Friday, December 21, 2012

Safe As Houses

When I woke up this morning to the howls, literal howls, of intense wind—I didn't think the world was coming to an end—but I did think a few days of electric use would...

I love this mountain home. It's safe, sustainable, and protected the best way a home can be. There's windbreaks, fresh water, and high enough on a mountain that water still needs to run downhill so flooding is nearly impossible. I don't live near any volcanoes, or on top of any fault lines. There's a forest full of game, and farm fields far as the eye can see. For someone who lives a Hobbit Life like me, it's darn near Xanadu. But if you want to live in a homesteader's dream spot it means giving up some things, too. For me, that means reliable electricity. If a tree moves in the wind you can pretty much count on losing power.

Cold Antler Farm is halfway up a mountain. The power lines have to compete with elevation, trees falling, snowy branches, and all the complications that go with it. These aren't complaints. (I'd rather have a stream than reliable electric power any day of the week) but I did want to check in with you folks before the 55+ MPH forces came through. The e-reader and cell phone is charged, and my landline and books don't need to be charged. My 1970's GE plastic wall phone just needs a phone jack to work, no electric plugs. When I lose power I almost always still have a phone.

In the summer power outages are just an inconvenience. In the winter they can be dangerous. After my first winter here I knew I needed to get the house off oil heat and its electric furnace as the main source of comfort. Two wood stoves now keep the place comfortable, and downright too-hot for comfort some evenings. If the power does flick off a few days, even in the dead of winter, the house stays warm and has a cooking top and oven with the Bunbaker, which is a blessing in such events. To cook without having to worry about propane fumes or gas smells, right in your living room, divine! I've made pies, pizza, bread, and even roasted a chicken in my wood stove. I've cooked eggs and made coffee and toast on the top. If the electric well stops pumping there is still an overflow artesian well for the animal's water that will run, and if that stops there is a cold mountain stream right through the property. It's a pain to boil the water 15 minutes to purify it for human use, but the animals drink from the stream all the time without complaint.

I suppose the point of all this is my home makes me feel safe. It's set up to take care of me, and mine, and not just with walls and livestocks and gardens, but things like resources and location. If you're looking into property make sure you are considering things like fresh water sources and what other natural resources are around you. I can say that even just after a few years of living here I have weathered a handful of blizzards, hurricanes, deep freezes, heat waves, drought and all sorts of wonky climate snafus. It's stood the test of time since the Civil War. If if can get through all that and still put up with me and this messy life, I think it earns some proper cred.

If you don't hear from me the rest of the day, you know why! The world didn't end. Nature just wanted to keep me on my toes.

P.S. Happy Solstice, the days get lighter from here on out. More on that happy event later! For now, burn those bayberry candles, light the Yule Log, and enjoy the feast!

13 Comments:

Blogger WillowBrookFarm said...

Happy Solstice to you Jenna! I think this is my favorite holiday, though I don't think I kept enough wood dry this year to build my usual campfire, oh well, the snow will make everything beautiful. I foresee a hike with the camera today. : ) Stay Warm!

December 21, 2012 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger kwdiving said...

Stay safe and warm, and keep an eye out for a place like that for us!! Best wishes for a great holiday and better new year to you, and everyone else too.

December 21, 2012 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger RamblinHome said...

A very merry Solstice to you! I'm filling buckets with water and have the generator prepped in case the howling winds here take down any lines or the temp drops, the driving rain freezes and we end up with no power anyway! Be safe!

December 21, 2012 at 3:17 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

I loved power outages before my neighbors built their home and installed a generator. I was cut off and it was quiet. With the exhaust of the generator pointed my way, it isn't so much fun.

December 21, 2012 at 3:42 PM  
Blogger sarah e blog said...

i have a brunch sandwich for you Jenna! it'll warm you and clog your arteries in a way only farm goodness can :) start with your good homemade french toast..(which by the way nutmeg and cinnamon should be apart of in your egg mixture)..do it up..lay 2 pieces like and open face sandwich..then on top some fried bacon with maple syrup drizzled on top after its cooked..then some Grafton village farm maple smoked raw cheddar (oh baby)...maybe a jalapeno or like minded pepper if you can handle the heat :P slam it together with a scrambled egg or soft fired..a little Dijon and head up to that hill of yours and chow down..you'll thank me...and hell, where i come from cider is totally okay at brunch when you have farm chores to tend to on a Saturday..let me know how it does ya...much luck happy solstice Jenna...your friend in farming..Sarah from southern Maine! and that's how we do weekends girl!

December 21, 2012 at 5:35 PM  
Blogger sarah e blog said...

i have a brunch sandwich for you Jenna! it'll warm you and clog your arteries in a way only farm goodness can :) start with your good homemade french toast..(which by the way nutmeg and cinnamon should be apart of in your egg mixture)..do it up..lay 2 pieces like and open face sandwich..then on top some fried bacon with maple syrup drizzled on top after its cooked..then some Grafton village farm maple smoked raw cheddar (oh baby)...maybe a jalapeno or like minded pepper if you can handle the heat :P slam it together with a scrambled egg or soft fired..a little Dijon and head up to that hill of yours and chow down..you'll thank me...and hell, where i come from cider is totally okay at brunch when you have farm chores to tend to on a Saturday..let me know how it does ya...much luck happy solstice Jenna...your friend in farming..Sarah from southern Maine! and that's how we do weekends girl!

December 21, 2012 at 5:35 PM  
Blogger sarah e blog said...

i have a brunch sandwich for you Jenna! it'll warm you and clog your arteries in a way only farm goodness can :) start with your good homemade french toast..(which by the way nutmeg and cinnamon should be apart of in your egg mixture)..do it up..lay 2 pieces like and open face sandwich..then on top some fried bacon with maple syrup drizzled on top after its cooked..then some Grafton village farm maple smoked raw cheddar (oh baby)...maybe a jalapeno or like minded pepper if you can handle the heat :P slam it together with a scrambled egg or soft fired..a little Dijon and head up to that hill of yours and chow down..you'll thank me...and hell, where i come from cider is totally okay at brunch when you have farm chores to tend to on a Saturday..let me know how it does ya...much luck happy solstice Jenna...your friend in farming..Sarah from southern Maine! and that's how we do weekends girl!

December 21, 2012 at 5:35 PM  
Blogger ican said...

What about a generator?

December 21, 2012 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Happy Solstice from chilly Montana. Stay cozy!

December 21, 2012 at 8:45 PM  
Blogger Sage said...

I wonder if you lost power...
I came to your farm for a chicken workshop in March 2011, and I can picture your cozy homestead. Ah, it warms my heart! Happiest solstice to you! Please keep writing; I check into your blog a few times a day. It's like a good stretch for my barnheart.

December 21, 2012 at 9:09 PM  
Blogger Ruth Dixon said...

Stay safe and warm... I am chuckling a bit at your 55 mph winds though. Here on the Oregon coast our storm gusts from October through February top out at 90 to 100 mph. But, we don't get snow, so I envy you that. I love when the power goes out. It doesn't happen often here anymore, dang it!

December 21, 2012 at 9:49 PM  
Blogger blind irish pirate said...

From my state to yours - Merry Christmas.

December 22, 2012 at 1:23 AM  
Blogger daisy said...

How cozy your home sounds with the wood stoves to keep you fed and warm. Enjoy your weekend, farmer!

December 22, 2012 at 7:04 AM  

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