How to Keep Your Pets Safe During Cold Weather
Are the cold temperatures starting to make you cringe when you go outside? Your pets are likely cringing too. Winter is a time to give your animal friends some extra care and attention to keep the cold at bay. The following tips can help everyone stay safe and warm during the cold season.
DRESS THEM UP
This is vital if your pet has particularly short hair. Many breeds and species of pets are from warmer parts of the globe, and they’re simply not equipped to handle the cold. Freezing temperatures can be fatal. Consider pet sweaters, jackets or booties to keep your loved one warm during trips outside.
However, if your pet has long fur or is clearly tolerant of cold temperatures, such as huskies, it may be fine to leave them undressed. Watch them closely for any signs of being too cold, such as reddened skin, shivering or cracked paws. If you see any of these, cover them up next time they go out.
KEEP YOUR PET DRY
Bring a towel with you on walks to periodically dry your pet’s feet, legs and tummy as you go. Also make sure to give them a good rub-down to dry them off when you’re back home. This serves a few purposes. Being wet will physically rob heat from your pet. In addition, their fur can pick up road salt and de-icing chemicals that need to be removed before they lick them off.
LIGHTEN UP ON THE CLIPPERS
Never shave your pet down to their skin during cold times. You can trim especially long-haired pets to keep them tidy and prevent clinging ice balls, but having a good fur coat will help protect them against frigid temperatures.
It’s also helpful to trim any hair between the toes of long-haired pets. This will prevent snow and ice from building up on their paws.
FEED THEM A LITTLE EXTRA
Staying warm takes energy, and it’s normal for animals to burn more calories during winter. If your pet doesn’t spend much time outside, this likely won’t be an issue for them. But, if they really enjoy long runs outside during winter, pay attention to how much food they’re eating. If they wolf down their usual serving of food and ask for more, it’s very likely they need it.
SKIP THE BATH
Don’t bathe your pets as often during the winter. Wet fur takes longer to dry in the cold, which can chill your pet even more. And bathing can deplete their natural oils and cause dry, flaky skin, which is also made worse by cold temperatures. If they do need a bath, get a moisturizing shampoo recommended by your vet.
Use booties or rub petroleum jelly onto your pet’s paws before heading outside. Not only will these help against the cold, they will also provide an extra layer against salt and other potentially dangerous chemicals.
Remember winter can be hard on your car, too. Keep an eye out for new spots or leaks underneath your vehicle and clean them up as soon as possible. Spilled antifreeze, oil, or other fluids can be toxic to pets if they lick them or get them on their paws or fur.
Many pets still love time outside during cold spells, but stay aware of how long they’ve been out. Whether they’re with you or alone, keep their outings short unless you know they’re alright staying out for a while. And don’t ever leave your pet alone in a cold car. A car can act like a refrigerator and hold in the cold, which puts your pet in serious danger.
Try to spend some extra time indoors with your companions and find activities to keep them moving so they still get their needed exercise. If they live outside permanently, make sure they have good shelter to sleep in for the night, and add an extra blanket to their sleeping space. And, of course, give them lots of extra snuggles. This has the added benefit of keeping you warm, too.
Snowstorms & Extreme Cold
Winter storms create a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion. Winter storms and blizzards can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, and high winds. A winter storm can:
- Last a few hours or several days;
- Knock out heat, power, and communication services; and
- Place older adults, young children, and sick individuals at greater risk.
IF YOU ARE UNDER A WINTER STORM WARNING, FIND SHELTER RIGHT AWAY
- Stay off roads.
- Stay indoors and dress warmly.
- Prepare for power outages.
- Use generators outside only and away from windows.
- Listen for emergency information and alerts.
- Look for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.
- Check on neighbors.
HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN A WINTER STORM THREATENS:
- Know your area’s risk for winter storms. Extreme winter weather can leave communities without utilities or other services for long periods of time.
- Prepare your home to keep out the cold with insulation, caulking, and weather stripping. Learn how to keep pipes from freezing. Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups.
- Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of freezing weather and winter storms. Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
- Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets. Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights.
- Create an emergency supply kit for your car. Include jumper cables, sand, a flashlight, warm clothes, blankets, bottled water, and non-perishable snacks. Keep the gas tank full.
- Learn the signs of, and basic treatments for, frostbite and hypothermia.
- Stay off roads if at all possible. If trapped in your car, then stay inside.
- Limit your time outside. If you need to go outside, then wear layers of warm clothing. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
- Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Only use generators and grills outdoors and away from windows. Never heat your home with a gas stovetop or oven.
- Reduce the risk of a heart attack. Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow.
- Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia and begin treatment right away.
- Check on neighbors. Older adults and young children are more at risk in extreme cold.
RECOGNIZE AND RESPOND
- Frostbite causes loss of feeling and color around the face, fingers, and toes.
