02/16/2015

Hello Arctic

We’re all sick of the winter of 2014/15. We have long ago given up on more than one door to the house. If you can’t find your way into the garage you can’t come in. Relentless blizzards alternate with sub-zero cold. Eastern Bay of Frenchman Bay is now frozen over. That’s salt water! Even the howling wind and ten foot tide can’t break it up.

icebay

Frozen to the island!

Ellsworth American’s police beat section is uncharacteristically devoid of the usual mischief-making as law enforcement is focused on citizens’ weather related survival. Disputes over snow being dumped in the wrong place and drivers’ views obscured by snowbanks are common.

Here at SeaCat’s Rest the worry is not about staying warm, but the load of snow on the roof. We spent three days around the house on ladders raking snow off. This was after I marked out a square foot on flat ground, dug out the snow (about 22 inches) and weighed it: 22.2 pounds. Most northern roofs are designed to hold 30 lbs/ square foot, so I had 7.8 pounds to go before risking collapse. I had drifts on my garage roof three feet high. I raked until I was worn out. The highest roof still is untouched, but fortunately the latest storm only dropped about 5 more inches, and the high winds took more off the roof than the snowfall dropped. Sure would be nice to have a thaw!

APT2.12.15

Guests may recognize this view from the apartment.

Our plow guy has been running on adrenaline. He knows our need for our 1/4 mile driveway is a low priority, so he shows up here in the wee hours or a day or two after a storm. Fine. The wind just closes in the tunnel-like driveway anyway. The latest strategy is to line up a front-end loader to deal with the high sides once the wind stops.

Driveway? What driveway?

Driveway? What driveway?

Amazingly, the power is still on. We haven’t lost power since November, when it was off for 4 days. Our new generator took care of that inconvenience, at a high propane cost.

Surviving Maine coast winters is often easy. Sometimes it rarely snows and temps barely dip into the subzero F range. Other winters (like this) develop into a full-fledged train wreck. Once the bay freezes over, the moderating effect of the ocean is gone and temperatures can plummet. Last year there was a propane shortage. This year there’s plenty, and fuel oil is still cheap. But Mainers need multiple back-ups to survive the frequent climate challenges and isolation issues. we have three heat sources, two electric sources, two wells and two oil tanks. We just might make it to spring.

Our five foot tall propane tank.

Our five foot tall propane tank.

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Comments on Hello Arctic

02/16/2015

Pat @ 7:26 pm

Sorry about the Arctic weather in Michigan and Maine. So far, we’re getting off easy. They even had to move the Iditarod start to Fairbanks, cuz we don’t have enough snow. It’s 48 right now, and we’re dying for a good snow dump!!PKG

02/17/2015

Bruce @ 8:20 am

Oh nice! Not enough snow for a dog sled race in Alaska and it’s like Pluto down here. Way to cheer me up, Sis!