Shared Views #8/2020 Saturday 20 February . . . Even our car got into the cold weather act. By cold weather I’m referring to temperatures that hovered between plus and minus single and double digits (degrees Fahrenheit). When I tried to start our car, after not having driven it for almost a week, it didn’t respond. Dead. The smart key had opened the driver side door, that was it. No further response. Nothing at all. The service rep at the dealership was immediately helpful. He said our car, a hybrid, was hibernating. Had I seen him face to face I likely would have detected a mischievous smile on his face, but no matter, the solution was straightforward. All I needed to do was push a button below the dashboard to the left of the steering wheel and the car would wake up. It did. Magically,. It has been normal as ever. Hibernation, eh? So, even cars do it.
This is probably more than you want to know, but for the record: Our car is a Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV), meaning it uses both the gasoline engine and the electric motor for power. The electric motor is run by a high-voltage HEV battery. According to the one-inch thick Owner’s Manual, “Depending on driving conditions, the HEV computer selectively operates between the engine and the electric motor or even both at the same time.”
I’ve since found an entry in the index in our Owner’s Manual, concerning, “If your vehicle will not start.” How I wish I would have found an entry under H for “Hibernation,” but no such luck. Anyway, the entry instructed: “This vehicle does not have a regular 12V battery that needs periodic replacement. It is lithium ion polymer type integrated into the HEV high voltage battery. The vehicle has a 12V battery protection system that cuts 12V battery from vehicle draw to prevent full discharge. If vehicle will not start, first try pressing the 12V Battery Reset switch (left side of the steering wheel near the fuel door open switch) to reconnect the 12V battery . . . If the vehicle still does not start, have your vehicle checked by an authorized Hyundai dealer.”
I love our car. It loves us back with reliable transportation, good safety features, heated seats, more than 600 miles on a (11.8 gal. / 45 l capacity) tank of gasoline in warm weather, less in winter, and what’s more, what’s not to love about a car that hibernates when temperatures dip and the wake button always stands by?
I remember how my grandfather for winter would put the Essex car (later the Dodge) on blocks in the lean-to to the implement shed, take out the battery, drain the radiator, and let it hibernate until spring. Out came the cutter and sleigh for travel to the general store with a potbelly stove in the middle, to church, to go visiting. My brother Sandy thinks one of the horses was named Jimmy; my cousin Wray thinks the other horse may have been named Dick.
At home we, too, had horses, Rose and Bell. Sandy still has the buffalo robe we used when we took the cutter out. For warmth we also used heated bricks and hot water bottles. One time our hired farm hand came to pick us up from school with the cutter. Two of my siblings and I, though had walked almost the more than two miles home before he met us. He almost got the horse stuck in the ditch as he turned around. In later years the township, with heavier equipment, kept the roads well plowed, though one time the operator of a heavy maintainer plow had to have it pulled from a deep ditch he slid into.
The things one remembers. Winter’s freshness stirs the mind, I guess. I’ve hung onto a feature in The Globe and Mail, December 2, 2019, “The Thrilling Embrace of Winter.” Quoted below.
“After spending much of my life in Australia, where the climate is almost the same year-round, I find the cold Canadian temperatures and distinct changes of the seasons invigorating,” Kirsten Fogg, who lives in /Toronto, writes.
“After a few innings of snow-rain-ice, a new friend apologized for the weather of February, March and possibly April for ‘the cloudy days, the filthy snow, the grueling cold, the icy sidewalks.’
“‘But this is precisely why people here, on the first sunny, warm day, head outside to patios, sidewalks and parks and start smiling at everyone else,’ I tell her. ‘It doesn’t happen like that in the subtropics. There isn’t this blossoming of humanity.'”
In 2021, we’ll have to substitute waves for smiles for a while, but, yes, like the foliage of spring, humanity too will blossom.
Enough ice for figures 8
Back in the day I’d get out my trusty Bauer skates and take full advantage of any patch of ice, whether at home, at school, on the creek at my cousins place, or on some Saturday nights at Skate A-Rama at the town arena. All the while some of the world lay mute in snug hibernation, as it’s called in some quarters.
P. Buckley Moss captured the spirit of winter in this 1977 painting, of which we have a print.
Enough Valentine’s Day food for a feast
For Valentine’s Day we ordered a special meal from a local grocery store. It included a dozen shrimp, Caesar salad, salmon, twice-baked potatoes, green beans, rolls, and chocolate cake, the latter big enough for a dozen people, I’d say. And, oh yes, the order included a half dozen roses, all for a reasonable price; plus we had leftovers enough for two more meals for two. ‘Twas a lovely change of pace and the roses are still blooming. Long live special table occasions and love.
Enough snow to rally the early-rising grounds crew
Enough fog to create wonders on Wednesday
Enough can-do spirit for a short walk on Thursday
Enough sky to stop one in one’s tracks, Friday
Over time I’ve rarely stopped to consider much about snow, such as the eight main types and the more than 35 shapes of snow crystals and other ice phenomena. Even while reveling in a walk in soft falling snow, my engagement with the types–(thanks to snowcrystals.com) Stellar Dendrites, Columns and Needles, Capped Columns, Fernlike Stella Dendrites, Diamond Dust Crystals, Triangular Crystals, Twelve-branched Snowflakes, and Rimed Snowflakes and Graupel, Triangular Crystals–ever took center stage over the practical concerns for keeping warm, avoiding falls, clearing driveway and sidewalk, suitability for cross-country skiing, safety in driving and so on. I must have been hibernating in seasons that offered breathtaking lessons on the wonders of how water droplets freeze to particles of dust and other substances, fall from the clouds, stick to sundry surfaces and blanket the ground.
I could do an experiment in creating ice crystals by running our new humidifier on our patio. But, I quickly add, I shan’t do it. The humidifier, like a chimney, silently puffs out a steady steamy stream that disappears from sight but not from benefit throughout the room.
Let me remember to take a magnifier with me on our next walk. And maybe a hot potato in my pocket.