Tag Archives: Homesteading

Winter Peace

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I wrote this in March, and just now got a chance to post it. So, a bit out of date, but it let’s you know what we’re up to.

So here we are, settled into our little trailer. This morning it was cold, but not freezing. Freezing mornings are an invigorating (read: character-building) part of living in a place with no insulation in the floor. At bedtime, I always make sure my slippers are in easy reach. I wrap up and get the fire and the coffee started. Then I sit in my blankie and read while I wait for it to warm up. It warms up pretty quickly- the main part of the house is only 8’x12′.

Most mornings I whip up fried eggs or oatmeal, but it was Saturday, so I made pancakes. Cooking is one of my favorite pastimes, even on a tiny propane stove. I have four burners, but they seem redundant, since I can only fit pans on two at a time. After pancakes and coffee, over which we discussed the Bible and Physics, Adam and I put on our boots and ear warmers and head outside. We tromped up the hill to the spot we’ve been cutting trees. (This has become the dogs’ new favorite word, “tromping”. It’s gotten so we have to be careful saying it- they jump all over the place in their excitement, and there isn’t much room to jump inside the trailer.)

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We’re planning on using roundwood for the frame of the house, so there are a lot of trees to be cut. And we have a lot of trees to choose from. Cutting enough 4″ oaks for all the rafters and floor joists will barely make a dent in our woods. They’ve not been tended in many years, and the oaks have flourished, growing straight and tall. Which is exactly what is needed for housebuilding. I use the pullsaw to fell the trees, and Adam lops off all the branches once they’re down. And he also carries them up the hill to the place we’ve piled them to dry. We’ll cut the big trees needed for pillars with the chainsaw, but we’re proud that we’ve cut so many by hand. It gives a sense of peaceful accomplishment. After a couple of hours, a freezing rain started to fall. We packed up our things, stacked the last tree, and headed back down the hill. On the way,we picked up flint pieces to be used eventually in tiling the shower. If we pick up a few every day, we’ll have more than we need when the time comes.

Adam singing the theme from"Rocky" while stacking trees.

Adam singing the theme from”Rocky” while stacking trees.

Back inside the house, it’s lovely and warm, and over lunch Adam plays games and I read a book. The rain turns to sleet, then to snow, and I watch from my comfy chair. I have a pot of beans on the stove- the woodstove- and later I’ll make ham and beans. When the sun goes down we’ll eat our beans, watch a movie, and get ready for another peaceful night.

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Adam digs a hole

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Initially, we had determined to rent a backhoe to dig the hole where our future house will go. But then Adam said he’d just dig it with a shovel, since he didn’t have much else to do. Although he does have a lot to do, like rip up old fencing, fence the new garden, tear down the old lean-to, chop trees for the house, chop cedar trees just cause they’re there, muck out the pond, clear the rubble from the old foundation, and so on. But it’s nice out, so he started digging. Also I fed him steak and eggs for breakfast, so he had lots of energy.

 

 

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Buster looked on as Adam dug the very first hole for our new house! He is at the far south-west side of the future house.

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It’s so nice how his pants and shoes are still clean in this one. But then he got down to business. And changed his shoes. And decided he needs some work boots sooner rather than later.

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He was using the spade to loosen up the soil, and the shovel to chuck it out of the hole.

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They did a lot of chasing each other and barking, so now they’re worn out. And they can’t figure out why Adam is digging a hole in the middle of the field.

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What we have here is very heavy, wet, red clay. It alternates across the hill with rocks. Lots of rocks.

After about 2 hours of digging, there’s a 4×6 3 foot deep hole. We are planning a partially earth-sheltered house. Which means that Adam will have to go down about 8 feet in this location, then go 48 feet east, where the depth will only need to be 2-4 feet. He has reconsidered renting a backhoe.