- Signs: Numbness, white or grayish-yellow skin, firm or waxy skin
- Actions: Go to a warm room. Soak in warm water. Use body heat to warm. Do not massage or use a heating pad.
- Hypothermia is an unusually low body temperature. A temperature below 95 degrees is an emergency.
- Signs: Shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, or drowsiness
- Actions: Go to a warm room. Warm the center of the body first—chest, neck, head, and groin. Keep dry and wrapped up in warm blankets, including the head and neck.
THE JOYS OF BLIZZARDS
But first, let me dispense with the caveats: There’s a lot to love, if you don’t have to travel by car or plane, you have a safe, secure home with emergency provisions for water, heat, light, food, and means of communicating with the rest of the world in case of a power outage.
We’re in the final hours of the appropriately named storm, Hercules, which dropped more than a foot of snow in a 24-hour period, during which the temperature didn’t rise much above zero, and often dipped way below. We’d half-filled the bathtub, readied the rechargeable flashlights, positioned the kerosene lamps, brought in the shovels, and filled the wood boxes.
So now, a few blizzard joys:
Around my place, a blizzard demands exercise (aka physical labor), and a lot of it. We all need exercise for physical and psychological well-being. Why not do it simultaneously with productive work?
First, there’s hauling armloads of firewood in and buckets of ashes out from the two stoves that keep us warm and cook our food.
Then there’s the shoveling and roof-raking. We hire a guy to plow the driveway, but we have a lot of hand-shoveling to clear pathways to and from the chicken coop, the woodshed, and the tool shed/garage. We have to rake the greenhouse roof, then shovel around the base to prevent the snow that slides off our pitched roof from building up above the greenhouse glazing and blocking the sun. During a big snowstorm, we typically gear up to shovel every couple of hours to keep from having to handle the entire load when the storm is over.
Then there’s the snowshoeing, which has been called floating on snow and walking on water. Breaking trail and trekking uphill to the compost pile carrying a 5-gallon bucket of kitchen scraps counts as one short bout of hard work. But snowshoeing lets you play outside during and after a blizzard, when walking or running aren’t possible. An hour of it can burn more than 1000 calories (especially breaking trail while going uphill in deep, fluffy powder). Add trekking poles to the jaunt, and you have full-body muscle work at its finest. Best of all for me: it’s so exhilarating, it never really feels like “exercise.”
Silence & Sound
Blizzard conditions keep most people off the roads and muffle the sounds of vehicles that do pass by. Deep snow keeps the sounds of the industrial world at a distance. When I walk around outside, the natural world feels deeper, more peaceful.
And yet, blizzards compose their own orchestral works from the falls and crescendos of wind, the creaks and groans of frozen trees, the crash and crackle of ice formations on trees and buildings. In the white world on snowshoes, my own sounds embrace me: the crunch, thud and crackle of my shoes and poles, my heavy breathing.
Ascending the hill behind my house or tromping through the adjacent woods in fresh snow after a blizzard, I discover all sorts of mammal tracks. Over the years, I’ve seen the tracks of rodents (squirrels, mice, rats, and porcupines) to hares, weasels, fishers, white-tailed deer, coyotes, foxes, bears, turkeys, and moose. It’s thrilling to share these landscapes with so many fellow creatures, most of which I rarely see during the winter.
Fertilizer “Poor man’s fertilizer”? Not really. (Snow may deliver a little nitrogen and not much else that’s beneficial to the garden beds, although it does efficiently scavenge and concentrate environmental pollutants. Not much joy in that fact.)
But deep snow does provide insulating cover for many susceptible woody plants. Below-zero temperatures kill many overwintering insect pests (though probably not disease-causing ticks). And of course, the spring snowmelt recharges our underground aquifers and provides essential moisture for our crops.
Indoor Many blizzards bring power outages, which can last hours or even days. We’re always fairly well-prepared: woodboxes filled, bathtub half-filled with water for toilet flushing, stockpots filled with drinking water, plenty of food (including canned and dried emergency rations), kerosene lamps and battery-powered flashlights at the ready.
An outage forces us to go dark. It not only shuts off the lights and the water pump, but keeps us from watching TV and doing all the things we do on electronic media.
During the last outage, we played Bananagrams for several hours by the light of three kerosene lamps, until our brains tired of the exertion of making words. It was fun, and it kept our minds occupied with something other than anxiety.
Carl Sandburg wrote, Let a joy keep you. I think he’d have embraced the idea of blizzard joy.
ABOUT THIS BLOG
“Living Naturally” is all about living a naturally healthy lifestyle. Margaret Boyles covers health tips, ways to avoid illness, natural remedies, food that’s good for body and soul, recipes for homemade beauty products, and ideas to make your home a healthy, safe haven. Our goal is also to encourage self-sufficiency, whether it’s relearning some age-old skills or getting informed on modern improvements that help us live better, healthier lives.
