Prep Monday—Winter

Look, it’s only January 3 and I’m already running behind—what an accomplishment, huh? And yes, I did take off the week between Christmas and New Year’s, thankyouverymuch!

Now let’s talk prepping:

Winter on the homestead has traditionally been about regrouping, resting, and of course, carrying on the daily chores. And we’re nothing if not traditional (forget the WiFi for a moment and the addition of Alexa to our household)!

For me, living in the ‘burbs, it was always hard to get motivated when the sky is gray and the wind is blowing and, well, it’s COLD. I do tend to sleep a bit more, even out here in the sticks, but there are still things to do.

Animals and livestock need to be fed and cared for—and horses worked with. The cats will let you know this, just in case you forget and their bowls are not filled at a precise time, that time being as soon as your eyes start to open at zero-dark-thirty. And then they’ll want out, and in, and out, and in . . .

I have less desk work now, since I’m closing Rocking Horse Publishing, but yes, of course I still write. And I’m taking up leather working again. Played around with decorating a lighter case just last night. I swear, too, I’m going to conquer this thing called “knitting.” One of these days . . .

But winter is a good time to learn new skills and practice old ones. Even outside, as long as you’re dressed for it. I shot my bow over this past weekend—it had been a while, so I lost a couple arrows. And the weather was good. I can deal with almost anything except lack of sun. That’ll put me to sleep quicker than a football game or a golf match.

And if you use wood for heat, you know that you have to keep the woodbox full. That’s an every-other-day event, but it’s not time-consuming and, if you want to be warm, you’ll do it. Our furnace is in the lean-to, right off the kitchen, and the wood piles are about 15 feet from the back door. And covered. Also important!

Don’t think you have to be busy all the time during this season. You do need to be timely when it comes to chores—don’t put things off if the weather is cooperating. Take advantage of sun and warmer temperatures when you can, and use the time to rest and rejuvenate. Within a couple months, you’ll be prepping your garden and making repairs, sunup to sundown.





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!