Winterizing the House

Posted in The Widow's Blog | 2 comments

What an eventful week for me, so I am not surprised unbeknownst to me, that a real cold front is on the way.  With the weather being severely crazy in south Texas this winter, going from hot to cold then back to hot then cold again in less than twenty-four hours, I just put off doing the close in around the house thangy.

The problem is that my house has a pier and beam base which means it sits up off of the ground.  Of course, not high enough off of the ground for an average size person to crawl under it.  Why would that be logical?

Also, all of the water pipes are under my house, not in the attic.  This gap is a good thang and a bad thang. Since the house is not high enough off of the ground to crawl under if a pipe breaks, the plumbers have to dig their way under there.

Yes, I said plumbers, this widow is not crawling under this house.  After seeing snakes, armadillos, and other scary things come out from underneath that dark space, not doing it.  Just trust me, call and hire a plumber.

Okay, after establishing a picture of the gap between the house and the ground with the pipes, armadillos, snakes and whatever under the house, let’s talk about closing in the gap.

How do I winterize my house?  Well now, this takes some strategy and ingenuity.  Having stacks of lumber in my workshop that comes in all lengths and widths, I dig through the piles to find just the right lengths to overlap then go around the bottom perimeter of the house.  Why?  Of course, to block the cold wind and help insulate the water pipes that are under the house from freezing.

In my garage, I also have some of those oval-shaped styrofoam bowls looking dumb-a-fletches, I guess they are kinda smart-a-fletches, that hang on the outdoor faucets by a plastic loop then you cinch them up against the house covering the faucet.  Sure beats wrapping them with plastic bags full of other plastic bags for insulation. Did I just admit to the plastic bag wrap?  Oh well, only in an emergency!

Today’s project went very smoothly.  I didn’t drop any heavy boards on my head while getting them off the shelf over the washing machine and I didn’t get any splinters in my hands.  The boards surrounding the bottom of the house are very picturesque if you like patchwork quilts with squares and rectangles of all sizes.  Did I mention some of the boards are painted different colors?  Well, they are, and this makes “the look” even finer when you remember they are just for a short period of time.

The only problem I had today was trying to decide whether or not to leave an opening for the varmints to get out.  Those armadillos will try to push the boards down or dig under them.  Believe me; this isn’t my first rodeo with those dudes.  You would think that they would just stay under the house and burrow to keep warm, but “No” they want to come out and root up or dig up the frozen yard looking for frozen grubs, ants, and earthworms. I decided to leave a crawl out hole between two boards.

There is nothing like sitting on your porch at night and having one of those armadillos decided to join you. Lots of hollering and jumping up on the chair that night.  City tried to help me by putting dog food in a cage with a trap door, but all we caught was a cat. Thinking maybe grub or earthworms would have been a better bait, but what do I know.

Anyway, I am as ready as I can be for the hard freeze.  I kinda learned the hard way about making sure that the gap between the ground and the bottom of my house was closed. One freezing cold Christmas Eve night about midnight a pipe burst under my house.  I had to call a plumber, and he actually came out, dug a trench, crawled under there, and fixed the broken pipe.  I gave him a big ole tip.

So, thinking I am ready.  Knock on wood and at home with the Armadillos.



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  1. Quite the ordeal to winterize! Those armadillos sure are strange creatures. I remember years ago when I was in Florida one of them actually walked between my legs. I just stopped and waited for it to get through and carry on. At least it wasn’t a huge snake. Armadillos I can handle, but snakes are an entirely different story. Here we have to be careful of skunks. We seem to have a large population of them in the city. Hope the weather doesn’t get too cold for you. We have been having the same kind of fluctuation of temperatures here this winter. One day it was over 50′ and the next I think it was below freezing. It has been snowing since last night, but not heavily and it isn’t a huge accumulation. Hope it doesn’t become huge. Keep snug and cozy. God bless.

    • Right now we are just getting lots of strong wind, no rain or snow. House seems warm, so just working on catching up on website and Facebook.
      God Bless you and stay warm.

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