Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Preparing for the Blizzard

   They are saying on the radio and online that we are in for 14" of snow, some sleet, thunderstorm, cats, dogs, frogs, whatever. We don't tend to get too excited about the weather, but we are smart enough to prepare for it. Yesterday we cut and brought in three loads of red elm firewood. I hated cutting that tree down. It was hu-mun-gus! I kept the wedge from the cut and counted over 100 rings, or over 100 years old. I had wrapped my arms around the log and still had over a foot to reach. It was 14 feet to the first branch. Now that large, majestic tree is heating my house.
   I asked Marty to keep the log out of it so we can mill it into lumber. I just couldn't bear to know that it would be burnt up and not enjoyed as beatiful wood. I'm not sure what we'll make from it, but I'll think of something. I also kept the wedge and plan to sand it smooth and re-count the rings to make sure of the age. It will go in my honey house as a piece of art...nature art. Simple, majestic. The closest I have here at the farm to the sequoia.
   We also decided to bring the cows into the barn yesterday. Luckily, as a small homestead farm, we only have two. And, even though Dini's attitude makes up for about three more, we were able to get them into the barn stall with some hay. Then today we decided to move the pigs into the barn.
   Stalls were planned and started late last year but we hadn't finished them. We got the post pounder out and finished putting up the oak pen sides, tied to metal posts driven in the soil and lime floor. Lime was put down many years ago and has hardened into an almost concrete substance, so getting the posts in took some work. Then I tied the pen sides to them while the guys attached little gates to the front of the pens. The pens for the little boys, little girls, and Swee don't have to be extra sturdy. Sam, however, is another story.
   For Sam, we put up the sides in the corner where I will build the turkey house later this spring. We added an extra post, attached a more sturdy gate, and found a large crate and cement block to put against the gate. He is super strong and smart. His pens and gates have to have a much stronger construction.
   We then grabbed each of the five little boys and the five little girls and popped them into the pens. We just picked them up. They squeal like crazy until you start to rub their cheeks and then they calm down. They are so like little dogs. For Swee, we opened her cage, offered her an apple and she followed us into the pen in the barn. She's great.
   Then Sam. Not a problem. The guys distracted him by rubbing on him until I could get his cage clips undone. Then he followed Marty into the pen in the barn, following the bucket of apples that Marty was carrying actually. What a great pig!
   I think our animals are very easy to take care of. I gave the chix and ducks extra food, the cows extra water, the sheep extra hay, and that was that. It is great to be a small homestead so we can get all the animals into the barn. I plan to build a couple more pig pens later this year so we can put more pigs in if needed after Swee has her next litter. As soon as the weather clears...hopefully soon...they will go back out to their cages and the cows to their cow area.
   Then we got two more loads of firewood from the stack by the barn, collected the extension cords, brought the gas generator up to the garage from the syrup house, and got extra gas. We have lots of our own food so don't worry about running to the grocery store. The generator will help run the heater's blower outside and keep the downstairs freezers from thawing if we need it. Otherwise, I've collected my books, my knitting, my tea and have snuggled in for a nice snow storm.
   Hope your weather is better than ours!!


  1. Boy, am I glad that y'all are ready for the big one. I wondered how you were going to get through this "monster" storm and now I know. It sounds like Noah's ark at your place. I'm just glad that you'll have a little time to "snuggle in" and drink tea, knit, read, and watch the bad weather from the inside! Think summer!

  2. I love your animal tales (tails). It's like a little army of a family. Seeing their pictures is especially cool! That way on any of your blogs when you mention them by name, I can keep coming back to THIS post to but a face with a name--thanks!

    By the way, was the red elm the largest of all your trees (before it was cut down), or do you have even larger ones? 100 rings is pretty impressive and will remain impressive when on display in the honey house.

    You might be able to use the polished stump as a historical graphic timeline display to show what events happened both at Spence farm and other places of note.