Rumination on winter

It’s chilly out. We’ve certainly experienced colder temperatures, but this cold comes with wind and twenty-odd centimetres of snow that’s fallen since this time yesterday, so it’s a bit of an adventure out there.

20140102_forecast

The snowblower ran out of gasoline while I was clearing the driveway. As I refilled it, the neighbour came over with his snowblower to help. That was nice of him.

My niece-in-law is taking this weather a lot harder than I am. She grew up in an area of the world that doesn’t get this cold. It makes me realize that it must take time to get used to it!

I visited my sister and brother-in-law this evening. Preparing to return home, I started my car and brushed off the snow deposited by the wind. As I did that, I detected a subtle kerosene scent. That means it’s cold. Diesel fuel thickens in the cold and given low enough temperatures, it will clog fuel filters and injectors, cutting off the fuel supply entirely. To prevent this, refineries add kerosene to diesel fuel in the winter. It does impact fuel economy, but it allows the fuel to continue to flow freely. I don’t know why, but when the temperature dips to –15° or lower, you can detect the subtle scent of kerosene close to a running diesel engine in a stationary automobile, if you pay attention.

The temperature also affects how the snow sounds as one walks. Around freezing, one’s footfalls are silent or accompanied by a quiet thud as the snow collapses and is compressed. At about –10º it begins to crunch. Eventually, at perhaps –20º, the sound rises in pitch. A car approaching slowly gives off the sound of an almost squeal, as if it were powered by the souls of the damned. Or something.

Sometimes, extreme conditions make us appreciate the things we take for granted. My mom mentioned to me that the people in our prehistory who invented shelter did a really good thing. She extended her approval to those people who figured out central heating.

I like the winter. I think the seasons would be boring without it. That said, it would be unbearable without a nice warm home to which I can retreat when I’ve had enough.


Forecast graphic ©2013 The Weather Network.

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5 Comments

  1. _Don
    Posted January 3, 2014 at 00:33 | Permalink

    Cold enough to spit!

    • Rick
      Posted January 3, 2014 at 15:43 | Permalink

      You know it!

    • Rick
      Posted January 3, 2014 at 18:43 | Permalink

      Happened again twice this evening, Don, while I shovelled the driveway! I knew you’d want to know.

      • _Don
        Posted January 3, 2014 at 19:09 | Permalink

        Yeah. I can sleep tonight now.

  2. Jessica
    Posted January 6, 2014 at 11:00 | Permalink

    A nice warm 26-degree home!

    Hey, I like your alternative fuel source idea. And the souls of the damned are certainly a renewable resource!

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