POWER OUTAGES: WHAT TO DO BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER AN OUTAGE
Tornadoes, hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, flooding, and extreme weather events can easily knock out power in your home. But even an animal or too many A/C units on the power grid can cause a power outage.
Deal first with the biggest safety issues: bringing light to the dark, staying warm and dry, and providing food to yourself and your family.
HOW TO HAVE LIGHT IN A POWER OUTAGE
- It’s best to use flashlights or battery-powered (LED) lanterns to use in case of a power outage rather than candles to prevent accidental fires. Attach a strip of glow-in-the-dark tape to your flashlights to make them easy to find.
- Headlamps are very helpful for every family member. These enable you to have both hands free to do tasks, and family members can be more independent. You can even read a book in bed while wearing one. Stock up on straps, too, to strap the headlamp to a gallon of water. By strapping the headlamp onto the jug with the lamp’s front facing the inside, the light reflects off of the water and can illuminate more of the room.
- Avoid using candles or an open flame as a light source, as it could be a fire hazard, particularly if there are children or pets in the home. While romantic, they can tip over too easily in an emergency situation. However, if this is all you have on hand, just be careful not to leave candles or fuel-lit lamps unattended. Use secure candle holders. Empty food cans half-filled with sand work great. Be sure to also have a supply of lighters or matches to light your candles with.
- Your cell phone could be used for light—for as long as the battery lasts. Drastically increase your battery life by plugging your phone into a portable USB battery pack.
HOW TO STAY WARM IN A POWER OUTAGE
- Select one room in which people—and pets—can spend most of their time together. Pick a room with few or no windows on the south side for maximum heat during the day and layer up with warm clothing.
- Drape all windows with blankets, comforters, or quilts. Uncover south-facing windows during the day to let in the Sun’s warmth.
- Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your oven as a source of heat.
- Make a list (in advance) of shelters and hotels that allow pets, in case you need to evacuate with yours.
COOKING AND EATING WITHOUT POWER
- Open your refrigerator or freezer door only when absolutely necessary. Plan ahead to minimize the time the door is open.
- If the door stays closed, a refrigerator without power will keep food safe for four hours. A full freezer will keep its temperature for 48 hours (or 24 hours if half full). Store food outside if the temperature is cold enough (40 degrees or less). Monitor temperatures with a thermometer.
- Keep ice packs in your freezer for use in coolers or your refrigerator in case of an outage.
- Eat foods you are know are safe from spoiling. Good examples are canned foods, such as vegetables, beans, and soups.
- If you have one, cook on your woodstove. Heat canned soup and boil water for tea and instant coffee.
- Have potluck dinners with your neighbors and take turns hosting. You’ll be eating better and getting to know your neighbors at the same time.
- If the weather allows, cook on your outdoor grill—but only outdoors. Due to the possibility of fumes and fire, never use an outdoor grill indoors. Here are a few great recipes and tips for the grill.
- If it’s cold enough outside, fill clean plastic milk jugs with water and put them outside to freeze solid. Put these jugs into coolers, which can serve as temporary refrigerators for food supplies.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU LOSE YOUR WATER
- When extreme weather threatens, fill up your bathtub with water (for washing and flushing). Note: If you expect temperatures to drop below freezing in your house, avoid filling up the tub, as you could end up with a frozen (and cracked) bathtub.
- In cold climates, pack fresh snow in buckets and bring indoors to melt.
- In winter, keep pipes from freezing by turning on a slow trickle of water. Protect water pipes from freezing by wrapping them with layers of newspapers and then plastic wrap. See more tips for preventing frozen pipes.
- Keep your vehicle’s gas tank at least half full! Gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
- Never drive across power lines outside. Never!
- To avoid damage from falling branches, plan ahead and don’t park your cars under trees. If possible, remove any potentially hazardous or weak-looking branches well ahead of storms.
- The best way to get through a power outage is to avoid it altogether. Investing in a home generator can save you a lot of time and stress during emergency outages, as it can keep your heat and light running when you really need it.
- However, NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage, or connect it to your home’s electrical system to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Today, we also rely on technology for communication and safety. Keep cell phones charged.
- If the power is out, dim the brightness of your phone and turn off wifi to save battery life. Also switch your battery to low power mode under settings.
- Turn off or disconnect appliances and other equipment in case of a momentary power “surge” that can damage computers and other devices.
- We also recommend a surge protector to safeguards electronics from the harmful effects of power surges and voltage spikes. A power surge is a spike in the electrical current flowing through the wires of your house. They can damage common appliances, sensitive AV electronics, and computer equipment.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A POWER OUTAGE
- When in doubt, throw it out! Throw out any perishable foods that have been exposed to temperatures above 40°F for more than two hours. If you’re unsure whether something is still good, it’s better to just throw the item out and not risk becoming ill.
