It is very cold in Mayberry. I think it was -10 this morning ... perhaps it is a little bit warmer or a little bit cooler. I am too lazy to go outside and start my car to find the temp gauge that I find to be the most accurate ... the one in my rear view mirror.
Long ago, I self-appointed myself to be the one in charge of home atmosphere. When we were little and I was the babysitter of my bro and two sisters, they had to clean the kitchen and family room and I was in charge of the living room. Even back then, I thought that the living room should stay clean, just in case company dropped by. They felt this was unfair, because they said that all I did was rearrange magazines on the coffee table. However, that was not true at all. A lot goes into to making a good first impression.
That bit of information aside, let us get back to it being cold in Mayberry. I still like to be in charge of our home's atmosphere, and that includes keeping it warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Since we don't have to worry about keeping it cool right now, I will tell you how I try to keep it warm.
We are grandparents, and grandparents like to stay warm. We live in our sweatshirts and sweatpants when we are at home. I like to keep the heat set to 71* or so. My husband likes it at 73*, but sometimes I get too hot. So I think that I have figured out a way to make 71* feel like 73*. For you new people, this is what we looked like last summer when we were camping. Just to get a visual of these particular grandparents. Cary was wearing a sweatshirt then too. I think he gets colder easier than I do.
Anyway, back to keep our home warm when it is below zero outside. First of all, I think that the snow actually helps keep our home warmer, when it gets deep enough. It forms an insulation around the foundation. Second, not only do I close off the back bedrooms, I keep those heater vents closed and covered with something over them. In the Mom Cave, there is a bookshelf on top of the vent. In the guest room, there are just pillows. I don't want our guests to freeze. I also do that in our computer/sewing room, and only have one vent open in our bedroom. My theory is that this technique forces more warm air into the living area.
We are living in an manufactured home, and our ceilings are kind of high. Here are pictures of our living room and dining room. These can also serve as the "Before" photos, because I will start in on Christmas decorating this weekend:
So, here is my little plan to help keep things warmer in here. I know, this is an ugly picture below, and our carpet really needs to be cleaned, but the key here is the little fan, which actually is on, though you can't tell by looking at this photo:
The fan is facing up to the ceiling. There is another identical fan in the dining room on the other side of the lawn chair covered with the ME throw. Because heat rises, these little fans really help to keep the warm air circulating through out the area. Ceiling fans would work too, but we don't have them in these rooms.
Keeping the mini blinds and curtains closed on the cold days and nights really does help keep the heat in too. Though if we are home, I love looking out at he snow, so that doesn't always happen during the day.
This house is around 10 years old, so it is insulated well. Super good cents or something similar, and we are lucky there. I like how there are heater vents under all of the sinks; that really helps to keep the pipes from freezing. We also leave the faucets dripping with COLD water on these cold nights. Hot water causes condensation and your pipes can still freeze if you are using that. I keep the cupboard doors open at night also, but I don't think I really need to in our case. In our master bathroom I keep them closed, because that is where the mice were last year and it freaks me out. Still, I want a hot shower in the morning, not frozen pipes, so I make appropriate judgment calls to myself on this sort of thing. I just like thinking and figuring out these sorts of things. Of course, make sure that your hoses are unhooked from the faucets outside.
Speaking of frozen pipes, here is a little story that my friend Bunny told me about. On a cold snap a year or so ago, their pipes were fine. Bunny went to do a load of laundry, and ended up with a flooded laundry room! That happened because there was some water in the wash machine drain pipe that had frozen the last time that she had washed some clothes, and the ice blocked the water of the new load from draining. Who would have ever thought about that? So, I decided to hold off on washing clothes until it warms up a bit, just in case.
If you have a big windstorm or snowstorm coming, and live in the country where you depend upon a pump, it is a good idea to fill up your bathtubs. Not for drinking water; but you can fill up a pan and use that bathtub water to flush your toilets. Some folks new to the country don't know about that handy little tip.
We don't have a wood stove or and alternative heat source, and we aren't too worried about it for now. I wouldn't mind a wood stove though. We have a travel trailer, and if we lose electricity for too long and get too cold, we can just go out there and use the propane heat and watch movies with our little t.v. that plugs into the truck cigarette lighter. Heat up cans of Ravioli. And snuggle by candlelight.
There are also these little propane heaters at Bi-Mart though, that are safe for use inside a house, trailer or tent. They are called "Mr. Heater Buddy" and they cost around $80. You just screw in those little bottles of propane that cost around $3.00 each. I got a medium-sized one, and it will heat up to 200 square feet. Just in case we would ever want to use it.
So, there you go! I think that this is going to be a very cold and snowy winter out here in the Pacific Northwest. I always try to plan ahead, and these are just some of the ideas that I have thought up to keep us warm.
Oh, the fuel was jelled in Cary's diesel truck this morning and he barely got it started. Make sure you keep some anti-gel jell on hand if you are not using a gasoline engine. And, it goes without saying to take extra special care of your outside animals.
Stay warm and stay safe!
Here is one of my other blogs that I made around a year and a half ago when I was all freaked out, and into being prepared in case of a disaster. Well, I still am into being prepared, I am just not as freaked out. If it happens, it happens. I haven't written on it for a long time, but there is some good info and are lots of great links on there: Emergency Preparedness and Self Reliant Living.
Speaking of being prepared, here is a very easy little thing you can do ahead of time and then just put away until you need them: Canning Jar Lanterns.
I have seven of these made up, and a bunch of extra candles. I just used fine gravel in the canning jar to hold the emergency candle up. How easy is that?
I found that the emergency candles are actually cheaper at the grocery store than they are at Bi-Mart. Who would have guessed? The last time the power actually did go out, Cary was pretty impressed when I whipped these little babies out. Being inside the jar, the candle gives off more light than it would by itself.