Subzero temperatures don’t stop Orono couple from sleeping in teepee

Posted Jan. 25, 2013, at 6:06 a.m.
James Winters stands in front of the teepee that he and his wife Laura have slept in nearly every night for the last three and a half years to reconnect with nature at their home in Orono. Winters hopes to move the teepee farther into the woods on their property from its current location in his front yard.
James Winters stands in front of the teepee that he and his wife Laura have slept in nearly every night for the last three and a half years to reconnect with nature at their home in Orono. Winters hopes to move the teepee farther into the woods on their property from its current location in his front yard. Buy Photo
Laura Winters pushes a wheelbarrow full of wood to their teepee that James Winters had started a fire inside on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013.
Laura Winters pushes a wheelbarrow full of wood to their teepee that James Winters had started a fire inside on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013.
Zhenya Winters, 14, enters her family's teepee Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, where her parents Jim and Laura Winters have slept nearly every night for the last three and a half years at their home in Orono.
Zhenya Winters, 14, enters her family's teepee Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, where her parents Jim and Laura Winters have slept nearly every night for the last three and a half years at their home in Orono. Buy Photo
Julian, 7 (from left), Zahabah, 10, and Tzipporah, 11, are  part of the 11-children family that James and Laura Winters of Orono have.
Julian, 7 (from left), Zahabah, 10, and Tzipporah, 11, are part of the 11-children family that James and Laura Winters of Orono have. Buy Photo
Two of the Winters' three teepees are lit up by lights Wednesday evening, Jan. 23, 2013 at their home in Orono. To reconnect with nature, James and Laura Winters have slept in a teepee almost every night for the last three and a half years, including the winter months.
Two of the Winters' three teepees are lit up by lights Wednesday evening, Jan. 23, 2013 at their home in Orono. To reconnect with nature, James and Laura Winters have slept in a teepee almost every night for the last three and a half years, including the winter months. Buy Photo
Laura Winters spreads out her hair after taking a shower and heading to bed outside in her and her husband, James' teepee where the two have slept nearly every night for the last three and a half years at their home in Orono.
Laura Winters spreads out her hair after taking a shower and heading to bed outside in her and her husband, James' teepee where the two have slept nearly every night for the last three and a half years at their home in Orono. Buy Photo
James Winters (right) turns out one of the lights inside his teepee where he and his wife Laura (left) have slept almost every night for the last three and a half years at their Orono home.
James Winters (right) turns out one of the lights inside his teepee where he and his wife Laura (left) have slept almost every night for the last three and a half years at their Orono home. Buy Photo

ORONO, Maine — James and Laura Winters of Orono sleep in a teepee.

Although the couple and several of their 11 children live in a round house, a wooden dome-shaped home on the property, the two have enjoyed nights in their teepee for the last three and a half years. The Winters get through Maine’s sub-zero temperatures with nothing but several blankets, including one electric blanket that plugs into a powerstrip at their bedside.

According to James, sleeping in the tent is a way to reconnect with nature. So much so that they’ve heard a variety of wildlife outside the tent’s canvas walls including coyotes, a fisher cat and even a black bear that came dangerously close one night.

“The moonlight made a silhouette on the canvas and the bear was standing right by us,” James said.

Although James is now armed with a frying pan he has yet to use it.

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