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.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Are you Freezin' Yer Buns yet?

I really can't complain. It's been downright balmy here in Seattle. Over the weekend, I managed to get several hours of gardening in, getting a head start on weeding and cutting down some dead and not so dead plant growth.

Today it's supposed to be partly sunny and 58 degrees. I have to keep reminding myself that it's too early to plant things, although it hasn't stopped me from putting in some tulips and primroses to give the front planters some color. I can't help myself and they seem to be surviving just fine so far.

In other areas of the country, I know you guys are freezing more than just your buns off. How are you holding out? Are you still keeping your thermostat low or is it too cold to be freezing both outside and inside? You won't mind if I told you I had the bedroom window open for an hour or two last night, will you?

Coming up, I will be holding a Freeze Yer Buns contest that is long overdue. It's a good one, so make sure you check it out. Consider yourselves forewarned.

23 comments:

Karen said...

I discovered the new house needs some serious help in the basement insulation department - when the temps dipped into the -15°F range, my basement temp, with a snow pack around the foundation, dropped to 33°. I pushed my thermostats up to 72° to keep the furnace and boiler running overnight. I also stayed up to do my laundry to run the dryer and watch the temps. We've done some temporary fixes, with big work to come in the spring.

How do people keep their houses that warm all the time?!? The kids and I were uncomfortable. Everyone was quite happy with the fixes when we could turn the heat back down. Okay - not really everyone - the cats thought we'd finally come to our senses.

Rachel said...

As you mentioned, the Seattle area weather has been downright lovely. We turn off the heat every night and it doesn't get below 62. Even if we set the thermostat to 58, per our standard operating procedure, it still is ~61-62 when we wake up. Lucky, I guess!

Brenna @ Almost All The Truth said...

I am just south in Portland, but our winter has been less than freezin' this year. Good thing for my energy savings at least!

Hazel said...

In the UK we had unusually cold weather just before Christmas, but we still managed to keep the heating off most of the day and use the wood burner when needed.

Our downstairs thermostat regulates the CH but doesn't actually tell you the temperature, which is useful. However DD2 and I have thermometers on our clocks (I have no idea why) and our bedrooms hovered around the 60 F mark.

It now feels like spring might be around the corner, but we've had our coldest winter weather in February the last couple of years, including heavy (for us!) falls of snow, so I'm also holding off the planting. Barely.

shortystylee said...

Our thermostat in the apartment was acting up for almost all of winter so far! I would set it at a certain temperature and then it would reset itself. So frustrating!

However, despite trying to keep the temp at around 66-67F, it was super freezing. I couldn't figure out why... until my foot and a half taller than me husband realized we didn't have half the vents open!

It's much better now :)I could set it much lower if it wasn't 10F outside.

Jessica

garden geek said...

This has been the coldest winter in Lexington since I moved here in 1997. We have managed to keep the thermostat between 50-54 except at shower time(60 degrees). Even with that my monthy electric bill was $170 for a small 3br ranch! We don't have gas, that is just electric. Even if I wanted to give up I can't.

We have quilts piled up on the beds and everyone layers from to to toes. The kids don't complain. They just think it's normal. They hate going to friends houses because the temp is so different.

Maria said...

It has been much tougher with this year's challenge than last year. We are in CT and it is the coldest winter in years. I have to put the temperature up (to about 63)every once in a while just to take the chill out of the house. We all got snuggies for Christmas so that helped!

Mrs Mallard said...

We're in Oregon's Willamette Valley and it's been balmy here, too. We were aiming for 68 during the day and 65 at night, but we've actually kept it lower than that most days (and nights). I open the windows for at least 15 minutes a day to get some fresh air in the house and I've found I sometimes forget to close them until sunset. I've also started turning the heat off when I leave the house and our badass insulation has kept it at 60, even after an entire day without heat.

Our gas bill has been a steady 40% less than the same time last year (woohoo!). I'd give anything for some snow, though. A real winter...can you imagine?! The urge to plant right now is overwhelming and it's only January.

Able-Bodied Girl said...

i think next year i'll try to participate; the boyfriend shouldn't mind too much :) we have a geothermal unit, but our weather this year has been colder than usual, averaging below freezing and snow about once a week. so it's been struggling to keep up when it drops below 30deg.
i just wasn't in the headspace to consider coming into this winter, but i'll start preparing myself mentally for next year!!

Nic, SD said...

...
Boast, then!
We're having a warm front, here in South Dakota, in a whopping mid-twenty type of range. Not that I'm complaining, it's a whole heckuva lot nicer than the negative temps we had (and shall have again shortly).
When it gets that cold I do bump it up a bit higher, although my husband does continue to be the biggest hurdle (when he's not around I don't bother bumping it up higher than our night temp of upper fifties).
So my meager goal of no higher than 70 has been maintained for certain. We keep it set in the low to mid sixties and... beyond that, the old dial thingy reads about 4 degrees higher than it actually is. Don't tell my husband.

On a semi-related note, somebody at my work who always complains hiked our thermostat up to 81 and then forgot to change it when she left. YIKES.

Greenpa said...

As everyone here knows ( :-) ) I live in a post-thermostat world; 100% wood heat, log cabin.

And it's been cold here; colder than most years in the last decade; but far from as cold as the decade before that.

