Wednesday, August 1, 2012

winter is coming

Fall is coming, faster than ever before. That's how it feels to me anyway. Now that I'm self employed and the company money stopped coming in, getting hay and firewood squared away requires a little more resourcefulness. I have two months to get in my 250 bales of hay, 4 cords of firewood, and some money set aside to cover any winter emergencies like truck repairs or snow removal. It's a little scary, actually. Not in a debilitating way, just the amount that has to be done before snowfly.

Today 30 bales of hay are being delivered, which due to limited pasture will be eaten before winter. I'll get one big delivery in the fall and load whatever I can in the barn and then rest under tarps behind the barn. It'll do. Firewood will be delivered a cord at a time as I can swing the wood fee. If anyone out there in interested in workshop barters for hay or firewood, send an email.

What are you doing to prepare your homes for winter?


Blogger Glyndalyn said...

Good morning, Jenna. We were lucky enough to get wood in a couple months ago because an appropriate tree fell. Summer garden is in. We still must get the yard, garden, and shop winterized, winter clothes inspected and mended. Neighbor has hay for the cattle.

We have always used what we produced. For the first time, I am planning sell some homestead products at the annual yard sale in our tiny hamlet Aug. 24 and 25.

Planning to sew, knit, and quilt for winter projects.

The Phony Farm in TN

August 1, 2012 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger goatgirl said...

Firewood and hay is exactly what we do too. Got the firewood. Got the hay. We're ready!

August 1, 2012 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

Usually for us it's a matter of buying as much hay as we can before it sells out. Although this year, with the arrival of the baby and the loss of my salary, we're discussing selling our goat herd. It pains us to do it, but they're costly to feed and not producing anything for us right now (also, we barely have time to care for them properly).

We also get firewood delivered and usually get our chimney cleaned in early fall. We don't really start thinking much about winter until early October or so - it's 108 here today. :( We do notice the shift you describe, but it arrives later. For me, it's always the day I look outside and notice that the late afternoon sunlight looks different - longer and lower. That's when I know it's time.

August 1, 2012 at 11:44 AM  
Anonymous cowgirl said...

OK. I LOVE FALL, so have to jump into this gets me rather excited about life (well, more than usual!).

Until five years ago, we heated primarily with a woodstove and before husband and children entered my life, I had used wood as the only heat source for eleven years. Awesome heat. just awesome.

Now we use it as secondary heat, but still go through lots of wood. This is great because there are always down trees to clean up. My kids grew up hauling, splitting, stacking, and relying on wood. Wonderful.

That said, we are soon going to cut our third cutting of hay (we are only down 14 inches of rain this year so far). We make alot of big bales and about 200 small squares per year, so still have many left from last year. This is pretty crucial here in drought-land, since if you can't feed your cows, they go to the sale barn. aaauugh.

Other readying mentalities?: writing down explicit directions to operate the generator just in case....

Cleaning tack, getting horse shod, and staying on diet so I look good in my new Kerrits 8-) are also Fall readiness items. I ride primarily in the Fall.

I froze 30 qt of sweet corn and have a zillion apples coming on, plus grapes. I think I will buy lots of onions and green peppers and tomatoes at the Farmers' Market and freeze and can as well.

Mentally I am figuring how to deal with mud and snow tracked in (no good mud room), and keep the large canine clean (well sort of).

Bedding for the cows in winter is crucial, so planning for cornstalk bales is necessary.

And most important, my skid loader must get equipped with different tracks. They make my life MUCH SMOOTHER in the winter. Expensive, but better than being stuck on the flat with hungry girls mooing at one's helpless continence.

Sorry for the extreme post, but I am so tired of 100 degrees; I want crisp turtleneck-wearing days!!

August 1, 2012 at 11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

La la la la la la. I can't hear you... (fingers in ears)

Seriously though, we'll be harvesting tomatoes well into October 'round here. But one item of winter prep is already on the agenda: this year we have to have a kidding shed/hay barn built, as we have exceeded our capacity in the current building. Normal winter prep mainly involves splitting wood and cleaning gutters, but I'm waiting until all our 90+ degree weather is out of the way first!

August 1, 2012 at 12:15 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

My riding instructor keeps extra hay and shavings in an old horse trailer and old tractor trailer on her property. Not the prettiest of things but they work well.

I have started my canning (pickles this week) and freezing (I think I have enough pesto to feed a small army!), I always think of the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle when I see a full chest freezer- my idea of homeland security.

