Winter’s coming, get ready now

Warm BootsIt’s the middle of August, smack in the middle of summer, and it’s time to start thinking about winter. Yes, the cold air is coming. I have a hard time thinking about cold weather when I’m sweating and grumbling about where the breeze went… But there are little reminders about the coming  cold, the sun is setting sooner and sooner each night. The evenings are cooling off nicely, it’s all but getting cold at night. Of course cold is relative, when it’s been near 100° F, then 55° or 60° feels cold, after it’s been in the 30°s, then 55° to 60° will feel like a heat wave. :)

I thought back to last winter as I was pulling a blanket over myself the other night. I thought about what I could do and/or buy to make this winter just a little more comfortable. Last winter we decided to not kill ourselves keeping the skycastle overly warm. When you heat with wood, especially in an uninsulated space, (yeah, I know, just add insulation, it’s easier said than done), no matter how hot you get the wood stove before you go to bed, by morning, it’s cold again. You go to bed with a light blanket and by morning, you need the heavy down blanket. So, in all honesty it’s just easier to go to bed in the cold and bundle up properly for the night in the first place.

My only complaint last winter was my feet being cold, you can only put on so many socks, since feet are the closest to the ground, and they tend to not have much in the way of insulation (fat), they are prone to getting chilled first. My hands come in second at being cold. I decided that I would not have cold hands and feet this winter. I just received 2 packages from UPS (thanks Bobby! You are the best!), the first package contained silk, long underwear, silk gloves and silk (& nylon) socks. I understand that ounce for ounce, silk is one of the warmest fabrics available. I remember my mother, who was forever cold, saying that one of the warmest things she wore was silk long underwear. So if it works for her, then I know it will work for me.

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I ordered these from Sportsman’s Guide, along with a couple of other items, the price was right since I was renewing my Sportsman’s Guide membership, that gave me free shipping for the whole order, I also had a $10.00 coupon, it was not a bad deal! I highly recommend Sportsman’s Guide, and it’s very much worth the extra to join the club since they give such great discounts, especially on your first purchase, they give free shipping and an extra discount on top of the club discount.

I ordered nearly the complete set of silk long underwear, the only item I didn’t order was the balaclava, I might order one later, but for now, I didn’t get it. I tried everything on last night, it felt so good, it was warm, soft and comfortable. The fabric is very lightweight so layering it under other clothes will not be a problem. I (almost) can’t wait for the cold weather to hit. I chose the natural colored fabric, the other choice was black.

In that same package we got another on demand, propane fired water heater. It’s always good to have a backup of anything that is necessary, or at least a major convenience, would hot water be a necessity or convenience? You will have to decide that one. I call it a necessary convenience. We are going to use this one for the shower that Mountain Man Bob is building. It has been started, we have the space designated and it’s almost completely closed in. We chose to give up part of the deck on the north side of the skycastle, it will be a large, walk in shower, big enough for two people. I can’t wait to take my first shower at home! :)

The second package I received was a pair of boots. Also from Sportsman’s Guide (unfortunately they are out of stock on these boots, but you can order them from here, Women’s Itasca Ice Breaker Boots ). These are good, warm boots, they say they are rated to 20° below zero F, I doubt I’ll give them that kind of workout. As long as my feet stay toasty warm, or at least not freezing in 14°to 20°, I’ll be happy. I ordered these boots a full size larger than I normally wear, that’s to accommodate the extra socks I’ll be wearing. Last winter, my boots were a half size larger  and once I had on a couple of thick pair of wool socks, my toes were cramped. Ladies, I know how hard it is to buy shoes a size larger than you normally wear, but when it comes to keeping your feet warm and comfortable, then you have to sacrifice a tiny bit of (perceived) dignity, besides, these boots are cute and they make your feet look more compact. No one need know what size your boots are. :)

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6 Responses

  1. Wretha,

    Have Mountain Bob look into smaller, well-insulated shower stalls. Because they lose less heat while showering, you can use less water–saving on both water and propane (or whatever fuel you’re using). Lots of insulation on top as well as on the sides, and a shower door that goes from the bottom to the top and leaks minimal air (you need *some* to breathe–hehehe).

    Congrats on getting the shower! It’s another necessary convenience. (g)


    1. TheMajor’sLady, our shower stall is well insulated, the walls are made of 4 inch thick styrofoam panels, the panels are about 4’x7′, they came out of a walk-in freezer that was being torn down. Believe me, it will be warm. :) The shower is not ready yet, it’s a work in progress right now, we have the walls, roof, floor, drain and the propane water heater just for the shower. Right now the walls are just propped up, they need to be taken down and put up permanently (with a stucco coating), we need to mud the floor with a slope going toward the drain, we need to install the plumbing from the drain to where ever the water will go… Maybe by next spring I’ll be able to shower at my place. :)


  2. I guess I am getting senile, I could have sworn I read you had to use sleeping bags to stay warm.

    You have a wonderful neighbor, I don’t think I have to tell you that. Not many people would be willing to share their showers. When you said you did not take a bath at home I figured you went to the pay showers in Study Butte or Terlingua.

    1. MsBelinda, No, no sleeping bags, though I did suggest to my Dad that he bring a down sleeping bag for his winter visit… Believe me, we do appreciate our neighbor very much! We didn’t plan on relying on anyone but ourselves when we moved out here, but it turned out that our neighbor is an angel, we do trade out services though, Bob is always fixing something around here, it is an older double wide mobile in a harsh environment, there is always something to work on around here. We help each other. :)
      We have pay showers in the campground behind the Country Store where I work, it’s all owned by my boss, we could go there to take showers if we needed to do that, that was what we had planned on doing originally.

      I doubt you are senile, at least not any worse than I am… if you are anything like me, you probably read several (or more) blogs and maybe you mixed up my blog with another blog…

  3. I like your boots and great idea about ordering a size larger. I did not know silk was a warm fabric, one learns something new everyday.

    Congratulate Mountain Man Bob on the shower he is building.

    Thought of you the other day when I contemplated buying me a new sleeping bag. I remember you had written how cold it got your first year and how the sleeping bags had helped you guys out.

    1. Thanks MsBelinda, the boots are great, I can’t wait to wear them this winter, it’s far too warm right now… I tried them on as soon as I received them, and they feel great, the extra size gives me some wiggle room for extra socks without cramping my toes. Yes, it would seem that according to everything I read, silk is the warmest, ounce for ounce of any fabrics. It’s hard to believe those thin things will help keep me warm, but my mother said it kept her warm and believe me, she was always cold, she slept under a heavy blanket year round.
      I will tell Bob what you said about the shower, that’s the other thing I really look forward to is taking a shower at my place. As much as I appreciate my neighbor for allowing us to use his shower, it’s still an inconvenience to have to walk to someone elses house to take a shower…
      We didn’t use sleeping bags here, though I do wish we’d had them, it would have helped keep us warmer overnight. We did receive a down blanket, now THAT kept us warm! I couldn’t believe the difference, it’s one of the best gifts Bob’s mom sent to us.

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