We are due for another batch of hot, dry weather after a brief reprieve of pleasant temperatures around here. It is hard to imagine but the cold weather will return and we are preparing for it now.

Our house is old. It was built when Lincoln was president and many of the windows are original, leaky and inefficient in spit of Bruce’s best efforts at sealing them. We are finally spending the money to replace them all but it looks like it’s going to be quite a job. None of the windows are standard sizes and most have to be custom ordered. Even then, all of the wood work needs to be pulled off, the leaks caulked and insulated, the new windows installed and then the wood work needs to be replaced. As the old woodwork surely has lead based paint that’s a good thing to do in any case. We are saving a good deal of cash by doing the work ourselves. Bruce had not installed a window in old construction before so the first couple of windows took some time but it should go faster now.

The new windows look terrific and I feel safer with a good means of egress upstairs. With wooden storms on the outside and the windows caulked shut on the inside, getting out in the event of a fire would have meant breaking through both windows. Now, we could just open a window and climb out. I have one of those emergency ladders upstairs. I must remember to remind the girls how to use them and redo the fire escape plan for them. As we age, I am also glad that Bruce will no longer need to spend hours up on a ladder putting up the storms each fall.

Heating our home takes a big chunk of our income each year. We are struggling with decision to replace our aging furnace with a more efficient mode. It will be expensive but the savings will pay off I think. We can heat with wood and have the means to do so but wood is just about as costly as gas around here.  We have a wood lot but cutting that much wood would be hard on Bruce and cut in on the time we spend growing food. I guess that’s why we have 3 large sons living close by.

This is a bit off the subject but I have been keeping track of how much paper wast I’ve saved by using cloth napkins and rags rather than paper towels and napkins. I used to buy at least one roll of towels and one package of napkins each week. At $1.79 for the towels and $.99 for the napkins ($2.78X52=$144.56), the savings is considerable. I toss the days used napkins in the load of laundry I do every day in any case so there is no added cost for that. I got most of the napkins from my mom and I made most of the rags from what I had around like old towels and such so this is pure savings. Now I want to calculate the savings from making 7 loaves of bread a week. That will take a bit more time but I am sure I must not spend more than a dollar for the ingredients and energy for the oven (does anybody know for sure?). As the bread we like is $3.99 a loaf, I am figuring a savings of nearly $1100.oo a year. Makes me feel a lot better about the time it takes.