Tag Archives: winter

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.

 

 

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!!

Hummingbird Moth

This summer weather in December is making me crazy!!!  I don’t care for the cold anymore but this is ridiculous!!  We actually have a cherry tree on the mountain BLOOMING!  This is just wrong, don’t ya think?

So if it’s going to act like summer, I’m going to blog summer!

Hummingbird moth stealing nectar (2)

This the last flower blooming back in September and the little guy hovering over it is a hummingbird moth.  They’re so unusual and I only had two this summer.

Hummingbird moth sucking out all the nectar from around each petal.

Hummingbird moth sucking out all the nectar from around each petal.

Can you see both of them  on the Tall Phlox?

Can you see both of them on the Tall Phlox?

The pink of these flowers and their delicious smell attracts the hummingbird and the hummingbird moth.

The pink of these flowers and their delicious smell attracts the hummingbird and the hummingbird moth.

Hummingbird moths on tall flox 082015 (3)

Hummingbird moths on tall flox 082015 (4)

Hummingbird moths on tall flox 082015 (5)

Now that I’ve got that out of my system, can we PLEASE have some normal temps and a little of the white stuff (not fog)!

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.

Thinking ahead to spring

I know it’s still winter but frankly I’m tired of it and yes, here I go wishing my life away again.  Spring is just around the corner and since Friday is the first day of March and it takes 6-8 weeks to pop up good and get transplanted in bigger pots before going in the ground, I decided to start a couple of things.   Was that the longest craziest sentence you ever read 😉 ????

Sunday I made macaroni salad and had some “fresh” celery I used in it so I chopped the root end off of it and set it in a saucer full of warm water.  I remember seeing several blogs where we could start our own celery that way so I’m thinking I’ll try it. I sit it in the kitchen window until I could clean up a good flower-pot and get some good potting soil.  Last night I was sitting at the kitchen table and looked over at the window and there were sprouts coming up out of the celery.  I was absolutely shocked and excited.  So, after supper I rounded up the pots, yes pots, and moved to the back porch to get to work.  About four or five weeks ago I had started some herbs too and they were ready to be transplanted.  Here’s the proof of my work and now we just have to wait and see how it goes.  Hubby says I’m jumping the gun!!

Italian basil

Italian basil

Celery

Celery

DSCN2732

Sweet potatoes I started in November are going wild.

Sweet potatoes I started in November are going wild.

Winter Thyme

Winter Thyme

Lemon basil

Cinnamon basil

Lime basil

Lime basil

DSCN2737

More Celery sprouting

More Celery sprouting

Sweet basil

Sweet basil

Another sweet potatoe.  We love sweet potatoes but I always way too late to get them in the ground.

Another sweet potatoe. We love sweet potatoes but I always way too late to get them in the ground.

Now we just wait for old man winter to scoot on out of here and let spring herald it’s glory!!!

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!!!

The year is almost three quarters gone and what did I do?

                                                                                                                                                                    January -Ice and snow

February-Making maple syrup

January-February – grafting fruit trees

February – March – Seedlings started

March – Baby calves arrive

March-April – Spring turkey hunting for two of my favorite people.

April – fire wood for winter 2012

April – New equipment for working the cattle

April – More new fencing

May – Gardening begins

May – Honeybees cleaning house and we prepare for fresh honey

May – Bee swarming begins

May – Fruit trees bloom and we worry about late frosts.

June 2012 – 1st ever “duratio” in our neck of the woods. Lots of cleanup and keeping hubby busy!

June – Duratio takes down lots of our fruit and nut crop and wreaks havoc on our fencing.

June – Hay time

June – Hay lot is full!

July – Spring cleaning almost done!

July – Harvesting & canning for winter in full swing!

July – A little crafting along the way makes life fun!

July – First barn quilt in Craig County on the barn!! More fun!

August-September – Mammoth pumpkin from the garden. He almost didn’t fit the wheel barrow!

July – August – Fresh vegies from the garden.

