Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Freeze Yer Buns wrap-up

Freeze Yer Buns Challenge 2008I can't believe it's already the last day of the Freeze Yer Buns Challenge. I'm still using my cherry pit bed warmer on occasion and we're still experiencing some frigid days which is rather unusual for this time of year.

I honestly think we did better in last year's challenge. We kept our daytime temperatures higher this year, but we were home less so it probably evened out. We did drop the evening temperatures to our goal setting, so it was really only up higher for an hour in the morning and a few hours in the afternoon. We are totally acclimated to 58 (which means more like 55) at night and anything higher means we are up sweating in the middle of the night.

I'm still expecting to be burning some heating oil for a few more months (usually until around July in these here parts of the country), but only at night for those later months. And, with our lower night temperature settings, it probably won't be on all that much.

What's the weather like where you are for this time of year? Colder than normal, warmer than normal, or normal? How much longer will you be using your heat? How did the this year's Freeze Yer Buns Challenge go for you? Were you able to lower your thermostat as low as you wanted or did you go lower than you expected you would?

34 comments:

Robj98168 said...

My city light bill shows the effort- I did pretty good- thr only set back was when I Got sick I had to keep the house warmer. But I toughed it out all the rest of the time. The savings are 4202Kwh used this year compared to 5670KWh last year for the same period.

Eco Yogini said...

I woke up to snow covered trees. Ugh. It went up to 14 degrees (celcius) on the weekend and now there is snow.
We still have our heat actually turned off though, unfortunately our heat isn`t well controlled and we don`t pay for it. but we shrink wrapped our windows and kept it cool! :)

Kelli - Our Local Life said...

Our North Florida Winter was up and down. It started out cold; we had frost in October for the first time in my memory (I've lived her for 30 years), but it was 80 degrees on Christmas Day. Then it got cold and stayed pretty cold (meaning it regularly went down into the 30s at night)up until recently. Our house is so big and old, we don't use the central heat. It's generally below 50 when we wake up (that's how low our thermostat goes) and rarely above 55 all day in the less sunny rooms. We have a couple electric space heaters that we use to heat up one room - although certain community members (my husband) will occasionally warm up a room for a half hour or so with one before going in to work. We wear warm clothes, and we sit out on the south-facing front stoop to warm up in the morning. Our heating bills were lower this year than ever.

The Raven said...

We did it!--and got new energy-efficient windows and front door, too. Still cold here. Now that the challenge is over, can I go turn up the heat??

Bucky said...

I'd be proud of the fact that I only turned on the heat twice this winter -- once each when I was sick and the Little Slugger was sick.

But I live in Houston and we had a mostly very warm winter. And I live in a small space so it is easy to heat up by baking bread or roasting a chicken.

I didn't fare so well, however, with the air conditioning. It's been on and off all winter season. It is set to turn on when it gets up to 87 inside the apartment. Which is far too often since after Hurricane Ike, when they replaced all the nice double-hung windows in my place with fixed windows that can't be opened. Ugh!

Anonymous said...

Ugh, we didn't do the Challenge this year because we had a newborn. Then she kept getting sick so we finally turned it up to 70 (yikes! I know,so bad) and left it there. We live in the northeast, this morning it is 39, it will warm up to about 60, pretty typical for this time of year. Hoping to participate more next year.

Anonymous said...

I think we did really good at our house. Despite below average temps most of the way thru winter. We used 150 gallons less than last year. We had alot below average temps for several months then several days of way above average temps. Snow melted down alot showing major patches of brown grass. Last week we had a ice storm and now we are back to a winter storm warning w/8 to 10 inches plus of snow to fall.

We made use of alot of pullovers and blankets. Kept the thermostat set at 58 day and night unless it hit doulbe digit blow zero. Then it went up to a blamy 60.

We did better this winter than we did last winter with the challenge. When we did turn the theromstat up it felt alomost to hot.

MN_homesteader said...

We also had a funky year regarding heating. We lowered the temp and did more for fighting the leaky windows with insulation and plastic coverings, but still seemed to use about the same as last year. We will also be using gas for a few more weeks, but again mainly in the AM.

Cheap Like Me said...

We had such a warm winter here in Colorado. My natural gas bills (and usage) this winter have been 10% to 26% lower than last year. With the exception of January, they're the lowest in 5 years that I've been in this house.

Rosa said...

By this time every year I've forgotten what the weather is usually like in the spring here, but it's 35 degrees and sleeting. Bah!

I had hoped to turn off the heat by April 1 but I may not do it. We'll see how I'm coping tomorrow and if it's going to be below zero at night the rest of this week.

Billie said...

We don't pay for our heat nor can we account for what we used. At best, the fan on the furnace impacts our electric bill. We have central heating for the entire complex. We kept the house around 65 which was lower than last year.

