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Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category
Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
We’re under an Arctic blast with HIGHS in the below zero readings and lows … well, we really don’t want to go there. So we do chores in steps, warming up between, then do things inside that have been let slide for awhile. Will’s again working on the rock wall behind our wood stove in the living room. It’s slow work getting it just right, but he’s definitely making progress. I’m excited to see the way it’s turning out. And impatient to see how it looks finished with the rustic wood shelves in it, too! My grandfather collected Indian relics from his fields where he farmed and I have a couple of old wooden crates with ax heads, spear points, and arrowheads in them and we’d love to display them on those shelves. The last time some were displayed was back in the forties in a Canadian museum! And with our family’s Native heritage, those pieces speak volumes to us.
I’m getting ready to can up the frozen Thanksgiving turkey and rearranging things in the house to get rid of the clutter that happens on a busy homestead.
Brrr. I just looked at the thermometer. It’s noon and -8 degrees. I guess those beavers sure knew what was coming! — Jackie
Thursday, December 5th, 2013
They said it was going to snow pretty bad so we got ready, moving things we hadn’t gotten out of the way, putting the snowplow on the truck, making sure the animals had plenty of bedding and feed. Then it started snowing — inches per hour. And it snowed all day. Later in the afternoon, David plowed the driveway so he could get out to school (they still hadn’t cancelled it!) and Will started snowblowing the trails around the buildings.
If you’ve never had a snowblower and live in “winter country,” let me tell you how much work they save! Now we would never be without one.
Yeah, both Will and I have shoveled hundreds of feet of driveway and paths on the homestead. But Will’s grandfather also dropped dead shoveling snow, as do many people every single snow storm. Not only is the snowblower easier on you but it blows the snow in any direction you wish and leaves the edges of the clean areas smooth with no big berm that gets bigger as winter progresses…and also causes snow drifts to form.
We ended up with about two feet of new snow out of this storm and the temps are dropping to HIGHS of around zero all of this week. I guess it is lucky we got the snow first as it’ll help keep things such as septic tanks and water lines from freezing. But BRrrrrrrrrrrr! Hey Will, throw another log on the fire. — Jackie
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
Although we have had a great fall with little snowfall until now and relatively decent temperatures for northern Minnesota, winter’s definitely here. I’m just recovering from a real nasty bug and poor Will’s been trying to get things done outside to get ready for the big snowfall that’s starting to hit us. We’re getting 2 inches today, another 2 inches tonight, 2-4 inches tomorrow …
Since Will has the roof done on the barn, he’s trying to get enough lumber cut on the sawmill to put up temporary walls to keep out the snow so he can work this winter on the hay loft floor. (And so we can kind of use parts of the barn.) And then there’s the unfinished front porch roof … We’d like to get it covered before too much snow hits us. So while I’m working on an article today, he’s cutting boards in the snow. Luckily, it’s not too cold but we’re heading for sub-zero HIGHS later in the week. Yuck! — Jackie
Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
And Will got nearly all the big sheets of metal barn roofing on. We finished all but the very last big sheet last night. Luckily his cordless driver has a light! Today it’s in the forties with some sun so we’re running around playing catchup because it’s supposed to dive into the single digits pretty soon. Brrrr. I’m planting my daffodils in a few minutes. They should have gone in a few weeks ago, but better late than never! Oh well, there’s always something left undone … or pretty much done at the very last minute! Homesteading life.
Our tom turkeys are strutting in the orchard. Real pretty. No, we’re not going to eat them; they’re our breeders for next spring. I’m trying to get all of the orchard trees’ trunks wrapped with plastic spirals or window screen to protect them against vole damage during the winter. I’ve got ‘em all done but two plus our new cherry trees and honeyberry bushes. Hopefully I can get that done on Friday.
We’re hauling a load of cattle to the sale barn tomorrow so that day will be pretty much shot as it’s a hundred mile drive one way. Luckily David and the dogs will be around the homestead to keep an eye on everything! — Jackie
Thursday, November 14th, 2013
There’s so much fall work to do that Will is feeling like nothing is getting done on the barn. The sheet metal is all here but the weather first was terribly rainy and windy, then VERY cold with five inches of snow. But finally we’ve caught a break. Yesterday it turned milder with sunshine and Will got up and knocked off as much of the snow and ice as he could from the rafters. And now it’s in the low forties with sunshine! So today, he’s down screwing on the flashing in preparation to putting up more (or hopefully all) of the sheet metal so the new barn will be under cover. Yes, he’s being careful but he doesn’t have to climb on the metal roof, only on the ladder and the ladder-like dry purlins.
