Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The “joys” of north country living

I’m sitting in my cabin in the Adirondacks pondering the joy of living up here in the northlands.

When I arrived yesterday I found that there was precious little snow on the ground. But that means Mud Season had arrived. My gate is at the end of the paved road but there was a stream of water running down the dirt section of the road in front of my cabin diverted there by the work of the local logger who has been cutting trees on the acreage across the street. His harvest of red maple, birch and beech lay along the side of the road. Running his equipment through the woods as they thawed in the warm weather last week left ruts that the water followed into the road. The water spills into the field across the street just as the dirt meets the blacktop.

My “driveway”, also known as my lawn, had also succumbed to the mud and I needed the 4-wheel drive to get to the cabin some thirty yards from the gate and that left ruts, too.

Entering the cabin I found water had leaked in around an old and unused brick chimney to drip on the kitchen floor. This had happened before but not to this extent. Another puddle was found near the wood burning stove in the living area. I went outside and discovered that the chimney cap had been blown off.

My good neighbor, Mark, showed up, helped me unload the truck, and then went back to his place to get a replacement cap from his stores as well as a gallon bucket of all-weather roofing tar. I got the extension ladder out and we made the necessary repairs. As we were finishing, the wind picked up blowing 20-30 mph from the northwest and bringing lake effect snows. By mid afternoon we had near white-out conditions as the snow moved in from Lake Ontario as it sometimes does.

With the strong winds continuing it wasn’t long before the power went out. At 4 PM we found ourselves without electricity. A call to National Grid to inform them and all we could do was wait. Still no power at 7:30 PM so it was stoke up the fires and early to bed.

Having gone to sleep early, I awoke at 2 AM to find the power restored (sometime shortly after 10 PM) and myself fully rested. Feed the fires and wait for daylight to arrive.

There looks to be four, maybe five inches of fresh snow on the ground and a few more are predicted later today. The town has already sent a plow up the road so I should be able to get out okay even if I have to use the blower to clear a way to the gate. I’m not in any hurry, however, the band of snow is currently just south of me along the NY Thruway so I’ll wait awhile until I head back to NJ.

No sign of leakage around either spot we worked on yesterday so the cabin is once again snug and quite warm.

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