Early winter= Hard on the wood pile!

persimmon seed

Earlier in the year, about September, the persimmon seed told us the same story it told to warn us about last years record breaking cold winter, here in southern Missouri. Problem is, the persimmon seed can not talk, and can not show degrees either. If it could, we may had been warned about the early winter this year that may very well turn out to be a lot like last years winter. Pairing up a record breaking winter with it coming early, makes for one heck of a strain on a homesteaders wood pile!

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This was the scene yesterday morning at the homestead. We woke to a snow storm that dropped just a half inch on us but it was coming down in sheets. No wind, just a straight fall. It was beautiful, it was a very wet snow and so it literally coated everything in the area generously. However, it only lasted until the afternoon. Once the sun warmed up just a little it all melted. This took just around 2 hrs. We sat and watched and listened as the melting snow dropped from the trees.

Every since the fall season started we have been hard at work making sure our winter wood pile would be sufficient. Living here in southern MO. off grid, if you heat with wood, you usually need to have around 4 cords of wood ready by snow fall time. That is usually not until about this time. However, at this time, this is the 2nd snow fall we have had so far. Not only that, but it has been so cold that we have been burning wood continuously for almost a month now. The temperatures we have been dealing with are like the ones that we usually do not experience until about December!

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The snow, especially in the woods, is beautiful. It really brightens up our world and seems like it cleans the air. It is so easy to breathe. Because it has been very cold this fall season, more than normal, we are now really seeing the strain on our wood pile. I had 2 cords cut and mostly split and somewhat stacked before the cold set in. Now, as each night has been in the low 20’s and most days in the low 40’s with many 30’s, we have been really burning some wood. I guess it does not help that our cabin floor and ceiling are not insulated. We do have drafts, and the heat we produce can readily leave. So hard to warm a cold cabin too, once the fire burns out and sits for hours. Sometimes, we are in town and don’t end up coming home for a long time. This contributes to the problem because it takes twice the amount of wood to get the cabin back up to a comfortable temperature.

Fire wood pile

I am just one man, I cut all my wood by chain saw and split it all by ax. My daughter helps with the labor part and my wife dips in every so many days to help a little. It has become increasingly harder to get ready for winter, it seems. I am not complaining, in any way. I am just hoping I am not alone and that this may have some form of impact on those wanting to move to heating with all wood or off grid, life…….is good…..but hard as hell! Do not be fooled. You have to LOVE what we do, or eventually fall prey to convenience, which usually leads to moving back on grid. No doubt, we have seen 3-4 families, just this year alone, move back ON grid, from many years of off grid life. Yes winters are getting harder, summer is not easy either, but if there is one thing that has not changed it is my love for the way I live. I won’t quit, I won’t give up, until I am done.

It seems buying gas and oil and chains for the ole chain saw has become a chore too. What with the cabin build we have going on, that is going to cost us more than we originally wanted. I do have one very large tree I fell earlier in the month laying to season. It was a dead oak and will provide a lot of wood. There are piles of stacked, cut to length logs in 2-3 different locations around the homestead. There are a few piles of split wood that is ready to be picked up and stacked, but that too have become more of  chore with the recent death of our wood wagon. No doubt, life on the homestead has gotten harder, it is a never ending quest to keep things operating smoothly, but when everything starts going down at once, life becomes almost unbearable.

Fire wood pile 2

The wood pile is struggling, I am struggling, but I drive on because it’s all there is to do. If I quit, or give up now, what will happen when SHTF in real time? We have to be ready, be willing and hard or we will fail. The way of the off grid homesteader here in southern MO is a rewarding one, but there is much work to be done and only one man to do it. Hence our recent decision to move backwards to where we began, from the Shikata Homestead to the Shikata Eco-Village. We need help! If you want to move off grid and learn from those that have been doing it a while already, come join us. We will help you anyway we can, but we need hands, tools, those willing to join together in community to make it. For more on THIS opportunity, contact me personally, on FB here, or drop us an email at shikatahomestead@yahoo.com. Until next time, peace!

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