Prep Monday—Time and Season


The time change happened, like clockwork—ha—yesterday. And we woke up, here on the farm, to 38 degrees with a windchill of 34. I don’t know about you, but anything below 45 just screams “winter” to me!

The Farmers’ Almanac gives us seasonal dates like these:

Fall: September 22

Winter: December 21

Spring: March 20

Summer: June 21

These may change each year, based on shifting sunlight, not temperature. Most of us, I think, see September as fall, November as winter, March as spring, June as summer—all beginning on the first of each month.

Maybe that’s why so many have SAD, because this makes winter last four months . . .

On the other hand, I’ve done plenty of camping in March and it sleeted. As in the last three years, in recent memory.

This year, it’s easier to think of November as still fall: there are plenty of leaves on the trees, my azalea bush and morning glories are blooming like crazy, new grass is sprouting up in the pasture.

But that 38 degrees trips me up . . .

And of course, today being a Monday doesn’t help at all and totally explains my fuzzy brain. Okay, not totally, but whatever.

Prepping is a lot like homesteading—a big duh, actually, because so frequently they’re one and the same. But you have to schedule things around the weather already, so the time change and shorter days just adds to the mix.

Instead of getting up and moving by 8:00, or even 7:00, you have to push a little harder and do in the daylight whatever needs to be done. Indoor things—unless you have a huge spotlight—can be done later.

For me, that mixes it all up. As a creature of habit—stop laughing, family—it’s really hard.

I usually spend an hour or so at my desk, then take care of stuff around the house, then move on for the rest of the day doing chores and projects. Now, I have to get my rear in gear much sooner and do stuff backwards. For me.

The flip side is that, once the outdoor projects are done for the winter, we don’t have to worry about a lot of work in the snow and ice and subzero temps. By the way, “subzero” for me means anything below 40, or 50 if there’s a lot of wind . . .

Yeah, this post sucks. I’m all over the place. My point is that there’s a reason for the saying “burning daylight.” And that said, I’m outta here—time to return to the fencing!

 

Work Wednesday—Posting Accomplished!


Yay! Woohoo! The posts are in the ground! All 125 of them. Or so . . .

We finished those up on Tuesday and concreted the six-inchers. Next step: screwing in about 350 boards. No idea, at this time, how long this is going to take, but I’ll guesstimate about three days. We’ll see if I’m right . . .

After that, we’ll lop off the extra at the tops of the posts, and put in the gates. Actually, we have to build one gate. Had a little trouble with Mabel.

Mabel being one of our tape measures.

Jane is the other one. Well, her full name is “Jane, You Slut.” We can’t ever find her . . . not going to tell you Mabel’s full name. We seldom need to use it.

Now, lest anyone think that setting posts in an easy thing—this means you, Dr. Ralko—I can assure you that it is not:

Let’s assume you already measured your pasture or yard or whatever and lined it out with string or twine, so you know where you’re going with this fence. First, you drill down with an auger—any variety; we have a two-man, but for this we’re using the one on the tractor. Thank God.

“They” say you should go down two feet. And “they” are correct. Unless you live in the Ozarks, in which case it requires using that tractor auger 2-3 times, slamming the hole with an iron rock-breaker stick—there may be a technical name for this, but I don’t know what it is—many, many, many times, using a hand post-hole digger and a shovel, and probably adding water at some point.

This can take as little as five minutes—in which case there is much joy and celebration—or as long as 30 minutes with calls of, “Looks good enough to me!”

Sometimes, there is a pause when one considers if one can obtain dynamite or C4 on Amazon Prime . . .

One cannot. One cries a little.

Next, assuming the hole is dug, you have to pick up a 40-pound, 8-foot post and lower it into the hole. You make sure it’s level and shove back most of the dirt you just removed from said hole. You tamp it down and add more dirt and make sure it’s all tight.

Then you measure to the next post. We use an 8-foot 2×4, because our distance between posts is, well, eight feet. Rinse and repeat, 125 times. Or so.

This is a full week: while the aforementioned concrete cures, we’ll be tilling the manure into the garden—got some from the neighbor last week—and (gulp) putting up the greenhouse. An all-day project if there ever was one.

And I might be too optimistic about that . . .

So you may or may not get pics of that greenhouse next week.