Homesteading is cold!!!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by kirsten, Nov 3, 2006.

  1. kirsten

    kirsten Well-Known Member

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    BY way of an unfortunate year, we are really pioneering here with no heat but wood and a little space heater and ack! It is really cold! It takes a really long time to heat up a house this size which is actually really small, only 1200 square feet total and with closing room doors too, it still takes a really,long time! It is 15 degrees out tonight and I had to leave the door of my house open all evening so that my dogs could go out when I was at work tonight since we have a puppy. Without heat, I figure it hardly matters. I can't decide whether to sleep in front of the fireplace with a fire that will go out and leave me cold or to try to heat the upstairs enough with the space heater... Except the space heater is broken and won't shut off and could overheat.... I could set alrams every so often to add wood I suppose...

    But in considering this, those early pioneers had pretty small houses, like 100-200 square feet and often even less so they didn't need to chop as much wood or burn as much to get through a winter but I don't envy them having to get up all the time to feed the fire! Nor me, as it turns out. I am a wimp. I would buy propane tomorrow if I felt like kicking in the ice in my stock tank every few hours day and night or if I didn't need hay... so I guess, cold it is!

    kirsten
     
  2. WolfWalksSoftly

    WolfWalksSoftly Level II -Inappropriate

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    Why would you leave a door open in 15 degree weather ? I think I would leave the dogs out or just clean the mess they made while you were away. :shrug:
     

  3. PineRidge

    PineRidge Well-Known Member

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    No need for alarms, when it's cold enough, you'll wake up yourself. Which is why I'm sitting here sipping coffee at 4:30 :rolleyes:
     
  4. Nancy in Maine

    Nancy in Maine Well-Known Member

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    Have you any electricity? We have electric blankets for cold nights. We are heating with wood only too. It sure helps to have a good woodstove--one that keeps a fire all night. In fact, we've switched over to the wood furnace, which heats the entire house in this milder weather. When it gets really cold, we'll have the smaller stove(s) going too. But nothing beats those electric blankets in the unheated bedrooms. Especially when combined with a down comforter!
     
  5. gilberte

    gilberte Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You say you have a fireplace which is actually quite inefficient for heating a house. A good wood stove would be much better.
     
  6. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    1. Fix the dogs a place outside filled with hay and protected from wind and rain. They will be fine.

    2. Close off everything but the main living area and the kitchen. Don't even TRY to heat anything else. Turn off any water to unheated areas, protect pipes, etc.

    3. Fix a sleeping spot in the main living area.

    4. Learn to build a fire that burns slowly.

    5. Look into getting a better wood heater. We have an "Earth Stove" with a controlled damper. Burns all night.
     
  7. Shygal

    Shygal Unreality star Supporter

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    Thats just nuts.
    Get them each a crate and crate train them. Why on earth should you leave a door open for dogs to come and go as they please? Suppose something ELSE comes and goes as it pleases, like a thief?

    Jeesh.
     
  8. almostthere

    almostthere Well-Known Member

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    I agree, a wood stove is what you need. We found a Fisher Grandmother Bear on a pedistal, and it can heat you out of this house if you're not careful. Blanket off all but a couple rooms and sleep on the couch. If youre only gone a normal day's hours at a time, the dogs can wait. You could always install a doggie door.
     
  9. ceresone

    ceresone Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Why does noone mention building in a doggie door? thats quite simple, dogs are intelligent, and learn to use it in a heartbeat. it has a door, least mine does, thats insulated, and they just nudge the door back and come in--or out as they please.
     
  10. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    Another idea would be a scandinavian box bed. It will keep you warm when the house is colder than is comfortable for you.
     
  11. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    I agree with everyone else, and I've been there, done that, and have a Tshirt to show for it. We lived in a turn of the last (that would be 1900) house that hadn't been electrified. Gas lamps (can you say "carbon monoxide" class?), outhouse, and -30F with probably straw between the studs if that. Single pane windows... gives you a whole new appreciation for modern amenities.

    First of all, you can live with a fireplace but it will consume huge quantities of wood for relatively little heat. But if you're going to do it, close off, as they did in the good old days, all rooms but the one with the fireplace in it, and move into that room. If that isn't satisfactory, you need a woodstove or a propane heater.

