This has been one long, cold winter with very few breaks.
There was a day in January when we had the coldest temperature (5 below) since I’ve lived here (nearly 40 years). Many of the New England snowstorms dropped more in the southerly regions than in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The snow stayed on the ground. Turned to ice from time to time. The cold kept on coming.
It’s not over yet. A blizzard’s on the way, or so they say.
Through it all, our carpenters and solar installers are out there in it, day in and day out. Sixteen of our 35 employees do carpentry or solar installations – almost half our workforce.
Sometimes they’re working inside, but mostly not, especially this winter when I really wish they could have been.
But no such luck.
It does help to have a heat source to go to. Here’s a beauty, on one of our jobs, with the crew gathered at “camp” for coffee break.
During one deep cold snap in January Billy Dillon, one of our foremen, came into the office and announced, “Tomorrow is architects’ day on the job.”
Only one, Ryan Bushey, showed up. He may be smiling, but you can bet he’s hurtin’ and shivering too.
How long do you think he lasted at 10 blustery degrees?
Unlike Ryan, they dress for it. Phil Forest, our solar foreman, who’s out there every day that he possibly can be, says it’s all about layering, and wool is the best for minimizing bulk. Here’s what he wears on cold days:
• 2 pairs wool felt boot inserts
• 2 pairs thin wool socks
• 3 pairs wool long johns
• 2 turtle necks
• 2 wool sweaters
• 2 sweatshirts (one a hoodie)
• wool hat
• warm, comfortable knee pads
• 2 cups of coffee
A beard helps too, he says. He listed fifteen different articles of clothing (!) and the list doesn’t even include pants and boots and gloves. Wonder how long it takes him to get dressed, huh?
Here’s a series of photos that shows the dedication of the solar crew (Phil, Hunter, and Dario) to getting the job done.
7:30 AM – snow on roof
About 9 AM -shoveled snow
About 10 AM – remaining snow melted
4 PM – modules installed
Job well done, in tough conditions.
These guys, all 16 of them – that’s Billy, Phil, Hunter, Dario, Rocco, Jon, Jean, DonE, Pete, PeteD, Bob, Curtis, Ryan (not the one in shorts), Ian, Chris, and Aaron to name them each – work in sometimes punishing conditions, doing what they do with warm clothes, great determination, tremendous endurance, big hearts, and good humor. And remarkable skill.
They might just say Aw Shucks but I don’t think it’s a stretch to call it heroic.