Staying warm in winter video | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Staying Warm in Winter


How to Keep Warm With One Log

The Editors

Need a smile on a cold winter’s day? Here’s Janice Stillman, editor of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, with a secret on how to keep warm with one stick of wood! Some advice is just timeless. Enjoy this oldie, but goodie. (Humor required!)

Here are a few more tips on how to keep warm.

See a list of best firewood listed by heat value.

2023 Almanac Club

Mary Green (not verified)

2 years 8 months ago

We burn Locust wood - it is as hot and sometimes hotter than Oak and as hard or harder. Why no mention of it? We burn a combination of hot wood and soft wood. I discovered quite by accident if I stuff the wood stove with swamp willow (soft wood - not considered worth burning) over a few pieces of locust and damp down the stove that willow develops the best coals that burn all night - no getting up at 2 AM to reload the wood and the hard goes a lot further in the winter - Michigan.

Reader Comments
Comment from Russ Bellamy on January 16, 2009
Hi Janice,
Could you take that throwing the log out the window thing a little slower. I am from southern California and have relocated to south east Wisconsin and that should come in handy in 10 below weather.
Thanks For The Chuckle,
Russ Bellamy
Comment from Ruffin Denton on January 16, 2009
I had never heard about the last 12 days of January rule the whole year; very interesting
Ruffin Denton
Comment from Richard Sly on January 16, 2009
Hi, I've persuaded my wife to carry the log upstairs and throw it out the window because I like to lay on the couch watching television. I don't feel any warmer. Any suggestions? Would it help if she threw two logs at once out the window? Thanks.
Rich in North Carolina
Comment from Steven Olejnik on January 17, 2009
I was going to try the log trick, but here in Southern California we try to keep the windows closed in the winter... don't want the air conditioner running all day long!
Comment from Virginia Shiller on January 17, 2009
Hi Janice: Excellent "green" suggestion! I must admit your one log strategy keeps you just as warm as lounging in front of the fire. Except it's not quite as cozy. But no struggle with starting the blaze. Ginny Shiller in CT
Comment from Gerry Rotchford on January 18, 2009
Here in the city of Philadelphia, I may hit someone on the head with that log. So I just carry the wash up stairs and look out the window. Thanks for the advice anyway. Gerry in Philly GO E A G L E S
Comment from luna terry on January 18, 2009
that was great. not only will it keep you warm but it will help you keep in shape.

Comment from jamey milam on January 19, 2009
that was funny but it would work
Comment from Richard Sly on January 19, 2009
I resemble that remark.
Comment from Tony Dobert on January 21, 2009
I had never heard about the last twelve days of Jan. either, interesting indeed.
Comment from Stephen O'Connor on January 21, 2009
Reminds me of the old saying, "Wood warms you twice...once while gathering it, once while you burn it." Now all I need to do is add a second story to my home!
Comment from Bill horn on January 22, 2009
What did you do? My wife keeps taking me upstairs and trying to throw me out of the window... and she keeps calling me log head?
Comment from sandra jones on January 22, 2009
Loved this video! Great mix of weather info and humor. Enjoy this site, thank you!
Comment from cecil dye on January 22, 2009
Don't try this while intoxicated,inebriated or plain drunk!!!!
Comment from Terry Stout on January 22, 2009
LOL!!! As you were going along, I couldn't figure out what on earth you were doing. Very Funny. Thanks.
Comment from Corinne Devyak on January 22, 2009
I was riveted! What? A tip I've not heard yet?!?!?! Impossible! The version of the saying I'd heard was "Chop Wood ... Stay Warm Twice!"
Nice bit of dry wry Yankee humor there, Thanks Much, I sincerely needed that.
Comment from Janice Stillman on January 22, 2009
You all got me thinking about the wood-warming adage. There is "Wood warms you twice: once when you cut it, and once when you burn it." Then there is "Wood warms you thrice: once when you cut it, once when you stack it, and once when you burn it." Carrying should count, too!
Thanks for taking the time to watch this segment. Gladyou enjoyed it. We look forward to doing more.