- Make sure you’ve put out any candles and kerosene lamps you used during the outage. These can be a fire hazard when left unattended.
ABOUT THIS BLOG
Your Old Farmer’s Almanac editors occasionally share our reflections, advice, and musings—and welcome your comments.
Frozen pipes are one of the most distressing problems a homeowner can encounter. Here’s how to prevent pipes from freezing and how to thaw frozen pipes.
Freezing can create leaks as the frozen water expands and cracks the copper tubing. When this happens, not only will you have little to no water supply, but when the pipes do thaw out, you can have some serious leaks to repair—or worse.
HOW TO PREVENT PIPES FROM FREEZING
Prevention is key! Here are some tips:
- Keep all water-supply piping away from outside walls, where it could be exposed to cold winter weather.
- If it is imperative to have pipes located on an outside wall, they must be well-insulated. Piping insulation is sold in both rubber and fiberglass.
- Insulate pipes in all other unheated areas as well, such as crawl spaces, basement, attic, and garage. Fix the source of any drafts (such as near cables, dryer vents, bathroom fan vents, windows) and insulate pipes at risk.
- Before winter, close the water shut-off valve inside your home that provides water to outside spigots, and then drain each line by opening its spigot until it no longer drips. Close the spigot.
HOW TO KEEP PIPES FROM FREEZING IN SUBFREEZING TEMPERATURES
When subfreezing temperatures hit, it’s good to be prepared.
- Keep garage doors and outside doors closed, and plug up drafts.
- Open all faucets, both hot and cold water, to just a trickle, to keep water moving in the pipes to help to prevent icing.
- Set the thermostat to at least 55ºF (13°C) both day and night—no lower. Higher is even better, especially if your home is not well-insulated.
- Keep doors to all rooms open to allow heat to flow to all areas, which helps to warm the pipes in the walls.
- Open the cabinets under the kitchen and bathroom sinks so that the warmer air temperature of each room can flow around the plumbing. (Be sure to keep cleaners and other hazardous chemicals away from children and pets.)
- Check your local forecast to see if you’ll be having subfreezing temperatures sometime soon.
WHEN PIPES FREEZE: HOW TO THAW FROZEN PIPES
If worst comes to worst and your pipes do freeze, here’s what to do:
- If no water comes out of a faucet, or it comes out slowly, suspect a frozen pipe. Check all faucets in the house to determine if the situation is widespread. If it is, open all faucets, turn off the main water to the house, and call a plumber.
- If only one pipe is frozen, turn on the appropriate faucet to help get the water moving in the pipe once it thaws. Locate your nearest water shut-off valve to the break. Don’t turn the water off at this point, unless you find that the pipe has actually burst.
- Try the hair-dryer trick. Locate the area where the pipe has frozen. Then, starting at the faucet and working backward along the pipe line until you reach the frozen section, work the dryer up and down the pipe. Continue warming the pipe until full water pressure returns to the open faucet. Then reduce the faucet flow to a trickle until the cold snap has ended. Caution: When using a hair dryer, be sure that it and its cord will not be near any water that might start to flow through a crack in a burst pipe.
- If water starts to gush out of the pipe while you are warming it, unplug the hair dryer and close the nearest water shut-off valve immediately. Keep the faucet open. Call a plumber to fix the burst pipe.
- If you can not reach a frozen pipe to warm it, call a plumber and shut off the water supply to the pipe. Keep the faucet open.
During the chilly months of late fall and winter, no matter what heat source you use—oil, gas, electricity, or wood—you can cut costs by adopting temporary measures to keep the thermostat turned down. Here are some money-saving tips for cutting the cost of cold snaps.
Note: Some of these tips are only appropriate for above-freezing cold snaps and are not advised for subfreezing temperatures.
KEEPING DOWN HEATING COSTS
- Temporarily close off heat to some rooms by shutting doors. (This requires a heating system that can be controlled room by room.) Shut the doors to unheated closets, the pantry, and the basement and attic.
- Hang blankets over the windows at night. Tape or thumbtack the sides and bottom of blankets to the walls or windowsills to maximize the insulation value. (Press the tacks or tape under the bottom of the sill and over the top of the frame to hide any damage to the finish.) Remove the coverings on the south side of the house during the day to let in the warming sunlight.
- Cover cracks around doors and windowsills with rugs, newspaper, towels, or other insulation. Window-sealing kits can be bought at hardware stores, too.
- Use electric space heaters in living or work areas. These are more efficient than the furnace for localized heating, and they will allow you to set the thermostat lower for the whole house. Always be sure to use space heaters in open areas only.
