... a spice rack full of flavor;
... hand-tools for the kitchen;
... Forager's cooking kit;
... a Diva for the ladies;
...canning jars with rings;
... a cast iron skillet;
... a French coffee press;
... black turtle beans;
... and a sapling apple tree.
It's been a really warm winter here in Maine. Like today. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and it's warm enough that a little while ago, I stepped outside my door in bare feet and a short-sleeved tee-shirt to grab an armload of wood for the fire ... which I could probably allow to go out without any suffering on our part. According to weather reports - it's in the 50s today ... which is a typical late spring or early fall day time temperature.
On days like this, we don't need heat ... not really. This year it was such a warm fall, we didn't even fire up the woodstove until late October - almost Halloween.
Fact is, I think the average person could handle a lot less heat than we typically think we can. In the early fall, my family and I visited the Damariscotta River Association for a class on the way people lived in this area before the Europeans began settling here.
It was a fascinating talk, to say the least, but my favorite point was when we were talking about their housing, in particular during the winter, and one of the kids asked David, our guide, about staying warm. David talked about a couple of their techniques, but then, stated, simply, "They got used to it."
The fact is that they were a little chilly, but they stayed warm by acclimating themselves to the changing temperatures, by keeping moving when they were doing outside tasks, by doing sedentary tasks near the fire, and by dressing appropriately ... in layers.
It's taken me a lot of years of living up here where it's (supposed to be) colder to finally get that. It's never quite as cold as we think it is, if we're dressed appropriately, and I've spent many days outside for many hours in the snow and cold (for our nature classes and when skiing), but I never felt cold, because I'd be wearing layers of clothes, starting with the first layer ... underwear.
When it comes to undergarments, I'm defintely a Victoria's Secret gal. I like the fit, but I also like the quality. Three years ago I bought what one of my instructors in the military called a "foundation garment", and I'm still wearing it, and it's still in good shape after all of this time. I spent a lot of money on my initial purchase, but it's lasted a long time, too. Unfortunately, while it holds everything nice and snug, it does little to keep the rest of my core warm, and so I need a bit of extra clothing.
As such, I was very excited to learn that Victoria has discovered the secret of staying warm and has developed just the thing we need. She calls them Long Janes and hides them under the title of "pajamas", but we all know what they're for ... and they're cute, too.
For the prepper, long underwear is an investment in personal comfort for when whole house heating might not be an option or for those times when it doesn't make sense to turn on the heat, but it's cold enough to feel the chill without an extra layer or two.
For the non-prepper, Victoria's Long Janes are a beautiful gift (if anyone is still looking for something for me, I like the ones with stars :), and for the guys, L.L. Bean has some great choices.
We don't have to sacrifice comfort in a lower energy world, but we might have to change our ideas about what "comfort" means ... and it might mean adding an extra layer, or two, when the temperatures drop.
**Per an anonymous reader's request, I have contacted Victoria's Secret to inquire as to whether or not their Long Janes are treated with flame retardants (in the way that children's pajamas often are). The company rep's response is below. Please feel free to contact Victoria's Secret if you have any other questions regarding their product(s).
Thank you for taking the time to contact us. I am happy to assist you.
I checked the product information, and found no indication that our thermal long jane pajamas are treated with flame retardants. I hope this information is helpful.
VictoriasSecret.com Customer Service
Phone 1.800.475.1935 or (outside the U.S. and Canada) 1.937.438.4197