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Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category
Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
Yep, at the risk of sounding same old same old, we got another 14 inches of snow with 40 mph wind. Now the temp’s going down way below zero this whole week! This is getting really tiresome! And to top it off, our water line from the well froze. So we’re out of running water for about 6 weeks. At first it seemed horrible. But, hey, we’ve lived where we never had running water at all. So we sucked it up and started melting snow for flushing the toilet and washing hands. And on trips to town, I come back past a flowing spring and fill water jugs for drinking and cooking water. Heck, it could be worse. We’re warm, have plenty of food, and the critters have plenty of feed. We’ll get by just fine but still hope for an early spring.
Meanwhile, it gives Will and me more time to work inside. We’ve been cleaning and hauling furniture out of the living room, dining room, and entryway in preparation for laying the laminate flooring.
We do chores, shovel, and snow blow to clear paths and clear around equipment, then we come inside to work, taking a “break.” Hey, it’s working. — Jackie
Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
Yeah, we’re darned sick of below zero temps, night and day with windchill temperatures of -5 to -60 degrees. (Did you know that your skin can freeze within 5 minutes when it’s that cold?) Will found that out the hard way … almost. We were tying our new countertop on top of the Subaru when it was -30 with a stiff wind. He couldn’t tie the ropes with gloves on and took them off. By the time we got the two ropes tied, his hands were REALLY cold. Painfully cold. And we were really glad that they were still pink instead of frostbite white! Close one.
Of course we’ve been getting chores done very quickly, making sure all animals have plenty of bedding and feed to make more calories to fight off the intense cold.
So once chores are done, we have a lot of inside time! I’ve been packaging seed orders; we’ve been planning on crops we plan on growing this year, both for trial, our use and to save seeds from; and working on projects in the house. I bought Will a chainsaw sharpener last year for Christmas and one of his projects was to build a stand for it. He’d picked up an old stand from a drill press at the dump a couple of years back and he added a slightly smaller pipe to fit down inside it and cut a circular plate of steel to fit on top of the pipe, welding it in place. Then he drilled two holes in the plate to match the holes in the chainsaw sharpener base. He added two bolts and he had a portable, handy chainsaw sharpener. So one cold morning, he brought in all ten of his chainsaw chains and sharpened them. Now he’s ready to hit the woods or do more log work on the front porch, barn, or house!
Will also finished the trim around the laundry room door and windows in the addition. A year ago we’d picked up a truckload of knotty pine paneling from the dump that someone tore out of their house. We didn’t know what we’d use it for but just that it could come in handy. It did. Will cut all the trim from that throwaway lumber and it looks great.
This winter, we’ve been accumulating boxes of laminate flooring for the entryway, living room, and dining room. We found a wood grain we liked, Brazilian Koa, at Menards and wanted to get enough in case they discontinued it. (Happens a lot!) Now we have enough to do the job so I’ve noticed Will figuring out the initial work needed. Could happen fairly soon, but first we’ve got to clean up the concrete and rock work behind the wood stove so we don’t make a mess on our new floor. Yes, we would have rather done the floors in real wood but just couldn’t afford it. The laminate will look pretty and has a 30-year warranty. — Jackie
Monday, January 27th, 2014
Sure it’s cold, but the sun’s out and it looks beautiful today. We had 40 mph winds with snow yesterday and there’s lots of drifts. I noticed how pretty they were when I drove out of the driveway this morning to go to the post office to ship two big bags of seeds. The graceful sculpturing the wind had done to the snow was simply amazing. It was like an artist had spent the night on our driveway. I hate to think of how it looks now, after Will plowed it.
I’m getting used to washing my hands in the new bathroom sink. How wonderful it looks! Now Will is going to begin work on the other larger antique dresser we bought on Do-Bit, which pretty much matches the one he just finished. That one is going on the other wall, making a corner of vanities. This vanity/dresser with large mirror will be used to store towels, washcloths, and other things.