    Secondly.. please.. a little intelligence here. Crate the puppy or put it in a space you can clean up later and close the bloody door.

    Now then... if, in fact, you find yourself without the necessary wherewithall to purchase a heater of some kind (wood, propane, whatever) please call your local fuel dealer and find out if there are programs to help you temporarily. I realize the east is the bastion of liberal thinking but I've got to imagine that other parts of the country view people in unheated homes at 15F as a bad thing too. Vermont has several programs to get heat into your house... some are low interest/no interest low payment loans, some programs are outright grants, but all of them will put heat in a home under "broke and no heat" conditions. Friend of mine got a wood stove installed that way, and another had an outdated oil burner replaced with propane.

    If you insist on doing it "the old way" then you better get real and do it "the old way." Or you're going to not only face broken water pipes and other damage, but you're going to get sick. So either get real or get help, one or the other.
     
  12. tiogacounty

    tiogacounty Well-Known Member

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    I had to laugh at the "dogs are intelligent" part. I have a Westie that is so smart she could use a doggie door even if you needed a key to open it. I have a Golden Retriever that is so dumb, she would die of brain injuries from constantly walking into the wall, next to the doggie door and wandering why it won't open. :)
    Kirsten, I occassionally work in North Central SD, and your post makes me cringe. It's only fall, and it's gonna' get a heck of a lot uglier before it gets better. Please get a good plan going, and be careful. What general area of SD. are you in?
     
  13. Ole Man Legrand

    Ole Man Legrand Well-Known Member

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    First thing you do is shut the door.You can't heat the evironment.
     
  14. amwitched

    amwitched Well-Known Member

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    Several years ago, I lived in a home with a wood burning stove that just didn't seem to heat up at all. Come to find out, the wood was green!! It did burn, but it sure didn't get good and hot. We ended up scavaging the local woods for any wood that was on the ground.

    So, is your wood cured?

    I do agree that all of the unused doors should be shut and the electric blanket is a real good idea. You could also put a fan in the doorway of another room that you want to heat. The fan will pull the warmed air into that room faster.

    Also, heat rises. My Dad had small fans mounted to the tops of some his doorways. His woodstove was in his enclosed breezeway (between the garage and the house) and those fans heated the entire house.

    If you continue to heat with wood - you can cut vents in the floors up the upper level. This way, when the heat rises, it will rise right up through the vents and your upstairs will be much warmer.
     
  15. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Be very, very careful with the space heater, and do not sleep with it running. Many a home has burned down because of them.
    mary
     
  16. Kstornado11

    Kstornado11 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Also, be cautious w/ electric blankets, I knew a family who lost everything in a fire due to an electric blanket w/ a short in it!
     
  17. RedTartan

    RedTartan Icelandic Sheep Supporter

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    It's interesting to note that they don't call them "electric blankets" anymore. They're now called "warming blankets." It seems the idea is to warm the bed with the blanket and then turn it off before one falls asleep.

    To the original poster,

    You need to winterize your house! Keep the dogs outside! If you don't have the funds to build them a permanent wind-break, bag some leaves and stack them strategically. You need to find the money somewhere for a good wood-burning stove. If you don't have ANY money, now is a perfect example of when to use credit. You'll freeze to death if you don't. An $800 debt has a minimum payment of less than $20 a month. If you can afford an internet connection, you can afford that.

    Geez O. Pete, it's making me cold just thinking about it.

    RedTartan
     
  18. MaryNY

    MaryNY Well-Known Member

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    1200 sq ft doesn't sound all that large -- my place is just over 826 and I still haven't turned the furnace on and don't have a woodstove or fireplace (yet!). I think you might check your fireplace to see that your damper thingy is closed so that all the heat isn't going up your chimney when your fireplace isn't running. That could be why it's taking so much to heat the place.

    Good luck (and buy some thermal undies and fleece pants and shirt!)

    MaryNY
     
  19. tamsam

    tamsam Well-Known Member

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    Most fireplaces are for show anymore as they will draw the heat out of the rest of the house. Either get a wood heater or propane. I hope all your water lines aren't frozen already. Good luck with gatting some heat. Tamsam
     
  20. gilberte

    gilberte Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Also bear in mind that it's likely to get a lot colder than 15 degrees before spring where you are. Like maybe well south of 0!