Publisher’s Letter: Mountain Challenges

Blaine Howerton on his mountain property (Photo by Rolly Medina)
By Blaine Howerton, Publisher
North Forty News

The other day, as I was laying out the hose, pumping water into the tank, turning the heater on full blast, and thawing out the drainage tank, I was thinking about how many people may despise laundry. I guess I wanted to feel that I had a little company because I’m one of them! I was also thinking about why I didn’t just break down and go to a laundromat that would save me hours of work for a few measly loads of lousy laundry.

A few months back, I was so proud to get my handy little washer and ran loads and loads of laundry on solar power. Hanging laundry to dry in the warm sun now seems like paradise. And a gas-powered dryer sounds like heaven. At this time of year I can’t count on much sun and when it freezes overnight free-flowing water is hard to come by.

But thinking back to my friend Rolly’s experience at a laundromat (when a man stripped down naked right in front of him to dress in his freshly cleaned clothes) kept me motivated to keep working at it — at least for now.

At this time of year, on the mountain, even the most basic tasks turn out to be very difficult. Keeping the RV warm is one thing, but keeping the tanks from freezing is a whole other science. And it’s a full-time job — not to mention the fuel it takes to keep these heaters running on a sub-freezing night.

The past few weekends I have spent building an insulated RV skirt. But finding that a single layer of insulation wasn’t enough, led to my building a ducted system under the brand new RV skirt to blow hot air on the tanks and water lines to keep them from freezing. I may finally have a handle on it, but until the temps get back below 20 degrees there’s no way to know.

I knew this time of year on the mountain would be challenging — and, it’s not even winter yet!

I’m not a quitter, but I also pride myself on not being insane. So, very soon my sons and I will be moving for the next several months to something much warmer. Hopefully, it will be a place where I can watch my laundry tumble in a warm dryer while I sip a spiked hot drink next to the fire. We’ll come back in the spring to the hummingbirds, spring flowers, and warm morning sun. when we’ll enjoy staying on our mountain property once again!

Moving is challenging but it must be done — so, here we go!

As you read these words I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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