Tag Archives: firewood

Preparing For Winter

In six days it will be September 1st, where has the year gone?!?!? We prepare for winter all year practically by canning and freezing food, fattening the cattle, making hay and, of course, that critical harvesting firewood to stay warm.

The woodhouse is almost full from trees we harvested last winter and in the spring. We still have a huge pile left to split!
We’ve had a lot of dead trees from the ash trees! I’ve heard what’s doing it but for the life of me at the moment I can’t remember.
This stack was split in May and then hay season crept in.
Eddie uses the wood splitter that a friend, Bill Songer, put a larger motor and easier to start motor on for us. Last year Bill cut up and hauled in a few loads of firewood off the farm for us.
Eddie splits it and I stack it. We stacked this for the sun to season good and then cover when wet weather sits in. There’s plenty of room in the woodhouse for this but we’ll add locust and oak to finish the fill of that building.
When hay season came in we left the pile to do after the weather cools and the bees are gone.

Winter is upon us and 90* weather doesn’t much help the process so we continue to clean out the gardens, can and freeze all we can for us and the kids, and do minor repairs to the house and buildings as needed. Potatoes will be dug in the next week or so and then the apples will be harvested and stored. There’s more fencing to replace and of course, we can’t forget deer season is here in October and I have a new bow to use!!

The Work That Never Ends

The pandemic that we are witnessing is a very real reason to stay home. We stay home most all the time anyway so it hasn’t hindered our life much at all. You see, there is ALWAYS something to do on the farm that keeps us busy during the day and at night we’re usually too tired to much anyway!!

Wintertime keeps us busy with feeding and caring for the cattle and small animals on the farm. Everyday finds us hauling firewood out of the woodhouse into the house or to the front porch when there’s pending bad weather. It’s also a time for restocking the wood stores for the next winter and checking the fencing for downed trees that have broken the fences that keep the cattle where they belong.

Some winters are much worse than others.

This winter we are dealing with a lot of ice and over the last two months we’ve had a total of about 12 inches of snow. We’ve expected to lose power but only had one outage early that was fixed and back on within about five hours, we were asleep during most of that.

Our next big issue is calving time which begins again on March 18th through May. We’re hoping that the bad winds, ice, below freezing temps and snow are over for the most part then or we could end up with a couple orphans like these to take care of.

This was George and Prissy born in 2015, adorable and saved during a winter ice storm on the same night.

A few more work projects coming up are fruit tree pruning, making maple syrup and opening the greenhouse (unheated), building new fence and repairing old, restocking chicks, introducing more ducks and maybe turkeys to the farm, and fixing roads that have developed deep ruts and gulleys wherever the tractor tires dig in. This is all before we start the garden!!! There are no lazy days or boredom when you’re a farmer!!!

We Are Ready . . .

According to our local weatherman, our first snow of the season will roll in tonight with temps dropping to the 20’s, 40 mph wind gusts and snow starting as flurries. He even said we will see accumulations of 1″ to 4″ inches and possible as much as 8″ in the mountains, which is us!!!!

Photo by Adam Lukac on Pexels.com

I hope it doesn’t look like this but with the rest of our strange year, why not!!!!

Yesterday and this morning I’ve been making sure the chicken nests and their flooring have plenty of bedding. I’ve made sure they have lots of high protein food, clean water and this evening when I put them in for the night, I’ll close the east end window to keep cold air from their roosting poles.

That green grass will not be here much longer!

The dog houses are full of warm fluffy hay and they will get some warm water when they receive their evening meal.

The cattle have been given grain with their hay for two days and hubby will probably wait until the weather system rolls through tomorrow. If the hay is covered with snow they may have a hard time eating it and they don’t care for wet hay. The babes will find a mound when it’s rolled out and sleep on while mom eats her fill.

The wood has been stacked on the front porch and the wood rack by the stove is full. Extra kindling has brought in, five gallon buckets will with water and gallon jugs have been filled with water just in case the power goes out.

I’ve bought in extra canned goods and potatoes and plan to start a big pot of homemade vegie-venison stew to warm our bellies!!

A Little Under The Weather

Where is summer???  I’m cold!!!  Last week I only worked one day and on Thursday I came down with a killer head cold and a lot of congestion.  On Wednesday last week hubby and I spent most of the day wearing extra shirts and got a big chunk of our winter wood split and stacked for the winter.

Eddie split and I stacked.

He had already stacked two ranks when I joined him.

The wind blew all day but I was never uncomfortable and we did this for about five hours taking short breaks every so often.

At the end of the five hours we only had this stack of sawed wood to split.

