Thursday, January 27, 2011

Brass Monkey Cold

Today was the second day of warmer temperatures here on the urban homestead - it was 33 degrees and drab today. Tonight the real cold comes back to torment us.  
NP I'll take it sure beats our all time record setting low of -9 last week.
Snapped this pic of our freak'n Winter wonderland  while I was listening to my Christmas gift from Woodsrunner. It's an eton brand solar/hand cranked/battery powered radio/flash light/cell phone charger. Also will charge ipods. Great to get a quick weather update from NOAA.
Lite weight and very compact. Good since my car is a bicycle with baskets.

All that's left of our wood pile is 2 to 2 1/3 cords of wood. The 1/3 being hard Maple which gives more heat than what we have been calling Bass wood. Don't ask me what Bass wood is. It's a term that husband uses. All I know is that it is wood best burned in early Autumn or late Spring or during warm January days such as today when I'm wearing thermal underwear under my thick sweatpants.
It was free so that has to count for something. And we were by no means freezing.
When it was bitterly sub zero cold we also burned Oak pallets along with the Maple. Still it was diffacult to keep the house any warmer than 56 even with the stove blazing at those low temps. No wonder that this ballon framed built house orginally had 3 coal stoves.
So far to date the furnace has only been on for about 40 hours this heating season. The majority of that was durning those below zero nights to keep the cellar warm enough so the water pipes didn't freeze. As of now our natural gas bill has been $92 but that's without a proper meter read.
Electric bill was impressive in that we only used a bit over $12 worth of current for last month. However we paid out over $34 in service charges, taxes, tariffs, line charges, blah blah blah ...
Having the furnace running for those few nights reminded me that I so much prefer wood heat to forced air. It's true what they say, the flame warms you to the bones.

~~ pelenaka ~~


  1. Are you going to have enough wood to get you through this cold winter? I love your portable
    run-the-world, keep-in-touch, doo-hickey radio! I want one!

  2. I doubt that we will have enough wood without scavenging some more pallets or fallen trees that have sat for over a year. I hope that by the time we do run out of wood the weather will be warm enough to keep the house above 55. Which is when we begin to notice that its cold in here. We have become accustomed to a cooler home.
    Similar to when it's 55 degrees outside - if it's Spring then you will see people outside in flip flops. Fall & people have their hiking boots on.
    Yes, the radio is nice. I joke that it reminds me of the early 1960s when every group had that one guy with the cool new transistor radio on his shoulder.

  3. Hey Pel, How do you like that red cross radio. I've been looking at them but haven't pulled the trigger. I'm interested in hearing how it charges, etc.

  4. I like it alot, good sound for it's size, and it cranks easy. 3 minutes of cranking gives about 1 & 1/2 of radio time. Solar wise I haven't really been able to give it a decent test as you can see by the pic our Winter's are not only cold but dreary. I'll have test out how well it does charging my cell come brighter days. I could see how this would enable someone to be off grid at a camp but still contected by radio & cell, cheaply without a learning curve.
    The flashlight portion is a bit on the weak side compared to a mag light so I wouldn't be directing any traffic with it but for the price Woods paid I think it was a good deal.
    I wanna say it was well under $20 but I think it was on sale. I do need to upgrade the stock solar batteries.

  5. Sorry wrong about the price it was in the $40 neighborhood but as Woods just pointed out if this radio enables my wife to make a cell call durning an emergency then it's a done deal.

  6. Boy! Just looking at your photos makes me shiver! It's beautiful though! Stay warm and dry!

  7. Basswood is "linden." It's a great wood - good for carving, and the inner bark can be used to make cordage. If it were free, I'd burn it, but other wise, probably not. It has too many other great uses (the leaves of the tree are edible, like lettuce, and the flowers make an amazing tea :).

    We didn't put up enough wood for the winter, either. We got lucky this year, but next year we will have to be much more careful. I agree with you on the wood heat versus forced hot air. Give me the fire any day!

    Your electric bill was impressive. We're working hard to lower ours, too ;). Ours was $50, but half that was the "delivery" charge (Central Maine Power owns the electric lines, but doesn't produce any electricity, and we have to pay them to have the electricity brought to our house through their lines - It's a racket! Some day we'll be producing our own electricity ;).

  8. AJK, when I'm gloomy from the Winter I just look @ your blog. Enjoy the warmth girl!

  9. Thanks for the research on the wood Wendy. Pity we don't crave but it's really all about the burn. I'll have to check out if there is any Linden trees growing in the hood.
    Sorry to know that Maine power is like National Gas. All about the fees, tariffs, line charges ect. ect. ect.
    How are u planning on making the zap?


Thanks, good to know there are other's with this interest