One look out your frost-covered window and it’s plain to see that storm Quantum and Pandora have swept the eastern and southern United States in icy disarray. Let’s face it, you’ve probably been terrified at the idea of going outside for the last few days.
If you think you’ve got it bad, can you imagine what it would be like in this weather during a long term power outage? If you’re Amish, you don’t have to wonder, you’ve lived it every winter season.
It’s well known that the Amish thrive off a life that excludes most every form of technology. It’s not to say that they find technology inherently evil, but believe that if left untamed, it will lead them into an accelerated assimilation with outside society, which according to their own interpretation, would go directly against 2 Corinthians 6:14 – “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
Needless to say the Amish are selective about the technology they choose to include in their homes and public electricity and gas aren’t among them. No electricity means no standard in home heating system, so how do they stay warm, you ask?
Here are a couple Amish trade secrets and additional tips to keeping cozy in even the craziest winter storms.
Propane and Natural Gas:
There’s more than one way to skin a cat…or power a heater. Public power doesn’t cut it but private stashes of tanked gas are perfectly acceptable in some Amish households.
The Amish use stoves for more than cooking. When it comes to heating the house, it’s much more common among conservative Amish to do so with heating stoves which burn wood and coal. Stoves are typically located in the basement or first floor.
If you can’t heat the whole house, sometimes it’s easier just to pile in one room. Assuming there’s more than one of you in a home, pick a room with natural sunlight–windowed on the southwest side of your home–and huddle together.
Clog the Leaks:
Make sure every window sill, door frame and any other area that could possibly be leaking that valuable heat is sealed off. Stuff them with a towel or small blanket to ensure the heat stays with you–it’s best to make sure you’ll be in one spot for a while.
Rugs and Carpets:
Don’t let the heat escape through the floor. Put a rug or mat down around the room you’re in to add a few layers between you and any cold tiles or wood.
When we’re cold, most of the time we lose body heat through our heads, because it’s the only part of ourselves that we aren’t covering with clothes. Keep your head covered to trap in additional body heat.
Eat Before You Sleep:
Eating before bed means your body will digest during the night, making your insides a tad warmer than if you had slept on an empty stomach.
Heat Your Buggy:
This tip really only works if you plan on driving something without its own heater. In the case of the Amish, it’s the buggy. A buggy, which is just another term for horse drawn carriage, comes in two main forms–with or without a windshield/enclosure. Should your buggy be open to the air, a heavy blanket is called for while traveling. But, for those who operate an enclosed carriage, buggy heaters are also an option; this really just consists of a small heating panel (which would be mounted to the front of your vehicle) and a tank of gas that connects to it (which would be placed in the back).