Tuesday, February 14, 2012

sleep comforter

When it is fifteen degrees outside, most folks draw their pathetic cotton hoody tighter around their torso and run to the nearest petroleum heater, be it a running vehicle or a central heated dwelling.  I love these conveniences myself but I like the idea of staying alive in case one isn’t nearby, so I dress with the assumption I won’t get to one very soon.  Wool sweaters work wonders, especially if you wear them in layers.  And as much as I’d love to have a heater at night keeping my dwelling toasty warm, I know that this modern luxury shall too soon come to pass.  Even totally discounting Peak Oil, you still have to admit that oil is becoming harder to find and more expensive to extract.  Even if we have another hundred years of the stuff ( I most assuredly do not, but I’m trying to talk sense to the Frac Forever crowd and get them to see reason ), it is taking much more of our income to procure the energy we are used to needing.  It is in everyone’s interest in having the means to reduce the amount of energy you are forced to purchase.  No one would think it strange to add extra insulation to save 10% on your heating bill.  So why not do something as simple as reducing the heat you need all night long?  I don’t use heat at night in my trailer.  And it gets cold in there.  When it got to 20 below, it was eight degrees inside.  THAT was friggin cold.  But I didn’t get cold until I got out of bed.  We sleep with five wool blankets and five quilts, and it has yet to get cold enough that we are cold while under the covers.  I swear by wool sweaters and I swear by wool blankets.

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The problem with wearing wool is that some folks think it is scratchy.  When I was a kid, I did too.  But now as an adult I have no issue with that.  I don’t know why the difference.  It could be psychological.  As a kid, you are never as cold as your parents think, and you never want to look stupid.  Perhaps I just thought my sweater itched because I thought it looked dorky.  Regardless, just wear something under the wool if you think it scratches.  The problem with wool blankets is that some people can’t sleep with all that weight over them.  I have no problem but the scrawny wife can’t stand it.  I guess if I weighed a hundred pounds I wouldn’t like twenty pounds of blankets on me, either.  So, the wife has been after me for some time about the blankets ( as a side note, whatever you use, just placing a squishy foam pad on top of the mattress and under the sheet will really help reflecting back your body heat ).  I finally got around to buying a feather comforter ( think of a very puffy sleeping bag laid flat ).  Now, I bought the cheapest I could find.  Some things are best not bought online, but there are no local stores selling comforters.  I bought the cheapest in case it didn’t work so well.  I got one on Amazon for $55 after shipping for the queen size and it seems to be working okay.  Now, it isn’t as effective as the wool.  The weather has warmed a bit so it is hard to tell, but I think it is slightly less warm.  But it did replace the five wool blankets, and the weight is down about 80%.  If I had bought a better, thicker item, one with more down than feathers, I think I could have replaced some of the quilts also, and been warmer even then.  But since we are moving to the pit before next winter, I don’t see the need just yet to upgrade.  My point is, comforters might be just what the wife will agree to ( I doubt she wants a ton of wool on her ).
And if the wife agrees, you can turn the heat down at night.  And even if it doesn’t save much, at least your heating bill won’t go up as much as everyone else’s.  And, when the power is out, you don’t freeze to death at night.  And think about post-apocalypse ( I know, how silly of me, the frac oil will last forever and there will be no collapse ).  You will use, whatever, 10% less wood.  If everyone also has sweaters and caps, perhaps you use 50% less wood.  That is a much better strategy than buying three expensive chainsaws, an underground gasoline storage tank and an extra five thousand rounds of ammunition to fight off the folks that heard your chainsaw. 
I love our towns book store.  They have a very good used book selection.  And most of the hardbacks are priced at $4 ( which is the cost of shipping a used book through Amazon, so you can’t go wrong buying retail ).  I stumbled on the book “Full Faith And Credit” by James R Cook there.  If you are an economics geek, you will love this book.  It was printed in 1999 and it is simply amazing to me how well the storyline follows today’s headlines.  He talks about jingle mail, immigrants moving back to their countries for work, derivative counterparties unable to pay, government bailouts and a whole lot more.  And, for you “
American Way
Of Life Forever” folks, he never once mentioned oil shortages.  It was simply an economic collapse.  So you can relax on that score.  But really, it was amazing how close he got.  If you like economics, you will enjoy this novel ( not the best prose, and the ending was way too optimistic, but still a bang up job ).
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  1. Solar toilet
    -place plywood on ground
    -stack two tires on plywood
    -set toilet pot inside
    -place sheet of glass on top
    Sun quickly dries contents.

    Solar toilet and solar oven are identical
    in construction and function.
    I will make one each.

  2. You're learning that buying online is generally more expensive. I assume it's *always* more expensive. I learned this years ago when I was an Ebay seller, without any definite plan about it I stopped buying stuff online because if I kept my eyes open, I'd *always* find the same thing in real life, much cheaper.

    So you're buying your books at a certain store for $4 each, all fine and dandy, it matches what you think is a good price online. But, if you weren't devoting every waking hour to your Iron Triangle of Work, House, Vehicle, you'd have time to go to garage sales and get your books for 25c. And a hell of a lot of other things too.

    If I were you, I'd get that land paid off and prepare for this magical job you have to go away *tomorrow*. Because it may. Get all the loose ends like remaining debt on the land taken care of. The way people are fired/laid off these days is with no warning. And it's not dependent on the food bank falling on harder times, it could fall on *better* times, move into a new location or get bought by a new, more wealthy, set of poverty-pimps, and Oops, we don't need this James Dakin guy.

    So make use of the slaving for the big money you're making now. Make it amount to something. Get your land paid off, get supplies in, get ready to live on 5% of what you used to make. You'll thank me.

  3. Alex-believe me, I'm thinking about paying off the land. Even before I build the pit cabin. Can't say more or I'll ruin my chance of blathering on about it in an article.

  4. Down comforters are wonderful. We usually don't heat the back addition so our bedroom is normally 40 degrees or so.

    The down comforter is MORE than warm enough.

    You can get a good quality one from Costco or Costco Online if you have a membership.

    Idaho Homesteader

  5. Down comforter good, feather-bed = Better.
    My fella is a reasonable man...except when it comes to blankets/quilts on the bed. He HATES getting cold while sleeping, so he swathes himself like a mummy in every blanket he can find. I am okay sleeping in a cooler room, but still, ending up with no frickin' covers at all got annoying!
    Solution...the fella had to clean out some barracks room on base that some guys in his unit had been in before deployment. Of course, THEY were supposed to get EVERYTHING out and clean their barracks room...but many didn't. My guy is high enough on the military food chain that he could have ordered a few guys to go do the task...but he decided to do it himself to get away from the office for awhile AND because he knew from experience, there would be some some good stuff left behind (along with the garbage).
    He brought home (along with other good stuff) a feather-bed. He thought it was a comforter...but no, it is a feather-bed. I put it under the bottom sheet and now the bed is luxuriously warm.
    We used these all the times when we lived in Europe when I was a kid...and if you get a chance to get one, grab it up quick!