Six ways to keep warm without turning up the thermostat
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This week, Small Footprints has asked us to turn the thermostat down for Change the World Wednesday.
Unfortunately this is something we can’t do.
Because we don’t have one!
The rooms and offices at Chez Green are kept warm by a woodburner and open fire which run seven radiators and the hot water tank.
We source local, seasoned wood from busy farmers who don’t have time to clear their land.
In exchange for putting in the time and effort we get free heating and they get their land safe from fallen trees – what’s not to love?!
It’s an interesting lifestyle choice living with a woodburner and open fire.
It’s almost like having another member of the family with their quirks, preferences and need for attention and care.
And our home is never particularly hot, but it’s ‘normal’ for us.
I can’t tell you the number of friends I have who insist of wearing t-shirts indoors during the winter.
I’m in their houses about an hour and I’ve had enough.
I feel lethargic, headachy and a bit ill if I’m honest.
In our house, yes you need to wear a jumper (or two of three) (and good friends understand this now!) but we’re healthier and I notice a difference in my alertness.
An open fire produces a different kind of heat to electric or gas.
And offers so much more comfort.
Often I’ll light the fire not because I’m cold but because I want the comfort of the flames, the relaxation of the crackling wood, to stare into nothingness and be transported.
There’s no sensation that the room is closing in on you, the you can’t breathe deeply or that stifling feeling I get with other forms of heating.
But it’s not all romantic flickering flames.
Sometimes I yearn to be able to flick a switch and have instant heat.
By this time of year I’m desperate for a spring clean but know it’s fruitless for a couple more months.
And if there isn’t a local farmer with a few fallen trees, then it can be a pretty bleak winter.
But there are simple ways to keep warm which don’t cost the earth:
You probably know about the huge amount of heat you lose from your head, but what about your feet? We make sure we wear socks and slippers in the house to keep cosy.
Wear a hat!
I have been known to wear my beanie indoors and in a few minutes I can’t wait to peel a layer off; it’s amazing the difference it can make to your core body temperature.
A few thin layers and warmer than one or two thick ones. And stick to natural, breathable fabrics too. I wear a long cotton vest, long sleeved cotton top and put a couple of thin cashmere jumpers over the top.
Hot water bottles
I’m sitting here right now with a hot water bottle on my lap. I’d rather have a cat but there you go; it’s a hot water bottle or sometimes the bunny that keep me warm!
Did you know that some foods warm from the inside out? Cinnamon on a bowl of porrage to start the day, ginger, garlic and turmeric in warming soups and stews and warm herbal teas like thyme and sage keep you totally warmed through.
Bear in mind cooking methods too; slow cooked food offers slow release warmth. Try it out for yourself; comparing a crockpot stew to a flash-in-the-pan stir fry!
We have blankets over the backs of chairs for people to help themselves to. What could be better after a long day than sitting infront of the fire, snuggled under a blanket sipping your favourite warm drink? Not a lot, I can tell you!
How do you keep warm without increasing your carbon footprint or increasing your utility bills?
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