Baby, it’s cold…inside

There's a star in the woods on Christmas morn'...

There’s a star in the woods on Christmas morn’…

Never mind the outside temperature.

It brags 12 degrees (-11 C), shame on that thermometer at 4 p.m., Sunday afternoon.

It’s shivered below zero for nights.  Winter appears early in the north this year.

Barry just departed the house.  “Feels like a heat wave!” he announced (perhaps sarcastically) as he shut the door.


It’s so.  Darn.  Cold.

We keep feeding the hungry wood stove.  One log, two logs.  Three logs, four logs.  Aren’t you satisfied yet, you greedy creature?  Must you munch more and more and MORE?

Must we feed you every hour?  Hey, don’t you know it’s only December?

Baby, it’s cold Inside.

Baby, it's cold...inside...

Baby, it’s cold…inside…

Last night Barry’s band played their old rock ‘n roll and country blend over near Ontonagon, a couple of hours west.  I sat at home and–what did I do?–watched some romantic comedy on the Kindle Fire–and stoked the fire, hour after long hour, trying to keep the dang house warm.

At 4 a.m. I awoke and lay abed wondering where said bass player might be. The back-up furnace ignited.  Darn it, we  now burned precious propane. Should I sprint from beneath the cozy covers and stoke the fire?  Should I wait for the bass player to arrive home?

At that moment a gunshot-like sound ricocheted through the house.  What the heck…?  I bolted from bed.  Looked for said husband lying prone on the front porch covered with bass guitar.

No, he wasn’t home yet…

What the heck was that noise?

I opted to stoke the wood stove for the hundredth time.

Burrowed beneath the white quilt on the couch and breathed at 4 a.m. Thought about you, and you, and you.  (OK, I even checked the Kindle Fire, too.)

Sometimes, on these very cold nights, trees explode in the frigid temperatures.  They shoot like guns into the night air, blowing themselves asunder.

Right now, at a relatively warm 12 degrees, I wear a sweatshirt and lined moccasins and listen to the song “Baby, it’s cold Outside.”

Baby, it’s cold inside.

It’s just the way things are in the North Woods.

Are you cold?  How do you stay warm, wherever you are?

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in December 2013 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

80 Responses to Baby, it’s cold…inside

  1. Fountainpen says:

    I became afraid for you!!!!! Yes, I have heard trees explode
    like that….it is unnerving….
    Is husband arrive ???????

  2. Kathy – We use a wood burning stove during the day, and a back-up Trane furnace will come on in the night if we need it.

    You’re a better person than I am … I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed to feed more wood to the fire!

    • Kathy says:

      I didn’t want to get up, Laurie. I wouldn’t have, except I figured the unknown explosion was a “sign”. Who knows what it was? But we were toasty-warm by morning.

  3. Barbara Kass says:

    We are hoping to dodge the ice bullet here in Maryland, Kathy, and keep our electricity. I have a heat pump that mercifully blasts warm air throughout three levels of my townhouse, but if the electricity goes out, we are doomed. Our temperature will stay at about 30-35 degrees today and tomorrow, but I’ve been in the teen degrees here before. Bone chilling mind numbing makes-me-want-to-go-back-to-West-Texas cold . . .

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, I hope you stay warm. Glad to hear about your heat pump! Did you know my daughter lived in Maryland about five years ago when she worked in DC? I went out there to visit a couple of times.

      • Barbara Kass says:

        Kathy — I love living in Maryland and visit the museums down in DC whenever I can. My biggest fear is losing power when it is 30 degrees outside and we can’t drive anywhere. I am contemplating having a wood stove installed down in my basement. As long as I have a grill or Coleman stove outside, we can cook. It is staying warm inside that is my biggest problem.

        • Kathy says:

          I can see that would be a scary scenario, Barbara, especially if the power outage lasted a long time. I worry about that with my daughter in NYC, too. Perhaps a wood stove will be just the thing for you.

  4. So what was the explosion? I’m worried about you now. Stay warm, please.

    • Kathy says:

      We have no idea what the explosion was, Lisa. Maybe trees exploding in the extreme cold? That’s our best guess. Staying as warm as possible…

  5. Carol says:

    It seems our world is seeing more and extreme weather – extreme hot, extreme cold, extreme winds – have I told you I am not a fan of extremes?

    Sent from my iPad


  6. Bonnie says:

    Ok Kathy, it’s a lot colder where you are than here. I shivered just reading your words. Trees really do explode when they get so cold? Wow! Try and stay warm. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Barry SAID that trees explode when it’s cold. I don’t know for sure, Bonnie. We can’t figure out what would have caused the loud explosion in the middle of the night. The ice on the bay explodes when it’s forming, but this was closer.