We had this stack of wood that didn’t need split to stack.

And these logs to saw up, split and stack.









We were tired but very proud of the big job we got started.  I fixed supper that evening after we finished our regular chores, took a hot shower and went to bed.  I woke up the next morning barely able to move and a head full of the awfulest mess you could ever have.  I started taking meds for it and slept off and on for forty eight hours.  I missed this entire week of work and am recuperating but still not able to be out amongst folks.  Eddie worked more on the wood pile today but I have been in the house trying to feel better.  My inhalers and Muscinex are helping but everyone is telling me it’s going to take time to get completely over it.  I truly hope that summer comes to visit next week because this crazy weather is NOT my friend!!


The temps are dropping fast this afternoon and the wind is gusting from 20 – 30 mph at the moment. Tonight is supposed to be much worse. We’ll have the stove cranked up and the teakettle full!

We keep a kettle on the stove to put some moisture in the house.

We’ll be burning some seasoned wild cherry

with some green oak and dried walnut before we go to bed.

Right before we head to bed Eddie will fill the stove with some truly dried locust. This is wood has been drying for years out in the fields as fencing.

The past few years we’ve been and will probably continue to in the coming years be replacing all of the fencing on the farm.  The wire has rotted and posted broke off at the top of the ground.  We saved all of the locust post just for nights like tonight when the temps will be below zero when the wind is factored in.  The locust burns hot but slow which makes it hold overnight (almost) and we don’t have to get up every two hours to load the stove when the fire has burnt down.

Everyone stay warm tonight and don’t forget to bed all the farm animals down with extra food and hay to stay warm!!  Bring those pets indoors if you really love them!!


I promised a pictorial today of the what kept me busy during our snow event yesterday and here it is.

One of my snow event creations was chicken salad. My canned pickle relish gives it the kick it needs.

I love cobblers and this one is raspberry-blueberry. I love to warm in my microwave and then pour whole milk over it!!

We used a little more than half of a crate full of firewood last night.

Divine smoked pork loin created by Eddie in our smoker. He cooked it in the garage yesterday during the snow event.

Eddie’s other night-time snack is jello with fruit. This is raspberry.

Four loaves of bread made with honey from our honeybees.

Covered in wrap makes it hard to see but this is a carrot cake with caramel pecan frosting. Hubby is in heaven!!

The rest of the day was keeping the stove filled and the wood rack filled as well.

The wood rack beside the stove is full and holds enough wood for two days if the wind isn’t bad.

We used a little more than half of a crate full of firewood last night.


The snow event (notice I didn’t call it a storm) left us with one inch of snow and it got packed down during the night with sleet and rain making for a crusty top.  The chickens wanted nothing to do with it so we left them in the coop and the ducks could have left their coop but decided to stick close to a spot with no snow in it!  Recipes for the chicken salad, cake, bread, cobbler and pork loin marinade will be posted on my cooking page soon.


Today we are preparing for another snow event in our area of 4-8 inches of snow depending on what part of the county you live in.  We like to prepare for the worst and hope for the least.  Eddie hauling some hay just outside of different fields the cattle are in.  We just hauled firewood to the front porch.  The cattle were fed normally but tomorrow morning they’ll get hay and some grain but fed near the woods for protection from the snow.  Today I made sure the ducks and chickens have extra feed, watering pan full and I put some treats in the hen house for them.  The snow is not supposed to get heavy until tomorrow afternoon but you never know with Mother Nature.

We brought three tractor loads of firewood to the front porch and have covered it with tarps to keep as dry as possible.

Our woodhouse is only half full now but we want to use everything in it this year so it can be thoroughly cleaned out in the spring/early summer and treated for termites and wood borers.

I filled two bins with kindling for fire starting.

The wood rack beside the stove is full and holds enough wood for two days if the wind isn’t bad.

The end of the porch is filled with really dry wood and the stack to the front is semi-dry and used to hold the fire during the night. We do oversleep at times and the filled stove will hold fire about six hours. We both tend to get up during the night.

I keep this large teapot full of water day and night to help with the dryness of the air using wood heat.

We’ll be warm!!  I also brought in some canned goods and potatoes from the cellar, a big pot of vegetable/meat soup sounds good!  I filled two five-gallon buckets, and one three gallon bucket with water for flushing the camode if the power goes off.  I filled 10 gallon jugs and some gallon pitchers for drinking and cooking water,  We are ready for the second snow event of 2019.


Firewood For the Next Heating Season

Crazy isn’t it??  We’ve just about finished a heating season and now we start preparing for another one!  It’s not a vicious circle, it’s life on the farm!

