Saturday, December 17, 2016

Brr...Baby it's Cold Outside

If you live in the United States right now most likely you are aware of the blast of Arctic air making its way south as far as Texas. In Oklahoma it is all we have been talking about for a week. The news has been abuzz with warnings about just how deadly the wind chills will be with this storm due to the high winds coming along with it. In my area we are predicted to have snow later today and a high of 9 degrees. That is pretty damn cold by anyone's standards, but consider the fact that I live in a tiny house and preparations for such weather are in fact a matter of life and death.

My home sits up on blocks (how redneck, right?). I have it on blocks because if I put it on a "foundation" it would be taxed differently. I like not having high taxes, so having the building raised and level is fine with me. I have toyed with different kinds of skirting, but haven't settled on what exactly I am going to go with. Meanwhile, high winds blow under my home steal precious heat. 9 degrees and high winds means a very cold floor and difficulty maintaining heat in my living space. I needed a temporary solution and I needed it fast.

My solution was to purchase 10 bales of straw. Now, I have to say that I am not a fan of using straw around the base of a tiny all the time. The problem is straw retains moisture, will mold, and critters love to make a home in them, however in a pinch straw bales make an excellent wind break and insulator. I would not, however leave the bales against the building any longer than necessary. As soon as this storm passes, I will move them, stack them aside for the time being, and move them back if a new storm threatens to arrive. In colder climates where the snow stays frozen and it doesn't just rain or thaw out in a couple of days (Oklahoma snow melts in a day or two), I suppose you could leave the bales in place, however if the moisture is trapped against your building it could do damage, so keep an eye on them.

Bales of hay from my local feed store run $7 each. I bought 10. 8 to form a wind break and the other two I broke apart and spread in the goat shed and chicken coop to give the animals extra bedding material. As I lay in my nice warm bed typing out this post I am very comfortable and the building is noticeably warmer as compared to the last windy cold snap about a week ago.

** Update: Last night temps crashed to 2 degrees. Guess what? Yup, the Shouse remained warm and comfortable. Hay bales are a success!