For the last two weeks, we’ve been confronted by a period of really cold weather. For instance, on Friday, our high was -18! And the low? -40 F and that’s temperature, not windchill.
So everything takes extra time. It’s taking over an hour to water the cows, horses, and donkeys. Not that they actually drink that much but it’s the get the generator to start first (it’s in the barn but still pretty darned cold), then it’s hook up the hoses and pray water will come out. Okay, then you put the end in a stock tank, walk up the hill to the barn and plug in the well pump. Then it’s walk back down to the stock tanks and stand and wait until everyone in that lot has had a good drink but not knocked the hose out of the tank. Yes, it is cold, just standing there! Especially if there’s a wind.
Then when one lot has had their drinks and there’s some water left in the tank for drinks later on, you move on to the next and finally the next. All done? Nope, then you walk back up to the barn and unplug the pump, shut off the generator and begin draining the hoses very carefully. If there’s a tiny bit of water in it, you can bet it’ll freeze and tomorrow when it’s even colder, you’ll have to drag 100 feet of hose all the way to the house to thaw it out in the living room. Not fun! So we drain it twice, just to make sure. Then it’s back to the barn and shove the frost free hydrant’s handle down to drain that so it doesn’t freeze. And finally, back to the four wheeler for the ride up to the house. When it’s terribly cold, Will gets things started then drives the four wheeler up to the house and I take over for the last half. Ah, does spring ever sound good right about now!
That’s why we’re busy poring through the seed catalogs to find new varieties we want to try. As members of the Seed Saver’s Exchange, we received our big, fat Yearbook, which has listings of thousands of varieties seed savers all over the world are offering. We take turns Xing some we want to try. What fun! (If you’d like to find out more about getting the most out of your seed catalogs, check out my article on that subject in Issue 110 of BHM or the Nineteenth Year Anthology.)
With all the cold, you can bet we’ve been busy with our wood stoves. Will fills our wood box by the living room stove then takes the wheelbarrow out and fills that, parking it on the rug between the entryway and dining room. As I’m keeping the kitchen range going, we do use more wood. And both stoves also must be cleaned of ash periodically — more often in super-cold weather. Today I did the kitchen range as it was full of ash.
I’ve got more refried beans to re-can up and the kitchen range’s even heat is perfect to heat up those beans, which have water added to make them to make them safe to can plus spices, onions, and garlic as they are pretty bland. So you can guess what I’ll be up to tomorrow!
Our pickup’s wheel bearing was going out so yesterday I drove it to town to leave for repairs while David and Ashley followed to bring me home. They also stayed for supper and we all enjoyed baked chicken breast, carrots, and rice. — Jackie