I’ve been busy with our little seed business. Since I nearly ran out of Hopi Pale Grey squash seeds, I cut another three big squash and squished out the seeds to dry. I’m going to can up the squash so we can have “pumpkin” pie during the summer. Of course some of the squash will still be left so I can always use fresh squash (it’s stored more than two years for us!) but it’s nice to have extra canned squash. The goats and chickens appreciate the “guts” and any squash I can spare for them.
Our new kitchen is great for packaging seeds as I can sit next to the end of the island and package them easily. Will’s helping by packaging the tomato seeds, which are quite small. Then I only have to grab bags out of individual bowls to fill orders. We’re getting into a groove here.
I’m sure that all of you across the country are looking forward to getting in the dirt again. I know I sure am! — Jackie
Friday, January 24th, 2014
Will has our kitchen just about finished (but for the upper cabinets that we can’t afford yet) and the bathroom vanity is nearly hooked up. Wow! All that cold is worth something, I guess. I can’t remember such a long period of intense cold here in northern Minnesota, even when we lived down by Sturgeon Lake for more than 20 years. But other than the weather being nasty, we homesteaders and all our critters are doing fine.
Meanwhile, we’ve been busily packaging seeds for folks. Our mailbox is stuffed every day with orders. We may be a bit slow (just Will and I are counting and packing seeds) but so far the seeds are holding out pretty well. I can see that we’ll be saving many more seeds this fall!
I’ll be starting peppers in the greenhouse in only three weeks. Doesn’t that make spring seem so much closer? I can hardly wait.
Then there is the new, larger, better worked up pumpkin patch in the new forty. I’m planting just about every kind of pumpkin and squash I can think of. Not to save seeds but just to see how they do. Most will end up as poultry and animal feed but we’ll harvest some to eat, too. The deer didn’t bother our small, late-planted crop last year so we have hopes they’ll go off to the new seeding of clover on the 5 acre patch that Will plowed and worked up last fall. Bait? Mmmm. Whatever works. — Jackie
Sunday, January 19th, 2014
Slowly, over the last year, we’ve been buying one base kitchen cabinet at a time as we could afford it. Then a piece of counter top. And another. Finally, we got them all! And today, while I was working on the computer upstairs, Will tore out the old metal sink base and $3 dishwasher and is getting ready to install the cabinets on the last wall. Wow, it took a long time to buy everything for that short run of cabinets because there were two cabinets, a sink, faucet, and countertop to buy before anything could be put together. And with our no-loan attitude, it took months to get it all. Now our patience is rewarded. Yipeee, I can hardly wait until it’s finished!
After Will got over the worst of his stomach flu, he finished up the body of the bathroom vanity. We have the faucets. (I’ve had them for seven years, just waiting for that vanity.) So there’s another installation project on the to-do-soon list.
Meanwhile, I packed the first of our seed orders for our little homestead seed business and am working on an article for the magazine.
And I FINALLY got the snow off the goat barn path with the snow blower. It was packed hard from walking on and boy was it tough to remove! I had to chop the snowplow berm up with the shovel before it could be blown away. But, hey, it’s gone now and it’s so much easier to haul feed and water to the goats rather than climb over that three foot frozen hump of snow four times a day. It doesn’t take much to make a homesteader happy, does it? A warm fire, good health, plenty of food for us and the critters, shelter, and easier chores. And spring right down the road!
The wolves are breeding and that usually doesn’t happen until a month from now. Hopefully they know that we’ll be having an early spring? (How do I know? They “mark” the snow banks all down our driveway when they’re romantic. No wolf pee all winter, then every few feet there’s a signpost, well tracked with wolf tracks and scratches. We can wish, can’t we? — Jackie
Monday, January 13th, 2014
I don’t think we’ve ever been so happy to feel warmer winter weather in our lives. After nearly a month of below normal, brutal, unrelenting cold, we’ve hit a spell of warmer weather. Yesterday it was 32 degrees ABOVE zero! Okay, so we had freezing rain. David and I drove down in it to my granddaughter, Ava’s second birthday party … all 114 miles. It was a little tense at times but really not that bad. Our little old Subaru Outback was wonderful.
