Sunday, October 2, 2016

Every Day This October

October is here! I'll be updating every day this month, specifically about preparing for winter. I'll be doing so with my coffee in the morning, before I dive into design clients and after farm chores. Hopefully that means every morning you can check in and see the progress here. Or, what I hope to be progress if things go as planned and luck is on my side.

As of yesterday I finished stacking the first cord of word that was delivered to this farm. It's out of the weather and in the storage space beside the house and under the side "porch" near the hawk's mews. Besides the cord I purchases, my friend Trevor stopped by last week and while I was stacking armfuls of the maple and oak (cut to fit my smaller wood stove), he was chopping up some older rounds that had been sitting near the woodpile. A woodsman by trade, Trevor knew how to deal with the locust, which he said "Lasts two years longer than stone" with a smile. Locust is a real tough wood, all right. There are locusts posts still in the overgrown fields of this farm that have now turned to forests. Generations of deer have walked beside the ghosts of old fences, not knowing those petrified pieces of locust are standing where a calf and cow probably once stood half a century earlier. I love that this small space, just 6.5 acres, has so many stories.

So out of my goal of four cords I have one and face cord. Trevor turned that locust into a lot of seasoned firewood. And my friends Tyler and Tara have also offered to let me snag some seasoned firewood from their farm they have downed over the years and need to clear. Basically whatever I can load into my truck, split, and stack of a downed tree is mine. It could be as much as a cord! I am talking with them about getting ready to pick up the first load in my truck.

My truck is doing so well. It passes inspection, has new (used, but in good condition) winter tires, and despite a small oil leak and stone crack in the windshield that needs to be repaired, she is doing well and working like a sturdy draft horse. I am so grateful for her, and that I have a good 4WD vehicle going into winter.

Gibson and Friday are currently outside investigating the lambs. They are scheduled soon (4 of them) to be harvested in the coming week. The fleeces all sold and between them and some hopeful sales on the logo and illustration side - I'll be able to mail in a mortgage payment soon and get another cord of firewood delivered. People ask why I don't harvest all my own firewood from the farm? Because I don't own a chainsaw, am scared of chainsaws, and can't do it all. This fall I am putting up tomato sauce, canning, splitting and stacking wood, slaughtering lambs, collecting winter hay, running a blog, a small business, design clients, training a hawk and hopefully running until it snows. Buying a chainsaw, learning to use it, and harvesting my own firewood just hasn't been on the list due to my fear of swiftly rotating blades and my general clumsiness. I don't know why I am so defensive about buying firewood? I guess because if you live the life I chose, you are not only expected to do it all - but not admit why you wouldn't.

On that note, I am off to pick up hay in the previously mentioned pickup truck (which I now just call Taylor, since it's a 1989). Hopefully I'll beat the rain. I'm listening to the newest My Favorite Murder podcast with Gibson riding shotgun. I got coffee in my thermos, a job to do,  a farm to secure in about 70 different ways, and friends coming over for a Game Night tonight.

October. Coffee. Friends. Farming. Board Games. Dogs. Hawks. Hope.

Not a bad start to the month.


Blogger Geeka said...

As a city girl, years ago I had to start taking care of a lawn and (lets say) 200 feet of 5 foot hedges. I was doing pretty well until I slipped on the early morning grass while slicing the hedges with trimmers. I dropped the trimmers, which are supposed to shut off when you let go of the levers, and landed paws down on them. Luckily it was my left hand, it was only a few stitches, and I now know I can dial an iphone with my nose. I wear metal gloves when I use them now.

Sometimes you can brute your way through something through shear force of will. When your will isn't that forceful, brute-ing your way through just makes things worse & without the confidence it often ends poorly. A fear of chainsaws is a healthy thing. Buy the firewood.

October 2, 2016 at 8:58 AM  
Blogger mdoe37 said...

Chainsaws are more of a pain then they are dangerous to use. They're ok as long as you point them in the right The pain part I have found is that unless you are an adept small engine repair person, they never run when you need them to. As well as being sometimes difficult to start, but that only happens when you absolutely need them to run. If it was a day you were not needing to cut wood, well they purr like kittens. (as for generators...rinse and repeat)

I have a chainsaw.....and it doesn't ever run well. I should take it in to have it scrubbed up. I did invest in one of those little electric ones, does a bang up job on reasonably sized wood. Always starts too.

October 2, 2016 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger crb said...

Hi Jenna,
I love this post, and that you'll be doing more like it throughout the month. It takes real strength to admit you can't do it all - and you really shouldn't have to. I'm glad you're doing so well, and making the most of this wonderful time of year! My best to you!
- Colleen.

October 2, 2016 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger Laurie said...

I'm with you regarding chainsaws. I have a healthy respect for them, as well as a bit of fear & definitely know that you can't do it all alone. I'm looking forward to following your daily October posts.

October 2, 2016 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger Kyler and Sylvia said...

We live in the middle of a forest, I own a very good chainsaw, and love to cut my own firewood, but there have been times that we've bought in wood. Sometimes, it is just a better use of time, energy and investment to focus on what we can do well, and leave other tasks (like cutting firewood) to those who can and will do it well.


October 2, 2016 at 11:23 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

I am happy for your update. October is a busy month for my farm. The work to get ready for winter, is ongoing, but seems to go on forever. Today, my hubby and I canned 30 quarts of Apple Pie Filling with our own apples. Why so many? I had 30 quart jars to use, and a lot apples. I think that I will use some for gifts, and the apple pies this winter will be wonderful. Tomorrow...harvesting the garden peppers and prepping, then freezing them.

October 3, 2016 at 12:16 AM  
Blogger Clare said...

Cutting your own wood is really time consuming, and as a single person even more so! We bought wood this year, there were just too many other important maintenance things to do around the house that it was worth it to save up the scratch and pay for our cords. Sounds like you just know where to put your energy! (I'm always so amazed at the amount of work you're able to do!)

October 3, 2016 at 12:48 PM  
Blogger Patrice Nelson said...

Oh, I love this post and wish you all the best. Keep up the good work. Your post made my day.

October 3, 2016 at 4:13 PM  
Blogger Louis said...

You should be able to find someone who will fell, limb, and cut the wood from your land for free. The catch is you only get half the logs, and they get the other half as their compensation. Then you rent or borrow a splitter. Done!

October 3, 2016 at 4:57 PM  

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