Here are a couple of products which have been helpful in getting through the winter in a cold house. First is, basically, a rock with a handle:
This is a soapstone bedwarmer from Vermont Soapstone. My parents gave us a matching set of these for Christmas, and we’ve enjoyed them greatly (my mom reports that she had one as a kid in New Hampshire, and that my grandparents continued to use them throughout their lives.) Basically, we just put them on top of the wood stove as the fire’s dying, then carry them up to bed. J. likes to drag the stone back and forth across the sheets and pillows to warm up the bed; then you just cuddle up with it. Sounds kind of weird, but the soapstone has a very silky feel to it that is surprisingly pleasant (the website says it’s “almost therapeutic”.) Another great thing: if you bake a pizza for supper, you can throw the rocks in the oven after you shut it off. They’ll still be warm for bed. My endorsement of this product is tempered only by the fact that the company is currently waiting for a permit to resume quarrying the stone locally in Vermont, and so is temporarily importing from Brazil. Let’s hope they get their permit soon.
Next up: The Hat.
This thing is awesome. I bought it originally as a potential Christmas present for my nephew, but decided it might be too scary for him (or for my niece to see him wearing.) So I gave it to J. instead, but she doesn’t seem to wear it much (even though it looks really cute on her.) What is it supposed to be? I’m not sure. It sort of makes me think of Monty Python, and/or Donnie Darko. But the manufacturer claims it is a yeti (don’t look like no yeti I’ve ever seen, though.)
In any case, this hat is really, really warm. It is so toasty warm. I have a collection of about five house-hats now, but this one is my favorite. The fake fur really is much better than a crappy wool or fleece toque. This has got me to thinking about fur-wearing, historically, as a very useful strategy for coping with cold environments– one that is not generally accepted as an option anymore (apart from the Upper East Side, perhaps.) But it’s given me some insight into why we killed all the buffalo.