Jenny: Cottage Saturday: Heat

Crap, it’s cold.

Of course, it was much worse before this:


For most of January, I was trapped in the guest bedroom–the back bedroom is unlivable under twenty degrees–under flannel sheets topped with an electric blanket topped with a fuzzy blanket topped with an electric throw topped with four dogs. We were not amused. The cold made my computer icy to hold and my fingers stiff, and most of everything I wanted to do was on the other side of the bedroom door, where the house was not-freezing, a step up from where it was before but still a long way away from cosy. (The fireplace surround should help a lot when it goes in.) But now it’s up to the thirties in the daytime, and the fireplace really is cheery, not to mention a huge relief because it’s not reliant on electricity in any way, so if the power goes out, I can sit in front of the flames and not die. This is big.

Still it means that I didn’t get a damn thing done on the house in January which explains the dearth of Cottage Saturday posts. I’m thinking now that warmer weather–still cold but not oh-my-god cold–is here, I can get a lot more done.

In the meantime, I’m staying by the fire.

27 thoughts on “Jenny: Cottage Saturday: Heat

  1. Rouan says:

    It looks so inviting and comforting. I envy you a bit; I don’t have a fireplace in my current home, much as I love it. 🙂

  2. nightsmusic says:

    It looks wonderful! And how much of the house does it heat? I imagine still not your bedroom, but how nice to have a warm spot to curl up in front of. I don’t think I would ever want to be without a fireplace again. I’m so spoiled.

    Is it gas? I thought I remembered you saying that.

    I’m sitting here watching the snow fall yet again. Three to six inches today. Wet and heavy because we’re actually having a heat wave of 32 degrees instead of the negative numbers we’ve been having. And I’m getting ready to light my fireplace and just sit in front of it all day. I think you should too.

  3. I have a pellet stove (in addition to the oil furnace). It is lovely to watch the flames, and I have spent much of the last month huddled up close to it. The rest of the house wasn’t as cold as yours, thank the gods, but not warm, either. Unfortunately, it is powered by electricity too (the pellet feed and the fan, anyway), so if the power goes out, I am crap outa luck.

    Glad things are looking up!

  4. Jenny,
    We put in gas logs a few months ago, and OMG, the heat is glorious! It’s gotten down to 7 degrees here this winter, horrendous cold for South Carolina, and we can easily heat the whole house with the gas logs. Granted, small house, but still… We could have been too warm if we wanted to. I can’t believe I waited until I was 50 years old to have this great heat.

  5. Nothing quite like a fireplace and a good book. Unfortunately, we’re in a drought in Sth Cal and haven’t experienced winter yet. I think I turned on my fireplace one evening in December. I’m afraid, very afraid, of what the summer of 2014 might be, and am saving pennies to escape to Australia’s wintertime.

  6. Pretty, but wowza! You get big old Arctic points for bearing up with no central heat, Jenny. You’re tougher than I am. We haven’t even been up to the lake since we closed the cottage in November…snow up there has been bodacious and we’d never get in the drive. So, we have wait a little longer to go up and check on things. Hopefully, everything has stayed in one piece and the antifreeze in the pipes and the heat tape around them has kept them from breaking.

  7. We have two working fireplaces in our new home. We call it Grunge Villa because it is in such bad condition, and we are having to wait on planning permission to get new roof, new windows, new drains, plumb in a new bathroom and renovate family bathroom. Our predecessors had appalling decorative sense, but we have two working fireplaces. So Fridays and Saturdays, we set the fire going and snuggle up with boys to watch movies and drink hot chocolate. Yay!!!

  8. It’s wood burning, and it supposed to heat the whole house, but the surround isn’t in yet, so a lot of the heat is going up the chimney. The surround will radiate more heat,too.

  9. Squalor on the River had a gas fireplace and I loved it. It just wasn’t possible here, and really, the wood burning is better for where I am. But yes, fireplaces are an amazing comfort.

  10. My apartment where I lived before I came here had a fireplace in the living room. Since it filled the house with soot (I discovered upon shampooing the carpets), I used it sparingly, but I really enjoyed it. And it was a godsend a few times when all power was lost for a couple of days during severe winters.

    This house clearly -used- to have at least one fireplace (which makes sense, since it’s a 19c dwelling), but it was covered up by drywall at some point (perhaps when it was renovated just prior to my purchase 16 months ago). And there’s really no place here to put even a portable/electric fake fireplace installation thingie. Most of the time, I don’t care. But when it’s as bitterly cold and snowy as it was this January, a crackling fire (or even a pretend semblance of one) would be just the thing!

