As you know from reading our posts, it has been unusually warm this winter and we are just itching to get to planting. Actually, we have jumped the gun a little and both of us have already planted some potatoes. As a quick update on mine, they still aren't up yet. I won't forget to post updates on them.
Okay, so I am sidetracking. It is one of the things I am best at, ha, ha. As February got well under way, Winter finally put in it's appearance. It had been really warm .... then we had a couple of nights that went down extra cold (13° and 11°F), with the daytime temp barely making it up to freezing. I scrambled around all day before it dropped, to bed down the critters with extra hay, and to cover up everything I could that appeared to be sprouting or I considered too tender for that big of a temperature drop. Dave and I had hayed down a bunch of my potted plants awhile back (before an earlier cold blast), so I was really glad that they were still covered and I didn't have all that to do, too. :)
Then there was the problem of keeping my bathrooms warm. With the temperatures going down that cold, some of the outdoor pets had to come inside. My heat already doesn't reach into the back of the house very well, then, with pets inside, I needed to shut off my bathrooms to keep them out of things, especially the bathroom filled with my baby pear trees. So, how to keep my bathrooms just warm enough that they didn't freeze up without really running up the electric bill with a space heater.
This problem had, of course, also come up on the first cold snap we had earlier this year. My redneck solution that I had come up with had worked so well that time, I decided to try it again, and ... it worked like a charm! And, not only did my cheap and simple solution keep my pipes from freezing, but when I went down to the bathroom the next morning, it was toasty warm.
Okay, enough of the suspense ..... so, what did I use? My CROCK POT! I set my small crock pot on the bathroom counter, filled it three-fourths of the way up with water, put the lid on it and turned it on low. Slowly, but surely it warmed the room up beautifully! Crock Pots were made to run for as much as 12 hours or so at a time, so leaving it on all night shouldn't be a problem. But I certainly don't recommend leaving it on for 24-hours at a time, either, nor using it as a daily heater.
Filling it with water is because Crock Pots weren't made to be run empty. And the slight humidity it puts out seems to make the room feel even warmer. As an added bonus, one, frosty, cold night I decided to add a few drops of essential oil to the water in my crock pot. The bathroom smelled fabulous all day, even hours after I had turned the crock pot off!
So, if you find yourself needing a temporary small heater and don't want to go and buy one (or simply just don't want to go in to the store), try your crock pot filled part way up with water. What temp? I start it out on high for about an hour to get it warmed up, then turn it down to low. And to make it do double duty as a room air freshener, add to the water either a few drops of essential oil, a spoon or two of vanilla extract (or your favorite extract), citrus peels, or a sprinkle of spices (ground or whole) such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger or any of your favorites. Just be careful, keep an eye on it, and don't leave your crock pot on longer than safely suggested by the manufacturer.
And this summer, when you think you want to use your crock pot to cook dinner, to keep from heating up your kitchen, remember how well it worked as a heater during the winter!