Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cold enough for you?

The weather has turned cold for most of the country, and we are no exception. While we don’t have the extreme snows or ice that some of the country has gotten, we do have snow on the ground, have had some wild winds and pretty cold weather. I woke up this morning to +3º and felt fortunate that it hadn’t gotten any lower.

When winter comes, a young woman’s fancy turns to H*E*A*T!! Nice, warm houses, cozy fires to cuddle up to, warm blankets to wrap in. But in this day and age, that dream would be very expensive, what with the cost of gas, propane and electricity. Wood is the best, in my mind, for good, warm, bone-soaking good heat.

But, with Norm’s neck a recent thought in our minds, we decided, two years ago, that wood heat would not be the best for us. With Norm’s neck so sensitive to the lifting, chopping and carrying of wood, we needed to find something else to keep this house warm. Our first year of owning (but only staying here for a week at a time) told us that we needed something extra or we would be bankrupt by the propane cost to keep the house even mildly comfortable.

Since wood, my first choice, was out, what was next? We went to a restaurant that was using a corn stove to heat the large dining room and felt that it would be a possibility, and finally decided on the corn furnace that we now have running in our basement family room.

Now I am here to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, that I am disappointed in the ability of this corn furnace to keep our house warm. I had anticipated throwing a blanket on the kitchen floor (possibly bringing in some sand and a beach umbrella) and basking in the warm south sun while having the house a toasty 80º. Not so, children! No so!

We have a prevailing south wind in our area, especially in the wintertime. The house has no windbreaks to the south, and we mean to keep it that way so that we have the lovely blue (mostly) sky. The south of this old house has little, if no, insulation to help, which will hopefully be rectified, but not this winter.

I found that the basement, the studio and the bedroom were nice and toasty warm but the kitchen, living room and my computer corner ran from chilly to down right frigid on windy days.

Even Peanut says it's cold!

Frozen bluejeans fresh off the clothes line

What to do? What to do? I wanted a wood cook stove in the kitchen and have begged, pleaded, threatened, whined, cried and in all ways made myself very unpleasant to be around on cold days. All in vain – even a lovely gas / wood combination stove was, to Norm, out of the question. A very expensive triple-thickness stove pipe (“We will accept no substitutions­”) as well as fireproofing the walls and floor of the kitchen made him tremble with fear and unhappiness.

But, still it was cold! Downright COLD in this house in the frigid winter days and while I am willing to wear long johns and double thickness in shirts, it seems unreasonable to expect me to either wear fingerless gloves to get my work done or to bake every day (a fine idea, but there is the propane cost to be considered!).

We had a small electric heater in the kitchen to take the chill off, if you were sitting (like Norm) with your toes nearly under the heater, but still no relief was in sight!

The corn furnace keeps the temperature from falling too quickly, but when it is 60º in the morning, unless we use the propane furnace to boost it up to about 68º before using just the corn furnace, we stay about 62º all day.

Now this week, lo! and behold! Our local farm supply store had heaters on sale! An EdenPure Quartz Infrared Portable Heater, as advertised on Paul Harvey. Now, I don’t listen to Paul Harvey but Norm does, and he has been talking about them for a while. His brother, Darrell in South Dakota, got one to heat his addition and he said that it keeps them nice and warm. It’s supposed to run for “pennies” a day so the electricity shouldn’t go up in cost, too much!

So we talked and I said that IF it kept us warm enough, I would stop asking (begging, pleading, threatening, whining, crying) for wood heat. So we bit the bullet and bought one. We got it on Thursday and set it up right away. I was leery of it actually doing any good, but I’m here to tell you, I think (THINK) it might work! That night the kitchen was hot – well I was baking bread, so the oven was running, too.

Yesterday, Friday, it only got up to 10º and had a south breeze, but the kitchen AND the living room AND my computer corner were running around 70º all afternoon – without propane assistance! (And it's quiet!!) Now THAT’S more like it!

Of course, we are now more dependent on electricity (sigh) but we do have a portable propane heater for emergencies, and I have my gas (propane) cooking stove that I love so much. And perhaps (dare I dream?) we might get a wind-generating windmill to put out our own electricity and not be caught up with higher electric prices and outages. But that’s another story – another dream!

It is now a beautiful 22º with very little wind and lots of sun. The house is nice and warm and I am content. You have a beautiful day!

Cold winter sky

6 comments: said...

Connie we have so much in common!We were just at Runnings last night and I saw your heater advertised. I did about what you did- beg, plead, grovel for more heat! Our old farm house is freezing too! You will have to let me know what you think in a few more days- as I just made husband read your blog!

Jan said...

I am glad you found a heat source that works. We went back to wood when the prices for propane and Kero got too high and we realized that our 70 acres held a free wood supply. my DH needed to get regular exercise and he was no longer working the farm so he had more time. What a difference it has made in our comfort level!

Kati said...

My father-in-law got one of those and has been using it to keep his crawl-space (which is NOT buried under the house, but instead built ON top of the ground, with the house sitting elevated over it) from freezing this winter. I guess he likes his. We're thinking about one ourselves, but wondering where we're going to come up with the $$.

Of course ideally I'd love a wood-stove, but we have no room in our house for one.

Hope this new quartz heater keeps you warm, Connie!!! I'd hate to think of my favorite weaver freezing her fingers this winter! said...

Hey Connie,

Something happened to my blog and my website for Wild Wind Soap-I haven't figured it out yet-but you can get ahold of me at

Talk soon

Anil P said...

Harsh though winter may be, the winter landscape is stunning.

Sonia said...

Thank you, Connie for your beautiful Christmas Letter!

I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Visiting your blog have been always a great pleasure to me! Many hugs!

My dog Flora send a kiss to Peanut!