Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Looking forward to 2018

Welcome everyone to 2018 here at Getting Stitched on The Farm. I'm just finding my mojo again after a lovely holiday season. I hope you and yours enjoyed a good break and found time to spend with friends and family. 

We here in western Massachusetts, like so many in the US, had some of the coldest weather ever recorded for the past two weeks. I don't know how people live in Alaska. It was all we could do to keep the house heated so the pipes didn't freeze. We have an oil/wood furnace and when it is really cold, we burn so much wood just to heat up the house. It was almost a full-time job hauling wood in and down the cellar stairs and stoking the furnace. Wood makes nice warm and cozy heat but it is so messy. If I were a neat-nik, it would drive me absolutely mad but I'm not so I put up with the mess. We burned at least a cord of wood in the past couple weeks and our supply is dwindling and will run out before the heating season is over. 

Our house is old and the old windows, even with storms, are drafty. When it is really cold, I put pieces of foam insulation in the windows to keep the heat indoors vs evaporating out through the windows. It's a bit of a solution but it looks so ugly. You probably know I am not a fan of ugly. Clutter is fine but ugly drives me a bit crazy. And I really hate not having light pouring into the house. I find myself depressed and moody. Luckily, the weather has warmed up and 20 degrees feels like a heatwave. I still put the foam in the windows at night but at least I can let the sunlight in during the days. To keep the kitchen pipes from freezing, I keep 100 watt bulbs lit in the cabinet under the sink so the pipes don't burst. Knock on wood, that hasn't happened yet but I do know people who have had that happen and it is a real mess and inconvenience, never mind the expense. So far so good. 

The Farmer has been busy just trying to keep the sheep fed. You can't imagine how the severe cold impacts the farm. The diesel tractor wouldn't start for days. The frost free water hydrant froze. The bales of haylage were frozen solid. Luckily his brother also farms just across the road and they can help each other out when one of the tractors is broken or the water is out. And he had put up some dry hay so the sheep were able to eat that. Amazingly, the sheep and Great Pyrenees Guard Dogs don't mind the cold nearly as much as the humans. They just continue along as if normal. 

Julia is off from the local community college for another couple of weeks. She is signed up for classes again next semester and seems to be enjoying her classes and the professors quite a bit. 

That is it from here. I hope you all had a lovely holiday season and are looking forward to 2018. I'll be back more now that I have started up blogging again. I've got to get myself organized and plan the year out. What do you have planned for 2018? 


Auntie Shan said...


Actually, I think Alaska has been warmer! Last week we were getting DAY time windchills at around -40! It was colder here than at the North Pole! Then, less than 2 days later, the temps popped up to above Freezing! - In between, we got dumped on with a foot of snow... Typical.
Anyhoo, we've been breaking all kinds of weather records as well. However, I remember that 15 years or so ago, these kinds of temps hanging in for a couple of weeks was the NORM! Although, they usually started around THIS time in January instead of before New Year... Having to walk a kilometer to Work in my heavy hooded-FULL-LENGTH long-hair BEAVER coat in -35 to -40 weather was an "adventure"...
But, alas, I'm retired now and the Winters are no longer that cold. So the Coat is in Storage and I haven't need to wear it in well over a decade... A shame really, as I do miss petting it...

BTW, would wool roving work as well as the foam for filling into some of those spaces..? At least you could give that some colour! ;-}

Anyhoo, stay WARM and DRY! Rain is on the way... Not sure if I'll be scooping or chopping later today..?!

Auntie Shan said...

I've just had another "thought" about those windows...
If you have some light coloured silk, haphazardly needle-felt some wool roving batting onto it so that it'll stick. Trim with some velcro tape or tabs and stick those onto the window frames... The silk and wool should work as a breathable vapour insulation barrier and let it enough light..?
Anyhoo, I've never done the above, so I can't say IF it would actually "work". But, if you do do it, let me know how it goes!

Brenda Harris said...

Hi Kristin, We live in northern New Hampshire, and I made window quilts for some of our windows. It was quite a chore, but has made a huge difference to the comfort of the house in winter and the heating bill. You can chose your own fabric for the inside and they look really nice. I used velcro to attach to the window frames and I just take it down during the day if it's not too cold. You can also make them to pull up like blinds.

Radka said...

I am feeling cold just reading your post! We had it cold here before Christmas, but absolute picnic comparing to you :-)
Still, lovely picture of your house (I presume it is your house) :-)

Adaliza said...

I can't imagine how hard it must be to keep the farm going in those temperatures. I remember hiking through enormous snowdrifts in Wales in the 1970's, when I was a teenager, to hay up my pony who was perfectly happy living out in his winter coat - he was a Welsh pony and point blank refused to wear a rug! You could hide your whole hand in his coat it was so thick. We haven't had weather like that here for years. Hope you eek out that wood pile and stay warm. Quilts at the windows sounds like a very good idea!

Geri said...

There is also peelable silicone caulking specifically for sealing windows in the winter. It's great for old, leaky windows and is clear, so caulking around individual panes can be done, too. It also peels off easily in the spring.

Stay warm!

Anonymous said...

Dear Kristin,

Your blog always cheers me up! I have followed it for several years, but have not looked for a while. Thanks for the tip re the 100 watt bulb. I have had frozen kitchen pipes several times recently. I moved from Central ME to an apt. in Pittsburgh last year, I just wanted an adventure and I have had it. However, my young landlord is unfamiliar with maintenance, so I have dealt with frozen pipes more than I did in my little ME house which I had fully insulated some years ago. Now I have gone back to my Pioneer Woman persona trying to figure out solutions as the clueless plumbers have not. Thanks for the tip...spring will come! It's pretty cold here too. Ann (formerly of) Maine

Virginia said...

We always used clear vinyl—you can staple this to frames and it’s completely transparent and if you use the frame method reusable. It’s cheaper from Amazon but this is it:

Book Review - The Maverick Soul

It's been a long time since I have written about any books I have discovered and fallen in love with. There are not a lot of books that...