One big consideration for us is dealing with the cold.
Dealing with the cold in the Bay Area used to mean tough decisions like which hoodie to wear, if I could still pull of flip-flops in December or just give in to close-toed shoes, and finally pants. If I should wear them...
I remember having grown up in San Diego I used to take pride in the fact that I never once wore a pair of long pants in my entire four years of high school. It was as I was headed to college that my sister sat me down and explained to me that women just prefer guys in pants over shorts. I finally broke down and bought... some track pants. Needless to say I didn't start dating until after college.
Before Liz and I made it out to Montana there was a cold snap (snap!) that was hitting the country and I was frequently seeing temperatures down to -20F in Ennis. I started what I called the "Ennis Watch", which was to check the weather every day and then imagine what it would be like to wear all my clothes at the same time.
Here are the average temperatures in Ennis for the next few months according to Wikipedia:
It's 34F right now and Google says it will be a high of 43F tomorrow. Our first reaction when we saw this was "wow, it's gonna be so warm tomorrow!". Only two weeks in and we're already groveling for the 40's.
Our main way of keeping warm is something that is new to both Liz and I: a wood-pellet stove. The fuel is wood pellets (what!) which are recycled sawdust and wood shavings, so you get to feel warm and good about yourself at the same time. Bonus!
These come in a nice 40lb bag that admonishes all the benefits of using wood pellets as a fuel source.
And finally all those nice little wood pellets are thrown into the stove itself. There is an auger that rotates every so often, feeding wood pellets to the fire below.
We're burning through about a bag a day as we leave it running the entire time we're home, so we went into Bozeman and bought a month's supply. 1200lbs of wood pellets later and we were set. Buddy (our Expedition) did a great job of hauling it back for us.
I feel rich every time I see this pile. I think to myself "why, I could heat my house for a month! Come everyone, come and be warmed by this abundance!". That's how I've come to define wealth now, wood pellet supply. I'll walk into someone's house for the first time and spy their pile of pellets and think "... poor bastard, this guy's only got a week's worth... either he likes living on the edge or this family has fallen on some hard times...".
Winter, real winter, is a new concept to Liz and I. The idea that a different time of year has an entirely different wardrobe is an adjustment. I've also setup a humidifier, which helps with the sensation of warmth (not to mention hopefully prevents us from getting shocked by everything we touch). I think we have fairly well tackled the cold from a living perspective.
Oh and having about 5" of covers on top of you when you sleeps helps too.