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, March 2, 2011

Are you still Freezing Yer Buns?

I know we are. Last week the kids had mid-winter break and we were planning on taking a short trip but between the threat of snow in both our destination and in Seattle and a slew of head colds, we decided to stay home.

Which was a good thing, otherwise I'm afraid the chickens would have gone without water. You see, I never did end up getting a heated dog water bowl for them because the last time it was this cold the store sold out. And then it wasn't much of a priority again. And then I forgot.

In any case, we've got one month left in this year's Freeze Yer Buns Challenge and it looks like it's going to be a chilly one all the way to the end. At least for us. Between being sick and it being so cold out, we've bumped the heat up a bit for the last week or so (those low grade fevers are a bitch).

In order to wrap up the challenge, next week I'll be hosting a super awesome giveaway sponsored by Pro Energy Consultants so keep your eyes peeled for that. It will be worth it!

How are things looking for you guys? Have you been able to keep to your temperature pledges? Over 200 households pledged to lower their thermostats this year so I'm curious to hear how y'all are doing.

27 comments:

Rosa said...

I don't know if I pledged. We did 62 this year, up from 58 last year - with the new windows, our energy use was nearly the same, about 4% higher.

62 was easy to keep but with the heat at 62 all the time I've lost the feeling of luxury I had in the past when I'd set it up to 62 for a few days and wake up in the morning and think "wow the tiles are not radiantly cold in the bathroom." It make working from home a lot more palatable though.

-Heidi said...

Well, we (in Port Angeles, WA) aren't very far from you... so we shared your pain this week!

We heat with wood right now, but we're sure running low with this cold snap!

I hope all are well and warm.

~Heidi

Q said...

I haven't turned my heat on for 2 years. But that's because I live on the top floor of an apartment building and the people below us heat our apartment inadvertently. It's been super cold here lately and our apartment has been unbearably hot as a result.

Hazel said...

We've done really well this year. No idea on what the temperature in the house is, other than between 57-62 when I get into bed. And that's mostly change in outside temperature as DH (not me!! DH!!) turned the heating off a few weeks ago during a mild spell and it's stayed off apart from two hours one morning as none of the laundry was drying (we don't have a tumble dryer).
We're using our woodstove in the late afternoon and evening.
Must go and look at door curtains on ebay as the door to our conservatory from the hall is really draughty. I made a draught excluder, but I think it needs something right round the frame.

Adrienne said...

Still keeping around 62 most of the time, and turning it down a couple degrees at night (if I remember). The weather is already getting warmer, so it's not coming on as much, and we've had a couple of warm spells where it was over 65 in my apartment without the heat even coming on at all. Can't wait 'til I can open the windows!

Josefine said...

I didn't pledge, but since we've got separate radiators in each room instead of a central heating device, we've chosen to have the heat on in the room we're in. :) With 100% wind & water electricity we've been paying around 700 SEK per month (approx. 100 USD). Since this is our first year paying electrical bills we can't really tell if that's especially low, but it seems so when I speak to others.

Jennifer said...

I pledged 63/58, I think, but I've really done 65/58 (and now 65/55) most of the winter. We've had a really cold winter, but our gas bills have been lower with the addition of an unheated sunroom that is positioned to catch and retain heat in winter (and hopefully, cooler air in summer):
http://fastcheapandgood.blogspot.com/2010/11/key-west-sunroomgreenhouse.html

Lisa said...

I "met" you and your blog in a Freeze Yer Buns challenge 3 years ago and we've been freezing (among many, many other things) alongside you ever since (because you're really dang inspirational). This year we pledged 62/57 and have been faithful to that except for the 2 weeks we were treating the cat for pneumonia (yes, really); we kept the day temps at 64 then. We live in the upper Midwest and our average "highs" are way below freezing so I'm proud of this achievement every year (plus, wow, what a difference in our energy costs!).

Maria said...

I have only had to put it up a couple of degrees twice this winter and it was a cold one here in CT. Heating bills are down this winter too, which is a big plus!

tawnya said...

I feel I'm suddenly among my people! We're in Northern Utah and people look at me weird when I say my therm is set at 62-63. Most of the time it stays there, but this year we've been bumping it a little on those extreme cold days. March, however...we can usually get some days of complete turn off, so I'm hopeful!

Sheryl said...

We moved into a new house in November and the first gas bill was $125! Ouch. We had been wood only heat for 16 years. By Thanksgiving, the wood stove was installed and gas bill dropped to $50 and thermostat is at 64.
BTW-I tried the heated dog dish for chickens one year - it got very messy very fast as the chickens thought it was their private jacuzzi!

Julia's Child said...

Can I ask an off-the-topic chicken question? If I saw red foxes in your yard every couple of weeks... would you still go for chickens?

adventuresindinner said...

I'm at 16 degrees (sorry I'm a metric kid from way back) during the day and we go up to a balmy 18 when we're home.

We finally learned how to use the fancy programmable thermostat so we've been super consistent this year instead of "remembering" while running out the door in the morning.

Maria said...

I think technichally ours is still lowered but we have been turning it up almost every day for a while now. My little one has pretty much been sick since October and I find a warmer house more comforting.

Angela said...

