Thursday, January 2, 2014


There's a storm hitting the farm today. The weather forecast predicts a foot of snow falling in under 24 hours, and then temperatures around -5 degrees following another -15 tomorrow night! Folks, that is some serious weather and I am spending today at home keeping the fires burning, the dogs and cats fed, the farm safe, the roof cleared of snow, and writing up my own storm. Lots of blog posts going up today. I'm doing my best to announce new workshops and drum up some business for the farm. I need to catch up on my mortgage as well as some bills. So today I am fighting to earn as much as the green stuff inside while keeping up with the white stuff outside!

When bad weather like this hits I need to change my routine. If I go out in my coveralls, wool, and canvas and expect to get all the animals fed, watered, and bedded in one shot I am just kidding myself. I could do it, but it is asking for burnout, frostbite, and general misery. So I do the the chores one animal at a time. I may go out and just rake the barn roof free of snow and then get the goats some hay and fresh un-frozen water. That is fifteen minutes in the cold and in this storm that is enough to get me back inside to defrost my digits and grab a cup of coffee. Once warmed up by some light office work, emails, etc I head back outside and instead of goats (who are at this point find and chewing cud in their wind-proof barn on a bed of straw) it is time to see that the pigs are okay. today that meant fixing their fence, lugging out unfrozen water, a five-gallon bucket of feed (food scraps and pig chow today), and then heading back inside to defrost again. The sheep and horses are another trip, since they are closest to the house and their hay stashes are right near them so I can get them both done in one shot. As snow piles on the pony's backs and the sheep head up the hill to their pole barn to weather the storm I do the same inside, stoking the fires. I woke up and the house was 53 degrees this morning. Right now, it is about 58. Its taking longer to heat up because Stewarts was out of that dry wood this morning and the fire just isn't as hot. Dry firewood in two armloads is worth a truckload of wet wood. I have learned this for certain. I hope to get to a point where I have enough dry stuff stacked and waiting a year in advance of its burning season, for that is the right way to do this! Alas, I am where I am. I'll be happy to reach 60- degrees by sunset if I can keep the pipes from freezing up.

I remember in my past life when I would be gone all day at an office, not home to pull snow off buildings or stoke a fire. That life was okay, but I like this one more. I like the effort, the need, the fact that so many depend on me. It means that I matter. I even like that I need to offer a million different services, animals, stories, songs and dances to pay the bills because I wake up with a mission every day. It's scary right now, but I prefer being scared of my perfect life than comfortable in my old one. You can't be comfortable and want something at the same time. You can, however, fake that you are comfortable until you grow numb, till your desires wither up like a neglected plant. I'm not scared of breaking bones, bills, judgement, or rolling eyes but I am terrified of looking back on my life someday and wishing I lived it differently. So I stoke a cold house, pull snow off a roof, sip coffee between 40-pound buckets in each hand up a snowy hill, and plan workshops so you can come here and be a part of the story.

I hope you are all safe and warm wherever you are!


Blogger Erin said...

Stay warm, Jenna!! You are an inspiration! I will be saying a prayer that your farm weathers the storm well.

January 2, 2014 at 2:49 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

Checking in from central Illinois where we got a few inches of the fluffy and light snow. However a bit north of us they have 1 foot of snow. Keep candles handy and stay warm:)

January 2, 2014 at 3:44 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

Keep warm! Does the little electric stove from the Italics video help heat the house? I don't have one but heard they heat pretty well.

January 2, 2014 at 6:27 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

Keep warm! Does the little electric stove from the Italics video help heat the house? I don't have one but heard they heat pretty well.

January 2, 2014 at 6:27 PM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

Hi Jenna - Here's a tip for next year. Firewood takes about a year to dry. If you chop and split it in the spring, then let it dry in a covered area, it should be dry by next winter. Also,the dead sticks on the ground are good kindling. If you gather a good supply of those and keep them in the covered area with the split wood, you should be fine by next winter. It always works for us. Stay warm!

January 2, 2014 at 7:15 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Wow, the weather is telling you that winter is here....I don't know how you have time to post on the blog. It sounds like a very busy day, there is alot to do there. It does feel good when you accomplish so much. I understand the happiness that it brings you. Keep Warm

January 2, 2014 at 9:12 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

Anonymous-thanks for the great tip. I am planning for a woodstove next year and always wondered why small sticks couldn't be used as kindling. Also was wondering about the time period for aging wood.
Everyone-stay warm and don't overdo the shoveling:)

January 3, 2014 at 11:30 AM  
Blogger KirstenJL said...

I have chickens that require at least 30 minutes morning and night in this weather. I have a feather parka meant as a ski jacket that I do chores in. Works great! Way better than my Carhartt's when the temperature dips below zero.

January 3, 2014 at 12:27 PM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

I feel your pain about wet wood. I'm here in FL so I can't fuss too much, but the house is about 55 right now, and that's chilly! We're expecting 29 in Tallahassee tonight which is pretty darn cold for FL. My heat is out so we're heating with a propane burner and 2 small electric heaters. The wood we split is still wet from the blowing rain yesterday. Time to have another cuppa coffee.

January 3, 2014 at 10:47 PM  

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