Preservation Photos #215
Preservation Photos #214
Vermont loses many of its barns in the harsh winter seasons.
Christmas on Ice
Five winters in, and this is my first Vermont ice storm. So far, most people seem to be spared. Almost one inch of ice blankets northern Vermont today, resulting from an ice storm that moved across the region over the weekend. Some are without power. Some are covered in ice. Lucky ones have snow. And some just have rain. The weather is crazy. On Saturday afternoon, the temperatures in Burlington and Montpelier (only 38 miles apart via I-89) was incredibly different – see below.
Freezing rain continued to fall off and on Saturday and Saturday night, into Sunday morning. Burlington and the rest of northern Vermont was one sheet of ice, especially my street, driveway, and front steps. Here are some photos from the ice weekend.
This week’s round of posting will be Christmas-y. Hope you and yours have fun days planned, safe travels, a warm house and no ice!
Winter has Arrived
Preservation Photos #187
A Winter Drive
“Let’s go for a drive.”
Do you ever just drive to drive? Did you and your families take Sunday drives through the countryside for some family entertainment? In the days before automobiles, city dwellers took trolley rides out to the parks for picnics or carnivals or other entertainment. Sometimes they visited cemeteries, as many were designed as parks. When the automobile arrived on the scene, trolleys fell out of favor. (Read more about trolleys here.) With automobiles on the scene, people had greater freedom of mobility for work, travel and everyday things.
Surely as teenagers, we all drove around because we could. Nothing said freedom like driving around with your friends, whether it was to the beach, the diner or nowhere in particular. If you’re a professional now with a 9-5 job (or some form of 9-5) and “adult” responsibilities, do you still have the urge to drive? Maybe you don’t have the time for a road trip, but what about for an afternoon? Do you drive for any other reason than you have to?
This past weekend, Mother Nature graced Vermont with sunshine and blue skies (before she throws a March snowstorm at us this week). I could think of no better way to spend a late sunny Sunday afternoon than cruising the Vermont highways for a while.
Since a summer road trip seems so far off, these afternoon and day drives will have to suit me for now. What about you? Stay warm and drive carefully in this upcoming storm.
Preservation Photos #169
January thaw, you were nice while you were here in Vermont. Now we welcome February and the returning cold, snowy weather. Speaking of cold, opening an exterior door in the winter can rush in waves of freezing weather aside from the snow our boots track in the doors. In these cold climate states, winter is beautiful but often messy. Living in Vermont I’ve noticed exterior winter preparations that I haven’t seen elsewhere, whether New York or North Carolina. Most of us remove screens, put on or pull down storm windows, turn off the outside faucets, bring in fair weather plants, add water hog mats at our fronts doors, and keep shovels at hand.
In Vermont, winter preparations go to another level. Lately I’ve noticed that many buildings have temporary winter entrance enclosures (see above). Rather than an open porch, a hooded, walled entrance can be installed on a building. This will provide energy savings, as well allow for less cleaning – take those boots off at the entrance! The Montpelier entrance is a good example of preserving historic integrity, even in the cold weather. Perhaps a good suggestion for residences and businesses. Have you seen any winter entrances where you live? Or other winter preparations?
Cold Weather Coming! Insulation!?
Who else is getting chilly in the Northeast? Maybe it’s chilly in the Midwest, too? And the Northwest? Certainly you southerners are still enjoying the summer sun’s warm rays with a few lovely, blustery fall days. My memory could be skewed, but I am fairly certain that October was still very warm in the North Carolina Sandhills.
Normally, I wouldn’t mind this chill, except right now we are lacking heat in our house. (Thanks again, Irene.) We’re working on it with insurance, so hopefully it will be warm again soon. Fortunately, as new homeowners, we have a never-ending list of projects to do, which means there is enough reason to move constantly and keep warm. My favorite task is painting. I love painting! We’ll talk paint colors again soon.
Before fun aesthetic matters like paint colors, let’s get back to insulation issues. I was relieved to hear that I am not crazy after my rant against spray foam insulation. See the comments by Maria and Henrietta.
As I’ve mentioned, this year’s winter will be for observing how our lack of insulation affects our 1928 house. The attic is insulated, so all will be okay this year. Next year we’ll decide what we’re missing. Between now and spring I would like to acquire more knowledge about insulation. Colleagues and friends know my stance on insulation (at least insulation in my house), and I’d like to have more credible answers – rather than just some knowledge combined with gut instincts – for when they ask me questions about their house. While I’ve never claimed to be an expert, people know that I care about historic structures. There is no use in caring and not applying preservation know-how or learning it.
Step One: Acquire References.
My list of references from reliable sources includes:
(1) Issues: Weatherization from the National Trust for Historic Preservation (with special note to insulation)
(2) Technical Preservation Services: Weather from the National Park Service
(3) Energy Costs in an Old House from Historic New England
(4) Q&A from Old House Online (Old House Journal)
(5) Q&A from Historic HomeWorks (John Leeke)
What have you found helpful? What can you add?
Step Two: Read & Comprehend. That is a project for winter.
As smaller measures this year, we’re making sure to close the storm windows and add insulated curtains. If necessary, maybe we’ll tackle weather stripping. However, I really do not expect the house to be especially cold. It’s a good house and I have faith in it.