Last fall we had this huge pile of firewood stacked on the outside of the wood house.

We covered it up so it would continue to dry.  The wood house was about half full and we didn’t want to add any to it because a lot of it had been seasoned for 2-3 years and needed to be used.  So we emptied out the woodshed and didn’t have to cut any firewood all winter.  We used about half of the stack in the photo above and I just recently stacked the remainder to start our fuel for next winter.  We NEVER burn unseasoned firewood!  Flue fires are not on our list of fun!

The woodshed is probably a 20 ft. x 24 ft. shed and we now have two full ranks front to back and about 7 ft. high.

We still have room for four more ranks to fill it up. This is well seasoned and under a covered roof so it’ll be great for heating in 2018 thru 2019 winter.

Hubby has already cut down four huge dead oak and wild cherry trees to complete the harvest and we have two truck loads of already cut up but needs to be split.  We use locust, ash,and maple for firewood, as well.We’ll try to get this done in the next month so it won’t interfere with hay season and it won’t be full of bees and snakes.

Just a little more work on the farm!

A Taste of Frigid Weather

I don’t like being unprepared for much of anything but the last two weeks or so of frigid air gave me a real kick in the pants!  We have been used to teens and single digit weather but not with 20 – 45 mile an hour winds.  We were able to keep the house good and warm but had to keep heaters in the cellar and laundry room around in the clock.  We didn’t have any frozen water pipes or lose any of the valuable canned goods.

We did however have to keep chopping holes in the streams that water our cattle.  We had to move two herds due to the mountain springs freezing solid and the feed we gave them was increased by an extra roll of hay each day, giving the two larger herds three round bales and the heifers two.  The heifers and bulls  were given corn gluten every other day.

January 3rd we went to Rural King to pick up salt and feed for the chickens and he bought me a new insulated barn coat and insulated bib coveralls!!!  Along with the Extreme socks Heather bought me for Christmas, the flannel lined jeans Shawn got me and these from Eddie the winter weather coming would not be taking hold of me!!!!

First pair of flannel lined jeans I’ve ever had and they are so comfortable.

Flannel-lined jeans, heavy flannel shirt, black under armor, insulated flannel lined bibs and a wonderful insulated hooded barn coat.







I know how the Pillsbury Dough Boy  feels now, waddling around!!!!

January 5th was the worst day and the pickup wouldn’t start, the big tractor fuel was frozen and wouldn’t start, and we used the small Kubota until the hydraulics froze up.  At this point the cattle were fed the old fashioned way by using 15 square bales of hay loaded onto the old Dodge pickup for the larger herds and 10 square bales to the heifers.  We keep bales of hay in the loft of the bull barn for the bulls and they were fed hay and grain.  I had filled up the firewood on the porch and in the house and was constantly chucking it into the woodstoves.  I made a huge pot of soup on the stove and our bodies stayed warm and full on the inside!!! The chickens and rabbits were checked hourly along with Mischief, our coon hound and all were given fresh warm water. Mischief stayed wadded up in her house with enormous batts of hay! We had been feeding her extra food to keep some fat on for just this kind of weather. We take good care of all of our animals. The temperature that day finally reached 12* but the wind was raging and expecting to last through noon Saturday.  With the wind chill the last few days our temps were ranging from -12* to 0*.   Mr. Caldwell was working on thawing the tractor all day in the frigid cold and wind!

Finally on Monday we were able to get out and do some extra winterizing to prepare for the next onset which might be within the next week!

The chickens are out and able to free range again although there isn’t much grass for them to find and they love anything green.

Cleome staying in her warm nesting box loaded with fresh hay.

Marigold is doing the same but she comes out more than Cleome.

Sebastian has two sections to his hutch. When the wind is howling you won’t catch him out in this open area of his hutch.

During the storm they didn’t have this loose hay out in the open part of their hutches but they will now until spring. There is one area of their hutches that has no hay and that’s because it’s their “potty” area behind their nesting boxes..

Marigold likes to sit on top of her box a lot but didn’t during the bad weather! It’s unbelievable how Mother Nature had provided them with such luxiourious fur coats for the winter.








So with the rabbits taken care of before the next batch of frigid weather, I went straight to the hen house.  Extra bedding was put in their nests to help keep the eggs from freezing.  There’s not much I can do with their water freezing except take them warm water more often.  Hopefully in the spring the electricity will be added to their house but this new house is much warmer and cleaner than the old one.

The chickens are out and able to free range again although there isn’t much grass for them to find and they love anything green.

