Archive | February, 2013

How’s Your Winter Going?

February 18, 2013

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Just when I thought perhaps spring was set for an early arrival, arctic air from the north extends its chilly fingers over the land. That dumb groundhog doesn’t know what he’s talking about (lol). It has been in the single digits and by 10am — with the sun shining gloriously away — it was a meager 9 degrees outside. I am SO glad I insulated the downstairs of the house when we gutted the kitchen. I’ve seen a nice drop in our heating bills, although the upstairs of this house is still uninsulated and unrenovated. This past summer, we did manage to install new vinyl replacement windows in all but two bedrooms. This has improved things somewhat, but it’s still very cold up there especially on days like these. Once we insulate, I think it will be much more temperate.

I can’t even begin to imagine how insanely cold it must have been for the original occupants. In the 1850s, most people around here installed coal fireplaces for their houses, although the kitchen here still had a pot-bellied wood-burning stove until the 1960s! But as far as I have been able to tell, there were only four fireplaces in the house– one for the kitchen in the back addition, one for the parlor, one for the dining room, and ONE for all four bedrooms upstairs! It must have been agonizing up there. As a matter of fact, the original builder’s wife died of pneumonia in her icy-cold bedroom. šŸ™ Back then, they didn’t insulate (much) or even have luxuries like atrium windows reviews to find good windows at good deals. Can you believe the leaps and bounds we’ve made in modern home comforts since the 1850s? It’s pretty amazing, I think. Today, we have SO much at our disposal that the choices are dizzying and aggravating. Of course, we can access atrium windows reviews and building products to find out what’s best for our needs and climate, and I am thankful. I’m mainly self-taught by stuff like that.

So how’s your winter going where you are? In the Northeast, February tends to be the most difficult month. This is when the snow is brown, when the cold temperatures are biting instead of invigorating, the air is dry and we are sick of winter. We long for spring and green and soft air again. Many of my peers turn to their gardening catalogs about this time, too (I just got High Mowing Seeds and Johnny’s Selected Seeds catalogs in the mail), but it’s too early for me to think of gardening, ugh. I’m still trying to keep warm so my thoughts go toward atrium windows reviews and fiberglass batting and furnace BTUs!

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Pellet Stoves: Heating in Perfect Harman-y!

February 2, 2013

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This post brought to you by Harman Stoves. All opinions are 100% mine.

Well, all these sub-zero temperatures are making me plan our next step for the home's heating system. When we gutted the kitchen and dining room, I rpped out the forved air furnace ducts. The system had been installed in the 1940s, and was an absolute DISASTER. Besides, I hate forced air. It's dirty, drafty, and wasteful. Since then, we've been incorporating more energy-efficient means of heating the house, although the upstairs has baseboard heat for dire emergencies. I'm too afraid to use those things, the utility bills may bankrupt us.

I have to get a fireplace insert in the living room and then get another in our future family room that we'll be building sometime. I like the warmth of gas fireplaces but to be honest the gas scares me. And I'd rather be more self-sufficient. So I'm checking out pellet stoves and pellet stove inserts. These little things are amazing! Check out this cool infographic from Harman Pellet Stoves.

Pellet Stoves are Awesome

From what I've heard, the best pellets stoves are Harman stoves. I've done a little digging into the history of the company, it's very impressive. The first Harman stove was born out of the 1970's energy crisis, when skyrocketing energy costs made it nearly impossible to heat a house, and Jimmy Carter's sweater advice just wasn't going to cut it. When people heard about the new invention, they clamored for replicas. That's how the company got their start. I love entreprenuer stories like that! You can follow Harman Stoves on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest if you want to know more about them.

A Little Giveaway

I'm also honored to be giving away a really nice Harman journal-sized notebook and pen! The notebook is made from recycled materials and is very cute! Leave a comment saying what you like about Harman to enter the contest. I'll randomly pick a winner in a few days and email you if you are the winner.

So I'm not sure if we'll go for a pellet stove or an insert. I think an insert needs some kind of brick fireplace backing…. that would look beautiful in the family room but I'm not sure I want to go to that expense. A few of my pals have pellet stoves and this popular heating alternative works beautifully to heat the whole house during the winter. Sounds good to me. With the cost of energy going up again, it's time to start thinking not only about efficiency, but self-sufficiency.

Don't forget to leave a comment to enter the contest!

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Find the Kitty Friday – A Tough One!

February 1, 2013

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OK, kitteh sleuths– see if you can find her in THIS photo!

FTK with Cricket

Last week, we had a vicious cold spell. Temperatures dipped down to sub-zeros. We had to bring the Yorkies into the living room for a bit, as the room they stay in doesn’t have a heater. Well, it DOES have a heater, but it’s an electric heater. The bills were atrocious so we decided to discipline ourselves not to use it. Almost as soon as we decided that, the weather temps plummeted. Yeah. So we set up the pen in the warmer living room, and freaked Livvy out for a few days, lol.

ANYWAY, did you find her?! If not, here’s a hint: she must be pretty tall…. šŸ˜‰

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