  7. Yes it’s cold, thanks for asking.

    Glad that Barry made it home safely, I’ve read that you’ve gotten a lot of snow lately, maybe a tree shattered because of the combination of heavy snow and cold as quickly as it has arrived.

    • Kathy says:

      We’ve had a bit of snow–not a lot, but more than usual for December. Maybe six inches on the ground? Houghton and other places have a lot more.

  8. lisaspiral says:

    Cold it is. I don’t envy you the fire stoking. I’ve done that and it makes for a long night, especially when your bedwarmer is off galavanting! Wrap up under the covers and be cozy.

    • Kathy says:

      Lisa, I am happy that you remember and understand the gifts and challenges of fire stoking. Smiling about the bedwarmer off gallivanting. Didn’t get that at first!

  9. Elisa says:

    ewwww and I was talking to you about gardening…..
    it really DID get down to 12 and 15 and then hovered around 20 for a week or so and then stayed in the low 30s, this is why I was all so very excited to let you know about the gardening, the winter gardening book did not lie

    did said bass player explode into ashes upon seeing the gleam in your frozen little couch sleeping eyes? would be a darn shame to have to try and put the ashes back together after…

    • Kathy says:

      It’s OK, Elisa, you can talk about gardening any time. I like to remember spring! The bass player arrived safely home and was very surprised to see me up, that’s for sure.

  10. So glad you are toasty warm now! I remember those old days when we warmed the house with only a wood fireplace. Mother cooked on a wood stove. We did have two fireplaces so we were more fortunate than some. Daddy would keep it glowing and roaring during day light hours.
    I am so grateful. I have a gas pack…gas in winter and electricity in summer…almost the same temp all year round.
    Stay safe and warm…and Barry could just stay home and not out rambling in the streets!

    • Kathy says:

      Sounds like you have some wonderful memories of the wood fireplace, but that you’re happy with your steady year-round temperature, Linda. Oh, Barry doesn’t go out playing music too many nights, so I am always happy when he gets the opportunity. It’s just that they had to travel two hours to get there on Saturday night. This Saturday the band is playing in town for a Christmas party so he’ll be home sooner.

  11. Since you live in the big woods, I would assume that your wood has warmed you (or hubby) once or twice already before it ever gets to the stove. It warms you when you drag said wood out of the woods, when you cut it, stack it, then the next year when you move the stack to the woodshed which is close to the back door. Then, if it isn’t good, dry hardwood, it doesn’t really warm you all that much. I miss out on most of that (not much) but I do break up my share of kindling.

    • Kathy says:

      You are so right about that, Esther. The wood keeps us warm several times! We have some really nice dry hardwood right now, thank goodness. We actually mostly love to burn wood. It’s so much warmer than other kinds of heat, isn’t it?

  12. Pat says:

    I just put on another layer. 😀

    • Kathy says:

      Pat, I think we’re just spoiled. It’s usually so toasty here in the house that we’ve forgotten what it’s like when the temps drop down below zero and you have to keep feeding that hungry beast all the time. Layering is good!

  13. sybil says:

    My cousin out in Saskatchewan often reports temps of minus 25 C and that’s without the windchill. Around minus 40 Celsius and Fahrenheit are the same. Cold is freaking cold.

    Stay warm.

    • Kathy says:

      Sybil, -25C = -13 F. (I just checked.) We often used to have temps like that here in January and February. We’ve just gotten a little spoiled with all this global warming. Last winter it only hit that temperature once or twice.

  14. Susan D says:

    Brrrrr, Baby. Such adventures living in the woods. Goodness. I hope you will have a nice, cozy sleep tonight sans exploding trees or whatever it was …

    After I left your warm company yesterday, I spent quite a bit of time trekking back and forth to the dumpster in another one of my “purge the clutter” bouts. It is SO cold. I sit here now, wanting a shower but am too chicken to undress. Lol — It is so rarely cold in my little apartment. Brrrrr …

    Sweet sleep wishes …

    • Kathy says:

      Susan Dee, who knows what that explosion was. Very odd and a little nerve-wracking. My goodness, girlfriend, if you keep de-cluttering like this your house will be empty. LOL! I’ve been sitting around in a hooded sweatshirt lately. Know what you mean about the chicken scenario.