I did notice that the furnace rarely kicked on all winter. I can't even remember the last time that I heard it turn on. For the last week, we have been opening the patio door in an attempt to cool down the house. I think this is very early in the season to be doing this. I hope it doesn't mean we will suffer for weeks this year before the association switches over to A/C.

dahlia said...

i didn't officially sign up this year, but i did play along. i signed up last year. we used to keep the heat at 70. we're in sanfrancisco so that isn't unreasonably expensive; doesn't get to freezing. i used to freeze at 70; now after a couple years of training my body i'm toasty at 65. we never use the heat at night; it's around 60. instead of heating the whole flat, we use space heaters to heat the room we are in, unless we are actually using the whole flat. our usually sky-high january power bill was half of our historical rate. we sleep better, our noses don't bleed, we save money and power, and it's so cozy to wear warm layers and a second comforter! opening the windows for spring can also happen sooner since we are acclimated for cooler temperatures, and there are already warm enough days here and there to open the windows and let the house breathe all day. ahhhhh.

eatclosetohome said...

We did 63 day/57 night/55 gone and also tried to heat with wood 1-2 days per week. The new fireplace insert REALLY helped keep the drafts out and I felt warmer overall than last winter, when we set the heat at 67 or 68 when we were home.

Our first propane fill-up was a shock; we'd used the same amount of fuel! That was when we discovered we'd had a lose valve and the tank had been leaking for months. The second fill-up saved 125 gallons of propane, though, so I'm confident we can cut our propane use by 1/3 to 1/2 next year!

Willa said...

We have an all electric house (YIKES!) with zoned heat, so we can control every room. We only turned the heat on in 2 rooms- the bathroom both upstairs. Our bedroom was varied between 50 and 55. The only time we turned other rooms on was over the Midwinter holidays when our son and his family came to visit. We really saw a difference in our electric bill from that two weeks. Next year I need to do something different, however. DH works nights, and I lost my job in December so I am home all the time. There were many evenings when I was simply too cold to do anything other than huddle under a blanket being unproductive.

scifichick said...

We haven't been using any heat lately. It's still a little chilly outside, especially at night, but we haven't needed heat at night anyway. I think we did reasonably well this winter given that it was much colder than the last one. The hardest part was to train my son to put clothes on if he's cold and not bug me to turn the heat on. You just can't walk around in underwear in the middle of winter.

Sarah said...

We kept our thermostat set at 57 or 58 pretty much all winter. (And we live in Northern Ohio, so it gets very cold here.) We just wore lots of layers of clothes, snuggled in blankets, used our cats as lap warmers, and drank lots of hot teas. Happily our heating bill shows that we cut energy use by 50% from what the previous tenant in our house used last year!

Carrick said...

Being in LA, the heater's not really necessary, but that's not to say it doesn't get cold. A few nights, I was under two thick down comforters and was shivering! Crazy. But I still didn't turn on the heat. :) What an ascetic.

This year's winter seemed about the same as usual, but I may just not have detected a half-a-degree difference, and we all know how significant that can be....

Melinda said...

I think overall we did slightly better last year. There were a few times this year where we just gave in to luxurious heat (70F). I believe it has something to do with the doldrums of Seattle greyness. Oof - we definitely weren't ready for it!

But for the most part, we stuck between 58-65F, and we normalized to it pretty well. Thanks for giving us that extra push to be conscientious about it.

Farmer's Daughter said...

We cut our heating oil consumption in half compared to last year. Wow! We kept the thermostat at 55 and then supplemented with the wood stove.

We got used to the cold temps by wearing layers!

Heating season is pretty much over for us, so I'm happy about that! I've got the windows open right now with sun shining in. I'm going to get outside and enjoy it :)

Young Snowbird said...

I used my heater more in January than I did last year, six times, mostly to battle some humidity that was too high in the condo.

I haven't had the heater on at all in February or March. Hanging a quilted flap over the pet door helped control a big draft there, and raised the room temp 2 degrees.

Temps here in Phoenix have been all over the place. I'm still sleeping with a down comforter but during the day can have the windows open most of the day. Trying to keep electric usage under $1 a day. Turning off the large appliances (except fridge) at the fuse box saves about 50 cents a day.

We have only about 45 days before the "dry heat" starts. HVAC unit already set on cool - 87 F is the set point this year. Getting ready to sweat my buns.

Carmen said...

We saved an average of 20kWH/day compared to the last two years, so I feel pretty good about that.

I was cold. My kids said "Mom, don't touch me, your hands are cold". But, it was bearable. I really used the electric heating pad in my bed to warm up before I went to sleep!

Condo Blues said...

This winter and spring was/are colder than normal but we stuck with the default settings on our programmable thermostat all winter long. We turn the heat off when it hits 40 degrees, the last couple of weeks we've done the off again/on again thing with the furance because we're having a cold spring. Hopefully soon it will warm up enough that I can turn the furance off for the season AND take the flannel sheets off of the bed.

Ellen said...

We have stuck with it. 62 during the day and 52 at night. We live in Colorado. It's been a mild winter for sure, but still cold. We've all adjusted to wearing sweaters, 2 pairs of socks, and even toting blankets with us around the house. The kids never even mentioned the dipping temps (3,5, & 6). DH & I noticed it, but got a lot more snuggling in this year. Thank you Crunchy!

fullfreezer said...

