My $70 a Month Heat Bill

 Everyone always wants to know how we can have a $70 a month heat bill in the dead of an Iowan winter - in a 1905 Victorian house - well this is how we do it.  NOTE the house is 1105 square feet.

We keep the house at 65F during the day and 58F at night or when we are not home. Caulk around the outsides of every window, door, etc. and do this every few years, oh and LOTS of insulation! We use mortite on the inside for the windows, the windows are original except for two modern windows and it's the modern windows that leak like a sieve. 

Winter 2010

Make sure to change those furnace filters too.  Another tip is to put insulation behind outlets and switches that are on outside walls, these are also major draft stoppers.  Repair any storm windows with new spline and the fuzzy insulating stuff every 10 years or so.

It also helps that we are on budget billing, and the gas company keeps bugging us to pay the new rate which is $59 a month but John keeps refusing.  November is our reconciliation month, and by paying the $70 a month we don't get a "suprise" spike in our heat bill.

edited to add:  The orignal builder insulated the house and big time, way back in 1905, he filled it with woolrock from the basement all the way out the attic rafters.  We're thinking he didn't like being cold. The house maintains and beautifully, it's been 65F in here for two weeks now.

Porch Clean Up

We spent some time cleaning the front porch this afternoon and now it looks pretty nice, well as nice as a 105 year old porch can look.  John hung my cupboard out there, an old primitive I've had hanging out, and then we put a table under it so now I have a potting table and a place to put pots.  I planted some smaller pots with marigolds, will have to purchase more marigold seeds, and will plant some petunia's tomorrow.  Pictures coming soon.

New Vinyl

There's nothing like new vinyl on my table to make me realize just how beat up the old piece was, it was 5-6 years old I think... it might have been older I'm losing track of things as I get older.  Anyway, our local WM still sells fabric so I was able to get a replacement vinyl for not too much money, which says a lot when you need 4 continious yards of the stuff!

Madder Root Dyed Vintage Lace and Trims

Vintage lace and trims I picked up at a yard sale this summer, some are antiques. Everything has been scoured by washing twice in hot water - to get rid of the smell, then boiled with soda ash for two hours. The items were then mordanted with alum and soaked for two days in the alum vat, I then dyed everything with Madder Root Extract I left them to soak in the madder root vat for two days. The brighter yellow items are made of nylon hence the color.

Kitchen Sink!!!!

Let the kitchen remodel begin! We picked up a 40 year old sink today that had never been installed, what are the odds of that happening??? The sink is 20 x 42 inches with 9 inch deep bowls. I can fit my largest canner inside a bowl - I've waited years for this to happen. Anyway porcelain on cast iron, for a total cost of $75!!! Btw it's an American Standard Sink - see other post with pictures of sink bottom etc.
As soon as I find the windows for the new sink wall, we can gut the kitchen, do the wall repairs (we're replacing a door that is no longer used) etc., I will have a brand new to me kitchen! Everything, well except for the structural elements, has been salvaged, re-purposed or is vintage.

Carla Emery"s Old Fashioned Recipe Book

Carla Emery"s Old Fashioned Recipe Book an Encyclopedia of Country Living copyright 1977. Carla rewrote her book right before her death several years ago.
I get a lot of emails asking me where I learned what I know, most of it is from helping my parents when I was growing up. We always had a very large garden, canned, dehydrated foods, etc., and we raised rabbits and chickens for food. I've supplemented what I knew with books such as these (this book was in with a lot of books I purchased at a sale).