Tag Archives: trailer life

living in a trailer in sub-zero temperatures


So, when I decided to spend this year living experimentally in a trailer on a farm, I had no idea that this winter would turn out to be BC’s coldest in 25 years.  Oh fudgesicle, what have I done?

I am a self-proclaimed heat lover (and cold disliker).  One of the bonuses of moving from Ottawa to Vancouver was knowing that I wouldn’t have to bear any more freezing winters.  Right.

The temperatures have really dropped here in Maple Ridge over the last few days.  Yesterday’s forecast was for -9 C.  I’m not sure if it dropped lower than that overnight or not, but gosh darnit, did that temperature ever affect my trailer.  Brrrrrr!

My built-in propane heater konked out last night (good timing) and although I was able to start it up again, it went out a few more times, making me nervous about leaving it on all night.  Since my bed is a haven of hot goodness (I’m talking about my electric fleece blanket), I wasn’t worried about getting cold while sleeping.  The cats and I snuggled up and had a long, toasty, warm sleep.  However, waking up and getting out of a bed was another story altogether…

The five windows that haven’t received the insulating film treatment yet were completely iced over (on the inside!  see photo above) and the stream of water I’d left running out of my tap all night to avoid frozen pipes had turned itself into a lovely ribbon of ice.  EVERYTHING but my bed was frozen – the cat’s water dish, the dish cloth, even my toothpaste (almost).

I turned on the propane heater (which has been running fine since) and retrieved the electric radiator from the outhouse to plug it in in the trailer to help warm things up.  And then I ran inside to Chris and Julie’s place to use their shower (thank goodness I don’t live in the boonies alone!).

The plan was to go into the office today, but leaving everything until tonight to deal with it had me worried so my boss let me work from home so that I could spend the morning doing some damage control.

I drove to Canadian Tire and bought myself a good space heater for the trailer as well as some insulating tape for the exposed parts of the water hose that are hooked up to the trailer.  I’ve been working from my trailer desk ever since (so glad I have a day job that can be done from anywhere that has an internet connection!).

The trailer is warmer.  The propane heater is still going, I also have the space heater on and I baked yams for an hour in the oven which really helped warm things up.  I’ve been collecting water from the barn and boiling it on my stove to pour down the cold drain pipes.  I also took my hair dryer out to the tap/ hose connection outside to try to loosen things up that way.  After doing that for awhile, it became pretty clear that whether or not my hose is frozen (not sure), the farm water pipes that connect to my hose are also frozen so at this point, there’s nothing I can really do but wait for the warmer temperatures that are supposed to come in the next couple of days.

For now, the water still isn’t running so I will enjoy long, hot showers in the house (something the trailer’s tiny hot water tank doesn’t allow) for the next day or two.

Hmm…looks like I’m going to have an interesting winter…


trailer drainage!


THIS is an exciting blog post (at least for me it is)!  Last weekend my always-so-helpful parents came out to the farm to help build me a grey water drainage system for the trailer.  For the last two months, I’ve been emptying my grey water tank (sink and shower water) manually (with a bucket) every day or two (depending on how many dishes I washed).  It was not fun.  It was, in fact, quite stinky, splashy and downright inconvenient (especially in the rain).

And so, it is with MUCH fanfare (at least in the form of a blog post) that I give a huge shout-out of thanks to m
y parents because trailer life has become so much lovlier now that I have a drainage system.

What we did:

After some conferring with Chris and Julie, we decided that it made sense to direct my rain water towards the empty side pasture (which is where I’d been manually dumping the grey water).  This seemed simple enough because it meant we only had to dig about 20 feet of drainage ditch space to lay the drainage pipes – and the land naturally declined in that direction. 

However, I’m learning that nothing is ever as simple as it first appears (on a farm).  My mom started digging out the ditch while my dad and I drove to the local hardware shop for some pipes and supplies.  When we got back, she delivered the bad news: she’d hit concrete.  Yes, lying just below the surface of the gravelly space we were digging across lay a big, sloppy, confusing slab of concrete.

Hmmm…it could have been much more problematic for us than it was, but luckily the concrete didn’t go on forever and we were able to redirect the ditch and pipes around the buried concrete barrier.  There was concern that, given the ‘bump’ in the plans, the drainage wouldn’t get completed that day (which, given that I’d already internally celebrated never having to manually empty the grey water tank again was super disheartening), but it turns out my mom is a super gravel digger and, with some late-in-the-game help from Julie and Chris (with Jordan and Kai looking on), we got the ditch dug, the pipes laid, and my drainage complete.  YAY!

Thanks mom and dad.  I love my new drainage system! 

(Ohhh…life in a trailer on a farm – celebrating things like grey water drainage systems…)