor. Burning fire in the stove I managed to get the indoor temperature at around +12°C before going to sleep. For me that is fine enough - I know that this cold weather wont' last for that many days, the forecast already says that the coming weekend it will be back to -20°C, and the next week will be around -10°C. With that kind of temperatures I can keep the indoor temperature mostly around +15°C, which is good enough - it just means that I have to wear a bit more clothes than in the summertime =)

Today it is Thursday, when I woke up the indoor temperature was still at +10°C. OK, that is good - if the temperature stays around +10°C without a fire burning in the stove, it means that with a fire on I can get a bit more comfortable indoor temperature. I went to check the horses, and they were fine. Raiku, being a finn-horse, she is genetically adapted to cope with winters this cold. Monica is slightly older and a thorough-bred, so I had put a rug on her. They eat a lot of hay, as the digestion process generates heat to keep them warm. And I make their drinking water hot as a tea. They didn't show any signs of suffering from cold weather, and that's good.

Well, wearing proper clothes and doing my little chores outdoors, it didn't feel that cold. But if it gets any colder, it is better to cover one's mouth and nose with a woollen scarf - that filters the air to be inhaled. And one little trick I learned already as a kid - don't wash your face in the morning! The skin generates some natural fats, which functions as a protective layer on top of the skin. Washing your face will remove a lot of that natural fat, and a dry skin is much more vulnerable to the ill effects of cold weather.

I was slightly worried about the water pipe. There is an electric heating cable inserted into the water pipe, on the house end of the pipe. Turning the heating on is a sure way to prevent the water freezing. But that is only for 1.5 metres in this end. There is practically speaking no snow on the ground, which means that the soil will freeze deep. From the well to the house, the water pipe runs some 1.5 metres below, and usually the soil doesn't freeze that deep. But usually we always have a thick layer of snow before getting this cold weather. Now, with these mixed weather patterns we had a mild rainy December, which left the soil soaked with water. And then, rather sharply, that turned into dry freezing temperatures with no snowfall. Oh well - but there is pretty much nothing I can do about the water pipe, so I just hope it won't freeze.

So, I think I should aim for finishing all the necessary paper work related to the turn of the year. When that is done, I could again concentrate more on the renovation project. Maybe getting the entrance part properly insulated would be a good idea =)

Writing this blog entry, wearing the winter clothes indoors
Writing this blog entry, wearing the winter clothes indoors
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Wish you warmer times! In here we have 6º minimum, 12º maximum and I already complain and sleep dressing 2 winter pyjamas at night, with -30º I would be dying o.O But the majority of houses in Portugal are not made and prepared for very cold winters, they are cold, made in stone/cement and not everyone has heating systems. And even those who have, they are very expensive to maintain so I only turn on mine (its a recuperator, based on wood burning) from 19h to 24h, and chop wood in the weekends. Here it barely/rarely goes under 0º, so if all else fails, come visit portugal >.<

All the best, wishing warmer times

Well, I guess it makes all the difference being adapted to Finnish climate since childhood. And I would probably have difficulties adapting to Siberian winters. I don't know, it might also be that there is some personal variation, maybe I have enough fat under my skin to help me stay warm in colder temperatures =)

Hehe, but anyway - yeah I've been remotely thinking about touring the Europe by train. To visit some of you people out there. Although, I have no idea when that could happen - I feel that I'd better first try to get the house renovation project in such a shape that I could enjoy spending some money and time just travelling around =)

Aha, it is finally gotten cold here, too. Coldest so far here is about -15C though, hehe. It is a little warmer again today though, yet they still canceled the concrete again. But it is supposed to be warmer yet tomorrow, perhaps as warm as +10C, so hopefully I will finally get my floor poured hehe.

Anyway, a good excuse to hunt rabbits, since the plans for work are canceled. :D

I wish you good luck with the rabbit hunt, and especially with the concrete. This reminded me of my painting project, I was lucky to catch the last suitable days for painting. I certainly do hope that your local weather will still allow a day or two suitable for concrete work, so that you don't have to postpone that for the springtime.

Living with a pair of overcoats on is awfully annoying.

It is, when one is forced to do so.

But in my case it is the whole point of living here =) I mean, I always wanted to escape the ready-made world and to experience some sort of re-wilding. Starting from a scarce situation, and slowly working to improve the conditions, making some use of my stamina and skills. Not to give up. To live through it. So, as I find indoors temperature below +10°C not being desirable, then I'm happy to see what I can do about it. What are the renovation projects I need to complete to make the next winter better. This in urwing for real =)

It is the same with me. Below 10 or 12C is just too cold, but anything above that feels fine, as long as I can keep my toes and fingers warm. So I will often sit in my cold house wearing pac boots and gloves with the finger tips cut off, so that I can still type. :P

Although when it starts getting below freezing fairly often, I have to keep it set a little warmer or the pipes under the house will freeze.

I think maybe it is all about what one is used to.... I have met people from warmer climes who feel like 18C is so very cold, and who will shiver and wear a sweater in that sort of weather. Hehe.

But keep in mind the one key difference between the Unreal World and the Real World: in URW, when you screw up your winter you can just go back to the title screen and start a new character...but not so much in RW.

Be careful!

Ah, sure thing. Anyone who has grown up in the countryside typically has some sort of common sense regarding the local weather.

But, of course, sometimes things can go wrong. Couple of days ago the news said that two adult men accidentally got lost when skiing in Lapland. They were both skilled and well equipped, but somehow they failed to reach safety after skiing for more than 24 hours in one go. At one point they called the emergency, but the mobile phone battery quickly ran flat in the cold temperature. Rescue teams were sent to search them, and finally when the rescuers found the men, the other was already dead and the other was taken directly to the hospital for treatment.

Yes, winter is to be taken seriously. It is a question of being properly equipped, and correctly evaluating the risks. Personally, I tend to pack extra warm winter clothes in the car when driving - just in case if the car happens to break down somewhere and I'd have to walk for several kilometres to find help.


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