The hens belong to this cinder-block building now. It’s warm, easier to clean because it has openings along the lower end of the shed to clean out under the roosts with a pressure hose. It’s cool in the summer and warm in the winter UNLESS it gets in the 20 degree range or lower.

We have a frost-free spigot outside of the building to get their water. No more hauling jugs of water up the hill behind the house anymore!!

We have 36 hens now and Eddie put 14 nesting boxes so that everyone will have plenty of room to provide us with wonderful farm fresh eggs.

There’s no crowding on the roosts but chickens are the worst for having a pecking order.

Yesterday I put a layer of fresh hay on the floor for the older girls to sit in during the day. These ladies are all four to five years old and don’t lay much but they’re my girls so they get preferential treatment.














I use a metal pan for their water so that when it freezes I can take it outside, pour a little hot water over the bottom and the ice pops right out.  I do carry a jug of hot water with me when I go check the water for the rabbits, chickens and the dog.  They love that warm water to warm their insides!  I’m keeping the rabbits and the chickens feed bowls full.  If they have plenty to eat their fat stores will help to keep them warm.

Now that the animals are better prepped for the frigid air to return it was time to fill up the porch with two types of firewood.

The east end of the porch has well seasoned firewood. I put one end of a 9 x 12 tarp down on the porch and place the wood on top of it. This protects the porch and the leftover end of the tarp is pulled up over the wood and held in place with extra sticks of wood and bungee cords. The stack when full if about five feet high and fills the eight feet length of the end of the porch.

The west end of the porch has the same amount of wood but this has not seasoned as much and we use it at night to hold the fire for several hours. It’s heavier because it’s not been cut and split as long, is dry but not as dry as the other wood. We don’t have to worry as much about Flue fires with seasoned wood and there’s been a lot of complete home losses in Virginia this year due to fires!

We have two piles of wood outside and one is seasoned, split and covered.  The other is dried but not fully seasoned and not split.  We have plenty more in the woods ready to take down and bring in to the house.

We keep a large rack of firewood in the house beside the stove (about 18-24 inches away from the stove so we won’t have to go out everytime we need to fill the stove.




We have two large ponds on the property and both have 8-10 inches of ice on them now but the overflows water the heifers and the bulls. The other cattle now get their water from some lowland springs that rarely go dry but we have to watch them because with the weather we were having they will freeze and have to be broken up a few times a day.















We’ve made it through the first of the really cold winter weather but we’re ready for the worst to come in the next three months.  Between now and then I’ll sit with my new seed catalogs and prepare for what we all hope to be an early spring!!   When we expect high winds and possible power outages I keep plenty of buckets of water in the laundry room for flushing the toilets and several gallon jugs of water for cooking and hand-washing.  We keep supplies of candles, oil lamps and matches on hand and small wood on the side porch for the wood cook stove.  Four small tanks of propane are always full to heat the laundry room (holds our main source of water pipes) and the cellar.

Stay warm and don’t forget to prepare for the next winter hit of weather!

Seasoned Firewood

Although it’s been cold here this winter it’s been nothing like last year and the before.  We only had a total of six inches of snow the entire winter.  That being said we still have a woodhouse two-thirds full of seasoned firewood.

The woodhouse holds six ranks of firewood from one end to the other and almost to the rafters.

From this position you can tell we can put two more ranks in the woodhouse for next season.

From several downed apple trees and locust trees we think we have enough cut for next year.

This is about six or seven tractor dump loads.

This is our woodhouse which sits in the southwest corner of our back yard.

All of this wood will need to be seasoned. By seasoned I mean, we will split the wood and stack it to air in the open air behind the woodhouse so that the moisture will dry out of the wood. Unseasoned wood is the main culprit of flue fires in our neck of the woods. If you’ve not had or heard of them it means that the creosote from the wet wood builds up in your stove-pipe and chimneys and when it gets hot enough it blazes and a blazing fire in the pipes and chimney sounds like a tornado or a big train rolling down the tracks!! Scares me to death and we’ve only had about two in our 45 years of marriage.

The smaller sticks on top are from the maple tree that I posted about earlier in the year.

Close up of the wood we gathered from a maple tree, two apple tree limbs and several locust trees.

Some of the wood in the pile is from limbs on the main tree and don’t have to be split but do need to be seasoned just like the split wood.

This is our “Wood General” wood splitter which we’ve had for several years. It has saved hubby’s back and shoulders from lots of pain!

This is a closeup of the engine on the Wood General. Gas engine with a pull cord to start it.

The hardest part about using this woodsplitter is the cranking when it’s cold!! So we usually work on the wood on sunny days after the splitter has sat out in the sunshine!

