The weather has been beautifully mild for this time of year. It's rather unexpected. We've been spending a fair amount of time each day gathering firewood. While it may look like a mild winter ahead right now, it could turn into a late spring, and we don't want to be caught unprepared.
I finally finished with the bear lard, for a total of 13 quarts, not counting the ones I gave to Sil and Nira. The dogs and birds ate cracklings for several days, mixed in with their feed. I've started feeding the birds a scoop of doggy stew along with their grains and weeds. I don't know how much longer the grains will last, but I do know I can't buy any more right now.
The banana bread is gone, so we're back to pancakes for breakfast for now. We could have had eggs one day, the new chickens are really pulling their weight, but I decided to bake instead. Cookies are a pain on the woodstove, with only room for one tray at a time in the oven. I made a double batch of dough and was cursing them by the time I finished. I hope the boys appreciate the effort. I baked a cake and two pumpkin pies. The pies were surprisingly the easiest, requiring the least amount of flour and dirty dishes. I guess the boys will be spoiled this winter.
Husband and the Bigs are still working the horses for a couple of hours every morning. Knightmare is an old hat at the stone boat now. Husband doesn't trust her enough to try the cart yet though. They're going to try to fix up the sleigh today. I bought it at the auction a couple of years ago. The wood was rotten, but the frame was solid. The plan is to reinforce the sides and make a bench with thin trees, and use some 1X3s for the floor. The lumber pile isn't in too bad of shape yet, but the more we conserve the longer it will last.
They built a lean-to on the cabin by the creek for the horses to get out of the weather. We moved them back there semi-permanently, in part because we don't want anyone trying to steal them, but mostly because there just isn't enough grass in the pasture. We can't waste hay.
Everyone is over their colds, and we did ok with cloth hankies. Washing them isn't even all that bad. I put them in a bucket, rather than the bathtub, and pounded them with the plunger. We sure went through a pile of them though. I took an old sheet and cut it into hanky size squares, and still had to wash them everyday.
We've been picking more weeds, digging more cattails, I even found another patch of rosehips that were in ok shape.
We're on our last roll of toilet paper. I had really hoped it wouldn't come to this. I've given everyone their own cloth to wipe with, and their own hook in the outhouse. They're all responsible for cleaning it themselves.
There hasn't been any rain, so Husband and the boys got water from Sanya and Roam again. No baths, for the time being. Everyone is getting kind of stinky too. Oh well. Snow will come eventually.
Lunches have been mostly soups and stews, with bread. Suppers are mostly beef. I'm trying to make room in the freezer for Mindy. On the one hand, she may be bred and it would make sense to keep her. On the other hand, we just don't have the hay to last the winter.
We play board games almost every night, and read. #4's reading has
really improved. The Littles do their school work in the mornings
without even being told now. Without the distraction of the tv and
computers, they're much more agreeable.
We keep busy, and try not to think too much about what might happen in the coming months.