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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Beating the Winter Blahs



Wintertime is always hard for us. I'm not complaining because we live in the south and, generally, winter is not terribly bad. One year (2009-2010) snow stayed on the ground from December 20 to March 20 but most of the time our winter weather comes in "events" that pass in 3 or 4 days. We still get the blahs. I think the biggest reason is the lack of daylight. It seems like I never see home in the daylight from November to March! Michelle stays home but it still affects her as well.  This year we've had mild weather but also some simple things we're doing as a family have kept us in a better mood. I thought we'd share a few with you:

Expectation
Sadie, our Nigerian Dwarf is expecting a kid sometime around the end of January. I've heard it jokingly said that the secret to happiness is to always be expecting something in the mail. Well, this kid isn't coming in the mail, but we are excited to be waiting on it! We have put siding on a little shed and fenced in about 1/4 of an acre for her and the new arrival(s). This leaves the old goat pen for our billy. We have put a lot of work into the fencing and fixing as a family and it has kept our minds off of the short days and cooler, wetter weather.

Preparation
I have been preparing for gardening season. Y'all know the routine - seed catalogs come in December so gardeners start dreaming then too. Well I'm no different and my seed order is already placed. Of course I have the better part of a refrigerator shelf full of saved seeds, but I always see some new varieties to try. I tilled and limed in November and then cleaned out the big chicken coop in December, putting all of that on the garden. I still have to figure my rotation/layout but planning is a big part of the fun so you don't want to do it all at once.

Production
Michelle has been making small batches of scented candles with the help of our daughters. This has been great fun for all of us and we certainly enjoy the end product. She's also been knitting scarves. Hopefully sometime we will open a little Etsy store to offer some of these items for sale. She's also baked a lot of bread, muffins, calzones, cookies, and other assorted goodies. I love this stuff  - probably too much - and it is a lot of fun to make.

Overall I think we are doing just fine so far this winter. I hope all of you are having as much fun as we are!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Our "New" 33 Year Old Homestead Truck

Some of you may have read and saw in my post about our outdoor wood furnace that our firewood truck is a little 2wd S-10 Chevy. The S-10 is a great little truck but I have often wished for something a little bigger and also 4X4 so I can get access to the wood up on our mountain. Well, I had an older Camaro just sitting around so I placed an ad on Craigslist. Just a few days later we swapped for a 1980 Ford F250 4X4 with a flat bed. I am so thankful for it because it is exactly what I was hoping to get. It has the 300 6-cylinder engine and a "granny" low 4-speed transmission so it will creep around. I've already had our 8-year old driving it out in the field (yes, train them up in the way they should go!) Anyway here's a pic:


Not exactly a yuppie-mobile but perfect for the homestead!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Building a Whizbang Wheel Hoe

I am a fan of Herrick Kimball from the Deliberate Agrarian. I have read every blog post at his web site, built a whizbang chicken plucker (see it here), and own most of his books. So imagine my joy on Christmas morning when I unwrapped a Whizbang Wheel Hoe kit from Herrick's Planet Whizbang web site.  The contents were just some metal pieces, bolts and washers: