Can I get an AMEN?!
So here's a winter update, and I think some of you who read this blog through last winter will be happy to hear it. The farm is ready for winter, and the farmer is ready to cope. The wood stove has been installed and has been keeping the farmhouse warm, even on nights in the low thirties. I have yet to turn on any oil heat and for a girl who grew up here whole life with heating oil, this feels like I'm cheating on warmth. The last payment to The Stovery has been set up for Friday, which means as of Friday I have entirely completed debts on the chimney installation and hardware. It is a relief I can not describe in words.
There are 4 cords of wood stacked and ready to use in my driveway and under the cover of my side porch. Thanks to the work of folks at Antlerstock my fuel larder is full. Tonight I'll cart in a large load of wood to stack in the mudroom to ensure dry fuel for the coming days. The 1100 square foot farmhouse now has two wood stoves and together they are keeping this home warm and food baked and cooked regardless of the grid's power system, outages, and angry weather. If we lose all electricity due to a horrid storm: me and the farm are okay. I will have a place to prepare food and stay comfy as hell. I also have a few bottles of lamp oil, extra wicks, and candles stored up. Bring it, winter.
The roof was not repaired, but it was patched and the work deemed "get-you-through-this-winter" by a professional roofer. The Daughton boys: Tim and Holden, patched shingles and repaired the rising plywood that would cause water wells and leaks. With a good roof rake and some TLC, the house will remain dry.
Major projects such as the winter horse stall inside the barn was completed this summer, so Jasper has a safe place to ride out the worst of it. Inside the barn with him are four meat rabbits, two pigs, and the occasional chicken. There is a stash of hay, plenty to see us through a while. And winter chicken/pig/sheep fuels such as cracked corn, minerals, and grains. The sheep have their safe house, larger and solid on the hill. Tomorrow I will put down some fresh straw and make it the soft and warm place it will certainly be. The "annex" next door used for rams, sick sheep, and lambing will also be open for any outcasts from the flock to be sheltered from the weather if they choose.
The vehicle I now own is a 2004 4WD V8 pickup, instead of the 2WD 99 4cyl pickup I used to have (my Subaru died last year). It can handle my mountain, and get me to town or work safely. I have stored extra food, water, and plenty of quilts and blankets. There is half a tank of oil in the basement, a fuel-loaded generator just in case, and a landline installed if I need to call for help and my cell isn't charged or working. I have a plow man on call, a stocked first aid kit, waterproof boots, and plenty of knitting and books.
I am ready for this snow, and my farm is ready, too.
That's a lot of growing up in one year!