Just for comparisons, since I know perfectly well few of ya'all are going to leap into my situation; last week we hit -26° F (26 below zero F; = -32°C). That's pretty cold; but not extreme for us in Minnesota; we often get to -32°F; record cold for me was about -44°F.

That night, my indoor-outdoor thermometer recorded a low of +32°F inside. The thermometer is within 6 feet of the woodstove, hanging on the wall, under a window. The cat's water on the floor froze.

Reality; I've lived this way for decades; and you just simply take it in stride. You put on your snuggies, and an extra sweater; stand next to the wood stove a little more, and relax. It will warm up in a few days; or at least it always has, for the last 20,000 years.

A big fun benefit- when it warms up; so that it's a mere +15° F outside; it really feels quite balmy when you go out, in comparison. And indoors, when it warms up to an average indoor temp of anything above 50° F; you start stripping, or you overheat.

It's all relative. Really is. :-)

Sandy said...

We've been keeping the thermostat low, and using throws and blankets when we're inactive, which has been just fine, however yesterday we had to go to the hospital for an outpatient test for my husband, and we nearly melted in the waiting room. it seems we've adjusted to the cooler rooms..."normal' temps are too hot now!

Lizzie Bordello said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lizzie Bordello said...

As chilly as 60-61 sometimes feels inside, it sure feels toasty to come in to after being outside at -14 as it has been the past week. I think we've adapted well. As for you and your open window...you're breakin' my Minnesota heart!! ;p

historicstitcher said...

We've adapted quite well to the 58F I've kept the thermostat at so far. I cranked it up to 62 when my mother came over, to keep her from complaining about the cold, and when she left the kids asked me to turn it back down. It was too warm.

On the other hand, whenever I light up the fireplace the cats crowd around it like it's life support! It's so funny to watch!

Olivia said...

We keep the basement thermostat at 10C (50F) which is as low as it will go. This is just to keep the cement walls from further cracking and the pipes from freezing. Upstairs is heated by a wood cookstove. This past weekend our temps went down to -36C (-33F) and the bedroom window was frozen shut - otherwise I would have opened it. It's open year round. Canadian, eh?


Another nor'easter coming tomorrow with another 25-30 cm. of snow (about a foot). Won't be planting around here until June.

eatclosetohome said...

The new windows in the bedroom bring the temp up about 4 degrees without changing the thermostat, which is great, because I've realized that 55 is too cold but 58 is OK.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Jesus, Greenpa. No wonder you don't need a freaking refrigerator.

Tanya said...

If saving energy is the goal of freezing your buns it seems far more useful to make efficiency improvements - more insulation, weatherstripping etc. But lowering the thermostat when you aren't home and when you are sleeping is good. And having it warm enough you are walking around in a t-shirt in winter is ridiculous. I like the ambient temperature quite cold when I sleep but then snug under a warm duvet. Lately with the nice weather in the PNW its not been ideal sleeping temps.

Adrienne said...

I've been turning it down even colder that last year at night- down to 58 or 59. I'm perfectly comfortable under flannel sheets & a quilt. Still keeping it around 62-64 during the day.

Cold House Journal said...

We're doing well over here in the Other Portland (Maine) (or as we call it, "Real Portland"). We are edging towards "Greenpa Living": 100% "post-thermostat", and close to 100% wood heat (one stove), and somewhere in the range of $300 total winter heat "bill". Maybe I should put both "heat" and "bill" in quotes. Anyway we haven't had quite the same level of cold that MN does-- dipping so far only down to about -12ºF-- but it's not been "balmy". Your talk of weeding and gardening makes me chuckle. It's been a big snow year, and I can't even find the ground, let alone dig in it. Anyway, we've been tracking our indoor temps with great precision (every 5 minutes, all winter long!)-- come on over at look at the pretty graphs! Our house temp has averaged about 52º, with lows around 44º.

Diane said...

Yep, my buns are frozen! We have a 1970 era brick ranch house that we heat with wood only. The house never had a furnace and we pulled out the old electric baseboards as we did work on each room since they were at the end of their lives and we refuse to pay hundreds of dollars per month for electric heat. This winter (US east coast) has been colder than usual, and windier too. With the winds, we're struggling to keep the temperature in the low 60's. Most of the day the indoor temp is 58-62 or so, and lower at night. I'm fine with this if I'm moving around, but when I'm sitting for long periods (I telecommute full time), I get COLD, even when I'm wearing a heavy wool sweater topped with several layers of polarfleece. It's much better when we get back in our normal outdoor temp range of 40's in the daytime/20's at night. Maybe I don't have any blood....the dogs and my husband seem to be fine with it.

These temps make it hard to do any bread baking. It's too cold for the yeast unless I want to wait for days for it to rise.

Claire said...

It's colder than it's been in recent years in St. Louis, but still we're at almost exactly the average number of heating degree days for this time of year. Lowest temperature so far is 3F. It's snowing as I type; the ground has been frozen since mid-December.

We were going to keep the thermostat at 55F during daylight hours and 60F in the evening. We're home all the time and have a natural gas furnace. But it was so hard to move my fingers and get anything done at 55F that we relented and decided to leave the thermostat at 62F from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and 50F at night. It's working a lot better for my fingers and has resulted in very little extra heat used versus last year when we kept it at 55F during daylight hours. On sunny days we get a little extra solar heat from the glassed in, south facing front porch ... but there have been a lot fewer sunny days than usual this winter.

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