We've done better than I expected this year, actually -- we're down to 57 most of the time, 56 on occasion, and 58-59 when we're feeling chilled.

Sandy said...

We're still maintaining at about 62which has helped with our gas bill; one draw-back: whenever we're in a public place, the rooms feel too warm! We're always peeling off layers in order to be comfortable! The temperature and weather in general is fluctuating wildly here in PA, so we're layering anyway.

Amy in Tacoma said...

No. I've had a cough that won't go away, and the cold air was aggravating it. About a week ago, I couldn't take it anymore, so we raised the heat from 58 to 68.

Hippy Goodwife said...

Still freezing here! I have finally succumbed to the PNW fleece. I avoided it for years but now, at home I live in it. I still have not found houseshoes that actually keep my feet warm though.

The Mom said...

We started out at 62 this year, but ended up at 65. I totally wimped out. Had an argument with one of Hubby's coworkers who told me I was lying about the fact that we go through only 1 lonely tank of heating oil per winter. We still have at least another month of heating, but it is certainly getting warmer here in New England.

Anonymous said...

Still freezing our buns in MO, but not quite to the level of last winter. I'd pledged 55F during the day, 60F evening, 50F at night for this winter, same as last winter. But I found last winter that I was completely unmotivated to do anything but lie around with a blanket over me (and I was still wearing multiple layers of clothes). This year we set to 62F day/50F night and it has been much, much better for us with very little additional natural gas use. We also glassed in the south facing front porch to allow the sun to generate some heat for us. Worked pretty well, better now that we have more hours of sunlight.

Shreela said...

Heat is not allowed unless everyone's wearing warm clothing such as two shirts and a sweater/jacket. I also keep small fleece blankets on the chairs we use most. We used to use the fireplace, until the chimney got blown over in a hurricane. DH finally fixed the chimney, but didn't get around to cleaning it, so I guess we won't use the fireplace until next winter, since it's unlikely we'll freeze again this late in winter (although we did have an unusual freeze in March a few years ago - gardeners were really mad LOL).

Su said...

Not exactly "freezing", because it's warm in Austin. (We had our air conditioner on the other day. I know, please don't throw things.) But the heat is already off and I plan to keep it that way.

Barbara said...

Yes we are still freezing our buns! We have been able to keep the thermostat at 55 during the day when we are not home and overnight and usually 58 when we are home. Lots of blankets strewn throughout the house as well as warm sweaters and sweatshirts. The good news is we have only ordered oil twice this season 150 gallons in Sept and then again in Dec. We are just about ready to order our third and final 150 gallons this week! Not too bad for the northeast.

Mrs Mallard said...

We're still keeping our pledge to do 68 during the day, 65 at night. Not as extreme as others, but a far cry from the 72-75 we maintained last winter. We've done really well all winter. Most days I don't turn the heat up, so we've really been at about 66 during the day. The biggest bonus is a 20% decrease in the gas bill. I'm also line drying our clothes indoors (under the heater vents), so the electric bill is lower, too. And the dance parties we have when we feel like we're chilly but don't want to turn up the heat are nice. Shakin' yo' booty will warm you right up.

Brad K. said...

I didn't pledge. But I did find that turning the thermostat to 54 didn't work - the furnace ran all the time. At 55 it still ran a bunch without really lighting up. So I settled for 56 a month ago. Before that really cold (-21 F) snap, the thermostat was set on 57.

During that same cold snap I discovered two biggy air leaks in corners. A tube of clear caulk, and the room feels much warmer.

We have had a few days that are 'warmer outside than it is in the house', and got to use the screen door.

Able-Bodied Girl said...

we do better than i first thought. although the thermostat is set to 68 in the evenings, and 55 during the day when we're not home and at night when we're sleeping, we discovered that the thermostat is eeking heat from the one central wall of the house, so the actual room temperature is closer to 65, especially as you get closer to the walls and windows and doors. so... not too shabby, i guess.
we also use geothermal, so that's a win too :)

Melissa said...

I only started reading your blog recently, so I'm late in formally joining the FYB challenge, but I've been freezing my buns for the past two years. I've always kept the thermostat low, but during winter 2009-10 dropped it from 62 to 57 over the course of the season.

My thermostat is currently at 52, down from 57 in November and 55 in December. Yeah, really--52. This, in a place where the current daytime temps are in the 40s, nights get down around freezing, and it rains a lot. (If I lived in Philly or Buffalo or Chicago it would be another story. Don't try this at home, kids--unless, of course, you live in a temperate marine climate.)

It helps that this house is heated by a gas boiler and hot-water radiators--seriously, I'll never go back to forced air again. I LOVE THEM, even the occasional clanking noises they make. Plus, the cats love draping themselves over the tops of them.

The only real discomfort I've felt at this temp was cold feet and legs. Layering socks and wearing Uggs indoors helped the first problem, and I solved the second by sewing a pair of quilted lounge pants from an old fleece blanket and some cotton calico I had in my fabric stash. At night I sleep under a down comforter with two or three cats wedged in next to me and I'm perfectly toasty.

I sewed insulated window curtains last year, and they make a tremendous difference. I procrastinated on door curtains until just recently, however, and I could kick myself for that--why didn't I make these sooner?! They are awesome. And so is my much-reduced gas bill, for that matter.

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