- Put on layers. The real trick to staying warm is to dress in layers, so get a few pairs of long underwear and long-sleeve undershirts that you can wear in addition to your regular lounge clothes. Don’t underestimate the heating power of a wool sweater!
- Drink a warm drink. Though consuming the hot liquid will only warm you marginally, holding a warm mug in your hands can really help!
- See more tips from our readers in the comments below!
HOW TO KEEP WARM IN WINTER
Where I live, winter temperatures are often in the single digits, but no matter where you live, keeping warm is a basic need that we all share.
Here are some tips—from both Almanac editors and readers—about how to stay warm. These aren’t “big” projects like buying a new heating system—just inexpensive, resourceful ways to help you warm up now!
HOW TO KEEP WARM IN WINTER
1. Dress in layers
Bundle up. Wear long underwear, sweaters, and even hats indoors. Remember the days of “sleeping caps”? They make sense! Yes, wear a cap or hat to keep your head warm. If you’re headed outside, cover your face with a scarf.
To avoid getting overheated inside, wear layers. I recommend a “wicking” polyester (or silk) undershirt next to your skin versus cotton. I gave a polyester t-shirt to my father and he keeps talking about the amazing difference as if I had invented sliced bread! Just don’t layer yourself so much that you’re pouring sweat. The idea is to keep your body warm AND dry.
One reader adds, “I can’t imagine surviving cold weather, inside or out, without a stretchy fleece neck warmer. I have several and I put one on when watching television or reading to avoid turning up the thermostat. Just think about summertime when you are feeling too hot—if you can, you try to cool down by opening your collar. We are using the reverse of that principle here.”
Another idea: Try flannel-lined pants.
2. Keep Your Feet Warm
I highly recommend “house slippers” indoors. I know that it sounds a bit old-fashioned, but having the rubber sole really makes a difference.
And warm socks! One reader says, “I’m from Florida. But when it’s cold, like when we got down to 23 last week, socks are my best friends. A soft, cozy pair worn to bed keeps my feet toasty warm, and as long as my feet are warm, I’m comfortable with the thermostat turned down.”
“Keep changing your socks! Everybody forgets that your feet sweat, and THAT can make you cold even though you are layered up.” Wool socks or “smartwool” keeps your feet from sweating.
For the outdoors, it really helps to insert foam liners in your boots or hiking shoes to give your toes an extra layer of insulation again the cold earth.
3. Heat Up Your Bed
Don’t turn up the heat for the entire house. Use an electric blanket. An even cheaper and safer option may be a hot water bottle with a wool or fleece cover. Here’s what other readers say:
- “Fill your bottle with hot water from the faucet before going to bed and slip it into the foot of the bed between the sheets. By the time you’re ready for bed it’s all nice and toasty at your feet. Believe it or not the water bottle stays warm all night long.”
- “Use rice! Put the rice in a fleece cover, then warm in the microwave. It will stay warm half the night and keep your toes comfortable.”
- “I have a water bottle, but better and quicker is to use a large heating pad with an automatic shut-off. Mine shuts off after 30 minutes. I lay the heating pad in the bed and turn it on about 15 minutes before retiring. I turn it off and then on again if I still need a little more heat, but it is usually adequate just turning it on once.”
4. Harness the Sun
During the day, open the blinds and curtains on the south-facing windows—and let the Sun warm you. At night, close the blinds and curtains to better insulate your home.
One reader adds, “We use roller blinds every night for all windows. Saves a lot of energy in a cheap and easy way.”
5. Keep the Kitchen Cozy
Many readers keep the kitchen humming!
- “I put a cast iron pot of water with liquid potpourri on the top of our cast iron stove. This increases the humidity in the room and puts a lovely smell in the air.”
- “Drink lots of yummy hot chocolate!!!!”
- “Bake something in the oven, either dinner or a dessert (doesn’t have to be fattening but even better if it is).”
- “A hot cup of tea is great… If you are sick, a hot toddy works wonders. Also, I always have a crock pot of soup going during the cold months.”
- “Use matches not lighters. It seems silly but if your pilot goes out, your lighter will not work.”
6. Block Drafts
Beyond weather-stripping, which is difficult with old houses, consider these reader tips:
- “I hang blankets to close off the open stair well going to the second floor, since heat raises it keeps the warm air down stairs when we spend most of our time. I noticed it saves a lot of heating dollars.”
- “Don’t forget to put something at the bottom of outside doors—you can just feel the cold air pour in. You can buy a fancy roll or just use a blanket or towel.”
- “I made long round pillows to place against my doors and window sills. I found some scrap pieces of upholstery fabric that are nice and heavy and help keep the drafts out.”
- “Just like layers of clothing, I put layers at the windows. Between the window and the thermal-backed drapes are the closed venetian blinds and a flannel-backed table cloth. And we hang a blanket over the entire exterior door cause air doesn’t just come in at the bottom.”
