Thursday, January 23, 2014

Quick (cold) Update!

It has been really cold here, daytime highs barely hitting the double digits and nights sinking well into them. Last night I couldn't sleep and spent from 2:45AM until 6AM keeping watch over fires and pipes, heaters and my heart. I posted this to Facebook around dawn:

Still fighting the -11 outside with fire. Pipes are warming with two heaters aimed at them, both woodstove a going. Hope is here in the form of coffee and bacon, come sunlight that is an unstoppable trio. Tried to sleep but too wound so I designed ads for two clients and carried wood in from outside. Jasper watched with interest (no one else was up). Watching a playlist of Rhett and Link videos and laughed out loud at their pasta contest while Gibson curled up against my chest - amazing how much laughter, a good dog, and a warm drink turn anxiety into a solvable problem.

Point being: stay positive, and if you can't- farm it out of yourself through whatever means possible, including pork belly….

By the time I crashed a little after six, I fell into a hard and fast sleep for an hour and a half. I had intense dreams, all about good friends and my own insecurities. One dream had Mark and Patty over trying to fix the french doors by the wood stove. The glass had warped like one of the plastic buckets in the goat pen. As if the cold air had enough moisture in it to expand and warp glass doors. Then I dreamed I drove over to another friends house and everyone was hanging out, my usual local scene, and they explained to me "this just wasn't a Jenna-kind-of-event" and I left, feeling sheepish for stopping by. Now, there isn't a single friend around here of mine that would ever turn me from their homes, even if I was banging on their door at 4AM (especially then) but dreams of isolation and rejection are potent. And I was strung out on the pipes, the lack of sleep, and the cold.

Well, I was up and outside doing chores by 8AM.Thought I would share what is going on here. The basic update is the pipes thawed out, the house is now well above 60 degrees, and the farm animals are fed, warm, and bedded.

The cold and defeated pipe frost was only once accomplishment of the day. I picked up 588 pounds of pork yesterday morning! What a HAUL! 90% has found its new homes in friend's and co-owners freezers. They picked up their packages yesterday and it is always a quiet celebration. It's a promise fulfilled and another person staying away from the factory farmed stuff. I'm not a purist, though I aim to be when it comes to meat in general. And my freezer has my own quarter share tucked away. And it was that fine bacon that lulled me to sleep this morning, a small extra gift from those humble pigs.

Things are a bit of a mishmash tonight, but that's okay. I appreciate all the feedback on Birchthorn and especially the corrections and advice in continuity, spelling, voice and such. Your feedback makes the story better so please comment in those posts if you are reading along.

I'm now on the lookout for more pigs, Arrows Rising sales, sleep, more green vegetables in my diet, and the perfect pulled pork sandwich. Woo. What a 36 hour ride.

Stay Warm, Antlers!

P.S. For those wondering about Italics, he is well. I had a long talk with my mentor and he explained the only thing holding me back at this point was me. I have been overly cautions, over feeding, and doing too much of the same thing with him. The good news is he is well trained, great with people and strangers, and soon as he is ready and I am brave he will be flying free. I'm slower than most falconers in this process but I'd rather be too slow than too fast. So wish us luck!


Blogger PansWife said...

Have you thought about just emptying the water pipes and shutting down the house water on days that are this cold? It might be easier to temporarily give up on plumbing than fight the freezing at night. You could melt snow in buckets near the wood stove to supply the animals with water and fill a few jugs for yourself before turning off the taps.

January 23, 2014 at 9:06 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Pork chops last night were fantastic! Mine cooked with apples, onions and cider. Tim's and Joe's started out in the oven with Italian style diced tomatoes but then the oven decided to die, so they were finished on the stove top. SO tender,lots of meat and the fat melted in my mouth. Many, many thanks for giving us the opportunity to have such a great meal. Call us if you need anything - we are home all weekend and can be there in a jiffy. xoxo

January 24, 2014 at 7:17 AM  
Blogger doglady said...

Have you tried leaving the water running? Insulating or rerouting your pipes this summer would be a good thing to do.

January 24, 2014 at 7:17 AM  
Blogger Red Beard said...

Hi, regarding your french doors I saw in a picture with your cats a while back. Have you tried putting that plastic shrink wrap stuff over those doors, if you don't use them in winter. We had a similar set of doors in the 1920's vintage home we first owned and it made a huge difference. Same for some of the windows. I realize your cats might attack them some, but the plastic still works really well with a few scratches and tape can fix it up. If you have never used that plastic stuff, it is like it is not even there. I assume you have a hair dryer from days gone past?

January 24, 2014 at 8:18 AM  
Blogger Carlos Rodriguez said...

aside from research for birchthorn, maybe treat yourself to some local museums for a good visual of those times,the library too, old photos and all that..good luck cant wait to read more!

January 24, 2014 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger beccaWA said...

I love my heat tape.

January 24, 2014 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger laurie said...

Best pulled pork I found is America's Test Kitchen's Pulled Pork for two. Makes it's own bbq sauce and uses pork shoulder steaks. I'll be making some this weekend.

January 24, 2014 at 3:50 PM  
Blogger annet said...

I had pipe freezing problems in a old house with wood heat until I plugged every single air leak on the pipe run (a half-inch spot always froze because of a less than 1/8" gap in the wall structure behind it) and insulated behind the pipes (but on top of all gap filling). The trickle flow works too, but be sure it is considerably less than your in-flow (to well or cistern) and won't overly lower your reserve for wild stock. Turning off water only works if you have a low-level drain tap to empty your pipes -- water left in them will freeze.

January 26, 2014 at 8:44 AM  

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