New Year has come and gone in my Equestria dreamscape. The holidays were behind us until Winter Wrap Up, now it was just a matter of making it through the rest of winter. So far the little cottage that Petina, Carousel and I share had weathered the season pretty well. The roof hasn't leaked, the cistern hasn't frozen, and the pipes have held up okay. However there was an event scheduled that was going to be real test of our household.
Clearly marked in the weather schedule and noted repeatedly in the local paper several days before was two days slated for Deep Freeze. The local weather service planned to create sub-zero conditions for 48 hours in area around Ponyville. This was an annual event and it served a couple of important functions. One it assured that the ponds and lakes really froze nice and deep. This assured good ice skating conditions which is popular pastime in the area. It also meant the ice would be nice and deep and suitable for cutting into ice blocks for the Ponyville Ice Company that services most of the ice boxes in the immediate area. In fact the Ice Company usually visits us about once a week, less often during the winter.
Second it assures that the maple trees sap flows strong when the thaw begins at Winter Wrap Up. Several pony families in the area make a living harvesting the maple trees in Whitetail Woods. For generations these families have maintained large groves of the trees there. Besides domestic consumption Ponyville maple syrup is exported to other parts of Equestria.
Now we had done most of winter preparations for the cottage back in the autumn but since neither Carousel or I had any work scheduled during the winter and Petina was ahead on her writing and studies, we spent the days before the Deep Freeze getting ready for it. Extra cords of firewood were brought in. Oh thank you Happy Mare's Home Journal Winter Preparation Chart for the firewood calculator. [link]
All the grates in the fireplaces, stove, and water heater were throughly swept and the flues inspected. The cistern was topped off to help it keep from freezing and extra straw and snow packed around it. Extra blankets were brought down from the attic. Caulking was checked one more time around the windows and the shutters were closed. During the Deep Freeze the curfew concerning fires at night was lifted but spark screens still had to be in place at all times. Now all we could do is wait for the freeze.
Now our little cottage [link]
is a well made little structure, but it does not have such nifty modern features as double pane windows, central heating, or fiberglass wall and ceiling insulation. It is half-timber construction with a thatch roof. Yes the walls are good and thick, and a layer of snow on top of thick thatching does help retain the heat. However when the temperature drop down to -15F you notice it. Fortunately there was very little wind.
Now being a pegasi pony I naturally had more resistance the cold since it can get quite chilly several thousand feet up even in the summer. For Petina and Carousel it was another matter. Yes we all had nice hides of hair and they could put sweaters and leggings on, but both of the mares had grown up in either futuristic high-tech worlds where buildings had good climate control systems or environments where it never got this cold. Carol had lived all her live in San Francisco Bay Area and Petina is originally from the 24th Century. Even Petina's routine visits to Andur had not prepped her for this kind weather since the Sultan's city is located on the Northeast African coast. So this was quite a shock for both of them.
We kept the fireplaces and the water heater lit all the time. Especially the water heater since it helps keep the cistern from freezing. I kept everyone fed with a steady stream of hot tea, coffee, and hot chocolate. We all gathered things we could do in living room and spent time together under a large, thick blanket of Trottingham wool by the fire. So long as we all stayed under the blanket it was okay. Actually so long as I stayed under the blanket then the mares were okay as they reasserted my role as hot water bottle again. If I left for more than a few minutes they started complaining. Hot meals and little diversions like card games and books helped the day pass. However when bedtime came it obvious that no matter how many blankets were a on her bed or whether we ran a bed warmer full of coals over them that Carousel was going to be one miserable, cold pony since her room had no heater. So it was decided that Carousel would sleep in our bed since our bedroom had its own fireplace. Thus three ponies ended up under a thick down comforter and several woolen blankets sharing each others bodily warmth on a frigid winter night.
To be continued.