Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A quiet Thanksgiving in the first storm of the season.

Winter has been here for a bit in terms of temperature, but we finally have our first major snow storm of the year. It made for a somewhat interesting Thanksgiving. I'm glad that I didn't expect to be doing a post on Thanksgiving day because we didn't have electricity that day, some of the day before, and some of the day after. Fortunately we had a lot of snow because that also means we didn't have water which got inconvenient fast with a lactating mom in the house.

As a note for those of you who do photography, if you want a nice photo of the inside of your house lit by oil lantern and wood stove, A: Use a nice camera instead of a cell phone, and B: do it with proper lighting rig instead of in authentic lighting conditions. The photo Left demonstrates quite nicely why. The funny part is both of us were able to read in the lighting just fine. It just doesn't photograph well in the slightest. For those of you who can't tell what you're looking at, that's our living room with the Lady of the House holding an oil lantern standing near the wood stove with the Critter in the foreground.
 That said, outside the house it was beautiful if a bit stark. You've already seen the setting of the chicken coop. The girls were not thrilled by the idea of going out in the snow around them, and objected most strongly. Only a few of them came out at all, and the Rhode Island Red is showing why her breed is a homesteading favorite. The Cinnamon Queens are just refusing to come out most of the time with snow on the ground, and the rooster, Mr. Bond barely comes out. The Rhode Island Red on the other hand is out and about, and eating her fill of anything and everything she wants because the others are so reluctant to come out and do anything in this offensive white mess all around them. I know there were times I was frustrated with having to go outside at all in the whole situation, so I can't blame them.
One of the big things I had to do was clear the driveway of course. Yes, Above is the driveway, not just another section of the woods. You can tell because of the power line in the top right of the photo. I don't know if you can tell, but there are a lot of trees touching the ground in the driveway which is a bit inconvenient for snow clearing. I just walked along and hit them with a stick before running the snow blower down the driveway which got much of the snow off enough for the branches to get at least above ground level. 

Even some of the larger trees were leaning, and we had a lot of downed branches of various sizes around the property. Spring clean up is going to be all kinds of fun this year. At least we're going to have lots of wood for a mid summer bonfire, and kindling for next winter though.
Speaking of wood, since we were dependent on the wood stove for all of our heat and water melting for a couple days, we got a good assessment of how much wood that was going to take, which was fairly reasonable. It's difficult for me to quantify how much wood we used up other than to say we used less than a third of one pallet of wood. We had a total of 11 loaded pallets of wood coming out to around 5.5 cords if I counted properly. As a side note, melting snow to water isn't quite as simple as just melting snow to water would seem. For one thing, it takes quite a lot of snow to make water which requires a lot of trips in and out which I tried to minimize. For another, without running water your hands don't get washed much. I ended up having to throw out a lot of water because I got some kerosene on my hands when setting up the oil lamps, and that contaminated nearly an hour of work getting water. It didn't end up being a huge problem because we were able to get out and get to the Community House and use that to get water for the rabbits, but in a real emergency it would have been a problem for the rabbits and chickens in specific. We need to re think our stored water for emergencies supply as that was the only real problem we had over the extended power outage. There is still a lot of snow left on the ground, but we are doing fairly well now, and with power back we're able to get back to life as normal, just the winter life instead of the more pleasant rest of the year life.
This month is going to probably have fewer posts than normal due to the holidays, but other than Christmas and the Tuesday before New Years barring major problems there should be normal posts. I'm going to be talking about planning, day to day as usual, and some of the really interesting things to think about with sustainability, homesteading, and children. Diapers in specific.

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