Coldest Winter Ever.

Well, the returns are in. This winter was the coldest ever recorded in Western New York: the average daily temperature was 11°F. We have had an inordinate number of double digit negative days too.

I was concerned about being able to make it through a winter when I bought the Aistream… and now I can safely say that if I’ve made it through this, I think I’m pretty safe.

During the month of February, we haven’t had a single day above freezing. We have had at least three nights that have broken the -20° (yes minus 20°!) and more than a dozen that have broken the -10°mark. So all in all, we’ve been between cold. We’ve had regular temperature swings of 40° (-20 one night to 20° the next day… a 40° swing and STILL not above freezing!) What’s more amazing is that I refuse to use the propane furnace… instead opting for my tried and true Lasko electric space heater… which on more than one occasion has turned the Airstream into a virtual greenhouse!

I’ve had a few mornings of frosty pipes … but as my neighbor Teddy told me, I leave the water dribbling, and believe it or not the pipes have survived (knock on wood). I did make a few modifications to keep heat moving in the enclosed spaces that house pipes, but nothing too dramatic or drastic, just common sense.

I also think that the hay bales really do make a difference keeping the underside of Florence warm and toasty. While it’s hardly weather-tight, it does cut down on any sort of draft bellowing beneath the belly. I also tucked a cheap space heater under there, and I have it on a remote-control switch that I can turn on and off without even having to go outside. From time to time on really cold nights, I fire that up… but again, nothing too crazy.

So, for all the doubters and wonderers out there. It can be done. Comfortable winter living can happen in an Airstream! (And let’s hope March is considerably warmer!)

First Frozen Pipe!

And hopefully the last!

My bathroom supply pipe froze this morning (I mean, it was 19 degrees, after all). Not a big deal. I just put a little space heater in the undercroft of Florence, and will turn it on from time to time. I also crawled under the kitchen sink and found where the white PEX feed line goes to the bathroom, and put an old-timey Edison bulb on a cord down there too. That’ll keep it warm enough so it won’t freeze. I’ll also heed the warning of my neighbor Teddy and leave a little trickle of water running all the time. As he says: flowing water won’t freeze.

Hay! Winter is here.

Winterizing Florence is a lot of work! Now she is all tucked in for the winter.

Thanks a million to my student, Emily, who introduced me to my down-the-road neighbor, Derrick, who delivered a dozen bales of hay to insulate the bottom of Florence! Living out in the country sure does turn up a lot of friendly and helpful folks.

The hay is natural insulation, and should cut down on the drafts and cold from blustering underneath the trailer.

I’m surprised that the bales were EXACTLY the right dimension and slid under Florence perfectly. I am also surprised at how much a bunch of dried grass weighs.

Thanks a million to Emily and Derrick!