We did great until my husband got laid off and was home all day. He refused to live with it set at 65 and was constantly turning it up... Never mind that the gas bill would have been cheaper. I did manage to get away with it set to 60 at night, though.
We had some record cold this winter (down to -25) and that really kept the furnace running almost constantly even to keep it at 65!
Judy

Segwyne said...

I think the winter here was pretty normal. We usually have a freak spring snowstorm, like the one 13 years ago that dumped 22" the first weekend in May, followed by 80° weather the next weekend. But the days are generally in the 40s to 50s now, with cooler nights.

I had originally signed up to keep my house around 60° day and night, but that didn't really work for us. What we ended up doing was hanging a blanket in front of the hall and only heating (probably 65-70° - that thermostat isn't marked) the kitchen/dining room/ living room combo room. It is about 13'x21' total. The hallway, both bathrooms, and all the bedrooms were kept with the heat off, which meant that it automatically kicked on at 55° I think. There is no way here to turn the thermostats any lower than that. My 2yo son slept most winter naked and with no covers, kicking them off whenever I tried to cover him up.

I can do well with having the house cold as long as there is somewhere warm to take a break from it. I guess that is what comes of growing up with a woodstove. The bathroom got tough at times. I was amazed how much colder the bathroom was than the living room just on the other side of the blanket 2 feet away. We will definitely do it again.

Allie said...

I loved this challenge. I mean love in the truest sense of the word. LOVED. It was financially helpful and I felt great all winter.

I will probably do it every year. We never turned on the heater this winter, despite the temperatures being uncharacteristically cold. We're still getting some nights in the 40s, though I imagine the blistering Houston summer is right around the corner (so I'm relishing every remaining cold day).

My gas bill was the same as it is in the summer and my electric bill only varied 5-10 dollars from the norm (the tiny cost of the little electric space heaters). This was a huge financial relief for me, particularly given the reduction in my income as of late.

Even if we get cold days after this challenge, I will leave the heater off.

Now, if I can just get the landlord to put screens on all my windows, I will be ready to try out a summer w/o A/C.

Bucky said...

Allie:

It was a strange winter here in Houston, wasn't it? We never really had any extended cold weather. It would get down in the forties for a night and then two days later back up in the 70s during the day. Easy enough to leave the heat off. Which was great and the utility bills made me happy.

Although, I did get pissed every month with my $12-13 gas bill because $11.50 of it was just the charge for having a gas connection and my actual fuel bills were just a few bucks.

Fuckers.

Of course, we pay during the summers.

And I think that this year ain't gonna be pretty.

citygirl said...

We did very well this year with lower our oil consumption from approximately 1200 gallons down to 400 gallons. And an added bonus..we were much warmer. The pellet stove igniter broke...so the furnace has been running more often for a week. We also lowered our kilowatt usage with the change over to CFL bulbs, shutting off lights not in use. Our solar hot water system has made a huge difference with both oil and electric consumption!

The temps are improving here in Maine. Today in the 40's...looks like 50's by the weekend. To us that feels like a heat wave!

Allie said...

Bucky,

I loved that week or whatever when it was in the 30s. That was just lovely.

I'm terrified for the summer. Really. I just really, really hope we get screens so I don't have to run the A/C all day and night. I agree w/ you it's going to be a bad one. And I'm very hopeful we don't have a repeat of Ike; by far the most expensive thing ever.

Young Snowbird said...

Allie -

If your landlord doesn't get you screens, maybe you can still have screening. Home Depot sells the screening material. Maybe you could staple or velcro the stuff to the window frames?? Just a thought. Good luck!

Carrick said...

Allie-- I'm terrified for the summer, too. Not using the heat is a cinch here, but going without A/C sometimes is brutal.

I just moved to a new house that doesn't even have A/C. In a way that's great, because it's a true opportunity to challenge myself not to buy one, but I fear that I might cave.... We shall see!!

thetinfoilhatsociety.com said...

We did very well. I bought fluffy bathrobes for myself and DH, and slippers for both of us. We did use space heaters in the rooms we were in on the worst of the cold days, but for the most part we just wore more clothes. I don't know if it's cheating but I did also buy a mattress pad heater, and used that in lieu of heating our bedroom. OMG. That was heaven. I purchased 300 gallons of propane for our tank, and we still have about 200 of it left; our electric bill is about half what it has been in years past (blower kicking on all the time). Even DH was impressed once he got the first bill!

Laura said...

I did real well adapting to my colder house, until we had a streak of 80 degree days in early march (warmer than usual, even for NC). The it went back to colder and rainy and I turned into a whiny cold weather wuss. Oh well, I got through most of winter ok.

Allie said...

YS,

Yay! The screens were installed when I got home from school yesterday. I'm thrilled!

Carrick,

Last summer, during the time my boyfriend was in Brazil (July and part of August), I didn't use the A/C. I just had a couple small fans from Wal-Mart (the 20 dollar kind; nothing fancy) and used them in the rooms I was in. It worked out okay (though the bf wasn't too indulgent of this when he got home, so we put the A/C to 80 then). Though I think this summer could be much worse, so we'll see how I feel about it then. I bet if you just get a couple fans and let them follow you around (and don't bake, at all), it'll be just fine.

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