Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Winter on the Homestead

Well after a very mild November and December winter has finally arrived and its gotten cold and we have gotten some snow. Now after living in Alaska all those years we find its pretty mild and we enjoy it (lots of sun, relatively mild temps, dry snow) but it does make driving challenging. I fought a major structural fire a couple weeks ago and was on the monitor hose and since it was about 19 degrees and 3:30 am I ended up covered in ice from the spray..good times!! We also had a major storm a couple weeks ago that spawned tornados to the southwest and northeast of us that killed 6 folks and did major damage to Fort Leonard Wood...we were lucky and were spared any damage.

Christmas was relaxing and peaceful but several of the things we got each other were made in...China and required some redneck engineering to make right. I got Holly a big garden wagon she can tow behind her garden tractor or four wheeler and some of the bolt holes were misaligned and the bolts were junk..had to redrill, use a piece of scrap angle iron and replace all of the bolts but its functioning great now. I also got a shop light that was missing the screw holes for the wire guard over the halogen light...didnt take much to fix but man the quality control in some of these products is lacking.

We also started our fence project during a period of fairly warm weather..but digging corner post holes with a hand post hole digger and iron breaker bar is NOT the way to go. I am thinking an auger for the tractor will be a must have for this spring. We have purchased our garden seeds from the Baker Creek heirloom seed company, we have ordered 275 seedlings from the Missouri Dept of Conservation for March delivery (we are planting native species at various points around the farm to attract wildlife, act as windbreaks, provide a screen from the highway etc), and we have ordered the rest of the windows for the kitchen, front picture window and the rest of the trailer. I even ordered new windows for the well house and stone garage but I will have to completely rebuild the frames.

All in all we are spending a lot of time outside even in the cold but we are enjoying the winter break from all the activity in the gardens. Our concentration now is fencing for the animals, cutting wood, and enjoying feeding the birds and watching all of the animals. Lots of deer and rabbits are hanging out on the property now.
We had a traditional Christmas dinner...prime rib with all the fixins

Holly's very first pecan pie...it turned out perfect.

Her Chistmas hair deal and new Mark Martin shirt...luckily she likes the old guys.

Christmas morning playing with the new toys.

A couple people have asked about the stone corner posts we have around here. We have several on our fence line and they are basically field wire anchored with t-posts and then filled with rocks that are picked out of the pasture. They are all over the Ozarks and this one is along the fence line in our back woodlot.

This was a winter storm brewing...the slies here never disappoint.

We planted winter wheat in a few places as an experiment for green manure. Though its come up some in this pic it will really take off in the spring and then we will plow it under. I bought cheap seed and got spotty germination and am planning to go to buckwheat next year.

We left the grain heads on the sorghum for the birds and I suspect next year we will have volunteer sorghum sprouting up all over but we shall see.

It snowed later this day.

It was about 22 degrees but we just cant stay inside...people driving by think we are a little touched in the head because we have been sitting out in the lawn chairs watching the birds in this weather.

The horses in the back pasture dont seem to mind the cold.

This is what is behind our back pasture and woodlot and we are going to try and purchase a piece of it.

This is Holly's new garden cart she gfot for Christmas and yes..she is still gardening in the winter. As a matter of fact we will be harvesting our broccoli from the greenhouse soon.

We started our fencing project and barn renovation by fencing off the dropoff on the southside of the barn. I almost rolled the tractor off the ledge this summer when I tried to mow too close and we are worried about people or animals falling.

Dug the post holes 3' deep by hand and filled with concrete left over from numerous summer projects...they arent going anywhere.

We have lots more to go but its a start and this is after Christmas to boot.

Taking a break in the cold...it was a beautiful day.

All of the wood and barbed wire for this project was found in the barn

This was my frustrating venture in modifying the garden cart

But it worked out fine. It has a reversable hitch for the ATV or garden tractor and then you can flip it around and it has a pull handle.

We have had a couple of power outages but have a backup generator and I am in the process of wiring in a transfer switch so I can just plu it into the outside 30 amp plug and power the furnce blowers, refer, freezer, and all important TV and computer.

And today we are in the middle of that winter storm thats sweeping through the midwest and heading for NY...its beautiful but in the mid teens.

Bandit and Rose dont know what to make of the new fence but Boo Boo likes sitting on the rail.

We will eventually put in a gate and continue fencing to the existing pasture fence; the goat pen will be going to the right of this past the oak trees.


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