We woke to a misty morning, something we are learning is very common for us here in what I affectionately call "the Shire." We live at the top of a hill, and if it is raining, or humid with a high dewpoint, we are often shrouded in fog. And while it is beautiful, and I fancy myself living in the middle of a Thomas Hardy novel as the mist envelops us, it is definitely the downside of hilltop living.
But these pretties don't mind it:
...and it makes for some extremely productive days at the office:
After all, it's quite something for this high mountain desert rat to adapt to this rainy climate so reminiscent of the settings I have loved so well in my beloved Victorian British novels. But when I consider that it is the steadfast yearning for such bucolic landscapes that has helped draw me here in the first place, I'm pretty sure I'm up to the challenge.
So, the winter has been extremely long and we teeter between What have we done? and Remember the dream!
The last thing I ever wanted to do was move in the winter, and that's exactly what we did.
I've never seen so much snow in my life as I have this past winter.
The view outside our kitchen one stormy day in January
Which I was expecting, by the way. I am aware that we moved to New Hampshire, after all. But, like anything, you can't really understand something until you've lived it. And it's not like I relocated from some one-season climate like Los Angeles where the only thing you have to worry about is earthquakes, firestorms, and drive-by shootings.
I'm from Utah. I know winter.
We were also completely inadaquately prepared for how much it would cost to heat our much-larger-than-what-we-used-to-have home with record-high propane.
The sticker shock has been what one might call severe. Especially for my energy-conscious husband who, like me, grew up during the Carter Era and its accompanying Energy Crisis. I mean, we don't use what we don't need, sometimes to the point of utter ridiculousness.
So, to keep our bill down, we keep our house at 66 degrees (much lower at night, of course.) We don't spend time in the basement because we don't want to heat it. Apparently this is logical, and we have learned that it is a common thing to do during the winter months in the Shire. You don't heat the rooms you don't use that much. You gather in the rooms that are warm, and you wear your long underwear and bundle up until you think you're going to roll away, and you pile on the blankets until every piece of your body gets warm except your nose.
The good news is that everything we need is upstairs. Like plumbing. And the microwave. The bad news is that the good TV is downstairs in the cold, frigid abyss.
Which begs the question, why did we move here again?
The main reason we bought this particular house was for its many windows with their incredible views.
The view outside our bedroom window
The view outside my office
A male cardinal on the feeder outside the living room window
And while the radiant heat that we get in the house on sunny days warms things right up--on cloudy days? Notsamuch.
So basically, I have been cold since we moved in on January 6.
Oh we have plans to rectify this situation come next winter, I assure you. In place of this "zen" propane-sucking direct vent fireplace in which flames come out of rocks (did you know that flames could come out of rocks?):
...we will have this Heat 'n Glow Northstar wood burning fireplace insert which burns clean. Burns efficient. In fact, it delivers over 50,000 BTUs of heat per hour for up to 10 hours with over 77.8% efficiency. Yep. Straight from the catalog itself.
Not only that, but it has an Optional Heat Zone climate control system [that] turns your fireplace into a flexible, energy-saving heat source by transferring excess heat from your fireplace to other areas of your home.
Which means we can heat our basement with it, too. This is good news because, as I mentioned, the good TV is down there.
Now, never you mind that in order to put this one in, we have to take everything existing out, which is obviously going to cost a pretty penny. And never you mind that the zen fireplace that looks like a picture of a fire rather than a real fire is relatively new, which is difficult for us because by replacing it, we feel like we're wasting resources.
But no matter, at this point comfort is key. Besides, with the current prices of propane, we'll be able to recoup our investment really soon. And we can trade in the picture frame with a fireplace in it for a rebate, and the fireplace people will give it a really good home to a much more modern family than we by reselling it.
So, in spite of the 10 inches of snow we got last Friday, and the vole infestation in the back yard we have not clue one as to how to solve, and the nights we are so homesick for all things familiar that we really do wonder what have we done?, I'd say we really are starting to warm up...