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It feels like we skipped summer and went straight on into fall — except for all the lovely green buds and bright tulips, of course!

This week we’ve gone down to temperatures of around 5 degrees, and it has been wet! Flooding isn’t a concern in our area, but Cat Creek is definitely high and running fast. Last night, as the temperature hovered near zero, I gave in and started up the wood stove. All those windows that were open? Not so much anymore, but I’ve kept the propane heat off.

Our heating system is propane-fuelled hot water. In our province, electricity is insanely expensive, and our house is quite large and leaky, so when we were deciding on a heating system, after evaluating all kinds of options, we finally settled for propane. It’s not cheap, either, but we felt it offered more advantages, a nicer heat, and believe it to be less expensive than electric heat would be. We plan to hook our BBQ up to it when we eventually upgrade, and Rupert can have a line run into the garage for a little spot heater or propane stove. Versatile!

However, to keep our heating costs down, we have two work-horse Regency wood stoves. We have one in the basement and one on the main floor, and we use them to get the room temperature up from 17 degrees (maintained by the hot water system) to comfortable. Wood heat is lovely, it does not rely on electricity to work so it can be a life saver during power outages. It offers a surface for boiling water or warming soup, if necessary, and is a renewable, sustainable, local resource. Stacking wood is a great way to get a little bit of exercise every couple of days; I reduce my dryer use by hanging clothes to dry on a rack near the basement stove; and a pot of water on top of the stove helps to keep the air at a comfortable humidity.

During the fall and winter the wood stove is our main gathering place, and as the ground floor is open concept, it gives a lovely glow to the whole room that we can see from wherever we’re sitting. The wood fire warms our hands and toes, but also our souls, and lends itself nicely to long chats or staring into the flames and daydreaming.

So today, on this grey cold spring day, I’ve got a couple of logs burning in the stove, and feeling a little less dreary because of it. Those tulips poking up help, too. 😛

How do you warm your house? How do you warm your soul? What choices have you made to reduce your heating costs or to make more environmentally-conscious choices?


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