Report: we are unheated. September, October, and perhaps an optimistic dash of November, are glorious months where we get by without heat or air conditioning. These delightful respites from climate control save us mega bucks in the ol’ utility bills region. As avowed frugal weirdos, Mr. FW and I stretch the seasons on both ends. And, as I shared in my especial July 4th edition of the Woot & Grumble (made extra special by Frugal Hounds’ flag-print visor), we didn’t turn our AC on until July 1st.
Two months of AC isn’t too shabby, especially considering we didn’t keep it on every day during that span. Winter is a bit dicier here in the Boston territories and heat must be employed to ward off dangerous events like freezing pipes.
One of the factors that made September such a low spend month for us was the absence of heat or AC. Avoiding climate control is a frugal autopilot activity for Mr. Frugalwoods and me, but it’s the inverse of what a lot of folks do. Flipping on the AC or heat is usually a reflexive reaction to the slightest change of seasons. But, when you think about it, paying to achieve a perfect temperature when it’s a mostly OK temperature inside your home is just plain silly. Plus, you can last a lot longer than you think. I promise.
Fall is the time to roast chestnuts on an open fire, right?! Well, problem: the current Frugalwoods home lacks both chestnuts and fire. There is no sweet scent of woodsmoke wafting though the air. Frugal Hound has never known the joy of curling up in front of warm flames (and probably singeing her whiskers). As the leaves crackle outside, and pumpkin spices are employed in everything from oats to coffee inside, no balm of warmth emanates from that most wonderful of creations: a fireplace. Or a woodstove. Or even just like a fire pit. When we lived in Washington, DC, the house we rented had a superb fireplace that we used at every opportunity. And so, we know what we’re missing.
Alas, our Cambridge, MA home has neither fireplace nor woodstove. And, there’s nowhere to put one–the construction and design of our house just doesn’t allow for the installation of either. Anywhere. At all. Trust me, we’ve explored. We’re missing part of a wall right now from our explorations. But that’s neither here nor there.
In addition to this being mildly embarrassing since our name is Frugalwoods, it’s also a rather unpleasant reminder of how dependent we are on city resources in order to survive. Our heat comes from natural gas and electricity to run our boiler–and there’s really nothing we can do about it. Two winters ago, we had a two-day power outage during a severe snowstorm. We’re pretty hardy and didn’t mind snuggling up for warmth, but, our pipes weren’t quite on the same wavelength. We dodged a bullet and none of them froze and burst, but, it was a stark realization that we can’t control our home without the grid.
Yet another aspect of homesteading that we look forward to is the ability to heat our entire home with a woodstove. Cord upon cord of wood will need to be harvested (ideally from our land), split, dried, and stored. But then, we’ll be warmed all winter long by the fruits of our labors (with the fringe benefit of enjoying eau de woodsmoke, a singularly divine odor).
Woot Part II
Thanks to our bearded tech-guru Mr. Frugalwoods, we have a hot & fresh new email system! You can sign-up below next to our business Frugal Hound–she’s ready to do some important work on the computer (like sniff and/or lick the keys).