My game is to avoid turning on the heating system until November. That would be Sunday. But here it is, Friday morning, it is below freezing outside, and the interior temperature has dropped to 17C. Which is comfortable enough if you are working hard, wearing a parka, moving around, or baking a lot. But it isn’t very comfortable if one is seated for more than a few minutes, and my hands are beginning to feel stiff with the cold. The weather news predicts that we can expect tonight’s low to be -9C, making it likely that the interior temperature is going to drop even further. Attila is indulging my me in this game, so that the heating system will not be turned on until tomorrow, despite the frigid night. I will be able to say that we did not turn on the heat until the end of October. It will be chilly in here tomorrow morning, my guess is 15C. I usually rise long before Attila, so I will set the thermostat to 20C right away, so that his day will begin in a warm cozy house.
The transition to colder weather reminds me of our first winter at the country house. We were having a masonry heater installed, and the mason disappeared in October, without having replaced the stovepipe to the basement wood stove or finishing the heater. The little wood stove was our only source of affordable heat. We hired another mason to install the stove pipe, but it was November 12th before the stove pipe was operational. The masonry heater was finished the first week of spring, too late to use as a source of heat.
That was SO COLD. I remember wearing a toque to bed to keep my head warm, as the temperature inside the house was 4C at night. I would open the windows in the mornings, wearing winter boots, hat, and parka, to warm the house up, as it was warmer outside than it was in the house. What a winter that was! We had both lost our jobs, no income, unemployment insurance payments were delayed until the first day of spring. We made it through that winter, but I will never forget how cold we were, and how alone, just the two of us in the bush!
This evening after he arrived home from work, Attila set to work to harvest the last of the garden produce: Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, and Swiss Chard. Tomorrow I will be canning the last batch of Coleslaw from the garden Cabbage. The Brussels Sprout harvest is modest, providing enough for one meal, two perhaps. The Swiss Chard will be blanched and frozen. By the end of the weekend there will be only a few bowls left of ripening Tomatoes and of ripening Ground Cherries. After this last push the garden/harvest/preserving season will come to a very satisfying conclusion.
I was poking around the internet yesterday, looking for ways to cut costs around here. While visiting our electricity provider’s web site, I discovered that as of November 1, they are offering a chance to opt out of Time Of Use TOU billing, to a Tiered system of billing. The site offered a cost calculator to see if it would save any money to switch, and it indeed will save us just over $2.00. But even if it had cost a bit more, the tiered system would suit us better than TOU. Under TOU billing I had to manage all of my baking and household chores around the cheapest hydro prices, as there was potential for doubling the cost of hydro. With Tiered pricing, during the winter the first 1000 Kwh a month are billed at a flat rate, and any usage over that amount billed at a higher flat rate.
Tiered pricing means that if I want to bake bread during the day, there will be no worry about the cost of running the oven. It also means that when we cook our dinner in the evening, we won’t be paying twice the price for electricity. Another benefit is that if the heat is turned down during the night, when we enjoy cooler temperatures, less energy will be used overall. With the TOU pricing the hydro was cheapest while we slept, so we kept the heat steady to make sure the house was warm going into the next day, when reduced heating would mean using less double-priced electricity. These aspects of Tiered pricing will significantly improve our quality of life here at Mist Cottage, and lower our electricity bill at the same time.
Today’s dinner was homemade pizza. I ran out of flour yesterday, after baking a Sandwich Loaf, so before a pizza could be made, flour had to be milled. Last night the mill was setup and two gallon jars of organic whole wheat flour were milled, all set to make pizza dough.
The mill and equipment must be washed and thoroughly dried before storing in the cupboard, and so were washed and left overnight. They were packed away this morning. Also on the go this morning is a load of laundry, which has been hung to dry on racks inside the house, as it was still below freezing at noon.
Well, I will say goodnight. I am off to find my winter hat, scarf, and gloves. I don’t remember where they were stored for the summer!
Life is mighty quiet these days. I find it peaceful, and pleasant.
Stay safe dear friends.
-2°C (Interior temperature 17C)
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Friday 30 October 2020
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Dew point: -7.0°C
Wind: NNE 20 gust 30 km/h
Wind Chill: -8
Visibility: 24 km
“Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn’t.”
1835 – 1910