Reporter Popsicle

This morning we had the pleasure of meeting/freezing Josie Huang, whose voice we hear a lot on Maine Public Radio.  She came by the house to interview us/play with the cats.  We let her sit on the heating pad.  We’re generous like that with guests.

Here’s the bit they aired this evening about our experiment.  I wish the cats had said more; I think they were star-struck.

10 Responses to “Reporter Popsicle”

  1. Lars Says:

    so glad i found you through mpbn! i live in sopo and can’t wait to digest the entire blog but i am already feeling a thermal kinship. I never set the thermostat over 47 and truly enjoy going from warm to cold rooms (one small woodstove gets my kitchen as high as 65). thermal delight!

  2. brushfire Says:

    This was the best press yet. Good job D and J!

  3. Janet Says:

    just spent the weekend in Portland…..pretty nippy…daughter discovered that there was a window that could be opened on our 9th floor room..strange….we put the window down and turned off heat in the room and we were able to scrape off ice on the inside of the window in the morning…..we slept great

  4. girltuesday Says:

    i concur with b’fire: great job, friends!

  5. Kirsten Says:

    Thank you for the creds on the door quilt, but I only sewed what was already there. We’re happy that we don’t have to rescue J. Both of you sounded great, and J wasn’t too dorky.

  6. Dave Wylie Says:

    Enjoyed the piece on MPBN yesterday afternoon, though I admit to not knowing
    how to wrap my head around it. You see, I’ve lived in six-sided two story
    log house in northernmost Maine for the last 20 years with a wood stove for
    heat, no plumbing, no running water and the barest electrical minimum. We’ve
    got a propane cookstove and some gas lighting when needed (like when the
    power’s out).
    No offense intended, but living this way isn’t a statement. It’s just living
    this way. It was accidental at first as Darlene was already living here when
    she and I started seeing each other. I got used to not thinking about buying
    quantities of exotic, highly refined liquids from Saudi Arabia or Venezuela
    except for what the Toyota uses.
    My one concern is that most stick-built houses like yours, old and new,
    don’t stand up very well to being without heat. Darlene’s people have a
    house in town that’s been unoccupied for about three years and the
    foundation’s collapsing from the frost. The house is almost 100 years old,
    so it ain’t a matter of ‘new’. It’s the inherent design of these things. Our
    house, built by a boat builder from the West Coast, has lots of flaws, but
    the foundation isn’t one of them. It rests on solid ledge lurking (welcome
    to northern Maine) six inches or so beneath the sod.
    I built a post and beam boat shop for myself heated by a small Vermont
    Castings wood stove. ‘Heated’ is a stretch. I can stand working at 40F for
    short intervals, and at 55F, I’m in the zone. When it’s -15F like it is
    outside this morning, then I stay in the house and do paperwork. I used a
    pellet stove to heat the shop, but the thought of paying for processed wood
    when I’m surrounded by 70 acres of woodlot drove me wild. I sold it and used
    to money to buy the woodstove. The pellet-eating elephant in the room has
    since been replaced by a gnawing mouse of doubt over the wisdom of the
    Anyway, I’ll give your website a more thorough read.
    The stomping about the room in woolies is a fact of life up here.
    Something ‘ancestral’ about it when you’re Scots and French Canadian.

    Bon chance,
    Dave Wylie
    St. David, ME

  7. Todd Dunn Says:

    I heard the Maine Public Radio piece today. I must say I got a laugh out of it. As I type this I am sitting here in my house on the Maine coast which is heated by a single Jotul wood stove burning wood I cut and split myself on my property. I never resort to things like electric blankets. I find my Hudson Bay wool blanket and down comforter to be more than adequate. I generally heat my workshop to no more than 55 degrees and find it quite comfortable. I have never lived in a house with central heat and frankly don’t find the concept particularly novel.

    Todd Dunn
    Bass Harbor, ME

    • coldhousejournal Says:

      Todd, Dave– Yes. We know we are far from the toughest. In fact, when the MPBN reporter was here, I specifically warned her that there are lots of people in Maine, north and west of here especially, who only use (or even only have) a wood stove for heat, and that these people would not, as you say, “find the concept particularly novel” (or be impressed with the story).

      On the other hand, some of those people I’ve spoken to, and they burn 5 or 7 or 10 cords of wood for a winter. And some of their houses I’ve visited, and they’ve got temps up in the 70’s– or higher! So these things are not all black and white.

      In any case, while living this way may not be unusual out in more rural areas, it sure seems to be around here, to say nothing of (ironically) even further south. People in Portland thing it’s pretty weird. When we bought this house, even the bank was dubious– to get a mortgage, they wanted a signed statement from the seller asserting that the then-present pellet stove could, in fact, keep the house “warm” (and then, after the papers were signed, we let the seller take the stove with him.)

      And the people burning the most heating fuel are those in houses vastly larger than they need, and for whom the monetary cost of fuel use isn’t a serious impediment. Those folks I’d like to reach, a bit, with this idea… most of them, I’m guessing, aren’t up in the County, or wintering-over on MDI– they’re down this way, and in Massachusetts, and Connecticut… so, that’s my thought.

      • mike Says:

        It was very cool to randomly find a link to this journal, and see that I’m not the only person left that is not soft and confused about what is truly needed and what is simply pleasant. Unlike Todd and Dave, I do not live in a rural area. I live in Philadelphia Pa. For the past 6 years or so, my friends and family have thought I was a bit nuts to live without heat. To no avail, I’ve tried to explain that I consider it a luxury, but most certainly not a neccesity. At first, I lived in apartment buildings that stayed warm (enough for me anyway)because of neighbors flanking me. However, currently I live in a single family house with no heat at all. My average indoor temperature lately has hovered around 41 degrees fahreheit, but in the early mornings as I get ready for work, it is frequently in the high 30’s.
        Only if the outside temps dip into the teens do I close off one room and fire up the kerosene heater. If my girl is over, I’ll do the same, but for the most part, she is a trooper and doesn’t complain about how “weird” my life is.

        I especially loved the entry about Buddhism and your thoughts on becoming accustomed to the warmth. I too believe that many people have become so accustomed to so many luxuries, and so robbed of the pleasures of them. There seems to be a sense of entitlement to the best of everything, and no appreciation for the yin and the yang. Any variation away from the ideal is cause for dissatisfaction, and since so much in life is NOT perfect, many people spend much of their lives unhappy and complaining. I could go on, but I swear, I’ll stop now!. Glad I found your journal!

      • coldhousejournal Says:

        Nice to have you here Mike.

        “My average indoor temperature lately has hovered around 41 degrees”
        All I can say to that is: We’re not worthy. With the exception of the one week where I really did keep track, I couldn’t say what we average (especially since different parts of the house are always at different temps) but it’s not that low. Well, the upstairs & bedroom might average close to 41. But the kitchen has probable averaged more like 50 or 52.

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