It has been a week of rinse and repeat here on our survival homesteading retreat. I didn’t really focus on how long it takes to get the hay and firewood in each year until I started writing about it to share here with the pack.
Weather and equipment issues (rinse and repeat…again) plagued some of our efforts, but 90 percent of the firewood is now split and stacked neatly in the woodshed – alright, fairly neatly.
It has been so dang cold these last few days that I have been tempted to fire up the wood stove already. I have turned on the wall mount gas heaters every morning, and a few times in the afternoon. I can get goosebumps when it gets below 70 and hate wearing cold weather clothes. I am about due for the annual lecture about using the wood and gas wisely and simply bundling up when I am cold – I so hate that lecture, but attempt to heed it as least somewhat.
If the SHTF over the winter, even with my penchant for balmy weather, we won’t run out of fuel – that is one of the prime benefits of living on a large and 50 percent wooded survival retreat. Cut and dried trees and large stumps that are ready to be split dot the landscape in readily accessible areas of the property in case the woodshed would run empty.
I have been working diligently on my fall apothecary growing to ensure we have plenty of medicinal herbs to go around this winter. My herbs and medicinal flowers are growing outside now, but the pots will be relocated indoors once the temperature continues to drop.
The six ducklings that Bobby surprised me with are thriving and getting along well with my Buckeye chickens in the outdoor brooder. One of the ducklings has issues with both of its feet, one more so than the other. I am glad Bobby accidentally bought that one, I doubt anyone else would have. It seems I always end up with one special duckling that has feet webbing or a hip issue.
There looks to be at least one cockerel in the Buckeye chicken flock – maybe two, one might be a late bloomer. I have never had problems intermingling chicks and ducklings but always hold my breath and closely supervise the cohabitating flocks for several hours if they are not placed together right from the store.
We are about to have two more horses on the homestead, but only temporarily to help out a cousin. Another miniature donkey is on the way here, also courtesy of a relative. I have not told Bobby that Sadie is coming here to live yet. I thought it just might be best if I just ushered her in with Bess and Blossom and waited until my beloved happened to notice we now have three mini donkeys. Anyone want to wager on how long that will take?
Yesterday I determined that Pearl has weaned Sunshine and Whiskey. This weekend I am going to milk her for the first time. Just as she was getting ready to wean Rooster last fall, she was the victim of a dog attack.
I am about to start tanning another cow hide. My homesteading friend Sarah and I are going to make moccasins and purses out of it for Christmas presents. I will make sure to share some photos once we start the sewing and decorating process. My embroidery machine has a special setting and needle for working with leather and I am super excited to try it out.
All in all, it has been pretty subdued here on our retreat. I think by the end of each day the tribe members are just too exhausted from all the winter prepping chores to do much more than slide into an easy chair and relax.