Comment from Wendy Snipes on January 22, 2009
What does it mean the last 12 days of January rule the whole year? I'm in South Carolina. If it's in the 50's (which I consider warm for January), does that mean we're going to have a really HOT summer? Just curious
Comment from Mary Sheldon on January 22, 2009
One bad thing about your one log theory, everytime you open the window to throw the log out the heat goes out and the cold comes in and the furnace kicks on! But getting exercise is a great suggestion no matter what the weather!
Comment from jo squire on January 22, 2009
Delightful ending. Made me smile and laugh on a cold winter day. Thank you.
Comment from Richard Sly on January 23, 2009
What a great tip and great comments. I better go hide from the wife. We have an attic room with a window meaning a three three story fall.
Comment from Debbie James on January 23, 2009
Very cute....but we like to burn our wood...it keeps the house nice and warm and we save $$$ on our heating bill. The Almanac has been fairly accurate with the predictions around here, Aldergrove, BC,Canada. We had our snowfall, boy did we ever, over the Christmas holidays, then turned cold, but sunny.We then had a brief spell when it warmed up a bit, and now we are back to cold weather, but no more snow thank goodness.....I look forward to reading your newsletters while staying warm inside.....looking forward to Spring now. Debbie James
Comment from Susan Eisert on January 24, 2009
A really cute video!! Please explain in further detail that the last 12 days in January rule the whole year. Thanks.
Comment from Pete Whitney on January 24, 2009
I like the idea of one log for the winter. Unfortunately, after spending 8 days without heat, lights and water, we had to sacrifice the one log with many of its "friends" . Weep, weep. Poor logs gave up their lives to keep us warm. Maybe next year, one log will work.
Comment from sudie kinsington on January 24, 2009
Our winter weather here in south Alabama is so erratic that there are mornings that the heat is cranked up but then by the afternoon we have the air conditioner running. Right now it's a nice 65 degrees. That will probably change by tomorrow ! As we say, if you don't like the weather, just wait a bit. God bless all of you people slogging through the snow and ice.
Comment from Bob Hanks on January 24, 2009
Your video was cute and informative, however, its is difficult to relate to in South Texas. We use logs to Bar-B-Que brisket. At night it is in the mid to upper 40's. In the day time in lower 70's. Man it's really been nice. I see reports all the time about how cold it gets up North and I am sorry for all you folks that have to endure all that snow and ice. Come visit us in South Texas but please keep all that cold weather up there.
Comment from Lawrence England on January 26, 2009
My dog ( Pug Henry ) loves this I throw the log out of the window and he fetches it and brings it back to me then leans up against me ! This works almost as good as hugging my horse to keep warm !
Comment from Janice Stillman on January 26, 2009 Thanks again for all of your comments. (We are getting a few giggles out this, too!) Re the adage "the last twelve days of January rule the whole year": The idea is that the last twelve days are harbingers of the weather conditions for the remainder of the year, and, presumably, into the next January. There are numerous such folklorish forecasts: ? The first three days of January rule the coming three months. ? It will be the same weather for nine weeks as it is on the ninth day after Christmas. ? The general character of the weather during the last twenty days of March, June, September, or December will rule the following seasons. These and others echo predictions believed to be indicated by the quarterly Ember Days, designated on our Calendar pages and explained in the Glossary of Almanac Oddities in the Almanac. You can also read about the Ember Days on this page of our Web site.
Thanks again for your interest!

Comment from Stephen Beavers on January 28, 2009
Great advice; but I'll bet that cutting that log will give off more heat. If you don't belive me try it sometime.

Comment from Joe Perez on January 28, 2009
I'm sure this would work for me if my home was 2 stories. So my rendition is to cit in my yard and count the logs I stacked last year for my BBQ grill. As far as the last 12 days of January. The last week has gone from 75 degrees to today where the high has been 34 degrees. I guess I'll just keep my BBQ grill cooking. :-)
Comment from k s on January 29, 2009
Comment from diane kronsberg on January 29, 2009
LOL We figured it out when you walked up the stairs.No chance of being a cold couch 'tater here we stay warm chasing around a 8 month old grandson!
Comment from Lillian Hobbs on January 29, 2009
Hmm Wonder if that works,lol. I just love your site;the advice for the week and month;the recipes;my newsletters,tips,folklore wit and wisdom.I just love everything,thanks for sharing.
Comment from Marc Carofano on January 29, 2009
Very Funny but since I live in a one story house I instead use a window that is far away from the outside door. This way I have to walk the long way around to get it back and do it again. Now if I could just find away for one log to keep me warm when I'm sleeping at night!
Comment from Dawn Grunden on January 29, 2009
its wood warms ya trice when cutting when hauling and when ya burn it love the exercise idea guess if i had enough strength could toss it up n over my trailer then zip through the trail out othe door to get it and toss it back over and back through in sure my neighbors would think i have flipped my noodle LOL

Comment from Heidi Kern on January 30, 2009
Awesome advice !! Thank you.
Comment from Tommy Lee on January 31, 2009
Not only does that keep you warm but it helps with those holiday pounds,ha ha. Any tips on a good compost recipe for my garden? I get used coffee grounds from all the starbucks in the area, so far I just throw them in the garden by themselves. Thoughts?

Comment from LOIS BURROUGHS on January 31, 2009
Indiana here! Love the coat! How can I get one?
Comment from Russell Martin on February 1, 2009
The log trick is cute. Can't wait to try it out on my wife and kid's.

Comment from Brian Duggan on February 1, 2009
HA ha ha. My two girls have been having a blast throwing wood. Now I'm going to teach them "how much wood would a wood chuck chuck,"!!

Comment from Janice Stillman on February 1, 2009
Hey, Lois in Indiana, The coat is a hand-me-over / second-hand / gift from a woman who moved to Florida several years ago (thank you, Carol!). Never thought I'd get so much use of it. Now I won't give it up. H.D. Thoreau said it first and best: "Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes."

Comment from Linda Giberson on February 5, 2009
Oh my goodness that was hilarious~!!!!! Being home sick today, my thoughts were, "Laughter is sure the BEST medicine~!" I wish my Dad in WI had a computer I'd send it to him~! Today in the KC area it's around 60 degrees.

Comment from Lynda Ruiz on February 9, 2009
Ditto on the not opening the windows to let the air conditioning out! We are "Freezing" in Southern California this week - highs in low 60's!

Comment from Jesse Mason on February 10, 2009
Hi Janice, Enjoyed the video very much. Being from the Boston Mountains of Arkansas I have heard the January rule all my life Also we burned wood for cooking, Washing, and heat so very early in life I found all the ways to get warm from wood. Thanks for the laugh

Comment from ARTHUR TOUPIN on February 10, 2009

Comment from Azar ATTURA on February 11, 2009
If I tried that I'd have the cops at my front door in a heartbeat-- I'm on the 5th floor.