7. Stay Active
Get your body moving. At the Almanac, we joke that “one log can heat a house.” Just run up the stairs with the log, throw it out the top window, and repeat three times. You’ll be warm!
Our readers add:
- “Keep active, this is a good time to clean out closets, garages, etc. Anything to keep active.”
- “If I get a chill just sitting, I get up and stir around, the movement not only warms me up but also stirs the heat in the house. Children are great when playing, they stir the air around.”
- “Don’t just sit around. Stay active to keep your blood from ‘thickinin.’ Exercise is good for ya.”
8. Humidify Your Home
Not only does a humidifier keep your house warmer, it also eliminates drying indoor air. As our readers say:
- “I discovered that when I run my vaporizer (humidifier) in the bedroom, I can turn the heat down a couple extra degrees overnight. In the morning, I raise the heat by about 2 degrees at a time instead of making the furnace work hard to raise it all at once.”
- “I keep coffee cans lined with large baggies with water in them, around the vents to add humidity to the house, and this works great. I lined the coffee cans so they would not rust.”
- “I put a waterbath canner full of water on the stove (lasts all night).”
If you don’t have a humidifier, here’s another idea: When you take a bath in winter, leave the water in the tub after you get out. If you let it sit until it reaches room temperature, it will add a little warmth to the house and help humidify it, too!
9. More Ideas
Here’s a new one! “I live five miles from the Canadian border in the St Lawrence region—icebox country! To stay warm INEXPENSIVELY, recycle old panty hose that have runs or snags. This layer next to the bottom, legs, and toes—with slacks over top—keeps me toasty. For guys like Joe Namath too!!”
ABOUT THIS BLOG
Your Old Farmer’s Almanac editors occasionally share our reflections, advice, and musings—and welcome your comments.
Your MahJong Tile for the Month of February
The North Wind tile indicates there will be difficult moments ahead. These can be canceled out if the South Wind Tile is in your reading as well which unfortunately it is not in this reading.
Your Domino for the Month of February
A new life’s path is unfolding before you. Opportunities abound. You will do well if you have the courage to move down this new path, and do not stray from acting morally.
Your Daily Rune for January 29
What is higher than the self is the Self become Higher.”
Tiwaz – “Tea-waz” – Literally: “The god, Tyr” – Esoteric: Justice, Sacrifice
Rune of the balance and justice ruled from a higher rationality. The rune of sacrifice of the individual (self) for well-being of the whole (society).
Psi: spiritual warrior, honour, righteousness
Energy: sovereign order, sacrifice, right decision making
Mundane: the rule of law, fairness, peace keeping
Divinations: faith, loyalty, justice, rationality, self-sacrifice, analysis, victory, honesty, even-handedness; or mental paralysis, over analysis, over-sacrifice, injustice, imbalance, defeat, tyranny.
Obtaining just victory and success in battle, litigation or legal matters
Building spiritual will and development of sound judgement
Develops the power of positive self-sacrifice
Develops the “force of faith” in magic and religion
Your Daily Witches Rune for January 29
The Blank Rune
Meaning: This is a rune of difficulty and negative influences will rule your life for a time, but as all difficulties are a learning experience it will lead to improved personal perspective and progress on your life’s path. Always consult the surrounding runes with this stone. If it lies with a positive stone, it indicates that the pain of this experience will lead to a beneficial change in circumstances.
The Daily Tarot Card for January 29th
Keywords: teaching, school, blessing, ritual, marriage, acting!
Astrological Correspondence: Taurus
As a priest, the Pope, or Hierophant, represents traditional values and moral development. He is the wise teacher or counselor guiding groups or collectives on their path in search for spiritual truth or meaning. Depicted as a religious figure in ceremonial vestments he interprets secret mysteries, divine law, and theological doctrine. Although this card implies that he is linked to the church, the Pope signifies not only organized religion but also focus on groups in general, such as schools, teams, companies – any group with fixed roles and assigned responsibilities. The Pope is a symbol for rules, procedures, structure, and ritual, creating harmony within groups and staying their course so they can find identity and progress as a whole. The negative imagery symbolizes dogmatism and inflexibility, extreme conformity, or conventionalism.
The Daily Tarot Love Card for January 29th
Today is perfection, in a good way. Why? Today represents someone’s advancement and growth in the ability to love. Someone, perhaps even the two people you are one-half of, grasps the realization that love is friendship intensified. If you’re dating and you want love, it is yours. The trick is to avoid being swept off your feet. Instead, grasp the idea of slowing down, knowing that time is on your side.
The Daily Erotic Tarot Card for January 29th
The Pope represents pure masculine energy, and even if you’re female you’re going to be identifying more with your male counterparts today. The Pope shows you that coming to terms with past mistakes and taking responsibility for them in the present eases sexual tension, so let go of the past to free yourself from your inhibitions. You actually have quite the skill set when it comes to making sexual moves, but waiting until the time is right before taking the plunge can be a real turn-on. Let the anticipation build until you can’t take it anymore!