  15. Oh my Kathy, I wear woolies. Drink gallons of tea. Light candles, they make me feel warm. Wear hand-warmers and a hat indoors. Pull the shades down at night. Eat warm food often. Staying warm is my perogative. My woolies are on til spring! I send you so much love on this cold night. xoxoox S

    • Kathy says:

      Suzi, woolies are lovely. I just got some silk thermals this year–oh so heavenly. We usually don’t have to worry about hand-warmers and hats inside because the wood stove usually makes it toastier than other kinds of heat. Do love my tea! Thanks for the advice and stay warm yourself. I hear some ‘weather’ is headed your way…

  16. I never knew that trees explode! I love the photo on this blog. Just beautiful. Keep warm and thanks for teaching me something new!

    • Kathy says:

      Sherrie, the only times I’ve heard of trees exploding is at the beginning of the really cold weather. Maybe there’s still some sap left in the trunk and it expands…or contracts? It’s very rare, but does happen.

  17. Inese Poga Art Gallery says:

    It’s nice you have fire wood. I lived in Latvia in one place where was no water inside and I had to heat a wood stove and oven. Your house is probably bigger, I’d get this all hot in a couple of hours, however, water was frozen in the bucket by the morning when I had to get up at 6 am. That was terrible. Real fire is nice once you get the whole place somehow warmed up. I hope you will manage. Some wood doesn’t give much heat, as well.
    I am leasing this house because of the gallery. It’s an old house, it’s almost always cold here. I do understand how one feels freezing for 24 hours a day. I’m using heaters, they eat up quite a lot of power, but it’s at least tolerable.
    I’d be a bit afraid in deep woods in winter, maybe even in summer. I’m also wearing lots of real wool sweaters, like 3 one over another. Hard to move, I suppose you do dress as well in many layers. It must be worth it that you have chosen this place. Isn’t it? Probably all other seasons give you lots of fun. Stay as warm as possible!!!

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you for your wonderful comment! Our house is actually quite small so it’s not that hard to keep warm, except on really cold nights. And it does get warm & toasty when the temperatures are warmer outside. Smiling at your memories of frozen water. We had that happen in the first house we lived in here in the Upper Peninsula back in the late 1970’s.

      Those drafty bigger houses can be so hard to heat–they do eat away at the pocketbook. Layering is essential for survival, although mostly I do that when going outside. We’ve lived here so many years–almost 35–that we’re quite used to it. Haven’t had a cold early December like this in many years, though.

  18. I’ve made a nest for myself and Albert (cat) under a down comforter on the couch next to my electric radiator. It’s in the mid-20’s in CT and a snow storm is forecast for early tomorrow morning & throughout the morning commute. The air has an icy edge to it that it gets when snow is coming. 20 years ago I spent 2 winters on a mountain in Vermont and once heard a tree explode as you described. Living on the edge of a forest in a remote area was awesomely exciting and awesomely frightening and with all those trees, there was always a lot of different sounds.

    • Kathy says:

      Gretchen, I’m glad that you’ve heard this sound before. It happens so infrequently that you start to think that you’ve imagined it. I haven’t heard this happen too often over the years. You and Albert stay warm! I did hear about the icy weather coming your way…

  19. Brenda Hardie says:

    Kathy, I hope you and Barry are warm and cozy tonight–all wrapped up in snuggly blankets ♥ It’s 16 degrees here and still snowing…it’s been a snowy day all day today and looks really pretty outside. The house feels warmer now from putting plastic on all the windows. The house is very warm from the insulated walls (Habitat for Humanity House) but the windows are not really energy efficient and breathe air like crazy so each winter I cover them in plastic so the draft doesn’t come through. Last week when the temps dropped to near zero and the house began cracking and groaning from temperature adjustments so I know what the trees might sound like in your woods. I hope you and Barry will stay warm and cozy this winter and know your hearts are held in love and prayers ♥

    • Kathy says:

      Brenda, I didn’t know you had a Habitat for Humanity house. How very cool! Plastic is certainly a big help against the draft, isn’t it? And, yes, the house groaning and cracking can be very loud, too. Trying to stay warm and cozy, and hoping you are too.

  20. Lori D says:

    Oh boy, I’m not even going to touch this one, given where I live. Keep warm, my friend.

  21. Connie T says:

    It is 7 degrees outside right now. This morning it was -2. It is cold here too. I love my Kindle fire too. Isn’t it great to have.

