Chilly-weather musings

We’ve had a few nights of what in Florida passes as chilly weather. Last night it dropped from 73 to 48!

A lot of the houses in my historic seaside neighborhood actually have fireplaces. Some of the fireplaces are still usable, while others have been converted to strictly decorative. Or in my case, removed by previous owners in order to create a bedroom closet. Boo, hiss!!!

I wish the prior owners of my house had left the fireplace intact, instead of turning it into a closet. I would love to have a compact, high-efficiency woodstove attached to that chimney. Right now, the house just has a chimney with no fireplace or way to rig up a woodstove.

In my experience, closets in Florida are just mold-boxes, and here in the semitropics I much prefer a wicker armoire to a closet. Of course the real-estate industry or some other well-heeled industry has made sure that we can’t legally call any room a “bedroom” unless it has a closet, which is just plain silly because obviously people got along for many years living in bedrooms that had no closets.

Interested in high-efficiency heating with deadwood twigs? Visit the forums at and look for Rocket Mass Heater (RMH), Rocket Stove, Russian Stove. There are also abundant videos on YouTube from many sources, and writings in many places online. (I’m not being coy here; there are just literally more than I can keep track of!)

Also check out at Aprovecho Research Center’s booklet/series Capturing Heat, which I think is available as PDF even if it’s out of print.

And be sure to Google or other type of search for “passive solar.” Simple, low-tech ways to stay warm just by using the heat of the sun plus glass windows, dark-painted surfaces, rocks, discarded concrete chunks, and other elements widely available for cheap or free. No photons were murdered in the making of my warm kettle of water in the solar oven this afternoon!

Regarding heat tolerance: The human body seems to have a certain temperature envelope. Interestingly though, a lot of people here in Florida are very heat-intolerant as well as being cold-intolerant. But that heat-intolerance is probably mostly an artifact of the modern age of ubiquitous central AC.

There are ways to acclimate to the heat though, probably a lot more easily than acclimating to the cold! Fortunately the human body is more heat-tolerant than cold-tolerant overall.

That said, I accidentally found one of the best ways of becoming cold-tolerant. I gained a bunch of weight LOL. I’m still a fairly average-size person, which just means I was extremely stringbean-skinny before. I will say, if you are a fellow stringbean who plans to pursue the weight-gain plan for surviving the zombie apocalypse, try to gain your weight a little earlier in life than I did. If you gain a bunch of weight in your 50s, it’s super heavy to carry around ha ha.

So how about you guys, has it gotten chilly where you are? And have you turned on the heat yet this season?

Do you have central heating, or do you use radiant heaters etc.?

This house came with central heating and AC, but since we have different temperature tolerances, each housemate uses their own little heater to control their room temperature. I am in my I believe 14th winter with no heat other than passive solar. It’s going great, and if anything I have trouble when I spend a long time in buildings with forced-air heating; I end up with dry skin and dry nose/throat etc. And I really love cold temperatures for sleeping.

When I was a kid, I was amazed to find out that my grandparents in Massachusetts would sleep with their bedroom window open even in January. Now I totally get it!

PS. I almost forgot to mention! For more tips on thriving in chilly weather, you can also use the search feature of this blog, as I have often posted about the topic. Look for terms such as “doing without heat” and “winter.”