Living, Learning & Loving La Vida Nueva

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

It's Beginning To Feel A Lot Like Christmas.....

..... Except it's the beginning of May!  Winter is moving into Mokhotlong and I feel something like a bear preparing for hibernation.  It is funny how quickly one can forget how cold cold feels.  Sometimes it feels cold in my bones.  And we are only just beginning.  I’ve brought out my scarves, puffy vests and long socks.  My trusty sheep skin slippers are my long lost best friends.  We’re getting reacquainted.  The warm drink stash is dwindling and we need to restock.  I’ve baked lots of goodies full of ginger and cinnamon in the past few weeks.  A pot of apple butter simmered on my stove for hours and I discovered apple butter pancakes this weekend.  I’m never looking back!  Chili was on the menu for supper last night.  And a running headband/ear cover is on my buy-when-down list because…. brrrrr.


It’s been cool at night for the past month or more.  We began layering up the baby in early April.  The evolution of heat sources here is comical to me.  Typically when it starts cooling off back home, we just bump the thermostat up a bit and continue with life.  When it starts feeling cold during the day, we switch out our closets to winter clothes and continue on with life.  But here, without central heat, it is a much more detailed process which, after a few years of practice, we have down to a science.  

We first begin by warming rice socks.  Our bedroom is the coldest room in the house, so for weeks I’ve been bringing hot rice socks to bed at night to help warm up the sheets.  The kids rooms are notably warmer, so they just bundle up and snuggle in no problem.  The baby doesn’t stay under covers very well, so we dress her up like the Michelin man before bed.  She is currently wearing either one heavy sleeper and a sweatshirt or a lightweight sleeper under a heavy sleeper at night.  Then we slip her into a sleep sack before bed.  We did mittens for a cold, wet week.  For right now, she’s been sleeping mitten-free, which is obviously her preference.  

A couple weeks ago, when it started getting below freezing nearly every night, we broke out the hot water bottles.  These things rock!  We own three but need more.  For right now, the kids get them for sleeping.  I boil water in the electric kettle and then pour it into the hot water bottles, leaving space to press air out before screwing on the lid.  Then we tuck the bottles into their cute little covers and stick them into the kids’ beds before bedtime.  They retain heat so well, the bottles are still warm in the morning.

This weekend, I brought out the electric bed heaters which go beneath our sheets.  They aren’t expensive to run, really, but electricity isn’t cheap so we try to hold off on using them as long as we can.  But enough is enough.  I have one on Kyle’s bed and one on our bed.  I’m too nervous to have one on the girls’ beds because I don’t really love the idea of electricity running under their sheets.  So the girlies can have the extra water bottle and rice socks now that the big people are finished with them.  

When we return after our trip this week, we’ll start running the wall heaters, which really help to heat Kyle’s and Ellee’s rooms, and the anthracite stove.  We need to get some more coal and fix our chimney before we can start the stove.  Those things are on our short-term to-do list.  Jonathan and our neighbor guys are burying the new pipes to the tank in our yard as I write.  We also have to reinsulate some other pipes which needed replacing.  I think you could call this “winterizing” the house.

I have winter goals of working on my hand embroidery and reading good read-aloud books to the kids.  We are looking forward to a school break after a fun first year for Kyle!  And we are expecting a brutally cold, possibly snowy winter.  There was heavy snow last year while we were in America.  Although I would love to see some good snow, I’m hoping this year it doesn’t knock the electricity out for a month!  Nevertheless, we’re armed and ready with candles and lamps, our coal stove and gas oven so we should be able to manage with or without electricity if necessary.