it`s getting chillier by the day, and the blankets are starting to layer up. some ways i deal with the cold season are hotpots for dinner, lots of ginger to warm up the extremities, freshly darned handknit socks, slippers, steaming hot soaker baths in the evening, warm sweaters, tea & coffee, and keeping all the doors closed to trap any passive solar.
we spent the last two years in canada in a cabin in the woods. we heated with wood and chopped our own fuel from our 15 acre woodlot. the early morning fire was part of a larger ritual of cutting trees, slicing them up, hauling them out of the woods, shaking the ticks out of your boots, chopping them up, stacking them, moving the dry ones inside, cutting splits, cleaning out ashes and sprinkling them in the garden or on the driveway ice, cleaning the glass... the second year was a brutally cold winter, but i always managed to feel warm & cozy. i`d almost forgotten how chilly it is in western japan this time of year despite the higher mercury outside. it`s not a walk in the park but i feel that this is more realistic from an energy standpoint. despite the shivers, it`s deeply satisfying to bundle up and haul on the blankets rather than to turn on the heat, or to just space heat the room you are in instead of a whole empty house. there`s always the classic kotatsu in front of the TV combo if you really want to get cozy! don`t forget the bowl of oranges.