Sunday, March 6, 2011

Distance gives perspective

From warm Florida, I can give some thought to the plan for next winter. Easier to think about it when I'm not exhausted from shoveling snow and feeding the woodstove.

Last year, my plan involved having a big pile of wood and a couple of woodstoves. That worked well enough. Got me to February when we closed the house down and headed south.

What will we do next year?

I don't really know. All depends if we travel south again. If we do, how will we get down and how long will we stay?

On one extreme, we leave at the first hint of a chill. No need to really heat the house at all. We could drive south again -if that's still a viable option. Then again, we could sail all the way down. (an intriguing option.)

We could do some variant on this year's trip: leave sometime after Christmas and haul the boat south on a trailer.

Then again, we should prepare for spending the whole winter up north again. It could happen. Circumstances may keep us close to home. Should that happen, how would we get through the winter?

A key consideration, as always, is our limited budget. The best return is to chalk everything that could leak air. It's a simple thing that I haven't done recently. The basement could use a bit more insulation too. That saves some energy right off the bat.

One thing that's caught my attention is a rocket stove mass heater:

Saving 5 - 10 times less wood is a real attraction. I should be able to heat my house with wood sustainable harvested within walking distance from my house. Should be able to build the heater myself fairly cheaply. Cheap enough, that if we barely use it, it'll still be worth it.

That's the thing about growing up in the Frostlands. You never forget about winter, even while soaking in the Florida sun.



  1. I got three words for y'all: "The Great Loop"! No wheels required...

  2. maybe consider hauling extra cooking oil in a fuel bladder in your trailered boat might be4 a good idea to explore


  3. ...and we just got 2 feet of wet heavy snow up here! I thought of you while shoveling. Best to stay south until it melts.

  4. I just love it when more people discover rocket stoves, especially the mass heater versions.They are extremely efficient, store heat, cheap to build and easy to do it yourself. A 7" system is the heating core of my earthbag dome home.

  5. Ooooh, if you sail down you could still stop by us on your way! :) Love you Dad, glad you're staying warm.