It's been a week without power. We're doing ok, all things considered. I'm not the first one up today. I find #2 in the kitchen, with the stove warmed up and tea in the pot already. He doesn't know how to make coffee, so I show him. Husband gets up next, and then the rest of the boys. I make pancakes again, and make them stick with blueberry sauce. We can't have four open jars of jam with no fridge.
I check the water bottle I left outside the day before. It's starting to freeze. I take it down to the cold room and put it in the cooler. I set out another bottle, so I'll be able to switch them every day.
Husband and the Bigs are going to work on the outhouse today. They think there's enough press board for walls, and they'll use logs and 2X4s for the bench over the hole. There might be enough tin for the roof. I tell them to wrap the whole thing in plastic as well. I'm glad I bought the roll for the hay shed that isn't finished yet. I regret that we never made it to the lumber mill for another load of 2X6s.
The Littles start bringing in their toys. I tell them to take them all up to their room and clean their room up as well.
I put the crabapple juice on the stove to boil, then set up my strainer to squeeze the pulp through. I'm busy for awhile, chopping the last tomatoes, an onion, celery, etc. This batch will be catsup. By the time I get it on the stove to cook, everyone is in for lunch, and I mention hanging Casper. They don't look thrilled about it, but agree that it'll cut down on hay consumption. They make sandwiches. I start three more batches of bread. I'll take some to mom in the morning. I take a couple of little hams out of the freezer and put them in a pot to boil. I take the crabapple catsup off the stove and set it aside. It can wait til tomorrow.
The Littles finish cleaning their room and bring down a mountain of laundry. Oh joy. Most of it can wait, but everyone probably needs some socks and underwear washed. I send #3 out for a bucket. I fill it half full of hot water from the stove, put it in the bathtub, and pour in a bit of laundry soap. I use the plunger to suds it up a bit, then start sorting through the laundry hamper. When the bucket is full of assorted underthings I start plunging it. After about 5 minutes, I pull some out and look them over. I think they look pretty good, so I yell for another bucket. The wet things are transferred and I start another batch while the water's still warm, and toss in a couple of t-shirts. The water looks pretty rough when I'm done this batch, but I throw in one pair of jeans at a time, and do a pair for each of us. I take them out to the clothesline and hang them up. I don't bother ringing them out- they'll dry, they'll just take longer.
This washing doesn't make much of a dent in the laundry pile, but at least we'll have a few cleaner things to wear.
Husband goes to get the tractor after lunch. I roll out the bread while he's gone.
Bigs gather up chains and come-alongs, hatchet, hammer and knives. We
cut Casper out of the herd- they're all standing by the gate eating hay-
and out into the yard. He knows this is weird, we're usually chasing
him back into the pasture, not the other way around. Husband shoots
him, and he drops on the spot. I cut his throat. We chain him up to
the tractor and take him down the trail to our hanging trees. #2 and I
work on gutting him while Husband and #1 get the come-along hooked up
between the trees. Husband uses the hatchet and hammer to break through
the pelvic bone. They hoist him up and we finish pulling the guts
through. They lower him back to the ground, chain him back to the
tractor, and into the garage he goes.
He's too big to
hang in one piece, so we cut him in half from the third lowest rib, and
hang each half. Then we skin each half. It's well past dark when we're
done, and we're all cold, tired and hungry. The hams are well done,
but I didn't start any potatoes. We decide to eat the ham with beets
and call it a day. I put the oven over the stove top and put in the
first batch of bread before we eat. I pull it out and put in the second batch after supper. I sit and read while I wait for it to finish. Finally the third batch is in. Once it's done I go to bed, exhausted.