He has split a very little bit of this pile of wood for the time being and says on sunny afternoons he should be able to finish it in a couple of weeks if he splits an hour or so while I fix supper. I call that a “win-win situation”!!

Apple wood is a good wood if it’s dry for getting a fire started.  Most of the wood in the woodhouse is oak and from trees that have died on the farm and were already seasoned.  If you need a hot fire that will last overnight we use seasoned locust and there are times it has run us out of the living room at night because it heats up so fast and lasts so long.

Locust, apple and some maple split from the big pile.

Another neat thing about having the splitter is all of the kindling that builds up under it while you’re splitting.  I gather all of it into feed bags and store it in the woodhouse for starting our fires.

Splinters of wood from the main block make great kindling (fire starter) to start your fire.

Bark from the wood also make great kindling.

REMEMBER:  Season your firewood!!  No one needs their home to burn down at any time but especially in the middle of winter.



Baby, it’s cold outside!!!

This is our outdoor weather station that I got hubby for his birthday.

This is our outdoor weather station that I got hubby for his birthday.

We named him Robin Reed after our local weather forecaster.

We named him Robin Reed after our local weather forecaster.

Our pond had about a two inches of ice on it and now there's patches of snow on top of the ice.

Our pond had about a two inches of ice on it and now there’s patches of snow on top of the ice.

My wood pile is disappearing and I'm the only one using it!

My wood pile is disappearing and I’m the only one using it!

Clear blues skies on Wednesday, January 13, 2016!

Clear blues skies on Wednesday, January 13, 2016!

Hubby's new weather station.  It's been used more than any he's ever had.

Hubby’s new weather station. It’s been used more than any he’s ever had.

Yes, it’s wintertime and it’s supposed to be cold but darn it we just got teased really bad with 50 and 60 degree weather and my body is just not liking this one bit!  I can stand the cold if there’s sunshine to go along with it but that wind is wicked!!  My son thinks I’m a wimp but one of these days he’ll understand where I’m coming from. Right, Shawn???

I know I have to stick it out for at least three or four more months so I guess I’ll be quilting, crocheting, reading, cooking, embroidering, and blogging a lot to keep me occupied for a while.  I’ll be making hourly trips to the henhouse for eggs and taking them warm water.  I’ll be checking in on Roscoe three or four times a day and making sure he’s okay with just his fur coat and watching to make sure hubby’s hounds will have plenty of protein for food and hay in their boxes for warmth.  We have their houses facing the morning sun to keep them warm as well.  Mother Nature will take care of everything else.

Now, to find my seed catalogs and make a list!!!

What A Day

I’m pooped and this is all you get today!

We starting splitting and haul around noon after the wood splitter warmed up enough to crank!

We starting splitting and haul around noon after the wood splitter warmed up enough to crank!

Eddie did the hauling in with the tractor from the woods and the splitting.  I hauled from the splitter to the front porch with a wheelbarrow.  Bet I lost a few pounds today!  ;)

Eddie did the hauling in with the tractor from the woods and the splitting. I hauled from the splitter to the front porch with a wheelbarrow. Bet I lost a few pounds today! 😉

We had this end of the porch stacked to the top last week but have used a little less than half with the cold snap we have now.

We had this end of the porch stacked to the top last week but have used a little less than half with the cold snap we have now.

All I have to do now is cover it all with plastic before the rain sets in tomorrow afternoon.

I’m totally whipped this afternoon and we’ll probably have a hotdog for supper instead of the roast in the crockpot because I don’t have enough spunk to fix anything to go with the roast!!

Chilling Weather and Orphaned chickens

It was still dark when I left for work last Thursday morning at -5* and Eddie said it would drop more as it became daylight.  He had both stoves going when I got home that night, extra bedding in the dog boxes, extra hay left in the woods for the cows, wood boxes filled to overflowing, made sure new chickens given by a friend of his were settling in and he’s taking them warm water several times a day.  The house was a “toasty 81*” when I got home but the wind was howling and made it feel like 75*.  We even threw on an extra blanket and the bedroom window was closed.  Even though my waist isn’t thinning I believe my blood may be!!  I think the winter is just getting started this year and we’ve lots more cold, wind and snow yet to come.
As for the new chickens, a friend of my husbands had to get rid of them because they were eating his neighbors cat food everyday.  This has caused my usual 3-5 eggs a day to  jump to 12-18!!!  French toast in the making!!  Custard pies on the horizon (to heck with the weight)!!  Egg salad for lunch!  I could go on and on and of course we can’t forget the infamous fried egg sandwich w/cheese!!​  Of course, our benefactor will receive free eggs for a time.