The Daily Past Life Tarot Card for January 29th
Sometimes numbers fill your head and although you do the math, the equations just keep coming. This could be a sign that in a past life you were an economist. You might not understand it exactly, but there is just something in your genes that has always attracted you to numbers. Your past life as an economist is probably still on the treadmill of reincarnation. You follow numbers through the journey of your many lives, finding solutions that create new numerical questions.
2019 promises amazing opportunities for greater happiness, fulfillment, and well-being. Here’s why: 2019 adds up to a 12 Universal Year.
2+0+1+9 = 12, which is a unique and highly creative number!
During any 12 cycle you are acquiring knowledge and gaining the strength to help you manifest what you’re learning into fortunate results. 12 symbolizes education on all levels, so you may need to set aside distractions in order to achieve the wisdom needed to elevate your life. Meditation is more important in 2019. Tune into your intuition for instant solutions. Observe closely what is happening at all times to remain calm and serene. Go with the flow. Don’t resist, just accept.
12 can be reduced to the single-digit root number 3, because 1+2 = 3.
The number 3 symbolizes happiness, creativity, and communication, inviting you to express yourself through every medium you can imagine. You’ll be more active socially, as well as feeling more optimistic and free to explore in 2019. This can be one of the happiest years of your life! Friends will be important to you this year — they’ll support you, and you’ll help them in return.
Number 12/3 also activates the powerful 1-2-3 code, which means it time to ready, set, go! Needless to say, the MOMENTUM and MOVEMENT in 2019 is going to be tremendous!
But that’s just part of the story…
Your Personal Year Number
You are also impacted by your own Personal Year number. Some numerologists start everyone’s Personal Year on January 1. To calculate your number using this method:
1. Add all digits of your month and day of birth + 2019:
Month ___ + Day ___ + 2+0+1+9 = ______
2. Now add each single digit of your total to arrive at the single-digit Personal Year number:
______________ = ____________+ _____________ = __________________
(Total) = (1st single digit) + (2nd single digit) = (Personal Year number)
Example: Linda, born on May 23:
5 + 2+3 + 2+0+1+9 = 22
22 = 2+2 = 4
In this case, Linda will be in a 4 Personal Year.
However, after reading thousands of clients, I have found that the shift we feel on New Year’s Day is related to the Universal Year number changing, not our individual Personal Year. Most people, unless they are born in January, have TWO Personal Year numbers during any given calendar year:
1. One carried over from the previous calendar year UNTIL your birth month.
2. One FROM your birth month onward.
Using this method in the example above, Linda would be a 3 Personal Yearfrom May 2018-April 2019 and a 4 Personal Year from May 2019–April 2020.
Now that you know your Personal Year Number(s) for 2019, lets head to the fun part: what it all means for you!
1 Personal Year
Keywords: new beginnings, action, change, new goals
Focus on: a fresh start, opportunity, rebirth, letting go of old ways, things, people, and investments that are not supporting you, learning a new modality, being bold and courageous — you are at a crossroads
Guard against: stubborn resistance to change, not being focused, being consciously present and avoiding planning your future
• You will experience a new beginning in some or all areas of your life
• Take the initiative with your ideas and ambitions
• This is an intense period of awakening and change
• Explore bold new directions
• Foster new opportunities
• Embrace what makes you unique
• Create and invent
2 Personal Year
Keywords: cooperation, new partnerships (personal and business), balance, patience, peace, germination of seeds planted in 1 Personal Year
Focus on: relationships, diplomacy, slowing down, meticulous attention to details, correct timing, trusting that your goals are being taken care of, listening, your intuition
Guard against: impatience, division, insecurity that prevents you from making decisions
• Your 2 cycle is bringing you into equilibrium, helping you balance light and dark, so you learn to embrace all of life’s experience without judgment
• Listen closely to your inner voice for answers and direction
• You are highly sensitive to energy from people and places
• Trust in the correct timing and be patient
• Foster relationships that bring balance to your life
• Communicate with compassion and sensitivity
• Take time for serenity
• Embrace your inner psychic!
3 Personal Year
Keywords: creative self-expression, social connections, sharing feelings, pleasure, beauty, communication
Focus on: circle of friends, expressing your true inner voice, sharing your gifts, relaxation and having fun, enjoyment of the arts, activities and people that make you feel positive, travel, action, optimism
Guard against: emotional drama, distractions, moodiness, meddling
• Tune into your creativity — it is being channeled through various sources and expresses itself through you
• Share your feelings openly and with vulnerability
• Take great joy in nurturing what fulfills you on soul level
• Your imagination is limitless!