  22. Heather says:

    Glad Barry eventually made it safely home. That’s late even by my night-owl standards. I think I’d have been up stoking the fire. In fact, I know I would have, having done it a few times in my wee lass days. Too bad you didn’t discover the source of the loud crack.
    Hope your wood stove is less hungry in the coming days, which I also hope are merry and bright. If I’m not able to warm up, I often resort to exercise. And ironically, if I’m not up to that, I take a nap. For some reason, my body reroutes my blood during a nap and it warms up all my extremities. So, yup, exercise or a nap – none of that middle ground that you can Carol were discussing so nicely 😉

    • Kathy says:

      When Barry stays up late playing music he doesn’t get home too early. And then it takes him a while to wind-down. It would have been interesting to discover about that loud crack, but alas, no. We’ve heard sounds like this before, but usually just at the beginning of the cold winter. Barry thinks that maybe there’s sap left in the trees? Who knows? Wood stove is still famished and keeps eating. Haven’t had a December this cold in years and years. In the “old days” this was a regular occurrence. Gosh, I sound like a senior citizen. 😉

  23. When you wrote in a reply to me a few days ago that the temp where you live it was 2 degrees, I thought, “Lord have mercy.” I am so thankful I live in a fairly mild climate. But the temp dropped to 19 or 21 degees or there about for a couple of days. Today it was downright warm at about 38-39 F. at its warmest. I keep warm with a Dearborn heater that sits on the fireplace hearth, I had the flue sp? sealed off 3 winters ago when wood was around 150-175 bucks a cord. I also realized that I could no longer keep up the work of a fireplace and constantly adding logs. We had a floor furnace that was here when my husband bought this house back in 1959. It played out late Januray of 2012 and it would have cost $3500 to replace. My bedroom has two heat lamps and for 3 days/nights it felt like the north pole. Slept with my head covered and a hot water bottle to my feet.

    I learned from this post that trees explode and I find that most interesting. The things that I learn from reading blogs.

    Stay warm Kathy. And safe. ~yvonne

    • Kathy says:

      I am smiling at your “Lord have mercy” thought. Ha ha! Well, we decided to live here all these years ago. Husband wanted to move to Alaska but I didn’t want to be that far from family so we compromised. $3500 sounds like a lot for a new furnace. I sometimes wonder how people in the south survive when it gets so cold. Sometimes our son is colder in San Diego without heat than we are with our wood stove in Michigan. Life is strange. You stay warm, too, Yvonne.

  24. dorannrule says:

    This post made me feel really cold Kathy and I was so worried about you with the exploding noise and husband late returning. Glad all was well finally. I am happy to be in a warmer clime here in Virginia but we do have serious cold snaps occasionally. We light the wood stove when the temp drops to below freezing to take some of the pressure of the elec. heat pump. It’s a big wood stove that heats the whole house so well I have to open windows. I didn’t want it when we built the house but husband insisted it was the most practical thing. So it now has a place of honor in the living room and has my grudging admiration.

    • Kathy says:

      Dor, we’ve had to open windows here sometimes too. Not when it’s this cold–but when it’s a heat wave of 40 degrees mid-winter. LOL. Your situation sounds ideal. It’s good to have a practical husband–and a wood stove. You stay warm, too! P.S. I am wondering if our sons might live close to one another. Wouldn’t that be a hoot? Did we talk about this connection before?

  25. me2013 says:

    Never again will I complain about the cold… not that I am making any promises.

  26. Okay, finally, I’m getting to this post. Saw it in my inbox last night.

    I had NO idea that trees could explode. Who knew?

    Fortunately, we aren’t cold here–though I kind of miss it at this time of year. We have no heat in our house. I’m wearing a UK sweatshirt and am sitting here in my bare feet.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    • Kathy says:

      Kathy, it’s really rare to hear trees explode. We’ve been here 35 years and have only heard it–maybe a handful of times. No heat in your house? Sounds like heaven. Bare feet? Ecstasy.

  27. bearyweather says:

    It is seriously cold here, too … 30’s below zero at night and we reached a high of 15 below on Saturday. The lake ice moans, the sap pockets in the trees pop (never hear an explosion, though), tree branches creek in the winds and the birds are very friendly as they are very hungry and cold.

    I heat with an electric storage system and a fireplace when I am in the mood … never regretted that choice … full-time wood is too much work. You get bragging rights for being a very hardy, winter survivor … 😉

    • Kathy says:

      You’ve got it colder than we do, bearyweather. I’ve heard trees pop, too, but never this loud. Kind of crazy. I thought maybe the roof was collapsing for a minute, but then it disappeared that quickly. Haven’t heard the lake ice moaning, but that usually happens at night, and I’m fast asleep. Yep, I get bragging rights. If that’s what we want to call it!

  28. lucindalines says:

    Now you have my curiosity aroused. What was the noise? Did Barry get home ok? I wish I had a wood burner to feed. We are trying to keep the propane bill down so it means freezing or paying higher electric bill because the side heater.

