“Battening down the hatches” is an old nautical term. Most people know what a hatch is but might not know what the sailors are doing when battening them down. The dictionary defines a batten as : noun: batten; plural noun: battens – a long, flat strip of squared wood or metal used to hold something in place or as a fastening against a wall. In foul weather ship’s hatches were covered with tarps for extra protection and battens were used to secure them. This phrase has come to mean getting ready for any tough situation.
For me now it means prepping the house for winter. The cheap storm windows I have, badly installed and old, are a pain when it’s time to switch from screen to glass and vise versa. A lot of WD40 and banging on them is required. It takes time and is usually, I admit, accompanied by a certain amount of swearing. Since the inside windows are even older and not in much better shape, double hung having been painted into single hung for example, more still is required. Felt strips across the tops of the bottom sashes, foam in the bottoms and plastic sheeting heat shrunk over those in the living room, front bedroom and kitchen.
At some point I need to get a piece of plywood to block the fireplace opening. Since I need a new flu lining I can’t use it and heat is rising up out of it. Flu linings are quite expensive when you factor in taking out the old one, so it will have to wait. Insulation for the attic must come first.
Yesterday got up to 60F/16C and I took the opportunity to thoroughly clean out and organize the truck cab and do some cleaning up in the yard. I would not want to do it in colder weather. I also had a visit from the neighbor’s cat I call Mr. Grey. Soon the re will be no resting on the front stoop petting him and watching him groom, it will be too cold.
Today it will not get up past 40F/4C. with wind and tonight it is forecast to go down to 20F/-20C. So this morning I went upstairs and got the pet steps I took from the thrift store when we could not sell them because the fabric was torn. Mi Sun is wanting to climb up onto chairs these days. She has not been so arthritic since we finally got the weight off her and I don’t want her to be uncomfortable..
The floors are in fact very, very cold, being above an uninsulated crawl space. I have pulled out all the throw rugs and carpets and am putting them down. This is also part of winter prep. Cotton sheets are swapped for flannel, light quilts for thick, plush Korean blankets. The cat beds and throws are all out, too. One thing that is still only on the wish is the purchase of insulated curtains for my leaking, drafty windows. Perhaps that will be upgraded in importance if the winter turns out to be a very cold and windy one.
Even before the sun is fully down, the temperature is dropping. I have moved a pair of space heaters into position to warm the sleeping end of the house. The unfinished floors in the bathroom and kitchen let in too much crawlspace air so I have set the thermostat very low.