It’s that time of year again! It’s beautiful outside. Not too hot and not too cold. I could be getting so much stuff done, but instead, we’re just enjoying the weather, playing at the local parks, walking our ridiculously long driveway, exploring the farm, and just lounging around the yard. It’s wonderful. All this time outside is magnificent, and a good reason not to go inside.
When you have a woodstove and nothing else to warm up your house, this in between time is a little torturous. It feels good outside with light sweaters on, but inside it tends to stay a bit cold. Or it’s amazingly hot, or it’s cold again, Missouri, Missouri, Missouri. So, do you or don’t you? Do you start up the woodstove, which will have you down to your undies in no time and will get smokey because it’s not cold enough outside to draw the smoke out of the pipe quickly. Do you wait and pile on clothes? We chose the latter so there are some tricks that I use to keep the house somewhat warm.
We have one space heater that we keep in our bathroom. No one wants to get naked or sit on a toilet in a cold house. We plan our bathroom trips by turning on the heater and shutting the door for a few minutes before we attempt to shower or go number two. We tend to stay in there for much longer than necessary. It’s a relaxing little sauna with a crate of books and magazines. A great hiding place for nerds like us, if only the locks weren’t so old fashioned that a three year old can figure them out.
When my husband’s away and not available to give me that disapproving look that means, “Ahhhh...the electric bill,” I’ll carry the space heater to whatever room I’m occupying and set it on high. As soon as I hear a vehicle pull in the drive, I grab the heater and rush it back to the bathroom. Sadly, I get the evil eye quite often because he tends to throw it in neutral and coast down the driveway. He’s trying to catch me in the act of wasting electricity, and he’s pretty good at it (because I’m pretty good at wasting electricity).
That is obvious by the amount of oven cooking that I do during these cold days. I’ll preheat extremely early, leaving the oven slightly open, and I’ll postheat as well. These are meatloaf, casserole, roast kind of days. The longer the cooking time the better. Our Dutch oven gets a workout during the fall. I should start baking, but I hate baking, so this is the time where I might take the lazy route and buy a cake mix. It’s an inexpensive excuse to turn the oven on for 20-22 minutes at the coldest time of the day.
My sister-in-law is also not a baker, or a cooker, but she has been blessed with a husband who is. Even though she doesn’t know how to turn on the oven (just kidding Jessica, but really, do you know how?), she has come up with her own way of heating her house during this in between time. This is the time in her life when the laundry gets done frequently, well, up to the point of drying, but who actually folds their laundry. The dryer is a great heat source, and it feels awesome to jump in some warm sweatpants. I would use this as a heat source as well, but since my dryer came from the neighbor’s garage sale for $5, it’s only dependable for air, not heat, but it’s better than the previous $10 dryer. It almost caught the house on fire. That’s too much heat. I can do without that.
Maybe one day I’ll be blessed with central heating and air, but this is not the year. Being a stay-at-home mom and struggling writer only pays in spit-up, tantrums, and arthritis. One day it will happen though. My new saying is, “If I have to go back to teaching teenagers, I’m getting a huge loan, finishing the house, buying a new car, and living comfortably and beautifully.”