Friday, November 18, 2011

Getting ready for winter

This is the time of year when we batten down the hatches on our farm and prepare for winter.

First and foremost, of course, is cutting firewood. Now that we have a decent supply of logs, we've been cutting and splitting them as we find time.

With snow on its way, Don and I did a lot of cutting and splitting last week, and the girls did a lot of hauling and stacking.

Here's a bunch o' logs cut up, ready to split.

Maybe it comes from eighteen years of running a woodcraft business, but I find wood to be beautiful.

Here Don is splitting and I'm hauling log rounds to him.

The pile of split wood started out small...

...but Don added and added and added to it.

Getting ready for winter also means finding tools that have been left outside, and bringing them in. This string is used (among other things) to line up fence posts. It got accidentally left out. I brought it back into the shop.

The reason the string was out by the logs in the first place is we decided to permanently fence in a landing around the logs. (The string was used to make sure the fence poles were lined up straight.) This way we can cut up the logs at our leisure, and if and when the landing is empty, it can be used as extra parking.

Brit came over to see what we were doing.

"Can I help?"

I liked the pattern this shattered cookie made. (In logging parlance, a "cookie" is a thin slice of log.)

The pile of split wood grew taller...

...and taller, until all the cut wood was split.

After this, the girls stacked the wood on the porch.

With snow starting to threaten, the next thing we needed to do was put end caps on the west side of the barn. Our wind almost always comes in from the southwest, so this was necessary to keep our hay from getting wet from blowing snow or rain.

Earlier, Don had cut some sheet metal into three-foot lengths. Then one by one we hauled them up to the top of the barn and slipped them into place...

...and he screwed them down securely.

It was a cold day when we did this, and Don was working bare-handed (it's hard to hold screws with gloves on), so we took frequent breaks to defrost.

Next step was adding a stout girt to the top of the barn to attach the next section of end caps.

Almost done.

I got to see a view of the barn I seldom see: above the hay looking down.

More endcaps.

Don was short two endcap pieces, but that's okay. With our prevailing wind direction, those missing caps won't affect the hay very much. We'll get to them next time.

While Don finished up the barn, I tidied up the yard and packed the truck for a dumpster run. We don't have garbage service in rural areas of our county, so instead there are dumpsters located in strategic locations. We take a dumpster run every couple of months.

I drained and coiled the garden hoses and put them in the barn.

Snow was forecast for the next few days. Not a lot, but enough to indicate winter is here.

We got a light dusting of snow last night...

A little more snow this morning.

Deer tracks.

Breakfast time!

The snow came down vigorously at times.

It's always fun to watch the chickens facing snow for the first time. Half our flock has never seen it before.

Chilly toes!

Meanwhile for the animals, we are keeping an extra 80 lbs. of dog food on hand... well as 200 extra pounds of chicken feed.

In past winters, we've been snowed in to the point where we ran low on animal feed. Not this winter!


  1. Patrice,

    Especially enjoyed your pic of the first snowfall. I find it such a treat to see and we rarely get so much snow to be a bother down here in No Cal. Seems I keep working on firewood often during the year. If I burn a couple of cords, I try to refill even more in the woodshed.

    Keep the pics coming they are thoroughly enjoyable!


  2. I read the related post to this one that was linked above.

    How long is your heating season, or in other words, how many months will you need to use the wood for heat?

  3. Snow and farm critters, is there a more peaceful picture? *smile* Glad you all got things ready for winter. What a wonderful stack of wood for winter too! Have a warm evening. Sincerely, Mommy of two little blessings & so much more!

  4. Every couple of months?! But those dumpsters are amazing places to find all sorts of goodies & treasures! LOL We love to go regularly because we never come home without some handy thing like buckets, plywood, 2x4s, netting, etc. We call them the "dumpster mall", as in, "Bye dear, I'm going to take a trip down to the Dumpster Mall." *snicker*

  5. I thought of you when I heard the weather predictions for the northwest. Sounds like you are prepared for the winter. Hope its uneventful and not long before those bulbs are popping up.

  6. Matt, we usually use the woodstove from October through May. Not a whole lot in October, and not a whole lot in May, but all the time from November through April.


  7. Very nice post. Really brought back memories for me.

  8. Patrice, your new header photo is GORGEOUS!

    Anonymous Patriot

  9. Heh. Two hundred pounds of chicken feed is a week's worth in the summer for us.

  10. When I saw the forecast for Idaho the other day I was thinking about your family and all the hard work you have done since summer ended.

  11. i love wood too...the smell of fresh cut wood is the best...i miss the old timey sawmills that used to dot the countryside here.

  12. Woowho, winter is here. We had a couple of inches on 11/12 and woke up to 15 inches this morning. A couple of more inches fell during the day. We buttoned up weeks ago and boy am I glad. I would hate to be trying to find buried hoses.;-}
    It is always amazing how the storms skip around. I could not believe it when I saw that Spokane barely got anything and we got hammered. Of course, we do live in the "snow zone" A fact we found out after we bought, however, we still enjoy the snow. At least, most of the time.

  13. I can smell the fresh cut wood from here!! Lovely photo's

  14. We got some snow down in SW Idaho today. Just a bunch of big fat flakes that melted away. But it was kinda pretty and I already got my Ice melt and sand this year so since I'm ready it will probably be a mild winter. LOL