Prep Monday—Ignoring the Cold

If I don’t talk about the weather, the bitter cold won’t actually exist, right? So I won’t discuss how, this morning INSIDE the house, the temp was 55 . . . which is fine for some reason if you’re outside. I won’t talk about how it took FOREVER for the furnace to kick on or how GODAWFUL it felt when I was breaking ice in the water trough at a totally miserable 3 degrees.

If my feet ever thaw out, I’m sure I’ll be able to ignore the weather . . .

I haven’t been to the greenhouse since Missouri became the new Arctic, but I imagine that, in spite of heat lamps, everything is dead. No biggie, we’ll start over—lesson learned!

The horses had ice on their muzzles too—and Cody had a little snow on her back. Must have been rolling, because we didn’t get any precip last night. Of course, Cav is often spotted SLEEPING in the snow. Guess here is still better than South Dakota! They do have a nice shed to go into, but since they’ve never seen one before, that might take a little more time to get used to.

I’ve also learned that Cody can be a little hard to spot; no pun intended. She blends into the leaves and snow covering the pasture . . . sometimes I have to look twice!

It’s not so bad out there—the only thing freezing are my eyeballs.

Well, enough about the weather; I’m ignoring it, right? Besides, in a couple days it’ll be 50.J

So they say . . .

In the meantime, prepping in on hold, so to speak. We’re getting ready for Christmas! The stockings are hung, but often have to be removed so we get more heat from the fireplace . . . Finally found a spot for a tiny tree—the one we had at the bookstore—but half the lights went out. Que sera, sera! And of course, no space on it for all my antique ornaments . . . seems odd after all these years . . . decades . . .

And no, we aren’t actually putting prepping on hold—see, here’s the thing: once you’re prepared, you go into maintenance mode. We restock whatever supplies we use and we make repairs when needed. Like the water pumps in the pasture, for instance. Good thing we caught that before the temps dropped. It seems little Cav was rubbing his head on the top and a half-assed fix from the previous owner came apart.

But my husband had experience replacing the one by the house a few weeks ago, so it all worked out. And, he bought extra parts for the other pumps, just in case!

We’re also making adjustments as we go, such as laying in a larger supply of firewood—which means cutting down more dead trees. Such a challenge as soon it warms up a bit—we’ll need to find dead trees. In winter. Yikes!

Also, we’re gonna need more hay—the challenge here is not finding it or buying it, but storing it. You’d think, with a 40×60 barn, we’d have plenty of room. You’d think . . .

Well, time to go break ice in the water trough again. Merry Christmas and happy prepping! Only 90 days until spring!



Prep Monday—97

Most people, in mid-December, are counting the days until Christmas. Not me. Only 97 days until SPRING!

I do not like cold weather. Period. You know that meme that says “I’m not going outside until the temperature is above my age? Yep, I could have originated that.

The problem is that once I get cold—to the bone, frozen, chilled—it takes forever to warm up again.

Whiskey helps.

Everyone has heard, of course, how to layer clothing. I start with what used to be called long underwear but is now referred to as “base layers.” Whatever. I do like the silk ones, though, and they aren’t as bulky as the old style. So I start there, and add a thermal shirt, a t-shirt, and a flannel shirt. Plus, when I go outside, I put on my amazing new Carhartt coat and snazzy deerskin (with Thinsulate) gloves.

Oh yeah, and pants. Always pants. Two layers. I’m also partial to wool moisture-wicking socks, thick ones.

My husband brought home some ski gloves for me last week. They’re a bit too big, but very warm; I can’t, however, do any chores that require gripping things, like hay bales or lead ropes. That could make for a sticky situation . . . or not, as the case may be.

And yes, I wear all but the coat and gloves (and earmuffs and scarf) inside too. I really hate to change clothes once I’m dressed.

Chant with me: 97 days! 97 days!

I’ve mentioned that we use wood heat. Mostly. We’re getting the hang of it now—last night it ran until about 2:00 a.m., I think. We also discovered a neat trick:

When the fire is going really well and is very, very hot and the blower still hasn’t kicked on, if you smack it just right, it’ll start up. Who knew?

Point is, this morning it was all the way up to 60 degrees in the bedroom when we got up!

Yes, we use some electric heat, particularly in the morning before the furnace kicks on. And I generally keep a space heater under my desk during the day because, in spite of the open floor plan, there is a large chunk of wall and some 20 feet between me and the vent.

I do, however, sit right next to a bank of windows. Chilly sometimes, but most of them are sheltered by a deep covered deck area, and when the sun is out, it’s quite toasty.

Sun is the thing I really miss during the winter. That weatherman is a liar. Or he’s too dumb to tell the difference between “cloudy” and “sunny.” Jerk.

If the sun is out, I’m good outside down in the 30s; if it’s cloudy, all I want to do is sleep.

Speaking of, on a homestead, you don’t get to do that. Good thing I never did—Dad’s rule was up and dressed and breakfast eaten by 9:00 a.m. And he was being generous. My friends all got to “sleep in” until noon or lie around in bed.

Some of them still do . . .

I don’t get it. On any given morning, we have to start the coffee, build a fire, feed two cats and one small dog who are all dancing under our feet, and then take one outside—where we watch her pick the right spot and it takes FOREVER.

Then our horsey visitor is whinnying for her breakfast.

If you’ve ever wondered how your day will go when SHTF, it will NOT involve staying in bed!

If you have a homestead, you already know all the work that happens on a daily basis. If you plan to move in with someone who has a homestead—and they’re expecting you—rest assured that you’ll be feeding livestock, working in the greenhouse or garden, making repairs, helping out the neighbors, cutting, splitting, and stacking firewood, cooking over a fire, and so forth.

If you’re planning to remain where you are and you’ve stocked up, you’re still going to have keep warm, find or grow food, and do most of the things you do now but without the conveniences currently in place. Try it sometime, say, over a weekend for a day or two. No appliance use, no electronics, no electricity or natural gas. Minimal errands. Make do with what you have on hand. Try it. I dare you.

And if you ARE prepared, eventually those preps are going to run out when it comes down to it. You have to be able to replenish and restock. Evaluate where you are, both physical location and preparedness, and set some goals now, today.

And keep warm. Only 97 days to spring!