Winter Preps Complete!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

It’s been a wild few weeks between work speeding up and trying to get my winter preps done before the real craziness begins. But, this past weekend marked the completion of all the big winter prep projects and a few not-so-important ones.

I have 2 cords of seasoned and split firewood stacked outside the farmhouse door, with 2 more waiting in the wings. I just have to pick them up.

The summer garden and pumpkin patch has been pulled up and composted. All the fences and trellises for vining crops have been stored. The hoop house frame has been re-installed. Nights are not cold enough and days are too warm to put the bed cover on, but at least having the frame up will make adding the cover easier and faster. The patio garden, planted with kale, chard, radishes and broccoli raab is already3-inched tall. Cool weather crops will be planted in the small raised bed near the barn. I’ll have to wait for the first rains to amend the fruit trees and berry patch. The grapes have been pruned and the fruit trees lightly trimmed. They’ll get a better pruning in February.

The chicken coop and nesting boxes have been cleaned out and re-bedded. The litter was spread on the old pumpkin/squash patch and will be turned in as soon as my loving family brings my tiller back. 200 pounds of chicken feed should get us through the next several months and the coop wire was checked for needed repairs. I pulled out the heat lamp from its storage box and installed it in the coop, partly for extra light to encourage egg laying and partly for colder weather.

The area outside the barn was raked, buckets and troughs stored, sprinklers were put away and hoses coiled up. We don’t get many freezing nights so there is no need to put hoses away.

The truck has new wiper blades, oil changed, smog check done, and anti-freeze added in preparation for our trip to the mountains over Thanksgiving.

There’s been a lot of shopping also. Furnace filters were replaced. Stocks of rice, beans, grains and a few other staples were added to the pantry just to round out what I already had. We also have a whole lamb, 15 chickens cut in halves, quarters or whole, a few pork loin roasts, 6 ducks and quarts and quarts of various soup bases in the big freezer.

I made a batch of apple butter with the heirloom varieties we bought up north and it turned out great. I’m saving the pumpkin for later.

Summer sheets have been replaced with flannel and quilts and down comforters have been added to each bed.

I keep an arrangement of candles in my fireplace during the warmer months, but it has made way for the firewood grate and fireplace screen. Our late, late nights are dipping into the high 40’s, but not early enough in the evening to warrant a fire.

I even managed to paint my potting bench turned beverage bar and the new barn door I built last month. Hopefully I’ll get it hung this weekend.

All-in-all I think we’re in good shape going into the colder months. It certainly is a lot different than prepping 50 sheep, 30 head of cattle, dozens of chickens and hundreds of acres for winter. I’m not quite sure which I prefer.

A farm at rest is an eerily beautiful thing.

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