Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Outdoors in Winter

Peaceful Forest Homestead Barn

Winter brings a lot of work around here, every year I always expect it to get cold, to need heat and firewood to fuel it. Snow is expected and the clean up work is a part of it. What else can you do? I have written many many times on all my blogs (Homesteading on the Internet, Solar Baby and Lupe Shop), that preparing in advance is the best thing you can do. So if you are stockpiling wood, food and any fuels you will need if you are snowed in then you should be fine. Not having those things stored will make your winter season pretty tough indeed. Living in an area where you may get snowed in or flooded roads means you better prepare even more. I am not talking about "prepping" just because you think the world is going to change and we are headed for disaster. In any case, preparing now, would help in that situation also. 

Shoveling and snow clean up is probably one of the jobs everyone hates who lives in a cold climate. It is harder as you get older and some people just cannot do it (like me). I believe it is one of the main reasons why people move to a warm climate. They will always say it is pretty but I don't want to live in it. I can understand completely, even though it is not and never has been a chore I have had to do. Having a snowplow on your truck would make the driveway easier to clear. All these years my husband has hand shoveled it until he got the Snow Wolf. The paths though, can not be plowed with a snowplow. They have to be shoveled. This is a lot of work when you have a heavy snowfall. I never mean to make light of it since I recognize that fact, even though I have never had to do it. It is part of living in a cold climate and especially in the country. In the city, it depends on whether you live in a house or an apartment. 

Owning horses also make the chores tough in winter. Our horses have the freedom to go in or out of the barn on their own. We have three mares and they share one big stall that has a big open door leading to the paddock. So if they want to go outside in the winter that is their own choice. Now actually, they love winter and cold weather. They are not crazy about cold rain or strong winds. Having been in a pretty bad tornado some years ago, has made two of them skittish when the winds start. Hot weather means they choose to only go outside in the evening when they get their night hay. They forage around for it since it is distributed in many piles around their paddock. That way one horse, the boss mare, cannot claim it all for herself. Which she would certainly do. The bugs is the main reason they do not like to go outside in the warm weather. I know, the bugs are inside the barn as well, but they don't believe me when I tell them that. Bringing in hay for them in the winter is also a job and the area to the barn needs to be cleared so the truck can be backed up to load the upstairs of the barn with the hay. This is a once a month job at least. And a hard one as my husband has gotten older.

Firewood is needed for fuel and for cooking. Cooking, not so much this year. Since I lost my cook stove and we replaced it with a little heating stove I do not do my cooking on one anymore. Our little piece of property is barely an acre but when that tornado hit us it took down over 300 trees! I stopped counting after that. It was heavily wooded and the house had a very tiny back yard. All trees and big ones at that. Recent years, after having burned all those other trees that came down in the tornado, the trees around in our yard have been slowly harvested for fuel. Now people will ask why those trees were cut down. The main reason is that most of them were old and dying. That means they were beginning to fall and when a tree falls on its own, you do not know where it will land. Like on our house, barn, shed or truck. Best to do it yourself. Just within the last few years, we have started buying firewood. My husband prefers log lengths but sometimes that is just not doable for us. Stocking wood would be a good idea, though we have never done that here. Not my department so I will not say more on that subject.

Winter is hard and so is life here. But this is what I have at this time and this is an idea of how you would have to work hard to prepare and survive to live in a cold climate. At least this is the way it is here on my homestead. Everybody is different so your needs may vary. Best to be prepared the best you can wherever you live.

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

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