Tuesday, December 27, 2005

66 Degrees - In the Last Week of December???

Seems like only last week, it was freezing here. And yet, here I sit with the doors and windows open allowing fresh air to fill the house.

Okay, I admit, I still have the woodstove going, but that’s only so I won’t have to rebuild a fire once the sun has set for the day. I reckon I’m kinda lazy that way.

We spent Kevin’s three day weekend working with the sawmill. Now that Oscar has a permanent home, it was much easier to operate than it was on the ground. We ended up cutting almost 500 board feet and I’ve got to say, that made me feel proud when I saw it all sticker-stacked up.

Granted, that’s not a traditional way to spend Christmas Day, but we enjoyed it immensely. Watching board after board stack up on the pick-up truck was more than enough present for us. We now know, we can do this thing.

We did hear from all the kid’s on Christmas Day (or Eve) and seems like they all liked the idea of giving a flock of chickens to those who need them. Sometimes, my kids astound me that way. (Means we did something right in raising them, right?)

Friday, December 23, 2005

Finally a Weekend

We got our gift already. Better half gets three days off. Wow, it seems like forever since he’s had a long weekend. This is going to be so cool.

With the extra day, we’re almost assured of time on the sawmill, once we get it moved, that is. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do that tomorrow. It’s supposed to be nigh on sixty degrees out.

We aren’t expecting any of the kids home for the holiday this year. So, it will just be the two of us, and Oscar the sawmill. Can you tell I’m a tad excited about that?

We’ll probably cook over the firepit too. I don’t know what yet, but I’m sure we’ll come up with something. Usually, unless it’s chili, the kids will take one look in the Dutch oven and say something to the effect of; “I think I’ll have a cheese sandwich.” I’m not sure where they got their taste buds from, but it sure wasn’t Kevin or I.

About the only thing healthy the older kids are willing to eat is nutritional yeast. Beyond that, they aren’t even willing to taste. Oldest daughter dumpling will eat tofu – if it’s on homemade pizza and there are no better options available.

Speaking of tofu, did you know you can order it from Amazon? Our local supercenter stopped carrying Mori-Nu Extra Firm, instead offering only firm of another brand. So, we went on a search and found it on Amazon of all places at an affordable price.

It seems we’re buying more and more of our non-perishable food products online. And why not? They ship straight to our door and it usually costs less than buying it local. One of our favorite finds was Bulk Foods. We purchased all of our winter storage dry goods from them this year and have been well pleased with the products.

Okay, I’ve rambled on long enough for one day, I suppose.

To all my readers, Merry Christmas. I’ll be back on Tuesday.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Our First Real Frost and Other Thoughts

Looking outside it almost looks like an ice storm hit last night. It’s our first heavy frost of the season and the sunshine is giving it a beautiful twinkle. If it weren’t so cold out, I’d grab the camera and go take pictures. Instead, I’ll just enjoy it while it lasts inside near the wood stove.

I talked to oldest daughter dumpling last night. This year for Christmas, each of the four older kids had a donation made to Heifer International in their name instead of getting a bauble of some sort from us. While it was obvious, she wasn’t overly impressed with her gift; she did finally admit that the thought of giving a farm animal to someone needy was pretty cool. (One down, three more to hear from.)

Oldest son told me he had to work a double shirt at work on Christmas day (instead of going to someone else’s house) and again on New Years day. He works as a manager of a waffle house type place and it seems those are the two busiest days of the year.

I find that kind of sad. Seems like especially Christmas should be spent with family and friends and that some people don’t stop to think that if they are going to places like that – it means the workers there are missing out on those times. Oh well, he did say he would probably make a chunk of change in tips, so he’s not too unhappy about that.

Our Christmas is just going to be the two of us. Hopefully cutting lumber, at least that is the plan of the moment. We still have a few logs to move and have to move the sawmill itself to the platform we built, but it would be so cool to have another huge stack of lumber air-drying by Monday morning. That indeed would be a fine present for both of us.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Dank Day

I know it's not a word you hear much anymore, but it does perfectly describe how it looks outside. Not that I've been out there yet. But grey skies and cool temps always make me think of the word 'dank'.

