Sometime while I was busy with puppies, Vancouver Island must have floated north and we are now anchored just a few miles south of Alaska. At least, that's what it feels like. Crofton is said to have one of the most moderate climates in Canada, protected as it is by Saltspring Island and Maple Mountain to the east and south, and a smattering of other small mountains stretching to the west and north.
But for the past couple of days, the wind has been blowing from the ocean right to my back yard, the ground is a mess of very hard, cold ice chunks, and I can hardly keep the house warm enough with the inefficient electric heaters. A five hour power outage the other day didn't help, but since then the power has only flickered off once or twice. Thank goodness, because the windchill factor last night brought the temperatures down close to minus 20 according to the radio.
It occured to me last night that I haven't shut off the two outside faucets, so I went scrambling around with a flashlight to find the turn off thingys. I found what I thought was one under my kitchen cabinet and far to the side through another little cut out, but there was no way that this chunky body was going to fit through a 14 x 14 inch space to reach it and my arms just aren't long enough. Besides, it looks like it also controls the water to my kitchen sink, so maybe it isn't even the right one.
The other shut off should be in my hall closet. I remember that is where the plumber told me it was when I first moved in and thought to ask about these things (of course, I failed to write down the answers, so now I don't remember most of what he said). My hot water tank is in the same closet. Again, flashlight in hand, I searched and searched but there is no shut off. Unless it is behind the drywall. Which I am not about to remove. I did have a bunch of bathroom renovations done last year, which changed the plumbing adjacent to the closet, so maybe that also changed the shutoff location.
So, failing to find any way to shut them off, I wrapped both taps in comforters and bungy cords, and will keep my fingers crossed that pipes don't burst. When I think back over the 25 years or more that I have lived alone as an adult, I don't think I have ever shut off outside faucets in the winter - even during the three years I lived in the Northwest Territories - so either I live a charmed life, or the threat of busted pipes isn't as great as people seem to think. And now I have probably just jinxed myself.
I did inquire about alternate heat sources for this place - a lovely little woodstove that costs $699 will cost another $2,900 to install. And then I have to chop wood, take out ashes, and do all that other dirty stuff that I don't care for. I don't have gas, and both gas and pellet stoves are going to run about $5000 to install. But Home Depot showed me a unit that fits outside like central air, runs off propane, and is wired directly into the home so it comes on automatically when the power goes out. The really big ones come with REALLY BIG price tags, but a smaller one that runs eight circuits is about $2300 plus an electrician's installation - which sounds like it wouldn't be much more than the other options. Today I make some phone calls. It would really be nice to have a source of heat and light and cooking potential around here if this really is going to be the worst winter in fifty years. We live in an area that gets lots of power failures, and Crofton is the last place on the grid to get repaired as we have no urgent services here.
And who likes this cold? Ms. Lucy! She goes crazy every time she is outside, and she constantly wants to go outside. And since Ms. Lucy can't be left alone outside (if I disappear back inside the house, she jumps the gate to the carport to try to get back to me, instead of just coming to the back door and asking to be let in!) , that means I stand out there in the blowing wind and freezing cold, impatiently watching her run, jump, dig, sniff, and just plain sit with her head into the wind and her ears blowing back like some sort of strawberry blonde movie star on a photoshoot.
I want spring to come. This is just toooooo darn cold. I'll even welcome dreary dark days of rain.