Thursday, August 2, 2012

winter prep update

Yesterday I made the decision that the 30 bales delivered by Common Sense Farm would remain in the barn, untouched. They are needed for winter and if I want to start stockpiling I need to start now. The hay was delivered as a barter. I have a friend who raises hair sheep in Hebron and I asked Othniel (head honcho on CSF) if he would be interested in trading feeder lambs for hay? Since his farm grows hay, and I could pay cash for the sheep, I would deliver the lambs and he could pay me in more hay than I could buy with the same amount of money I used for the sheep. So if I spent 200 bucks on lambs, he would deliver 300 bucks worth of hay. Everyone wins because I get more hay for my money, the farmer sells sheep, and Othniel gets livestock without spending a dime. So yesterday we talked with the sheep farmer, and put some deposit hay in my barn, and soon two yummy lambs will be delivered to Common Sense.

This is the kind of thing I have been working with to prepare for winter. Ways to save money and still have what I need. I have decided I will need four cords of firewood (I have one now), 200 bales of hay (I have 30), two chimneys professionally cleaned (I know people do this themselves but I am scared of heights, don't own a ladder, and would feel better having someone qualified do it) and some money set aside, just a bit, in case of truck repairs or snow-related complications. That is my goal. Yesterday I chipped away at it and bought 6 extra bales from Nelson Green on the way home from Hebron to use now so I don't have to touch the larger stash. I asked Nelson when his second cutting would be in and he said next week. It was good to see him, and catch up. I had not seen him all summer and last time he was dealing with lung and breathing issues. Yesterday he was on the riding mower in his classic navy blue dickies and work shirt, strong as an ox.

I have some bills to take care of first, but soon as I can wrangle it I will order and stack that first cord of firewood (well, second) and when I have 100 bales of hay put up and 2 cords of wood I'll feel a lot better. I know it was just July but before you know it I'll be driving home from the Mother Earth News Fair in PA and calling Port-a-potty vendors about Antlerstock. A girl has got to act when her gut says act. Right now, my gut is only thinking about dead grass and trees.


Blogger daisy said...

Love the bartering system. Everyone wins!

I saw your picture on the ad in MEN. So happy for you! It's all coming together, farmer.

August 2, 2012 at 7:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mostly just curious her, are you able to heat your entire house with only 5 face cord of wood per heating season? Or are you talking 5 full cords?
I ask because most people I know use about 12-15 face cord.
We use about 7 face cord in our super insulated earth sheltered home.

August 2, 2012 at 7:35 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I need to see this picture, which issue?!

August 2, 2012 at 7:40 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Don, my house is \SUPER small. I only live in about 900 square feet (upstairs and down) and it is insulated and the old cielings are only 7-8 feet tall at the highest point. I can touch my kitchen ceiling on my tiptoes and I am 5'3"!! So 4 full cords is enough to keep me toasty.

August 2, 2012 at 7:41 AM  
Anonymous TashaMarie said...

Jenna --

We bought a Soot Eater last year for our wood stove (, and it works awesome! The fire crew guys around here that inspected the stove for our insurance said that it's an awesome product and well worth the cost. I know you don't have a ton of money, but if you can't barter for the cleaning, this might be a really good idea for you!

Also, YAY to only four cords of wood! Our home's small, but a little larger than yours (1250 sq. ft.) and we only went through 5.5 cords last year. Don't you just love small buildings! I guess the "American average" is something like 2500 sq. ft., how anyone can heat that, I have no idea!

August 2, 2012 at 8:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's impressive Jenna!

I think 900sq is the perfect size. :)

August 2, 2012 at 8:20 AM  
Blogger August Johnson said...

"I need to see this picture, which issue?!"

August/September 2012 page 33

August 2, 2012 at 8:38 AM  
Blogger J.D. said...

Jenna, starting urban winter prep today. Thanks for the reminder.

August 2, 2012 at 8:41 AM  
Blogger Louis said...

I assume that you are buying ready-to-burn (split and seasoned) wood, which of course is the most expensive kind. You will save a lot of money if you can split and season it yourself, but this means getting one year ahead on your supply, not waiting until the last minute. If you really want to save money, buy log length and get a chainsaw.

August 2, 2012 at 8:44 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

We harvested the first cord off the farm, but with less than 2 acres of forest it isn't good forestry or practical to cut from it every year. I also can not afford a splitter and chainsaw right now. Perhaps someday. Right now I can expect to pay 600 bucks in wood, but that heats the entire winter. I am down to less than 100 gallons of backup oil every 6 months and that is just because I don't have a solar hot water heater yet!

August 2, 2012 at 8:49 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

you are doing a good thing winter prepping this early! My only suggestion is to get your hay as fast as you can. With the drought in the midwest you can expect hay to go at a premium as we get closer to winter. We just bought enough hay and grass to hopefully get us thru to early next summer. We do have pasutre but it's burnt to a crisp right now so we need as much as we can get.

We have a house that's quite a bit larger than yours but way under the 2500 sqft norm these days and last winter we went thru 75 gal of heating fule and 3.5 full cords of wood. I had about 6 cords stacked and I have 4 cords waiting to stack right now so I think we'll be fine for a while.

Jenna you are an amazing woman and such an inspiration. Congrats on working toward your goals and keep the posts coming they are a highlight in my day.

August 2, 2012 at 9:11 AM  
Blogger Michelle Huddleston said...

Good idea to get an early start. Isn't that what summer is for?

August 2, 2012 at 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our winter preparations here in PA start in early June. With the drought in the midwest, I am thankful that we have baled and stored our first cutting of hay in the barn for our driving draft and cart pony, rabbits and chickens. Looking forward to our second cutting the end of this month which will be sold for profit.

Our superinsulated all brick 2200 sf home only uses 1 tank of oil a year-about $600 worth and we have wood cut from our fallen trees- dried and stored for our woodburning stove in the workshop.

Pumpkins and onions store all winter in the basement and I will be picking and freezing from the garden up until frost. Green tomatoes picked and stored in the basement on trays, just before 1st frost in November will slowly ripen and provide us with fresh tomatoes through January.

Looking forward to expanding the garden next year and adding a pair of dairy goats to our farm.
Heather in PA

August 2, 2012 at 1:18 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home