It is mid July. Hot most days, hot and humid, the sticky kind. Which makes writing about surviving winters a little more difficult to fathom. Except, winter will be here too soon for most of us. I already saw leaves changing colors. Yeesh

This is how you keep warm in frigid weather when you can't heat 25 foot ceilings. AKA living in a church seemed like a good idea until winter came.

This is how you keep warm in frigid weather when you can’t heat 25 foot ceilings. AKA living in a church seemed like a good idea until winter came.


This particular article is about surviving W-I-N-T-E-R and it’s bitter cold. If last year taught us anything, it’s that even the best of neighborhoods with the most prompt of utility payments can find themselves sans precious electricity and heat. Hurricanes, freezing temperatures, tornadoes, or just your average drunk driver who swears the utility pole just jumped out at him (yes, usually it’s him) and you have power outage. In the winter time this means no heat, not even the infamous electric fireplace will save you. With dropping temperatures come more calamities, frozen water pipes, frozen batteries, computers, phones and ipads no longer holding their charge, and the worst of it, frozen water. You can die of thirst, but only second to hypothermia in the frozen tundra.

I remember living in Montreal, waking up to a heavy weight on myself while laying in bed, the weight of winter coats. My parents went to the basement and started the fireplace which could not reach the second floor. The power had gone out and yet, we were just fine.

Today, it’s different. Many municipalities outlaw wood fireplaces. In urban centers, condominium and apartment communities are totally dependent on electricity. With power outages, vulnerable citizens find themselves endangered. Few know how to survive the unthinkable. Without the ability to cook, to heat water, to heat oneself, how can we survive and avoid quite uncomfortable and even dangerous conditions?

I will explore this with you. I am somewhat an expert in off grid living, survival and yes, overcoming disaster. It’s not sexy, but necessary.

Not sexy? Really? Wearing layers, everything you own in layers, waddling sideways through doorways as strangers STARE and you have to explain “I grew up in Florida” which often has been my experience in frigid Saskatchewan when I was stranded there.

  • Gum. Chewing gum produces saliva which in turn creates warm humidity for your lungs which can freeze in sub zero weather.
  • Ski goggles can save your eyes from the damage of frost.
  • Cover that skin, find the real thing, polyester will not save you. Wool blends will.
  • Clay pots, the kind with groves turned upside down over a larger clay lid will provide you with warmth if you light about 5 candles.


  • Here’s a good tip as well, your local thrift store has wonderful camping pots and pans. I collect them. Even the fondue type. With a grill, you can light 5 tea candles and cook ANYTHING! (UPCOMING COOKBOOK 5 CANDLES)

Here’s what NOT TO DO.

  • NEVER, EVER, NEVER go to sleep with candles burning.
  • NEVER, GET DRUNK during winter power outages. Alcohol makes your body temperature and ability to keep warm drop but makes you feel hot so you remove layers. Too many people perished during drunk and cold bouts.
  • WATCH OUT FOR CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING. This means anything that requires gas to run (butane, propane, or natural) will create carbon monoxide. YOU MUST have ventilation of some kind. FRESH AIR is ESSENTIAL.

Use your powers for good, not evil.



Next: Solar powered hot air furnace.
Next: 5 Candle Cooking
Next: Insulation – How to go from zero to R40
Next: High cathedral ceilings and heat aka how to make the power company rich! NOT!
Next: Indoor Camping. No bears!
Next: How to Produce Body Heat Like a Yogi
Next: Crazy Church Lady Strikes Again!
Next: Intervention – How to give one and take one with grace.
Next: How to insulate your vehicle and keep it from freezing.
Next: Emergency 101 – This could save your life!