September – Potatoes harvested and in the cellar.

September – Plowing to sow the winter crops (turnips & parsnips).

September – Spaghetti sauce and barbecue sauce from the last of the tomatoes.

And, here it is the end of September.  Deer season and turkey season is soon to be here.  Baby calves are coming and yearlings are headed to the market.  Two nights of cold temps and frost in the mornings means firing up the wood stoves.  The cycle starts again.

Fall is here whether we are ready or not!!

We’ve been talking  a lot , hubby and me, about the signs of a early winter.  I remember as a child hearing my parents and grandparents talking about the signs of a early or bad winter.  One such saying was “If the bees build their nest high in the trees we would have a lot of snow in the coming winter.  The bees are bad at the farm right now and they’ve built nest everywhere.  Some high in the maple trees, some in the buildings, and some in my flower beds.

I posted earlier in the week that the leaves are changing here and the hummingbirds are slowly leaving.  We had around 30 in July and this morning there were only seven at the feeder when I left for work.  This morning there are only three left.  Should we be worried since they usually don’t leave until mid to late September?

We have the woodshed full and the last hay is baled and in the barn.  The equipment has been looked over and put away.  We need to get the calves to market but holding off because “pinkeye” has touched about 10 head and we want them well before they’re shipped out.

The chicken molt is coming to a close and the katydids are screaming every night.  They’re usually not this loud until it about to frost.  The praying mantis are all over the flowers  and in the gardens.    We heard coyotes night before last and from the sound of it they had caught something for supper.  Now we worry about the fall calves that will start coming in mid-September.  The whitetail deer have started losing their velvet and I thought this also happened in late September.

I’ve been watching for the ring around the moon that predicts snow but haven’t seen it “yet”!   Some other weather sayings I heard growing up are if yellow jackets are building their nests above ground, then it will be a wet winter.   If the woolly worm has a lot of wool, it will be a bad winter.  If the squirrels and birds are feeding in the winter, expect a bad snow storm.  For every foggy morning in August, it will snow that many days that following winter.  It has been foggy about 20 days this August and that doesn’t bode well for us.  I’m glad the wood house is full and I’d better get that kindling gathered soon.

Wood house 1/2 full

Have you heard these?

Go by the persimmon seed for the weather of each year, Let the seed ripen then open the seed with a pair of pliers, Inside the seed will be a spoon, and it tells you that there will be a plenty of snow to shovel for the first of the winter.

When wind comes from the east,  It’s not fit for man nor beast.

When squirrels lay in a big store of nuts, look for a hard winter.

Ice in November to bury a duck, the rest of the winter is slush and muck.

Ring around the sun, time for fun. Ring around the moon, storm coming soon.

For every fog in august, you get a snow; the heavier the fog, the more snow you get.

Oh well, I guess time will tell but the way this year has flown by, I predict that winter is “soon” up us!!  Get your chores done and get your winter reading prepared 🙂

August/September Preparation for a bad winter

I can’t believe it’s the end of July!  This year has flown by!!  It’s time to start aggressively storing food for the winter, gathering wood, and winterizing all the animal sheds and the house.  I’ll save the house for last since the next two months will probably turn out to be our hottest months.  The farm equipment should be finished for the year except for a couple tractors.  Hubby always cleans them up and checks everything out for worn parts and replacement parts.  I clean up the garden and yard equipment but still a little early for that.  The major thing now is the garden.  I will have more green beans to can this coming week and weekend, more squash to freeze, onions to store and more cabbage to do something with.  The tomatoes and peppers are near ready yet and the summer “duratio” did away with most of the fruit.  Luckily I stored lots last year.

Hubby worked on filling the wood house again today and the split stack is out of the rain.  We still have a large load to split and more down from the storm to cut & split for the following winter.

All of the hay is stacked and ready for winter and hubby is in the process of cleaning up the hay equipment.  The roofs have been taken care of and I have to put new interior tar paper in the chicken house.  All of the major fence repairs have been made and the pastures are being sheared now.