    • Kathy says:

      Lucinda, we really have no idea what the noise was. Probably a tree exploding, at least that’s what Barry thought. But how would you tell when surrounded by trees? He got home safely. We do like burning wood–most of the time. Maybe you should consider one?

      • lucindalines says:

        Around here it doubles your house insurance, so I would have to figure out the cost, and some places refuse to insure at all. Doesn’t seem quite fair, but we have some worried groups.

        • Kathy says:

          Doubles your house insurance? Oh no. We got insurance years and years ago and don’t want to switch companies now in case our insurance would go up. It doesn’t seem very fair.

  29. msmcword says:

    We got a dose of winter’s reality here in suburban Detroit. I am able to keep warm inside thanks to the heating system in my condo. But outside–yes, as the song says,”Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”


  30. debyemm says:

    I did not know that trees explode in the cold. The other night, I listened to that same song on the James Taylor “at Christmas” cd with Natalie Cole doing the contrasting vocals, while on my hike, the first hike after the big storm when it was so cold here in Missouri, and the nighttime temps dropped to 1 degree F, on that first night after. It is really HARD to hike through deep snow, until a track is broken into it; but then, I don’t have snowshoes. If this kind of storm becomes typical, that might be a good investment. We don’t have wood heat or propone but a recent analysis of our electric bill shows that we used 120 kw/hr in winter, compared to 45 kw/hr in summer, if I remember the value of kw/hr correctly but the numbers themselves showing the relative difference are correct. When it is really cold, the furnace is going and going, and one can still feel the cold pressing into the house, though those that know say that cold always draws heat – warm house drawn outdoors in winter, cool house drawing heat indoors in summer. Keep warm. We do our best to stay warm, as well – indoors or outdoors.

    • Kathy says:

      Deb, Barry has a theory that maybe a little bit of sap is left in the trees and causes this to happen. Have heard the trees “pop” over the years, but rarely heard this big of noise. Of course, it would be impossible to actually determine which tree it was. 1 F is really cold for Missouri, isn’t it? I didn’t think you usually got that cold. It IS hard to hike through deep snow. I have not taken out the snowshoes yet.

  31. Brrrr, that IS cold!! It’s been below freezing here for days now, which is a bit unusual for this part of Texas. This morning at about 7:45 when I took Sara to school, it was only 18 degrees!! Thankfully we’re finally above freezing again. Not much, but enough.

    • Kathy says:

      That is DARN cold for Texas, Michaela! Brrrr…. Let me go check the temp right now. It’s up to 13 degrees. Finally feel the house is staying a bit warmer.

  32. Stacy says:

    I love the snowy picture of your house, Kathy. Do you know my favorite Christmas song is “Snowfall”? Well, it is. I love the way the song sounds just like what I imagine snow would sound like if it ever fell on my Little House on the Bayou. ❤

    • Kathy says:

      Brrrrr hugs, Stacy! I love that you have a Little House on the Bayou. Did you know, my friend, that snow doesn’t always fall down? Sometimes it flies UP in the air, spiraling on wind currents! It’s always amazing when one watches snow flying up rather than down.

  33. Janet says:

    I can’t even imagine weather that cold. The coldest I’ve experienced is 16 degrees.

  34. Reggie says:

    I cannot imagine it being so cold that trees explode, Kathy – that sounds terrifying! And I cannot imagine living in a place so cold that I must keep feeding and stoking the fire, just to stay warm. I shall send you all some of our lovely summer warmth:

    In the breathless mid-summer air, cicadas come chirring past, flying erratically. Bees buzz around delicate purple lavender blossoms and linger on sweet-smelling white jasmine stars. Butterflies caress the hearts of brilliantly colourful Namaqualand daisies, which have opened their hearts wide to the sun. A lawnmower roars to life nextdoor, taming the fresh growth of grasses, and sending the seeds of weeds flying into a clear blue sky. A fine film of dust and pollen settles on hair and skin. Baking hot tarmac beneath your feet burns through the rubber soles of sandals, as you walk down to the shops, driven by the longing to feel the bubbles of a sweet fizzy lemonade sliding down your parched throat.

    Will you walk down to the shops with me now, Kathy? 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Reggie, it can be DARN cold in the north woods. I guess that’s part of its appeal…for some folks. Barry is gleefully anticipating his ice fishing. His friend is already gleefully snowmobiling. Me–I’ll take some of your summer warmth. (Luckily trees don’t explode too often. Very, very rarely, thank goodness.)

      LOVED you writing–wow! I was actually in South Africa for a few moments and am now walking toward the shops with you…. Can we stop and have tea down there, pretty please?

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