Winter FINALLY hits the homestead

Its been a whole since I posted a blog entry. Reason being, we have been in the woods under a foot of snow and negative degree wind temps.! It’s been all season, 5 months of cold weather, snow flurries and then maybe an inch, then it is gone in 24-48 hours. Then we had warm weather, unseasonably warm, i was raking leaves shirtless! Then it got cold again…very cold. We expected our usual January winter temps and weather but instead were planting herb seeds and running around in shorts and no shirt! Then February came……

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They warned us…said it was coming, 6-8 inches and very cold weather. A lot of people were caught unprepared here. We were ready, as usual, but we did run out of cut wood. So we have been scrambling like mad, working these last few days to uncover down wood under a FOOT of snow and an inch of ice, to split and stack and get covered from the elements. We still have some wood but it is sadly low. We may have enough for 2 nights, without gathering more. We are down to our wits too, our wagon, which we used to haul wood from the woods to the cabin, is broken and so we are carrying wood by hand to the wood pile. It is about a 100 foot, or so, walk to the wood pile from where most of our down trees lay to be cut up and split.

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I’ve been shoveling snow like crazy trying to clear the trails around the homestead so we can carry on daily operations effectively. Rabbits are cold, chickens need fed daily, cats are hungry, dogs need fed, wood needs moved about, we have to have our trails. A foot of snow out here in the Ozark forest covers large rocks and short cut stumps that become hazards for trip and fall. Already my daughter and I have fallen many times and been hurt by that at least once each. Nothing major but it’s never fun.

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Of course kids will be kids. Here is my daughter ready to venture into the snow. She says she wants to hit me with a snow ball haha. I told her it would be hard since I wasn’t planning on being out in that stuff. In this picture, though, you can see she is wearing a black mask with slits cut in it. I made that from black construction paper and made it a home school lesson in survival in the snow. She has learned what snow blindness is and what causes it and now, how to protect her eyes from that. This mask is not meant to be kid proof, so after going sledding and crashing into the snow bank, it broke and she had to resort to the ordinary sun shades! haha

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If there is one being on the homestead that is not bothered by this weather, it is Wolf, our grey wolf/malamute mix. He is a snow dog and loves the snow. In fact, both our dogs love it. Wolf will sleep in the snow, eat it and play in it as if it is just wonderful!

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There are two things about living off grid in a snow storm….1- you always have frozen water barrels…well on our place you do. Yes, there are ways to change this…we do have barrels in the cabin for use, but there will always be more of our water stored outside like this and frozen until we bring the barrels in, as we need them, and thaw them. We are talking about an insulated water shed. That way we can store water barrels in there and not have to worry with this any more winters……getting real tired of it. BUT number 2 is- we never run out of water and have to leave to get more! Just melt the ice and snow and wall-la free water!

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There is no doubt, the snow makes for some beautiful pictures, especially around the homestead. In the shots above, such beauty can be seen, but in reality this weather kills and had no mercy. Recently, we were forced to venture outdoors and do some prepping of the cabin and animals that should have been done back in October. As I said before, we were caught, with many here, off guard. Just a few days prior to this weather we were literally planting herbs in pots in shorts and shirtless working around the grounds.

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Remember the pallet cabin we were working on before all this and always updating the blog with? Well we still are working, it is ready for the roof and walls to be covered and the bathroom addition is almost done. In these pictures I made a joke with my daughter, “SOMEONE LEFT THE WINDOW OPEN LAST NIGHT!”  Hahaha you see, I am shoveling the cabin floors with a snow shovel from about 6-8 inches of powder like snow. This took almost 2 hours and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Afterwards, my back didn’t agree but a warm cup of tea, some medicinal herbs for pain and a warm wood stove with the oil lamps burning low made for one heck of a relaxing night!

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