August 1, 2012 at 12:26 PM  
Blogger Cait said...

We have 300 bales of straw for bedding tucked away and enough hay to see us through the winter. With the trees that fell over the past year we are well on our way to having enough firewood too - the shed is bursting at the seams already!

With the drought here we are already feeding hay and our garden has been bumped on the priority list for water below the animal's, human's and cheese making needs. This summer/fall will likely see more farmers market purchases of veggies for preserving rather than using our own, unfortunately!

August 1, 2012 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger The Village Queen said...

Jenna, saw these on another bloggers site and had to tell you about them if you dont already know. Right up your alley! Cuppow Mason Jar Travel Lids. Go see. Mixed with your knitted warmers, no more coffee in the lap! Hope you have good luck finding hay, really bad year for it all over.

August 1, 2012 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger PansWife said...

Wood - check (mostly bartered with local arborists and tree cutters)

Hay - no need, except to throw on slippery mud.

Garden produce - in the works. Put up some sauerkraut today, still eating the other stuff fresh.

Great new roof - check (saved for 5 years)

Big basket of books and looking for Kindle bargins - in process

New lap blanket on sale at Home Goods - check

Gently used ice skates from Ebay - check

Knitted shawl - 3/4ths finished

All-wheel drive vehicle checkup - not done yet.

I don't technically work in the winter, so I don't look to spend money, but I do put aside extra cash in case something goes wrong- thus I'm still padding the cold weather emergency fund for those unplanned for disasters. It's an endless process of never enough. I have no faith in corporate insurance and have always done it on my own.

August 1, 2012 at 3:05 PM  
Blogger Tiffrz-N-Kidz said...

Fall? We just are starting Second Summer here in TX. What you call Fall we call Third Summer. :-) In all seriousness, same as you. Gathering wood and hay.

August 1, 2012 at 3:59 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

Fall is starting to show itself here in NW Washington state. Leaves are turning their lovely gold and red, and those that haven't turned yet have begon taken on that scraggly look they get near summer's end.

August 1, 2012 at 4:08 PM  
Blogger redbird said...

Was just thinking the other day that I can feel fall somehow even though it’s quite toasty still...must be a state of mind I'm starting to sense. What am I doing for winter? Getting ready to put another round of seeds in the garden, getting the outside rabbit hutch area ready, and washing those screens on the window in anticipation of letting some cool fresh air in!

August 1, 2012 at 5:23 PM  
Blogger Becca said...

We're moving from a house with some land in New Mexico to an apartment in Georgia before the end of this month. So our winter preparations are going to be vastly different than they have been in the past. No more will we have to worry about the well pump freezing or keeping the chickens warm in sub zero temperatures. And I'm kind of sad to be leaving the land and house behind, but someone new will buy it and love it better than I ever could. And that thought makes me happy. And who knows, maybe there will be a patio garden in the new apartment once we get settled.

August 1, 2012 at 5:36 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

I think of Simon and Garfunkle singing "August, die she must....". We are winding down swim lessons at the lake, plucking tomatoes, watching pumpkin flowers anxiously, inspecting the watermelon daily, and preparing to store a lot of potatos. I'm ready to see my breath again.

August 1, 2012 at 6:10 PM  
Blogger Moose Hollow Farm said...

We are looking at used wood stoves that are more efficient than the one that we have now ~ we heat solely with wood. We have about a cord of wood left from last year so we need to get about 2 more cord in soon. We just harvested all of our potatoes and will be putting them in the basement tonight. In their spot in the garden, I will be putting in some lettuce and peas tomorrow (late summer harvest). We are gathering extra supplies for our chickens ~ hay, shavings and storing them in our barn.

August 1, 2012 at 6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in an apartment, so no wood or hay for me. But I do put food by and stock up on staples, double-check candles and lanterns for power outages, winterize my bike (as much as possible), and do a general clean-out before we shut everything up and hunker down for the cold. This year, I'm also looking at getting a good camp stove and a large water filter to have on hand, and maybe a pressure canner. Personally, though, my favourite winter prep is to pull out the warm wool clothing and blankets and stock up on tea and secondhand novels to have ready for afternoons settled in on the couch.

August 1, 2012 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger The Polar Bear said...

i felt fall in the air for the first time today down in the mountains of north carolina. october is my favorite, too.

