Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mrs Bale reports on an open winter

A third of the way through winter, and so far it has been what we call an 'open winter.' I've read a definition of open winter as one without frost, but around here it means without much snow. It has been plenty cold and cloudy. There has been some snow, some sleet, some freezing rain, but we haven't had big snowstorms yet.

I can still see brown grass out in the north pasture.

There's only a couple inches of snow on the ground.

Today at 1 pm - the north side barn thermometer

What this means to those of us who spend most of our time inside is that it is colder. We count on the snowbanks to insulate our houses and when they aren't there, it takes more fuel to keep the house warm. As I've mentioned, our tv is now in the kitchen, as are two reading/tv chairs so we aren't turning on the oil heat very much. We set it at 58º F. Only if someone is coming to visit and we sit in the living room, or if I'm going to be at my desk in the study for a while do we turn it up. The temps in the living room and study are anywhere from 58º F. to maybe 52º. But in the kitchen, where we spend most of our time it is roasty-toasty as can be.


  1. See, that's why you live there and I live here. I'd have to be rolled up in quilt at all moments in order to sit in the house at 58 or 52. We have ours set on 71 during the day and 65 at night.

    But...I don't likely have as many warm clothes as you do. I don't even like long sleeves on shirts. :-)

  2. But, Kay, I don't sit in the rooms that are that cold unless the heat is turned up. Except for when I'm using the computer which is in the living room but near the kitchen door, so I pop in and stand by the stove if I get cool.
    Right now I have on my Carhartt pants, SmartWool socks, sort of work boots, a tank top, long-sleeved cotton tee shirt, soft flannel button up shirt, and a wool sweater. I couldn't be more comfy. If I'm sitting by the stove, I'll take off the sweater. :<)
    I could not bear it without the stove. I'd have to have the oil heat turned up to the seventies or higher. I just paid $235 for 63.8 gallons of oil. That's how much we used in a month, even with the low temps. Just so you don't have to do the math, the oil is 3.88 per gallon. The bedroom is warm because it is upstairs from the kitchen and shares the chimney. Though at night the door is closed and the window is open. I know. You can't believe it. :<)

  3. I keep my place at around 60 degrees until I can't stand it anymore. :)

    I'm with you, Nan. Gotta' keep those costs down.

    At night though, I turn it way down. I like sleeping in a cold room. My chihuahua serves as a hot water bottle.

  4. I couldn't do it, Yvette, without the stove. And yeah, I like a cold bedroom. The window is open every night of the year. :<)

  5. This has been the strangest winter! Our temps have been mostly above normal and only 15" of snow all season. Last year over 70" fell in December alone. It's been hard for the ski areas and snowmobilers, but I'm not complaining. I do love winter clothes - sweaters, fleece, and warm socks :-)

  6. You are one of those Northern Hardy Souls Nan. We are also haven't a mild winter but...our electric bill is running high too.

  7. I love the whole Mr. Bale's Weather report thing! How creative.

  8. I wear lots of layers in the winter, too, Nan - especially if we run out of wood and start heating with oil. It costs close to $1,000/month to keep this house comfortable with oil...out of this world.

    It sounds like you have a great strategy!

  9. Cold is something I have never been very good at dealing with, and it gets worse the older I am. Now that I work from home, I am sure my heating bill will be more than make up for what I save on the monthly train ticket.
    To wear so many clothes sounds rather uncomfortable to me - the less fabric on me, the better! But I am reasonable enough to dress according to the weather, and so at this time of the year, out come the woolly sweaters and fleecy zip-ups, and the hand-knitted wool socks my mum makes by the truckload :-)

  10. Oh, and I forgot to mention that, in spite of my dislike for winter and cold weather, I usually sleep with the window open, too. My duvet plus a thick blanket keep me warm enough, although it means a small challenge very morning to leave the comfort they provide.

  11. We haven't had much snow this winter, either. It's just beginning to feel like winter, though, with some pretty chilly temps. We've been in the single digits this week and we're supposed to have freezing rain this morning.

    I set the thermostat to 58 during the day (while we're gone) and turn it up to 65-68 when we're home. Back down to 58 at night. I sometimes wakeup to warm!

    I got my first pair (actually 3 pairs!) of SmartWool socks this year for my birthday from a good friend. They are amazing!!

  12. Funnily enough, the last time it snowed here was on Halloween, but not in winter itself. However some flurries are expected for tomorrow so we'll see.

  13. It seems lately I cannot stay warm.
    Keep my heat on 65 in the day and 60 at night. Never wore long under wear shirts in my life.
    Now "Cuddle Duds" are on all day and night...
    I have thought of sleeping upstairs in the loft area.
    It is so warm up there as heat rises
    I have a down comforter on bed and along with my mother's quilt, flannel pj's and socks and sometimes a hot water bottle at foot of bed - I am fine :)

  14. I hate to gloat Nan, but the daffodils are up here. On the other hand, you don't have to live in heat like hot soup all summer long!

  15. Boy-o-boy! I've always heard that northern women (Yankees!) were tough, but this proves it in spades.
    I'm a southern belle, born and reared in the deep south, and I never open a window until it is in the high 70s! Also I keep my furnaces churning out hot air, set on 78 in the day time and all the way down to 74 at night!
    I'm just kidding you Nan, but only a little.

  16. Thank you Mrs Bales (and Nan)...that's cold! But it's an excellent time to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea (taking time to listen to the weather report of course) ;>)).....

    (Here in Florida, we are of the same mindset about A/C...we stayed until July one year and only turned it on three times. Open windows, ceiling fans shades pulled in heat of day if we're home works great for us).

  17. Nan,
    Imagine the snow insulating the houses...that is really something to me. We have lots of trees behind our house so it is a cold house, but that is good in the summer. How cool is your house in the summer? Do you have air conditioning at all? (And we didn't have it growing up in Georgia!)

  18. JoAnn, here it has been cold enough for the ski/snowboard areas to make snow so I think they are doing fine. Not a good season for the snowmobilers though, and they bring a fair bit of money into the area.

    Lisa, do you have electric heat?

    Peggy, thank you. I have fun with it. I love the character of Mrs Bale!

    Debbie, without the wood stove it would cost us that much, I'm sure. Happily we've not had to try. I would so miss that source of heat I can walk right up to or sit in front of.

    Librarian, my clothes aren't heavy so I don't feel weighted down at all. I'm just a winter girl, that's all there is to it!

    Les, aren't they great! I wear them winter and summer.

    HKatz, every winter is interesting and different. Some years we get all our snow in December and then bright sunshine the rest of the months. Some years we get snow almost every day. And some are like this year. It's the freezing rain I don't like. I don't have to go out but my family has to drive in it and I worry.

    Ernestine, I love the idea of sleeping in a loft area.

    Betsy, I don't mind. Really. I do love winter as long as I don't have to worry about my family driving in bad weather. My daffy will be up the first week of May!!

    Jill, I so loved reading this!!

    Thanks, Peggy, I will!

    Sallie, I've heard Florida can be very hot come summer time. I wonder if it varies according to location. Hey, are you watching The Finder on the? It's set in FL.

    Kay, no AC here, though stores and cars have it. We have lotsa fans. :<)


I'll answer your comments as soon as I possibly can. Please do come back if you've asked a question.
Also, you may comment on any post, no matter how old, and I will see it.