I think he is a crossed Americauna, small but handsome!

I think he is a crossed Americauna, small but handsome!

Barred Rocks

Barred Rocks

Different breeds but beautiful eggs.

Different breeds but beautiful eggs.

Got to think of a name for him.

Got to think of a name for him.

Very pretty hen and very friendly.

Very pretty hen and very friendly.

They stay together most of the time and don't mingle with my old girls.

They stay together most of the time and don’t mingle with my old girls.

The new chickens and my old chickens fought each other most of the day and the rooster that came with them is thankfully one of a kind and will not be with us long.  I want a Barred Rock, Buff Orpington, Black Orpington or a Dominique.  Sussex and Americana are beautiful and good egg layers.  I’ll check around in the spring when some of my girls tend to get broody!!
My older hens stick close to the hen-house and aren’t ranging out very far but there’s a very good reason.  A couple of weeks ago a bird hawk, smaller than my hens, decided to invade the inside of the henhouse and killed two of my hens and the day before we found Ms. Crow dead in front of the door.  We have a feeling the hawk got it as well but couldn’t carry her off.  The hens are still skittish and stay close to buildings they can get under fast.  They quit laying for a couple of days or are dropping the eggs outside of the nesting area.
This winter is the first in a long time that I’ve had to buy store-bought eggs and glad it was only for a couple of weeks.  There’s nothing like fresh eggs from the farm.  The eggs are coming more generously now and I can start selling them again but we’ve decided to raise the price on them to $2.00 per dozen because the  is needing a new roof and we’ve had to supplement their feed with scratch grains because of the very cold winter.  Keep them fat and the cold won’t hurt so bad!!  We don’t believe in heated and lighted chicken houses.  We keep everything as natural as possible.
On another note, Fuzzy is missing!!

Fuzzy, my orphaned cat.  She was dropped at our home long before we arrived and survived wild until I finally coaxed her to my lap!!

Fuzzy, my orphaned cat. She was dropped at our home long before we arrived and survived wild until I finally coaxed her to my lap!!

I haven’t seen her since last Wednesday when she came to meet when I got home from work.  I fed her that evening and haven’t seen her since.  She left once before for about four days but this has been over  a week and I’m so afraid a coyote pack got her.  I hope I go home today and she has returned.

Winter stockpile

2014 final wood split and ready to store in shed.  Wonderful oak that has been dead for at least a year.

2014 final wood split and ready to store in shed. Wonderful oak that has been dead for at least a year.

We’re ready for a cold winter after this load is put in the woodhouse. I believe it’s a total of three pickup loads full. Hubby split it in three days while I was at work. Now we need to put it in the shed to keep it dry for winter use.

Wood General wood splitter has saved a lot of sore muscles and pain the back!

Wood General wood splitter has saved a lot of sore muscles and pain the back!

This will all go in the big stove in the living room. We’ve not brought in anything for the wood cookstove yet.
Heating oil tank on the backside of the woodshed.

Heating oil tank on the backside of the woodshed.

This fuel tank was used for heating oil when hubby’s aunt & uncle lived here. The back side of the tank was against the wood shed and years of rain off the roof, onto the tank and draining against the wall has rotted it badly and it was placed against a door to the back side of the shed.  This is what it looks like after years of rotting.

Rotting wood

Rotting wood

Woodshed needs repairs.

Woodshed needs repairs.  A hole and major damage is at the bottom of the door and a short board is holding it shut for the moment.

We’ll replace the door and use it to throw the wood in for stacking. It will be easier to back the truck up to that opening.  Always something to repair or replace but this door will make it easier to throw the wood in the building instead of the window.

The shed is already two-thirds full from wood we didn’t have to use last year.

Two-thirds full

Two-thirds full

We will surely be warm in the coming winter months!


Hubby repaired the rotten door today and did an amazing job.  He plans to paint the entire building with a old time mixture to preserve it the rest of OUR lives.  Here’s the results and it was the first door he ever made from scratch.  He’s so amazing!


Repaired with lumber cut from the farm.

Repaired with lumber cut from the farm.

First time he made a door from scratch.

First time he made a door from scratch.





Winter 2014 warmth stockpile to be completed.

Winter 2014 warmth stockpile to be completed.

On Sunday morning we took off to the woods and started cutting for the 2014-15 heating season.  We found two oak trees that had been dead from the gypsy moth invasion three years ago and put more than a ton of weight on the farm truck.  Here’s a view of the visit with nature.






