Would I have made it in Pioneer times in America?

This has been a trying week in our household. For almost 72 hours we had no heat.

our snow 2014(note rhododendron poking out of snow near evergreen tree) This has been one of the snowiest and coldest winters on record where I live in Northern New Jersey, U.S. of A. and of course the heat would go out during two of the nights when the temperatures dipped to 2 F one night and 0 F the second. I really have no one to blame but myself. A week ago I checked the level of oil in our tank and we had  1/4 left. In a normal winter that would have gotten me more time, but not this winter. So one day I was working on the computer and it was getting cold in the house. I didn’t think much of it as we drop the heat when we go to work and normally I would be out of the house by then. But when my wife got home she told me that the house was freezing and the heat wasn’t going on. The tank sat at 0. I called our oil supplier who fit us in the next morning. That night we hung blankets, closed off the living room and turned on 3 electric room heaters which kept the house at a livable 52 degrees. To keep the pipes from freezing we kept water running in all of the faucets and turned my wife’s pottery kiln on to keep the basement from falling below freezing.

The next day we had oil but still no heat. Our neighbor came over and showed me how to replace the filter, and nozzle as they were both clogged with sludge from the bottom of our oil tank. But alas still NO heat. So I called the furnace repair person we use, took photos of the problem spots and sent them via text to his cell phone. And again, now for the second night, NO heat. The next morning our repair person came over, did his magic and now we had heat. Two thumbs up for my neighbor and repairman because between the two my blood pressure could now drop back to somewhat normal.

So now the crux of the biscuit of this whole story. (Remember Alice? This song is about Alice. Google it). All my life I have been an outdoorsman. When younger I owned a 4 season tent and would think nothing of hiking in the mountains and camping in the snow and sub zero weather. I still have my old sub zero down sleeping bag. We would go to sleep and before opening the zipper flap of a door, smack the tent walls and roof to shake off any snow that fell overnight. I used to ski in all kinds of weather, and in the Northeast U.S.of A. that would mean damp cold and manmade snow. Occasionally we were blessed with real fresh powder. When we bought our house, we would rarely have the heat above 65 F to conserve on heating oil and bundle up. Well I am older now and those days are behind me.  The furnace sits at 68 F, I only cabin camp with my Boy Scout Troop in the winter, and will only hike on the warmest of winter days. And then not as far as I used to.

You can imagine how miserable I was when we had no heat. My wife on the other hand took it all in stride, bundled up and was the real Trooper in our household. Me, I bitched and moaned and was ready for a hotel room with a sauna. LOL. She said to me “What would you have done in Pioneer Days?” Well I used to think I would have  been ok back in those days. Traveling across this great Continent in a covered wagon to start a new life in a strange faraway area. In those days every room in the house had a fireplace and people used a bed warmer before getting into bed at night.bed warmer No biggie. Bathrooms were outside behind the house, and under the bed was a chamber pot for, well you know what.

Big revelation folks, I like my heat, hot water, and indoor plumbing. I love technology, the internet and my satellite TV. I like my cell phone, but dislike texting. As I sit here now my electric room heater is blasting me with hot air and I am loving it. For a loonngg time now I have wanted to move to Florida because I even like the humidity. I dislike air conditioning but really appreciate my refrigerator. The only thing I kill are insects and if I had to hunt to eat, I would probably starve or be a vegetarian.

But, and this one is a big one, I still get no greater pleasure than being in the woods, backpacking, eating freeze dried food, filtering my water, sleeping in a tent, and listening to the loons and coyote at night talking. I enjoy being out of range of cell service. Pitch black nights with no light pollution, and canoeing on the rivers and lakes. Sitting at campfires sipping a cold beer. HOWEVER now those activities occur between Mid April and Mid October before that chill hits my bones and doesn’t leave until the Sun crosses back above the Equator again.

oil furnace

To answer the question in the title, probably, afterall I wouldn’t have known anything different.




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