• Setting positive intentions consistently attracts many opportunities
• Opportunities are seized with bold action
• Share your soul through writing, speaking, art, dance, or music
• Connect socially with others, especially your “soul family”
• What moves you to tears? Follow that thread.
4 Personal Year
Keywords: organization, planning, work, taking care of details, concentration
Focus on: work, logical deduction, manifesting goals step by step, security, home, perseverance, commitment, patience, planning
Guard against: working too hard, not relaxing, escaping responsibilities
• Dedicate this cycle to making your gifts real and tangible
• You feel secure when you set goals that align with your true values
• Organize your ideas and strategies into a coherent plan
• Work diligently at implementing your ideas to reap rich rewards
• Pay meticulous attention to details
• Your brilliance is grounded in a practical way
• Focus on family and home
5 Personal Year
Keywords: flexibility, pivot point, decisions, opportunity, surprises, adventure
Focus on: change, movement, taking risks, choices, expecting the unexpected, quick decisions, travel, being open, taking a chance, freedom
Guard against: scattered energy, multi-tasking, not following through, restlessness, impatience
• Embrace change as a constant in your life
• Freedom is key for you this cycle, so be as flexible as possible
• Constant movement propels you forward
• The middle of your nine-year cycle symbolizes a shift and a breakthrough
• You are transforming your life by taking risks
• Exploration and claiming your independence bring ultimate fulfillment
• Make big and small decisions quickly, so your energy does not stagnate
• Travel to unknown realms both physically and mentally
• Connect with others and share your new ideas
6 Personal Year
Keywords: taking on responsibilities, focus on family, home, love, and nurturing others, beauty, intimacy, home business, financial flow
Focus on: health, home, harmony, compassion, beauty in your environment, helping others, emotional equilibrium, personal growth, connecting to close friends, birthing new opportunities, nurturing your body, mind, and spirit.
Guard against: neglecting your needs, taking on too much responsibility, emotional imbalance, controlling others
• Embrace your responsibilities fully and with joy
• Be open to heal yourself, and you will be a healing influence on others
• Explore empathy and embrace being of loving service
• Your passion for life and compassion for others is expansive
• Focus on financial wellness and wealth
• Make your life and surroundings exquisitely beautiful
• Attend to your health and overall well-being
• Nurture yourself — you are giving a lot this cycle and must replenish
• Focus on home and family
7 Personal Year
Keywords: lightning spiritual insights, intuition, analysis, sudden discoveries, unexpected shifts, self-awareness, sabbatical, rest, awakening
Focus on: rest and rejuvenation, higher wisdom, learning and taking classes, introspection, slowing down, recognition, honor, spending time in nature, reading books, the unexpected, time alone
Guard against: over-analyzing, over-thinking, worrying, doubting
• Listen and act on your strong intuitive hits
• Think through your plans and implement your brilliant ideas
• Embrace sudden shifts as opportunities for growth
• Your wisdom expands exponentially through deep inner learning and understanding
• Be a bridge between spiritual and material realms
• Realize your intuitions and visions by taking time for retreats and relaxation
• Trust your hunches
• Seek wisdom and truth
• Rest and rejuvenate
8 Personal Year
Keywords: money manifestation, leadership, goals, strength, power, vision, energy expended equals rewards
Focus on: money matters, taking action, balancing the material and spiritual, building strength and confidence to overcome obstacles, prosperity, rewards, honors, ambition
Guard against: being afraid of success, doubting your own power to succeed, your perceived inability to follow through on goals
• This is your year of empowerment
• You are very motivated to manifest
• You exude confidence in everything you do, think, and envision about your future
• Lead and you will succeed
• A strong focus on abundance impacts the actualization of your vision
• You are motivated to fulfill your destiny
• Overcoming obstacles makes you stronger
• The energy you expend enriches you and brings great rewards
9 Personal Year
Keywords: completion, culmination, celebration, release, endings, unconditional love, compassionate leadership, wisdom
Focus on: finishing what you began in the last eight years, being of service, releasing relationships and beliefs that are keeping you stuck in old behaviors, practicing Feng Shui in all aspects of your life, purging and letting go as your nine-year cycle is coming to an end
Guard against: feeling discouraged and dissipated emotionally, resisting the urge to let go
• Embrace endings and celebrate your successes
• Leading from a place of love creates deep fulfillment
• Release ideas, beliefs, physical possessions, and people that you’ve outgrown or do not support or uplift you anymore
• Complete all projects by the end of this cycle to reap rewards
• By being a wise example to others, your love instills courage
• Embrace all that life has to offer — both difficulties and positive developments — for the greatest abundance
• Letting go of values acquired from others (and mistakenly attributed as your own) opens up miraculous doors
• You have come to the end of a cycle and are making room for a rebirth
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