I love the crunch of new snow on a cold sunny morning. Computer says 3 degrees F this morning but my thermometer says -10 degrees F. Computer weather is also calling for fog. I sure don’t have any. It was a pretty pink sunrise this morning and the sun is shining through my windows right now. Supposedly we are supposed to warm by the weekend. I’ll be a bit sad if the snow melts and we go back to being windy and dusty. I won’t mind driving on dry roads though. Slip sliding down the road isn’t exactly fun with two little kids. They kind of think it is fun but it makes this momma nervous.
These pretty winter days make me happy. I love a good cold sunshiny day. Sure there are worries. My wood pile is gone and we have to wait to replenish that. Luckily I have dual heating methods so I’m not too worried. Just don’t want electric power to go out. Of course, I don’t want that anyway because that means my water goes away. Electric well pumps don’t work without that good old electric power. I do need to make more of an effort to store enough water for everyone. We have a bit but not enough to last for long.
Food and water storage is something I need to get better at all around. By this time of year I’m seeing what we need to can more of in the Fall. I see I need to do more whole tomatoes, peaches, and pears. This year I’ll need to do some jams and/or jellies. We have finally made our way through our stash. That chokecherry bush up by the mailbox cluster is getting raided this year. I’ll probably make more of an effort to go after the ground cherries too. Can’t beat free goodies. I’m going to see if anyone has apples that they aren’t using. My apples won’t be producing for a while yet. I can see I’m going to need to order the great peaches, pears, and apples from an orchard down South of us. They are an organic orchard and the fruit is delicious. I also know of a u-pick raspberry and strawberry place that I may have to make use of this year as well.
I am greatly torn when trying to make decisions about animals to get. In many ways I would like a milk cow but I don’t want to have to milk every single day. I won’t do dairy goats. Good idea, I just can’t stand goat milk anything. I think it all tastes like goats smell. Funny because I’ve always liked the goat meat I’ve had, but I cannot do cheese, yogurt, or milk. It is just weird to me. Sheep’s milk cheese is fine. Cow milk is good along with the cheese and cream. If we didn’t go through so much milk, cheese, and butter I would buy local stuff but I can’t on our budget. Ouch. I would like to, but I just can’t. Not at our local prices and in the quantities I need.
So you see? In many ways it would be good if we got a milk cow. But then you have to factor in that we need to build a shelter both for the cow and for milking. We would need more jars and buckets to take care of the milk. There is the breeding schedule to think about because there is the fact that you don’t get milk without a calf. And last but not least is the amount of hay needed. No hay field here. No haying equipment either. Maybe someday but not right now.
It is all a little at a time. I do want to build a barn. We need one for so many reasons. We will wait though. I need to see the weather for a year or two before I decide on placement. I want to know prevailing winds (from the West) and where those winds put our drifts. Accessibility is an issue that needs careful consideration as well. Eventual loads of hay, trailers, animals, winter chores, summer chores, storage areas, and feed bunks all need thought out. The slope of the land is a factor as well.
This is all the stuff that keeps me from jumping in too quickly. I know what a pain it is when you have a poorly designed area. All sorts of frustrations come about. There is enough work without having your buildings work against you. I keep trying to look at old homesteads around the area and see what seems to work and what doesn’t.
Winter is good for this kind of planning. During the summer you feel like you have to be outside getting things done, but winter forces you inside and to the drawing board. I think it is time for a cup of coffee and a notebook to sketch out ideas.