November Time

November is a wild month. It demands action from man and beast. It’s like a time piece racing ahead to a final, inexorable winding down. It’s the harvest season for mankind . . . the migration season for millions of birds. It’s a swing time for nature as fall transforms into winter. The ponds freeze, frogs and turtles settle into their resting places. Black bears seek out their dens . . . the mother’s giving birth before the sleepover ends. Snow finally blankets and insulates the earth, like our grandmother’s best patchwork quilt, and man is obliged to cease from his hectic harvest activities.
I’ve seen some wondrous sights in November. Once, while raccoon hunting with my buddy Norm, we encountered a huge snapping turtle on a moon-lit night. The creature was lodged on the bottom of a pond, clearly visible through the ice of Chuck’s Lake. Norm tapped the ice with the butt of his rifle, right above the turtle, and it reacted in a flash leaving a cloud of silt. It disappeared into the cattails. I’ve always wondered how that turtle could awaken from its deep torpor . . . and then instantly vanish. It’s a mystery. How does a turtle morph from an air breathing creature into one who can survive underwater? Must have to do with that great and indiscernible November clock. And how about frogs and toads? They crawl into the mud or under a pile of leaves, and then freeze solid. They don’t thaw out until April. Impossible!
On another memorable November day, my son Aaron and I were deer hunting close to the Canadian border. It was a 10 degree below zero, windless day. I made a slow drive over a ridge toward my son, stopping to catch my breath. It began to snow from a clear blue sky. As I marveled at this oddity, I saw a puff of smoke rise from a clump of brush at the base of a dead-fall. About every 30 seconds there was another blast of steam, which lingered in the frosty air. Another mystery. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I was sitting next to a bear den. That old bear was breathing on November time, slowed down to two beats per minute. I, on the other hand, quickly vacated the scene . . . no need to awaken the old boy.
Well, we can’t crawl under a pile of leaves or fall asleep under a tree until spring, so the question remains, are we ready for winter? Here’s some energy tips to help you smile at the season.
The Hundred Dollar Rule
Here’s something easy to remember, I call it the hundred dollar rule. For electrical consumption, if your monthly bill is more than $100, you are a high consumer. For heating fuel, if your monthly bill exceeds $100, you are a high consumer. If you replace an old appliance with an Energy Star rated appliance, it will save you $100 per year in electricity. (This applies to each of the following: fridge; chest freezer; clothes washer; window A/C.) If you wash your clothes in cold water, it will save $100 per year. If you turn down the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees, it saves $100 per year. If you change  the filter on your furnace once per month, it saves $100 per year. If you seal your rim joist; caulk the air leaks; and insulate the lid of your attic access panel, it saves $100 per year. If you are using more than one fridge or chest freezer, re-organize and use one of each. One hundred dollar savings. Next spring, plant pine trees to the north and west of your home, and big leaf trees to the south and east . . . one hundred dollar annual savings in heating and cooling costs. Next summer, use a fan instead of your central A/C, it saves at least $100 per summer. There you have it, the hundred dollar rule. If your monthly bills are more than $100 for heating fuel and $100 for electricity, call Tri-CAP and sign up for energy assistance. It may open the door for a home energy visit and possibly weatherization services, as well as the CIP appliance program (income guidelines and program guidelines apply).
November 2017 Blog
Written by Stephen Bjorklund