I keep trying to post here and my computer crashes in the middle. Oh well. Try again.
I get the feeling that the Northeast is still, (by a fairly hefty margin) the most expensive place to buy electricity. Our governor is thanking the legislature for not letting his deregulation plan through, but we are paying A LOT for the hydro quebec power that we are not even using. And wages aren't a lot higher here than in California, (particularly if you're self employed).
Reen-- 55 windows???!!! Wow! My stone house has 20! What have you done to insulate? We put in foam, figuring that the amount of oil we didn't burn would make up for the resources used for the foam. the savings paid for the job in 7-8 years. Our kitchen still isn't done but one wall of it is below grade, and half of another joins the main house (and is solid stone) so it is not so bad when there is a good fire in the stove. The people who lived here before us paid $350/month for oil (15 years ago!) and used a cord of wood/month. We use 3-400 gallons of oil a year, and maybe a cord and a half a year. So I guess we're improving on the situation.
Harlow-- the heat in a stone house doesn't leave through the floors (or at least not mine-I have a basement so my floors are wood) No, it leaves through the walls, constantly. Until we got the place and insulated it, we were told most people rented the place from May to January, when th ecost got so high and the place so cold, they figured that they might as well live in a snowbank...
Andrea, got any pictures of your salt dough work? I'd love to see!