Colder Weather

By , October 22, 2012

At about this time last year I first heard a song I really like, Colder Weather by the Zac Brown Band. I listen to it a lot, since then, especially when the weather suits it. Just lately, though, it would serve well as a theme song for what we’re experiencing.

A few days ago our weather turned clear and colder. The wind switched to the north, and has been blowing gales most days since, with sustained winds up to 40-45 knots (46-51 mph).

This is perfect.

The weather turns colder over Lynn Canal

A brisk afternoon (photo: Mark Zeiger).

With the wet summer deteriorating into a similarly damp autumn, I’d begun to think I would lose my bid to dry out the last of the coming winter’s firewood. I have maintained two ricks on the beach since last March, drying the wood I’ve cut in the forest in the wind and whatever sunshine we’ve received. Just before we went to Washington DC, I felled what should be the last tree of the season, and had bucked and chopped a few rounds from it. I hoped that this wood would be dry by the time we returned. The tree had been dry standing dead, with just a little moisture in the outer layers. I’d tarped it with clear visqueen, which normally cooks the moisture out pretty quickly, and keeps off the rain.

Whatever went on here weather wise in our absence, there seemed to be a good deal more rain than sunshine. I found the wood had barely dried enough to notice.

Then the weather changed, and the forecast called for the drier, colder weather to continue for at least a week. I got to work and, over two days, processed the rest of that tree and another one that had fallen on one of our secondary paths sometime last summer. I stacked these in more or less orderly heaps on our “Power Point,” the rocky promontory where our wind generators stand. There, exposed to the howling north wind, the wood grows noticeably drier by the day. Long before the weather turns, it should be well seasoned, ready to heat the house.

With the cold snap upon us, we’re closing down the garden. Almost everything has been harvested, save for a bed of carrots, our fava beans, and the kales, which often survive well outside through the winter. We switched to the winter water tank yesterday; I had shut off the diversion for the summer water the day before, and we ran that tank out as much as possible before opening up the stopcock and letting it drain dry.

We’ve found that this change in the weather has put us in excellent high spirits. We like this time of year, but more so, it feels right—the weather is appropriate to the season, something we haven’t experienced much this year.

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