    So enjoy your fireplace, Jenny!

  11. It seems sometimes council planners would rather see a place fall down than approve plans and get renovations rolling. I applaud anyone who resurrects an old house, bring it back to life and turn it in to a home. 🙂

  12. I had a wood-burning fireplace in my first home, which was a godsend the first November when my furnace compressor cracked and it had snowed and it took a week for the furnace folks to have time to replace my furnace. I slept on the futon couch-bed in front of that fireplace every night.

    In my second house, I installed a furnace-rated gas fireplace that heated nearly all of the house. There was no room for the ducting for a forced-air heating system and no way was I installing baseboard heat, so the fireplace plus a couple of small, in-wall Cadet heaters for really cold days made it work. The fireplace worked even when I lost electric power (which happened for over a week twice when we had horrific late-autumn storms that took out major powerlines and stations). I loved that fireplace. So did my cat.

    Didn’t need a fireplace in Houston. My housemates here have two wonderful gas fireplaces, one of which makes the living room with the cathedral ceiling actually inhabitable (and our favorite room) during the winter. When I get my own place again, I will be looking for a place with a fireplace of some sort. Preferably something that will still work in case of power outage (which some areas around here suffer quite often).

    So glad you have a lot more warmth now!

  13. That is way too cold and miserable. The fire looks so inviting. A good book. A cup of hot chocolate . . . . We have had a fireplace insert in our fireplace ever since we moved in to this house over twenty years ago. It doesn’t really work and right now it just props up the TV. But, yeah, the weather outside is (still) frightful and a warm fire would be so very nice. Perhaps some year we’ll get it going — though honestly, it is so far down the list of priorities I suspect it will be on our kids’ list for what to do after hubby and I are gone permanently AWOL. Not that I’m morbid or anything.

    Meanwhile, wishing everyone lots of warm and cozy!

  14. Maine Betty says:

    You probably do this, but if you put large stones on top of the stove, which it looks like you can do, then they keep heat, and also, you can put them in your bed, or wrapped up and at your feet at the desk.

  15. jinx says:

    I know, heat…. it’s nice, but is this the same fireplace that you spraypainted gold until it was a Thing of Beauty?

  16. I know it sounds ridiculous to wish I had a fireplace in Florida, but I love the comfort of them. I keep meaning to seek out an outdoor propane fire pit so I could put it on the porch for cooler evenings but other things have taken my budget first. That looks wonderful, Jenny. Enjoy!

  17. I’m in the middle of freaking nowhere. It’s a miracle I don’t have well water. We don’t have sidewalks, probably because the road I live on is one lane (so much fun for delivery trucks). Wood fits right in.

  18. Micki says:

    Oh, my, the living conditions sound almost Gothic . . . thank goodness for electric blankets. The fireplace is lovely, and I am very happy to hear it works, as well.

    I had two days of communication tests in a little room off the entryway of the school. Brrrrr. It was fine in the morning, but apparently they turn off the boiler at 11, and things quickly got chilly. Day two, they brought me an electric heater which helped a lot. But, I think I have renewed my appreciation for the heating in our house. (Day one, they brought me an electric heater, they plugged it in, and flames came out of the outlet. So, I said, “eep. No, I’ll be fine, I’ll be fine, really!”)

    C’mon, spring! We had a sunny morning, but it’s an absolutely foul sort of snow right now, so I don’t know what a Hokkaido groundhog would predict . . . . Probably May 10th. We never seem to get real spring until May 10th.

  19. Hey, I grew up drinking well water. It was great. Loved the taste.

    It’s just odd for me to think of New Jersey as rural. I picture all of it as wall-to-wall cities.

  20. Jill says:

    Several years ago we had an ice storm, everyone was without power for 1-2 weeks. When we had the family room addition put on in 1985 we put a fireplace insert that was ducted throughout the house. Never used it. For one thing the blower needed electricity. Just before the storm hit we got a rick of wood to add to the partial rick we had. We lived the next 8 days in front of the fireplace. Joe kept the fire going. The last 2 days I went to the motel. Day 9 Joe bought a gas fireplace. No more fire feeding for him. We still do not use it. 🙁

  21. Leigh says:

    I thought of you often. I don’t know how you worked through it. You’re kind of like Little House on the Prairie, except you’re not a kid, and you’re not on the prairie, and you’ve got electric blankets, and you’re a writer…

    Okay, you’re nothing like Little House on the Prairie.

    Ripley, maybe. With daschaunds.

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