IMG_0014We were there for about one and half hours and Hubby sawed the trees up and loaded the heavy pieces which were way to heavy for me and then I loaded the lighter stuff and enjoyed being in the woods.







IMG_0004I enjoy anything that involves us being outdoors together and I love the smell of fresh cut firewood.  One of the trees was blown to the ground and heavier than the other because it soaked up the last rain.  The other tree was still standing but the bark had fallen off.  This will keep us nice and toasty next winter.  All we have to do now is split the big stuff and put it in the woodhouse.






















Cleaning up the orchards

Storm aftermath June 29th, 2012

Storm aftermath June 29th, 2012

June duratio takes down several apple trees.

June duratio takes down several apple trees.


In June of this past summer, we had lots of tree and fence damage from the “duratio” that hit our farm.  I’ve never seen such wind and we were very lucky that we had no more damage than we did.  We did loose several apple trees and hubby has been working hard since that wind storm to get things back in order.

Hubby started the clean up in the orchard today and got all but one of the downed trees cut up and hauled off.  It looks kind of bare now but hopefully we’ll fix that.  Here’s a picture of the cleaned up orchard as of this afternoon.

Fallen apple trees removed and sun shining on the remaining.

Fallen apple trees removed and sun shining on the remaining.

Lots of replacing to do for the orchard at the house.

Lots of replacing to do for the orchard at the house.


We won’t be able to replace those trees with the same type because they were trees grafted by the family years ago.  Luckily there are several of the same type in the orchard and I have 30+ apple stock in the cellar that are two years old and ready for grafting.  I need to get out soon and cut scion from the trees we have left and when spring truly breaks I’ll get that new stock in the ground, grafted and wrapped and shielded from all the wildlife that love tender buds.

I’m looking forward to another try at grafting myself.  Hubby is a real pro at it!  I’ve taken the classes but think maybe I try to hard.  We’ll see how they fair toward the end of summer and look for new sprouts on the grafts.  I LOVE FARMING!!!

No more blocks :(

It’s two weeks into the new year and I haven’t made anymore blocks for my sampler quilt.  The weekends have been slam packed with other stuff and I haven’t sit foot in my quilt room.  Shame on me!!  This week I’ll try to do better.

Last weekend we hauled in firewood and put away the last of the venison and pork.  This weekend we worked around the house, cleaned the hen house nests, and today spent most of the day working cattle.  We had twelve 3-4 month old calves to vaccinate, worm, band and eartag and 15 cows to worm and eartag.  Our daughter helped with was a blessing and we finished in about two hours.

There is ALWAYS something that needs to be done!!  No pictures today!  Cattle don’t fare well in a head chute and having their pictures made.  Anyway, on with the new week and hopefully the sampler blocks will be made.  I’m only about 30 blocks behind!!  🙂


Saturday with Hubby

It’s been a good while since Hubby and I spent the day together in the woods.  The weather was nice enough (40* and sunny) for me to get out with my fingers crossed that the bronchial problems wouldn’t re-surface.  It was the last day of deer hunting season and hubby had killed two does and one buck with his muzzleloader in the last three days to complete his big game tag.  The front porch firewood supply was getting low (even though the wood house was fuller than it had been for three years) and it had been a long time since we had cut firewood together.

Porch wood stack getting low.

Porch wood stack getting low.


After breakfast was over, I washed up the dishes, fed the chickens and turned them out, and started the laundry while hubby fed the cattle.  Then we headed for the flatwoods with the chainsaw, gloves and a smile on my face.  We saw several deer run as we entered the woods and a squirrel took for the tree tops.

Within a hundred feet we found three dead locust and and a downed oak so we stopped the truck and I waited for hubby to bring them down and within a hour the truck was packed with wonderful fuel for the woodstoves.  We headed back to the house with the pickup full.

Truck full and some has to be split.

Truck full and some has to be split.

Notice the handmade wheelbarrow that hubby made last spring.  That thing is the best tool we own as far as I’m concerned.  It’s balanced just right and I can go anywhere with it.  Hubby decided to use the splitting maul to quarter the larger pieces and while he did that I unloaded the smaller sticks to the wheelbarrow and he pushed it to the porch for me and I unloaded it.  It was good quality time together and even though it’s calling for temps to be in the 40’s this coming week, we’ll still have to have a fire day and night.  We’re saving the wood in the woodhouse for hardtimes (snow to deep to get to the woods) and we’ve talked about doing this for the next few Saturdays together, weather permitting, and fill up the entire three sides of the front porch.  We like to do this because it blocks the winds from the front door and we will have those nasty winds.  Here’s the finished work about thirty minutes later.

One load fills up a pretty big gap!