And, oh, how much fun we had playing with Ava! Will couldn’t come. No, he wasn’t bad. He was down with the same stomach flu we have all had. No fun at all! When we left he was on the couch with a plastic ice cream bucket tucked in nearby, just in case. And when we got home yesterday evening, he was still there, although he had gotten up a few times to put wood on the fire and tend the dogs. (The dogs couldn’t understand that he was sick and kept pestering him unmercifully, as did Mittens.) He was real glad when we got home.
Before coming down sick, he finished the last coat of poly on the new bathroom vanity and was working on the “new” Craftsman radial arm saw he’d picked up cheap on a Do-Bid online auction for $34. After going online to research the saw, he found out that there had been a recall on it so he called the help line. As a result, Craftsman sent him a complete kit to rebuild the guard assembly and also a new table top. Now it looks and will perform like new! Pretty good deal, huh?
Meanwhile, I’ve been playing catch-up doing all the little “chores” to make the animal shelters even more weather-tight for the next cold spell. (We’re not dumb enough to believe the rest of the winter will be like it is right now!) And I’ve been trying to catch up on my cleaning; when I had the stomach flu last week, everything pretty much stopped, except for Hondo, our little “monster baby” who loves to drag stuff around and chew it if it’s chewable.
I can hardly wait to see what the bathroom vanity and kitchen cupboards look like when assembled. Will and I picked up the last two base cabinets a week ago and also the last piece of counter top, bought with some of our beef money. I already have the sink and only need the faucet and we can put it all together. Wow! — Jackie
Wednesday, January 8th, 2014
Not only did we get another 6 inches of snow but we also got frigid temperatures! We’ve been having HIGHS in the 20 below degree range and lows around 35 below and windchill temps of up to -60 degrees! Now that’s hard on animals and homesteaders.
We spend our days carrying warm water and extra bedding, only being able to be outside for about 15 minutes at a time. (Skin will frostbite in about 15 minutes unless it’s covered.) And as the days are still so short, it seems to take all day to get ready for night! Chores, then bringing in firewood for the evening take up most of the day. Those beavers sure knew what they were talking about when they said “lots of snow and cold” last fall.
LUCKILY the weather radio says we’re heading for a warming trend, starting on Thursday with temps well above zero at night and into the high twenties and even thirty during the day. Above zero!
We’ve had such a long spell of this intense cold. Usually it gets real cold for a few days, then we get a reprieve. Not so this winter, starting in November with two feet of snow and intense cold. It’s setting records all over the state.
I have to laugh though. Hondo goes outside to play and potty, then runs back in and jumps up on my lap so he can warm his little feeties. It’s cute but he’s getting pretty big to be a lap dog — I guess he doesn’t know that’s for Pomeranians and Chihuahuas! Keep warm guys; I know our cold has gone all over the country! — Jackie
Monday, December 30th, 2013
One thing about cold weather is that you get caught up on a lot of stuff in the house (not that our house could use some cleaning and straightening up). And in between times, I’ve been making extra bread, rolls, and other baked goods. It seems that when it gets cold our primal instincts force us to make lots of food! Or it’s just a good excuse…
I picked up a couple of on-sale 5-pound bags of flour before Christmas and opened one to make some bread. Did you know that nearly all commercial flour now contains malted barley flour? I’ve become a label reader because it seems like every company is getting sneaky about what they put into our food. The first bag I noticed was Gold Medal unbleached. Then it was the whole wheat. Even Dakota Maid was guilty! Talk about depressing. I guess it’s because barley is cheaper than wheat.
Then there’s the seed catalogs. Did any of you notice the price of seeds and plants in a lot of catalogs this year? The worst were Burpee and Henry Field, who offered a seedless grape vine for an “on sale” price of $97.99. One Vine! Wow, I guess I won’t be buying! Luckily, many others like Baker Creek, Pinetree, and Fedco are still fair on their pricing.
With it being so cold, Spencer doesn’t go out and help with chores and Hondo jumps up on the hay bales in between pens to keep his bum and paws warm. Smart dogs!
Will and I also want to wish each and every one of you Happy New Year!– Jackie