Preparing for a colder decade – Part 1

My friends who follow the "official" line on climate change look with pity at me as I persist in looking at websites that insist on refuting EPA and IPCC forecasts. As a result I am preparing for one or more decades of increasing cold while they are doing their best to stave off global warming.

We will see how things work out in the coming years.

In the meantime, I am considering a series of actions that may make life easier while Nature makes up its mind whether we will have a warmer future or a colder future.

 The first problem that I see is that many of my handy tools and equipment are designed for temperate weather and we are seeing extreme weather that stops outside work completely. I plan to modify what I can to extend the working range of this equipment.

This is the first step: A Wheelbarrow – Sled Conversion Project

Wheelbarrow -Sled conversion 1I have a fine two-wheeled wheelbarrow which is light and strong and works like a charm until the snow gets more then 4 inches deep. Since the snow is about 15 inches to 24 inches deep and I still need to haul firewood from the woodpile to the front porch, I decided to convert the wheelbarrow to a sled.

Wheelbarrow -Sled conversion 2

I removed 6 carriage bolts and lifted the barrow body off the undercarriage.

Wheelbarrow -Sled conversion 3I drilled two holes in the lip of the barrow and attached a rope to use as a tow line.

Once the tow rope was secured, I could easily draw the barrow across the snow. The entire conversion took only twenty minutes.
Wheelbarrow -Sled conversion 5

We used the improvised sled to move hundreds of pounds of firewood from behind the house up a slope to the storage area on the front porch. My neighbor Raef King did the heavy lifting while I did the heavy thinking. I was very appreciative for his assistance.

He did a little testing on the sled and concluded that more work is needed before it can be used for coasting down snowy slopes. It doesn't steer worth a damn.

Wheelbarrow -Sled conversion 7

Other than that limitation, we have a workable solution for hauling heavy material around in deep snow.

Future projects that might make country winters less oppressive:

I have ideas for other projects, but they are much more difficult to implement. I would like to find a conversion for my garden tractor that involved tracks or really wide wheels for the rear wheels and wide skis for the front wheels. Think of a slow speed snow tractor.

I would like to find a low cost greenhouse with automatic ventilation that can be erected on a raised deck. It should be able to withstand severe weather and should be relatively easy to dismantle and store away during the summer. If I can extend the growing season for my deck gardens, it will be very useful as the climate gets colder.

Covered storage for our vehicles is no longer something that might be nice to have. We spend a lot of time cleaning ice and snow off our car and van. In some cases, it takes as much time to make the car drivable as it does to drive it into town. If winters continue to be colder, it will make sense to make our vehicle use as efficient as possible.

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0 Responses to Preparing for a colder decade – Part 1

  1. Stephan says:

    Excellent!

    In place of the frame you can put some little skids for directional stability.

    Clearing snow off of cars takes a while. Ice is much worse. Even if things get hot a garage would keep the vehicles cooler and it would last longer.So you win either way.

  2. DaveH says:

    Don’t know if you are familiar with it but “Watts Up With That” is an excellent place to start.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/

    Run by Anthony Watts, a retired television weatherman. Was voted best Science blog in 2008.

    The cool thing is that a lot of meteorology heavyweights show up in the comments and the facts and the science are closely examined.

  3. Tom King says:

    My Jeep loves its carport. It took two guys an hour to erect it. I got mine at Wills Ridge.

  4. Clarence says:

    A man after my own inventive heart.
    I like watching how your brain works through a problem.
    You are correct. A large enough shelter for all your critical machines is most necessary.
    When we were having our home built, we did agree on needing an extended garage but using super-clear hindsight we now wish we had gone for a two car one with side apron. Our city institutes “Snow Emergencies” and requires us to get our cars off the too narrow streets. They say it’s necessary so their plows can clear any heavy snowfalls we might have. When spring arrives, I plan on communicating with the city engineer and inquire as to why they do not take advantage of the situation and plow all the way to the curbs when they plow. When the storms are over and we start digging out, we must also include clearing a parking space for the vehicles we moved off the street so we can access our garage once more.

  5. Dragon Quilter says:

    Brilliant idea! I used something similar for our bird seed containers but I like yours MUCH better!!

  6. Rick Parrish says:

    Hi David! While you apparently slept through ninth grade science class, you are wise to plan for more snow. It won’t necessarily get colder in the winter (my science teacher taught me that there is an “ideal” temperature for snow in our region), but we can definitely expect a great deal more snow during many winters. The warm, moist air that is becoming more plentiful this time of year as a result of the real changes in the earth’s climate will dump their frozen bounty upon us as those fronts collide with the colder air currents that will become more extreme as ocean and atmospheric currents that moderate our climate are disrupted. Also, as the polar ice caps and “permanenly reflective” areas of the globe continue to shrink, I’m not placing any bets on what kind of bizarre weather patterns we will experience.

    As for your adaptations to the climate change that we are just beginning to experience first-hand, I like your ideas. I believe that simplicity and appropriate technology will be the most important factors in adapting to a changing climate (and limiting our influence on the rate of change as well). With the wheelbarrow, I wouldn’t worry about steering so much as stability and tracking as neither one of us has any business careening down hills if we can avoid it. I think a greenhouse is an excellent idea too. As long as we can get adequate sunlight, we can grow cold-weather greens year-round in Virginia with a little bit of appropriate technology. As you are probably already thinking, you should make it relatively strong and with a roof that sheds some snow and that you can reach with shop broom so it doesn’t pancake like the Blacksburg High gymn. The factors that may be increasing our annual snowfall also have the potential to give us a bonus in the weight department. You should also consider the load bearing capacity of your vehicle shelter as I’ve seen many of those flimsy metal carports collapse in our area during these recent storms.

    On the lawn tractor adaptation, you may want to consider a “dually” adaptation that would give you extra tires therefore extra flotation on the rear. I’ve seen this idea used for purposes other than snow-worthiness and it could probably be done locally for a reasonable price. Full tracks would require the ability to control power to the right and left independently (to steer) and locking the factory steering mechanism in place to keep the tracks on. You could also go with the skis on the front and a second axle & wheels on the rear to accept a short set of rubber tracks on the rear that would keep you on top of the snow.

    I hope you and your lovely spouse are staying warm and comfy. Sorry about your car but glad to hear you are unharmed and that you were out on business. I know all of us with small businesses in Floyd are looking forward to more income when spring arrives! I enjoy the slower pace but I also like to pay my bills on time. Peace to you and yours, my friend.

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