Hoping for Double Digits


The low this morning was 0.3 degrees here. It is extraordinarily cold, but this is not altogether a bad thing. We found a tick on the dog earlier this week. We need the cold to wipe out those vermin finding their way further north each year as the seasons advance toward the warm side.

It is so cold that the wall heater in the bathroom off the Ann-ex is coming on automatically at its lowest-possible setting. The only way to shut it off is to fire up the propane wall heater in the larger room. That’s screwy.

And I am experimenting (since the more cold-natured one is away today) with draping things (the thin cotton window curtains on a variable tension rod and a wool lap throw hung on two hangers) across the exits to the room where I type and the wood stove does its best to throw off sufficient heat to keep me in the mid-sixties.

Theoretically, these drapes will keep more warmth captured where people (me) live and less lost to heating the empty parts of the house. Come time for SHMBO to come home, I’ll take down my experimental heat-holders and let the dark parts heat up for a while.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Draping things really does work. I’ve used that trick so many times in the past, that I got really good at it. Anywhere there was heat loss, openings into other parts of the house that didn’t have a door, over windows for added insulation and exit doors where I could feel air coming in. I saved a lot of energy in the process, and kept myself a lot warmer too.

    Stay warm, it only last for a little while.