One load fills up a pretty big gap!

From this point I returned indoors to work on laundry and other chores while hubby skinned and quarted the venison.  We had a very productive day.

New carpet

We had rain most of Saturday night and all day yesterday.  The temps dropped from 70’s to 40″s and there is a definite nip in the air.  I took some pictures to commemorate the season’s definite change and the change in the looks around the house.  Hope you enjoy may new carpet of gold, red and orange!


Fall color

Fall color

Orange, gold and red surround the house

Orange, gold and red surround the house

Falling leaves carpet the yard

Falling leaves carpet the yard

Sugar maples all around the house insure color in the fall.

Sugar maples all around the house insure color in the fall.

One tree empty and the other full of gold.

One tree empty and the other full of gold.

The farm is all aglow!!

The farm is all aglow!!

I guess it’s time to load up the front porch with lots of firewood and put fresh bedding in the hen nests and the dog boxes.  That woodstove sure put off some good heat last night.

Work, work, work. . . continued

Two weeks later the greenhouse is full of plants growing faster than I can repot.  The asparagus is coming in really good now and we’ve planted our onions and cabbage with hopes of planting the potatoes this weekend.  The berry vines and apple trees have been pruned.  I fear I may run out of area for all the plants in the greenhouse but I have lots of friends waiting for sharing in our wealth. 

Hubby has hauled in two truck loads of firewood and has it stacked ready to split and move to the woodhouse. We only used about five loads this past winter and the winter was mild.  The woodhouse is still about 1/3 full but we have to prepare for what could always be a long cold winter though we always hope it won’t be.  On the farm you always have to prepared for the worst case scenario and that means bringing in at least six more loads to fill the woodhouse and four more for stashing in the barn for easy access in the event of  heavy snows and we can’t get to the woodland.

We have two calves left to join the rest of the herd and we currently have thirty one running around in the fields.   I “set” two hens in the last ten days.  One has twelve eggs under her and the other has nine and the first hatch will be around the 9th of May and the second will hatch around the 24th of May.  The henhouse is due a good cleaning and fresh bedding in the nesting area and fresh sawdust under the roosting area.  

We’ve finished the renovations to the cattle working pen and it should be a lot more user-friendly for the humans and the cattle.  We plan to work them next weekend which will entail eartags, worming, baby vaccinations, banding and then turning out on the fresh spring pastures.  All of the major fencing that HAD to be done is complete with more to be completed in the fall.

Spring cleaning has begun with the major cleaning to be done in two weeks when I’m on vacation and the wood stoves have been cleaned out for the heating season.  I can’t wait to get them all cleaned up and polished for next winter.  We seem to always be preparing for another season.  I’ve been hoarding the items I need to make my homemade cleaning products and I’ve made lists of everything to be done while I’m off.  Preliminary cleaning has begun to help with the big clean up which includes cleaning out closets, cleaning the appliances and cleaning up the yard and preparing for the greenhouse wealth.  I need to start on sewing the new curtains I’ve planned for three of the rooms in the house.  I also have a few new decorating ideas which entails some crafting to do quickly.

Work, work, work!!

It’s the time of year when the farm is on the way to being very busy,  not only with cleaning up from winter and gardening a little but also for preparing for next winter.

There’s filling the wood house with enough firewood to last through the worst of winter’s even it doesn’t come to fruition.

You can never be sure!  So, prepare, prepare, prepare!!

Mowing, raking and baling enough hay to keep the cattle fat and happy through a rough winter when they’re carrying prospective new babies.

We’re always mending and replacing fences and cleaning up line-fences (fences bordering neighbors).  Gates get in disrepair and have to be changed.  Fence posts after so many years will rot off at the top of the ground and they’ll need to be replaced.  Did I mention deer running through the fences and making openings where none should be while a predator  (coyote) is chasing them?  These all need to be watched and corrected all year long to keep your cattle where they’re supposed to be and keep your neighbors happy.

Building fences, sheds, working pens and more can run into loads of money.  One way that we are able to cut some of those costs is to go into our woodland and cut mature trees, saw into 8′, 10′ and 12′ logs, haul them out of the woods and have a neighbor with a portable sawmill come to the farm and saw our logs into lumber.  Our woodland has lots of mature  oak and pine perfect for the job and if you leave them in the woods they will fall and rot.  We’re returning the logs to the farm in the way of lumber.

I’ve decided this post will go on forever so for time and adventure I will save the rest for several segments of “Work, work, work!  Until then, look around your day to day life and re-evaluate the work you do for your family.  When you break it down like this, it’ll be very gratifying but may make you tired too!!