Some of those moments seem like an eternity. Towards the end of last week, we woke up to 8” of snow on the ground. At least it was light and powdery. Our plow guy showed up faithfully. Dave and I both did some shoveling of paths to things we need to access like our basement compartments, the office steps and the dumpster. Dave cleared a nice “garden” of exposed grass for Maggie to take care of business in.
The Musconetcong River is frozen again. The above was taken a few days ago when we were experiencing our first round of subzero temperatures. We had a thaw and then plummeted again the past couple of days. Today this big mass is more slushy but is freezing solid again. There are now also “icebergs” floating down from upstream to join up with this big mass. It’s beautiful and fascinating to see so much ice floating cheerfully in our part of the river.
The geese don’t seem to be too impressed with the state of the river.
Dave cleared a path across the footbridge to the mill. This is taken from about the middle of the bridge looking back to the parking lot where we’re parked.
My man hard at work!
My man being silly!
So last night we were hit with the polar vortex, i.e. Arctic hurricane. Temperatures dropped below zero and the wind howled and shook our rig all night and well into today. I got about 1.5 hours sleep total. No, I wasn’t frightened but more p.o.’d about not being able to sleep and thinking about everything freezing up.
This morning around 7 AM it was –1 with a Real Feel temp of –20. Anticipating frozen tank valves, I had emptied our tanks yesterday and put antifreeze down ‘em. We did have a day in between freeze-ups where we both were able to shower.
We have been busy – Dave more than me – today dealing with weather-related rig issues. We have the furnace going, a supplemental heater in the basement (took off a dividing wall so the heat would hopefully get further along in the basement), making futile attempts to thaw out the outside water valve, testing to see if the water pump and/or lines/pipes had thawed out throughout the day, changing propane tanks, etc..
Here it is almost 8 PM, the temp is 6F with a Real Feel of –14, and we’re still frozen up in the rig. No flowing water and, even if it was flowing, no way to empty the tanks if they needed it. We finally get up to 32F Thursday, 39F on Friday and then increasing a bit for a few days. Looks like Friday may be our first realistic window of opportunity to have water again.
Of course, this means no cooking . . . ‘cause washing a lot of pots and pans just isn’t going to happen! We can do a few dishes in the office sink, but want to minimize that. We have soups, etc. and I made kolaches yesterday in anticipation of freezing up.
Every Winter we question why we are here in New Jersey. We’re again looking at our original goals, dreams, finances, opportunities . . . realistic and perhaps foolhardy. We won’t be making any rash decisions, but it may be time to change locations come Spring; we’re hopeful at getting a similar work situation further South. Might be time to take a 6-month or 12-month break entirely and get back on the road. We’re not getting any younger and Life is short. We have the option of taking a break and then getting another assignment when one arises.
We are grateful our rig is warm and snug and that we have a restroom (albeit kinda rough) in the office trailer with flowing water. I’ve got a tower heater aimed inside it and will start the adventure of getting a sink wash-up this evening. I usually take a shower right before bed . . . not only does it relax and freshen me up for crawling under the covers but it symbolically washes away the stress (if there is some and lately there has been) and events of the day. Sorta clears the slate for a good night’s sleep and rejuvenation. I need to sleep tonight.
Stay warm and safe!
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