August 1, 2012 at 6:53 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

We've been in high gear canning and stocking up on what we'll need for food this winter. Got 44 quarts of tomatoes put up, ready for stews, chili and spaghetti/pizza sauce and ketchup, plus a bunch of other preserved and dried food. And we still have plenty of frozen goods from spring in the freezer, too. Yes, storing fuel is huge (we have a pellet stove and will be buying 1.5 tons of pellets soon) but to me food is the most important thing, to ensure I'm reaching into my cupboard in December instead of wandering around the grocery store aisles.

August 1, 2012 at 6:56 PM  
Blogger Victoria said...

1. This post title makes me think of Game of Thrones. :)
2. I'm so ready for Fall & Winter. I like this heat, but I'm ready for scarves and sweaters. But then again, I'm used to Southern winters which would probably feel like Fall to you Yankees.
To prepare, I'm stocking up the freezer and pantry and getting the house in order.

August 1, 2012 at 7:46 PM  
Anonymous H said...

Hah! I just spent the better part of today splitting and stacking firewood (I have a gas-powered splitter - we burn over 14 facecords to heat our home - are you getting 4 full cords or facecords??). We live on many acres of woodland, so most of our wood is naturally felled :)

Hay is not an issue as I have no livestock, but I am a knitter and am just putting the finishing touches on an Icelandic wool sweater for my husband. Snow removal is also not an issue as we have a plow here just waiting to be hooked up to the truck. Chest freezer is filling up nicely, need to contact the local beef farmer for my fall/winter order of roasts, steaks, ground beef, etc.

August 1, 2012 at 8:29 PM  
Anonymous iacowgirl said...

H: What is a facecord?

August 1, 2012 at 11:40 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I have 2 cuppows!

August 2, 2012 at 6:58 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

a facecord, I believe, is a stack of wood 4 feet high by 8 feet long but not 4 feet deep like a cord proper. Meaning, just the face but not a small amount of wood either!

August 2, 2012 at 6:59 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

and I would say cords, H. Not facecords.I have 2 woodstoves and they each go through 2 cords in high winter.

August 2, 2012 at 7:06 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I totally thought of the House Stark as I wrote it!

August 2, 2012 at 8:46 AM  
Anonymous H said...

Cord vs. face cord is substantially different re: volume. I'll just let Wikipedia explain ;-)

August 2, 2012 at 9:55 AM  
Anonymous H said...

Oops, I see Jenna already explained - sorry for the repetition!

August 2, 2012 at 9:57 AM  
Anonymous icg said...

Thanks guys for the facecord definition!

Now back to the 94 temps today, gasping corn and beans, and cows eating their winter hay 8-). Where are those autumnal temperatures??? At least I feel inspired to get up early and do a run/walk attempt before the heat!

August 2, 2012 at 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately have no livestock to care for (yet), so just prep for 2 humans + 2 dogs. We are not quite far north as the Wall, but it feels damn close some winter days. Prep so far:
Replaced the well pump motor.
Get septic dumped every September.
Canning like a madwoman, about 100 pint jars so far & will do 100-120 pounds of tomatoes by August end, and come September about 4 bushels of apples as sauce/slices/pie filling.
Running the food dehydrator 24/7 to handle CSA overflow.
Just bought a chest freezer & filling it with as much farmstand produce as possible(& looking into buying bulk pastured meat from a nearby farm).
Blanching & freezing ears of corn, as I fear it will be a luxury item soon.
Checking the generator & have fuel on hand to run it. Also checking the several strings of tiny LED white Christmas tree lights to ensure they work since last year. (These are great to use for ambient lighting when living off a genny during power outages. They have negligible power draw on the genny. Drape a few strings along the floor runway-like, or along the walls. Outdoor strings work to illuminate the yard. As genny must always chained up & padlocked when outside, note to self, find that padlock key...
Stocked up on lamp oil & got 2 lamps ($5 at Goodwill!), as I learned the hard way I cannot see to knit by candlelight.
Stock up on dog food. I keep at least a 2 month supply on hand in winter.
Ditto for toilet paper and coffee.
Spray waterproofer on snowboots.
Organize the shovels, salt, and other snow/ice removal tools.

Your post is so timely. A few days ago I noted the goldenrod was in full blazing glory, my annual signal for ending-of-summer. The world looked positively golden as I took my evening walk the hour before sunset. It's warm & muggy today, but the signs are all there. And the LL Bean fall catalogue arrived yesterday.


August 2, 2012 at 12:07 PM  

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