Meanwhile, I’m watering stock and trying to get the house a bit cleaner and get more onions dehydrated. (I dehydrate my onions by cutting slices then dehydrating them. When dry I put them in my blender and whiz them into coarse powder. It works great in a ton of recipes.) When you have a three-month-old puppy, it seems like you spend the day cleaning up after him and saying “Hondo! No!” But he’s pretty much potty trained and is learning to mind (usually!). And grow? Wow, how he’s taking off — all legs and body. He’s going to be a big boy. We were told he was Australian Cattle Dog, but on closer look, he looks more Australian Shepherd as he has a fuzzy coat and floppy ears and a more “collie” look to him. Who knows? But we sure do like him a lot. Especially when he’s sleeping! — Jackie
Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
Our weather’s getting progressively nastier so I’m finding plenty to do inside, despite all we have to do outside. Yesterday was relatively decent but windy so Will (with his bad cold) and I split and brought a whole big truckload of firewood into the house to stack on the back porch for our emergency wood for winter. We will do another truckload or two later on when it isn’t raining!
Meanwhile, I’ve been chopping up all those great cabbages we grew this year. Wow, what a crop, even when the deer got in and munched on half of them. While we were in Illinois, David took the wheelbarrow down and cut the good cabbages and brought them into the house. Yesterday I chopped a five-gallon bucket’s worth and made sauerkraut. It’s always amazing just how many cabbage heads will fit into a five-gallon pail! Of course I pack the heck out of it with a potato masher, adding salt to each layer then pounding it well. It sure compacts as I go. I got more than 10 big heads (less big leaves and cores) into one bucket. Now it’s setting on the floor by the dining room table with a double layer of Saran Wrap and a bag of brine weighting that down, to exclude air. That way I don’t have to skim scum every couple of days! In a few weeks or so, I’ll be canning sauerkraut.
Today I’m just cutting cabbage into wedges to can up plain. We use a lot of canned cabbage. I always dump out the canning liquid and heat in fresh water as this makes it taste much fresher. And tomorrow, God willing and the creek don’t rise, I’m starting in on making a big batch of Amish coleslaw to can (basically sweet/sour pickled cabbage shreds with carrot shreds for color). I use a lot of this in stir fries, egg rolls, etc. as well as using it for plain coleslaw. Whew, I’d better get at it! — Jackie
Saturday, October 5th, 2013
We’ve been making good use of the past week of good weather, cutting and splitting firewood. Will had quite a pile of dry ash cut up and while he chucked wood onto the splitter (mounted on the 3 point of our tractor) I ran the splitter. After about an hour we had a truckload, piled high. He backed the truck near the wood shed door and I spent the next two hours stacking wood as high as I could reach.
Right now we have about three cords nice and dry in the shed, with another truckload waiting at the door. We’ve got plenty of dry wood cut up and ready to split but they’re calling for rain so we’ll see how much more we get in before that happens.
Yesterday I noticed a dark “thing” on my shoulder. I thought it was a scabbed over small skin tag but when I had Will look at it, the “skin tag” had legs! It was a deer tick. They’re only about the size of a coarse ground speck of pepper but often carry Lyme’s Disease. That little potlicker was REALLY buried. Will soaked him several times with rubbing alcohol until he came most of the way out. After pulling him loose and saving the body for identification, he then had to dig out the pinchers with a hypodermic needle. NOT fun!
Today I went in to the clinic and the Nurse Practitioner took a look. Yep, better go on antibiotics for two weeks, just to be safe. Lymes is nothing to fool around with as it can not only cripple you, but can kill, too.
So back to the wood pile, keeping an eye on the shoulder from time to time. Hey, it could have been worse. — Jackie
Sunday, September 29th, 2013
Salve for goats
I am making this salve. Is there anything in it that would hurt my goats?
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dried comfrey
1/4 cup dried calendula
2 oz beeswax (equals out to two of the 1-oz bars or 4 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons of honey (optional)
10 drops lavender essential oil (optional)
Litchfield Park, Arizona
Nope. Your salve won’t hurt your goats a bit. It sounds great. — Jackie
Bush scallop squash
I planted some white bush scallop squash this year for the first time. I assumed they were winter squash when I planted them but now I’m reading that we should have been harvesting them as summer squash for a better flavor. Now that we have waited and have so many of them, will they store like our butternut squash will? Should we cure them? We have quite a few and hate for them to go to waste. We enjoy your columns and your Q&A’s. Thanks for sharing your experience!
Even though scallop squash are considered a summer squash, I’ve found that they will store well over winter. Not as well as many winter squash, but good enough. You only have to pick them following a frost then store in a warm, dry location until you use them. They’re fine to eat. Not as good as my Hopi Pale Greys, but pretty good and as you said, you sure hate to waste food! — Jackie
I have been watching the weather in Angora and see that it is down in the 30 degree range at night. How has this impacted your canning, harvesting, etc.? Any recent pics of the homestead? Did you get the corn and tomatoes canned? All the best and happy harvest.
Yep, we got a hard freeze! We covered everything we could but it froze under the plastic anyway. Luckily the food (tomatoes, peppers, etc.) is okay. So I’m canning, canning and canning! I’ve been doing corn every day for two weeks now and guess what I’m doing today? Canning more corn. The tomatoes are late this year, so we’ll be picking them as they ripen then picking the whole bunch (a truckload!) if a freeze threatens. We’ve never had a better garden and we’re so thankful. — Jackie