Winter is officially upon us here in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan! This week we had our first Winter Storm Warning.
The warning came a day in advance so the morning before we hustled and bustled to get all the final details ready for a big snow. This included mostly:
1.) (Tim) Fixing the steering on the tractor so that it can be used to snowblow. All the parts came in the day before and Tim spent the cold evening in the garage making the repair.
2.) (Lisa) Panicking about how much wood we need to have inside in case the storm hits for days. I hauled in bin after bin.
3.) (Lisa) Completing the bags of winter emergency items to be kept in each vehicle through the winter. This included extra hats, scarfs, mittens, snacks, flashlights, blankets, and rags. Final supplies were sorted and completed the evening before.
The few odds and ends that we had on our minds were completed before the storm – SUCCESS!
Well, the storm came and dumped a whopping inch. Yes, ONE inch. Oh man, I was having such a laugh at myself about my storm prep anxiety. (About 20 miles from here it did snow 7+ inches, we just lucked out!) But, I am also thankful it was only an inch, it made for a slower transition to winter and also some beautiful scenery and bird watching (the birds were busy preparing with many visits to our bird feeders).
The snow stopped, but some fairly nasty weather conditions continued and that’s where the success portion of our winterizing ended. The wind picked up considerably and the temperature dropped to around 15 degrees. No matter what I did to keep the wood stove hot, I simply couldn’t keep myself warm throughout the yurt. The temperature outside was dropping and so was the temperature inside. At 59 degrees inside, I started to panic..how exactly are we going to be keeping ourselves warm this winter?
After the kids went to bed, Tim and I worked together to assess what the heck was going on. The wood stove is performing just fine, so why the super cold? Since we just moved in June, this is our first winter here. Yes, it’s new construction and should be well insulated (which it is), but also we need to keep in mind that living in a yurt is a non-traditional home, so perhaps we’d need to do some better work on winterizing along with coming up with unique solutions for winterizing.
First, we felt around for drafts, and yes, we found some.
Second we used our infrared thermometer to check the temperature on varying parts of the yurt: floor, block wall, windows, walls, ceiling and dome.
Doing so, we found 3 spots that seemed to be leaking cold air. The culprits included the threshold on one door, the space where the walls meet the sloped ceiling, and the space where the window dome meets the ceiling.
Time to get to work.
First, the threshold on the doorway is adjustable, so Tim quickly eliminated that draft.
Second, Tim used rope caulk to stuff the tiny space between the walls and ceiling. He also adjusted some pieces in our ceiling planks and double checked for any settling in the insulation that may have left gaps.
Lastly, the space around the dome has been caulked.
The temperature outside has risen about 10 degrees and the wind has calmed , so we aren’t working with exactly the same conditions, but so far we have recognized a much less drafty home, and the ability to hold a comfortable temperature between 66 and 68 has become fully and easily attainable.
We are looking at a few more changes on our secondary heating system, which is in-floor (for more efficiency and cost savings), adding an eco-fan to our woodstove to help push heat around along with implementing some indoor changes to help trap heat in and keep cold out.
These adaptations we’ve had to make the past few days I believe are part of the adventure of yurt living in the Keweenaw Peninsula! With a positive homesteading attitude, simple home repair knowledge, and creative problem solving, we can keep moving ahead rather than getting stuck in a situation we don’t know how to fix. For a moment I had a sort of “the sky is falling” attitude, but then I remembered this quote I had heard a while back: “Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.” – Salvador Dali. In other words, there is no perfection. Work with the moment, do the best you can, and relish the fun in finding solutions to problems.
Any low-budget tips you can share with us on keeping warm all winter? We want to hear! Comment here on the blog or on our Facebook page.
Peace, love, and nature,