Mercury falls, pressure drops

This is the best time for the temperatures to be low for those of us without central heating. This household relies on one old floor furnace (just a burner under the floor, really, with a hot-air register on top of it) for most of our household heat. Christmas has taken many out of town, so there aren’t so many around to use natural gas, and the pressure, although it has dropped some, with resultant lower flames, isn’t so low as it would be were schools in session and more people here in Austin. We haven’t even turned on the gas fireplace, and the gas pilots and burners on the stove, while lower than they were a day or two ago, don’t take forever to get water hot for coffee or hot tea. Wind-gusts blew open a transom or two, but they’re now shimmed with some cardboard to keep them shut. Upstairs isn’t heated at all, but the retained heat from the bright sun yesterday has kept it rather toasty. The house is full of geraniums and nasturtiums in pots, brought in to protect them from the frigid air. Cold as it has been so far, even now there are tender plants in sheltered spots that haven’t succumbed. Yeast dinner rolls are in the electric oven right now. They smell great and so does all the greenery. We probably won’t even have to fire up the wood stove. We’ll know it’s cold when we have to dig out the gloves that leave fingertips bare for wearing indoors. The Shiner beer thermometer at the cold end of downstairs reads 62 degrees Fahrenheit. Tonight will be the real test, because the ground has been cooling. The plumbers haven’t been sighted, so neighborhood pipes must be holding up well. After tonight’s preducted lows, the story may be different in the morning.

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