I won’t complain about the cold, not when I know what is going down in the north east, I will just comment on conditions and how I am responding. We had freezing rain 2 days ago and the result was more aggravated where my farm is 50 miles north of Atlanta, than Atlanta itself. The trees off the highway look normal as you head north on the 515 from Atlanta until you pass Canton and then you notice a silvery, icy sheen on the branches. Georgia has lots of pine trees and the pine needles are adapt at catching the freezing drops and making icicles, the weight of which bows down the younger trees and snaps the branches of the older trees.
And when you look closer you see the icy fingers.
In the coop I have a water heater and each day of freezing temps I have to refill the 2 gal container which sits on a thermostat controlled warming base. Monday night during the freezing rain, the log cabin and surrounding area had an 8 hour power outage. I know the hours because my security system emails and texts me with unusual events such as the dsl modem losing power. Since there was extensive black ice on the hilly road to the farm, I did not visit on Tuesday and my neighbor let the chicken out of the coop and locked them in the evening. A wonderful neighbor. My coop door is set to open automatically at 9am and I texted her in the evening whether she had reset the timer. She had not and went back to the coop and the door had opened after she had cooped the chicken. Whatever can go wrong will go wrong and an open coop door in the night is how I lost my favorite chicken a couple years ago. Another consequence of a power outage is the lamp bulb in the well house no longer warms the well pipes. This is my well house.
From the inside of the well house I noticed chinks of light and I caulked every occurrence to make the structure more air tight. A savvy neighbor tells me that because of power outages he uses oil lamps for heating his well house. He bought his at an estate sale. I traversed Amazon and found two 12″ lamps, one for $11 (red) and one for $15 (blue).
I tried them both out and the blue one was still burning the following morning, the red one was extinguished (there was still oil in the base). So, when I am at the property and the temp will fall below say 15 F the next morning, then I light an oil lamp. If I will be away for several days, then I use a light bulb (base 50c at the Thrift store) and a timer to switch current on during the cold hours.
I have a small greenhouse I built on the south side of the carport. It is passive heated (sun only) and the cold temps have hammered some of my seedlings. The warm weather vegetables (pepper, cucumber, eggplant) have been annihilated, but the cool season (kale, collard, lettuce etc.) are holding on. The situation is exacerbated by an uninvited guest, a feral cat which ripped a hold through some sheeting near the top and beds in a pine straw box (I use the pine straw for my bee smoker). I have not the heart to deny the visitor entrance and I do not have a rodent problem (except in the coop), but when the weather improves I will make the greenhouse cat proof.
And finally, my wood stove, which was installed last year, is a boon – it has some mass and really helps out in the living room and keeps my utility bill down.