We woke up this morning and it was -11 degrees outside. That’s pretty cold. We’ve had to fill both the wood stove and the pellet stove for the past few nights before bed. Usually, we turn off the pellet stove and let the wood stove handle things, but with this cold, both are required. I made a rule a few years ago that if it wasn’t below zero, we’d turn off the pellet stove to save pellets. Sure, the house is 40 degrees in the morning, but it heats up fairly quickly once we get things going again.
I took this photo about an hour ago. This wood stove cranks. I don’t know what we would do without it. It really is the only way to go. I’m sitting next to the stove right now and the room I’m in is probably 85 degrees. It’s crazy.
I have a post on this website that’s been really popular over the past few days. It has to do with frozen pipes because of cold weather. As of this writing, the sink in our bathroom is not functioning. Apparently, the cold crept into the walls just far enough to reach the copper and freeze us out of upstairs. This is the adventure of living in Maine.
The strange part is, there doesn’t seem to be any relief in sight. The entire ten day forecast calls for sub-zero temperatures at night. Just yesterday, our high temperature was zero. What’s even stranger is that it doesn’t feel any colder than usual out there. Although, I admit that I would probably freeze straight through to the core if I spent any amount of time outside, but as far as getting the mail and bringing in firewood, it’s not bad. I will tell you that my blood is so thick by this point, I don’t even notice the cold. I do, but I don’t, if you know what I’m saying.
Okay, so here’s the deal with living in a cold climate, which is apparently the climate of most of the U.S. right about now. You need to plan. If you’re planning on buying, you need to make sure the house you’re looking at was built correctly. It could be a concrete cube for all I care, if it was insulated the right way, go for it. If it’s got beautiful marble counter tops and lovely bathrooms and the house hasn’t got the proper insulation, you’ll be enjoying all those features in a winter coat. That’s not fun.
As for driveways, you need a flat (or gently sloped) one. Don’t fool yourself by thinking that you’ll get it plowed or that you’ll add salt to one that’s really steep. It needs to be level or semi-level. Look at the structure and quality of the house over how pretty it is. Spend a lot of time in the attic and in the basement. Check those over well. Find out what kind of insulation was used. If they say fiberglass, move along and look for something else. Stay away from baseboard heat. Get propane and definitely have a big, giant wood stove. You’ll thank yourself on those snowy nights that are -15 degrees. It’s also very important that the house have no water pipes on any exterior wall. That’s critical if you don’t want to wake up to frozen pipes like I have a number of times.
Oh yeah, you’ll need two vehicles. One needs to be a pickup truck and the other an SUV. The larger the tires, the smoother the ride will be over all those icy bumps on the roads. It’s actually not too different up here than anywhere else if you prepare properly. You just need to be careful in the beginning. Then, you need to stay ahead of the curve.
One final thing I can think of is that you’ll need a wood shed to keep your firewood dry. Have this made by someone who knows what they are doing. Dry wood keeps you toasty warm and that’s the best way to be. I love it up here and I love looking out the windows on these cold winter nights. Part of the reason I love it so much is because the house is so warm.
Oh yeah, you’ll also need a gigantic snow blower. Those are indispensable. And a steel roof. I could go on and on about this. I’ve thought about it for four years now and I have my new house all planned out in my head. I’m just waiting on that perfect piece of property and for me to start playing the lottery. I can feel that my winnings are close, but again, I need to start playing the game. Which I won’t, so I’ll just continue planning until an opportunity comes along.
Anyway, I hope you are all enjoying the chilly weather. Stay warm and remember to bundle up! I don’t care if it looks like you’re wearing a fat suit. The more, the better.