I do have to go out eventually. The dogs are staring at the house (they know I'm in here) and wood does have to be brought in, so after I post this, I'll bundle up and go out and do chores. Although at the moment, there aren't too many of them.

I'm really looking forward to spring again. I'll be ordering chickens in February, about the same time as we start the garden seedlings in the greenhouse. And at some point in early spring, I'll order our olive, fig, and pomegranate trees for the front gardens.

Just lots to be thinking about on this day, Winter Solstice; the shortest day of the year.

Hurry up spring, I'm ready for you now.

BTW, I've added a couple of new links over on the side of the page, you might want to check them out.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

It's Cold in These Here Hills

Just past noon, and the themometer reads 34 degrees. We've had snow sprinkles on and off all morning, but I don't reckon they are going to amount to much. (Can't call them flurries, more like salt from a shaker coming down.) The woodstove is cranking, filled to the brim with hickory, so it's warm in the house. I don't think I could have put on enough clothes to stay warm when I was out feeding the animals earlier. So it was nice to come back into the heat.

Kevin started his new job yesterday and I've got to admit, it's nice to be up all day long again. Out of bed by 5 am and probably hitting the hay around 9 pm, so that's good. Will be even better when it's not dark when he leaves and dark when he gets back home. Oh well, the winter solstice is tomorrow, so the days will begin to be longer than the nights again.

I just finished updating the website with another chapter in the ongoing saga of The Sawmill Project. Unlike regular content writing, these articles (and accompanied pictures) are fun. Mostly top of my head writing, keeping it simple and yet, trying to be entertaining and informative too.

Happy Solstice to all that celebrate such things, and Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to everyone. (How's that for trying to be all inclusive and PC?) May 2006 be brighter and better for all.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A Non-event

Well, our big weather event turned into a non-event. By dawn the snow had stopped and we ended up with about an eighth inch on the ground. It was still pretty while it lasted. Now all we have is frigid temperatures - currently it's 16 degrees - burrrrrrrr.

Tonight is my better half's last night on the graveyard shift, in fact it's his last night at this job. A week from Monday he starts a new job that will allow him to work days and have weekends off (something we haven't had many of this year). I know he's happier about this new change and truth be told so am I. It will be nice having him home more, for sure.

This next week will be spent doing things around the house that we haven't had time to do because of time constraints. Plus we'll be firing up the sawmill and cutting our first boards. The weatherman is predicting temps in the mid-fifties for the next week, so won't have to be outside bundled up like children in snowsuits. That will be nice. But, I bet we keep the woodstove going strong, since nights are supposed to be around freezing. Then again, that's good cuddle weather too.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Midnight Snow

It’s midnight and in the twinkle of the outside lights outside, I can see the first winter snowflakes as they fall from the nighttime sky. While it has been cold before tonight, this is our first ‘weather’ event of the season. The forecasters can’t decide if we will have a dusting of snow or inches on the ground before it stops tomorrow. I suppose it’s a wait and see thing.

The first snow of the season is always special. Maybe because it is the first. Unlike rain, snow is magical. When it does accumulate, it leaves behind a winter wonderland that cannot be matched in any other season. To be honest though, for me, the magic is lost after the first snow. The second and any more to follow, while pretty, do not have that sense of wonderment that comes from watching the first big flakes fall.

So tonight and tomorrow, I’ll just enjoy this first snow of the season with childlike joy.

The Sawmill Project is moving along. We have the sawmill together on the ground now and with any luck will be cutting our first boards on Saturday. I’m really looking forward to seeing just what we can do. And of course, it will all be documented with pictures on the Backwoods Living website.

But for tonight, I’m going to put another log on the fire, maybe make myself a cup of tea and watch the snowfall.