Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cold dawn, and winter concerns.

I'm not a huge fan of waking and getting chores done during pre-dawn twilight, but there are some advantages to it. Really spectacular morning skies like this are certainly part of it, even if I can't quite capture the real colors with my cell phone camera. Came out better than expected once I gave it some editing. Anyhow, winter is here officially for me, though technically I guess it isn't. At the point where we've had snow, and a nice solid sheet of ice I say we have winter. That doesn't mean we haven't been getting the last things done we can. I'd intended to talk about the local farming forum in town today, but yesterday the Lady of the House needed an extra pair of hands with the Critter so I didn't end up being able to go. Hopefully there will be more of those.

I mentioned getting mulch down on the garlic beds, and here's a photo of most of it. Due to the curve of the hill I couldn't get a good photo of all of it at once since it includes the front of the L shaped bed we have out front. We got the last of that done this weekend with some help from friends. I had care of the Critter for most of the mid day on Saturday when we had help so I was mostly supervisory for the re mulching of the last parts of the bed. We also got the last of the wood stacked and ready to go as you can see Below. For that since I was wearing the Critter I was able to use one hand to move and stack the logs so I was able to help out with that at least so I wasn't just absorbing the generosity of others, though there was a lot of that going on this weekend since I'm still fairly worn right now. I had intended to get work done on the still unfinished 3x6 hutch, but it just wasn't going to get done this weekend since the Critter has been a bit fussy taking time and energy.
Our primary concerns for this winter homestead wise are not too many. For one, making sure we have enough wood given how much more we are going to be using keeping the house 65 - 70 instead of 55 - 60 which in the past has been my inclination. I think that with 5.5ish cords of wood we should be ok but we'll be ok. A second one is that after having the Critter I don't have much if any paid time off left, and due to the situation at my work I can't take unpaid time off which means I absolutely have to be able to get out to get to work. I'm going to need to make sure we have enough fuel in the snowblower and that it's in proper working condition before the real snows hit. I haven't given it a good solid look over since mid summer when I made sure it ran cleanly. I am a little concerned how it's going to do over the new water bars in the driveway since I'm not a pro and I ended up making them a bit bigger than I probably should have. The other thing we were going to try to do this weekend was level out one of the humps and fill in some of the developing ditches, but the work we did earlier has cemented to the point you can't get a shovel in it jumping up and down on the shovel. That's good for durability, but it does mean that for doing more maintenance I'm going to need to get more crush, and I'm not sure I have the time or the money to do that before first snow. That means that we have a much greater chance of losing a section of the driveway in spring melt which is our last big worry over winter on the homestead front.

Beyond that there's always the worries of raising Critter well and taking care of day to day life and job stuff as well, but that's a whole different topic. I need to write about some of the interesting notes I have about cloth diapering and breast feeding when it comes to homesteading, and sustainable lifestyle in general. I'll see if I can do that Thursday. As with everything right now, no promises.

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