One of the most important aspects of country living - right up there with food, shelter and clothing - is having reliable homestead heat sources. And like everything else in the self-reliance credo, you need to have more than one option. The old adage is: three is two, two is one, and one is none. This means that you should never depend on a single option for anything, because if that single option fails and you have no other, you are up the excrement river without a oar.
For example: with wood cutting I have an electric chainsaw, two gas saws and a buck saw. For firewood splitting I've got a gas-powered 25-ton hydraulic splitter, numerous mauls and a sledge and wedges. And in addition to our wood cook stove (our primary home heater) I've also got a ventless propane wall heater and a few electric wall heaters.
But what do I use to stay warm on frosty nights?
Sure I have numerous heavy blankets. I've also got an electric blanket for those truly cold evenings. But first and foremost I've got this:
Patrice has a condition common to most women of a certain age called menopause. She's been in menopause for about 200 years (Ask her. She'll tell you it feels that way anyhow.). Without getting into all the yucky details, one of the symptoms is a condition where some menopausians randomly reach temperatures high enough to melt aluminum. This is called a hot flash. Something like 50% of women never experience hot flashes as a symptom, but I think Patrice got all of theirs.
Patrice usually goes to bed before I do, so I never know which fire condition is currently occurring in our bedroom. (Safety tip: If your wife is prone to hot flashes and the bedroom door is closed, it's a wise idea to touch the door with the back of your hand before entering.).
Usually, there's no problem and I can get safely into bed. But at least three or four times a night, I wake up with every stitch of blanket piled on top of me. That's good news though, because it means that I won't freeze from the layer of snow that blew in through the open window that a naked Patrice is now standing in front of (I can't imagine what the neighbors think of the view, but at least we live far enough way that they'd have to use binoculars. ).
You may think I'm exaggerating. But I can't tell you the number of times I've come in from the shop on a snowy night to find the wood stove blazing and every window in the house open. Fortunately, the flashes only happen once in a while and never for very long. In one way that's a pity though. As a part of the rule of three I've got a snow plow on my tractor. I've got any number of snow shovels. But I'm missing that third element because Patrice is only capable of melting a relatively small circle in the snow before her reactor shuts down.