February 3rd, 2011

wild.

couldn't start the truck this morning. this had, no doubt, to do with last night's record low of -14 (not counting a substantial windchill) plus the truck spending two days sitting in the shade covered in snow. Argh. very frustrating. i needed to drive, rather than bus, because i'm taking this thursday evening class, which gets out after the last Isleta bus heads south. fortunately, the VW Beetle (25 years older than the Toyota, but smaller and German) started. roughly, with effort, but she started. I've actually never had a VW be that hard to start; this weather is phenomenally cold for Albuquerque.

I arrived at work to a building with no heat -- which at least answered the question, why did UNM close for two days on one inch of (dryish, powdery) snow? the snow wasn't the issue at all; it was the temperatures. the university is heated by a boiler system, and many buildings' hot water pipes, which bring heat to the buildings, froze. my heat came on around 1pm.

now we're being sent home at 4pm, and all classes with start times from 3:30 onwards are cancelled; tomorrow we are already on 2-hour delay. i may as well have taken the bus. ah, well. Much of the Southwest is hit with natural gas outages today, presumably from record low temps throughout the desert states prompting folks to use more gas to heat their homes. rolling blackouts in Texas are causing shortages in NM, including the Abq metro area, where over half the population of the state is concentrated. we heat our house wiht natural gas, but we do have space heaters and good insulation, and if we really need to, we can all crowd into my wood-heated yurt. yesterday, we threw together an eastern wall on the 3-walled chicken coop, to shelter the birds from the wind chill, and hung another heat lamp in there, as well as providing them with extra scratch (more calories help them heat themselves better). no losses so far, and the weather is supposed to warm up tomorrow and over the weekend. UNM is closing because of the natural gas shortage situation, as I understand it. if we are closed tomorrow, I will get the spring greenhouse planting done, and maybe run up to home depot for some more drip system mainline to install sunday. might as well get caught up. it's supposed to be in the 30s tomorrow; downright balmy.

when i get pics of the garden uploaded, I'll post them here. it's snow-blanketed right now, rich with loam. perfect timing-- we composted everything last weekend, and then this storm hit, so some moisture can soak through it all. we have finally succeeded in making really good soil. 3 years-- not bad.