How to Heat your Home for Free…..or Almost Free




By Luis

It’s springtime and that means many things to many people; spring cleaning, landscaping, gardening and picnics.  All of those things conjure up bright and happy images for a multitude of people.  Springtime, for me, however get me thinking about heating up my house.

fire

Wait, before you click away let me explain.  My household loves a roaring fireplace during the cold dreary winter months.  If you do too, then you know exactly how wonderful it is to hear the crackle of a wood fire while basking in its radiant warmth.  This kind of heating source always comes with a price, most notably the cost of the firewood.

Anyone that has purchased firewood as a cord, half-cord, quarter-cord or even a prepackaged bundle from your local hardware store can agree that firewood is expensive! A cord of firewood is defined as cut firewood stacked 4ft. tall, 4ft. deep, and 8ft long.  Depending on the type of wood, a cord of firewood can range anywhere from $300 to $700 dollars.  That’s exactly why springtime to me means FREE firewood.

 


This is the time of year that several people perform tree trimming.  Some people trim their own trees; others hire someone to do the trimming, either way most are faced with the trouble of getting rid of those trimmings.  This leads to a win-win situation.  Many people will post online ads on sites such as Craigslist or Freecycle for “free firewood”; the only catch is that you have to go pick it up and haul it away, it might seem like quite the effort, but the payoff is the huge savings for free heat in the cold months that lie ahead.

I recently responded to such an online ad and after meeting with the homeowners, I learned they had trimmed 6 oak trees on their property and happily encouraged me to “take all you want”.  I loaded all our family van could carry which ended up being just over half a cord of oak (the best) firewood. My family enjoyed the free warmth of many a fires this past winter, and because this past season was unusually warm, we still have quite the large stockpile to start off this upcoming winter season.

spring-haul

So if you are willing to answer these ads, put in some muscle and bring home free firewood, whether a trunk-load, or pickup truck-load at a time; you can start to amass your own source of free winter heat  without paying the high prices of ordering firewood from a vendor.

 

Puzzled?

 

puzzle

By Liz

Just like most people, I am a product of my environment, living in an ever changing, hustling and bustling busy world; so therefore, I always feel the need to be productive or to be doing something.

While “stop and smell the roses”, is a great concept on paper, who has time when there is so much to be done in a 24 hour period?

Like most, our Saturday’s are just as busy as the rest of our week.  Generally we reserve Saturday’s to “date day” unless we have looming projects at the house, that are an absolute must, usually  this means a project in the yard, garage or home improvement.

However, this particular Saturday just felt like a bust.  The weather was less than cooperative and it had been overcast, rainy and cold all day.  Obviously we were not going to be able to tackle any outdoor projects or attempt to clean the garage, which was long overdue for a cleaning.  We had just spent the previous day doing our weekly housecleaning, and we were all caught up on laundry, we had a fridge full of leftovers, so cooking wasn’t a necessity for the day.




My husband and I were perplexed on how to salvage the rest of our Saturday and due a lack of motivation on both of our parts on this dreary day, we railed off suggestions to each other; after many suggestions, we were not anywhere closer to a compromise. Finally, my hubby suggested that we tackle one of the jigsaw puzzles that was sitting, collecting dust in our closet.

At first I was indifferent about this suggestion, but when the love of my life said he would build a fire, turn on the stereo and open a bottle of my favorite wine in addition to setting up the card table in our living room, I had a change of heart.

I am generally not a fan of jigsaw puzzles, mostly because as I feel I suffer from ADHD, so I had approached this 500 piece puzzle, with some reserve, thinking that after about 10 minutes, I would have surely felt like I was crawling out of my skin in frustration, but I had agreed to give it a chance.

There we sat in the middle of our living room at our card table, with a warm, crackling fire, listening to some oldies on our vintage console stereo, sharing a bottle of wine and enjoying each other’s company, so you can imagine my surprise when I found myself looking at the time and noticed that we had been working on this puzzle together for over 2 hours and were only half way done.

fireplace

When we decided to stretch our legs and heat up something to eat, two of our adult kids, who were home for the afternoon, appeared from their rooms, surely they had found something to pass the time on this dreary day as well. They walked over to the card table and upon inspection, asked if they could work on some of the puzzle while we were in the kitchen heating up some dinner.  I have to tell you, it was a thrill to see a couple of young adults, not staring down at their phones or tethered to a video game console for a period of time, in fact, they had gotten into this puzzle, just as much as my husband and I did.  We let them have at it, and before you knew it, an hour more had passed.

My husband and I, re-entered the living room to check their progress on the puzzle and found they had gotten much more of it completed.  For the rest of the evening, the four of us would take turns at the card table, in tag team fashion, completing this puzzle.  At times, we would find ourselves singing along to whatever song was playing in the background, we would find ourselves laughing at something one of us had said, and each one of us, were completely content in this family, friendly moment, and there was not an electronic device or distraction in sight. We were close to finishing, so none of us wanted to turn in for the evening until we had finished this 500 piece challenge.




At last, we had finally finished the puzzle and he had high fived each other, proud of ourselves for accomplishing the challenge we had started.  In total, we had spent 5 hours doing this puzzle…. 5 hours.  I know what many of you are thinking: “Do you know what I could do with 5 hours?!” Believe me, I do know what can be done, productively for 5 hours, in fact, like most, we have a laundry list of things that we could have been doing, but it came to me as an epiphany and was glad that it happened, I finally got it, we had “stopped and smelt the roses”.