Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 35- Winter?

We enjoyed a couple of beautiful spring like days again, though I was worried that the freezers wouldn't keep, before waking this morning to three inches of snow.  The temperature dropped overnight and the wind is howling.  I have both fires burning trying to take the chill off.  Three inches of snow doesn't provide much insulation against the wind, and with no blower on the furnace it takes a lot for the heat to spread.  We may need to move the boys beds downstairs and seal off the upstairs.  We've had a pretty mild fall so far, but winter may finally be here.  At least with the snow I won't have to wait all day for water.  I'm really behind on the dishes and laundry again.

Husband and the boys tested the new hay wagon/school bus out by going back in the woods for firewood.  The basement is full, and the woodshed just one row shy.  Samson managed the wagon on his own on the way out, but was really struggling with it loaded.  They hitched Knightmare up to team with him, and she did ok.  She tried to break away a few times, but the weight of the wagon prevented her.  They still wouldn't trust her on the small cart on her own, but she'll learn.

I made my last potato packet with lemon pepper last night.  The jar is empty.  I do have a fair bit of the spices I use all the time stored, but I think I had best start an indoor herb garden and experiment with what I can grow before I run out of everything.  I'm glad I dug out the thyme, marjoram, oregano, and lady's mantle from the perennial bed in September.  That'll give me a bit of a head start.  I think a large planter of kale might be a nice addition for winter too.

I'm starting to worry about yeast.  It looks like my flour supply is going to outlast my yeast supply, and the yeast I have is a bit aged, so I'm having to use a bit more of it to get the same effect.  I was sure I had another vacuum sealed package, but I've triple checked the cupboards and can't find it.  I started some sourdough experiments, but I've never had good luck with them before.  I hope I'm not just wasting flour and potatoes.  I've opened another bag of flour now, leaving 5 bags in the basement.  That's about 1 bag a month, so we should be ok until spring. 

Honey is getting low again.  Husband wants to wait for a bit more snow so he can take the sleigh to the Hutterite village, or a melt to take the horse cart.  The cart would be ok right here, right now, but we'd run the risk of hitting deeper snow or none at all within a few miles.  And you never know when a winter storm is going to dump a foot or two on top of you.  For now we'll stay put, and go without, since it's just not worth the risk of getting stranded.

Dad and Brother  spent the nice days fishing and hunting, doing well with both.  They got a dozen fish in one afternoon, several partridge, and a moose calf.  The smoker is down at Brother's camp so Sil can keep an eye on it.  They're making jerky.  Sil has the moose fat rendering on their woodstove, though there wasn't a lot of it.  Sil and the girls have collected a lot of cattails and weeds, boosting their winter stores as well. 

Niece1 has taken to driving the horse cart pretty well.  Niece2 seems to think they're going to crash.  I'm not sure if she's afraid of horses or her sister's driving.

Diego and Nira have asked for more potatoes.  I really don't want to part with them, even though I said we'd share when we brought them home.  They just seem to have gone through the first bag awfully fast.  They didn't even offer to trade any of the jars of pickles that they don't like.  I guess they've decided to eat them after all.  I know Diego helped dig them, but it was our meat that we traded for them, and more of our people that did the digging.  We'll stop and see the potato man again, but I don't think the odds are in our favour.

I spend the afternoon making more tallow candles.  I don't know if they'll make a good trade for honey, since the apiary would have beeswax, but maybe that won't matter at the village.  The demand for candles must be pretty high by now.  Although we find we're burning fewer candles by just going to bed earlier.  It means we're up before the sun, but everyone gathers in the kitchen in the mornings, so one candle is plenty.

I'll need to gather more jars to make more candles.  #2 is having a shoe problem.  He has the biggest feet, size ten, and no spares.  He'll be ok for winter, with his boots, and his rubber boots and steal toes are ok, but we'll have to keep our eyes open for shoes for him for next spring.  I could make slippers from the cow hides, but I don't think they'd hold up real well without soles.  Maybe we'll get lucky.  Thankfully everyone else has at least two pairs of spares, so they'll be ok for awhile.

Roast beef for dinner, soup for lunch, and pancakes for breakfast.  We're still doing well with food.


  1. Shoes,,, that's something I have thought of also. My boys wear them out fast.(hubby too)

    1. They seem to be made cheaper and cheaper all the time, don't they? I got the Bigs some better shoes last year, and #1 wore his the whole year. This year I bought the same brand for all three of the bigger boys, and #2 and #3 have both already worn them out. Name brands and prices don't seem to make any difference either.

      Of course there are no real cobblers left any more either. Someone with those skills would be a great asset in this type of situation. I wonder if the Hutterites still make their own shoes? I'll have to ask the next time I'm down that way.

  2. We're planning on growing a small area of wheat next year and also oats for our family and feed for the livestock. I make Irish soda bread using soured milk and vinegar but we do love yeast bread. I really need to try a sourdough starter but I'm not real good at maintaining that stuff. Shoes would be an issue for us also as my kids are still growing by leaps and bounds. Sometimes we can hand them down but things like their rubber boots just don't last and it's what the girls wear the most.