Winter Homestead

We recently took the last weekend trip up to our future homestead for this year, to put everything to bed for the winter.  Since we don’t live up there yet, and especially since we don’t have a four-wheel drive vehicle to travel over deep snow or muddy roads, we will only venture up there a few more times (weather permitting), until early next spring. It has rained up there a little and our water storage tank is starting to collect a bit of water.  The mushrooms are springing up all over the place and some kind of critter is enjoying them as a snack!  Partially eaten mushroom

The artichoke plants got a heavy blanket of leafy mulch.  First, I placed a scaffolding of branches around the artichokes, so the oak leaf and pine needle mulch won’t crush the tender artichoke leaves.  Then, I raked up wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of oak leaves and pine needles and tossed them over and around the plants, about 1-1/2 to 2 feet thick. That should hold them until next spring.  An added bonus is that artichokes like slightly acidic soil, and as the mulch breaks down it will add a slight acidity and other nutrients to the soil!Mulching artichokes for winter

The gazebo had to come down also.  The gazebo is one of the first things up in the spring and one of the last items to come down in late fall.  We love sitting in the gazebo on our anti-gravity chairs, reading books or magazines after a hard day of working on the future homestead.  The entire gazebo is screened to keep us safe from the hungry mosquitoes or nasty wasps!

The fruit and nut trees in the orchard have lost their leaves, so it was time to spray them with a dormant spray.  I have a hard time trying to figure out a balance with sustainability and organic issues when it comes to my fruit trees. To spray, or not to spray, that is the question!  You see, the cherry trees got attacked by a voracious caterpillar last year, the apricots got spider mites and the peaches got leaf curl.  So what would you do?  I decided to go ahead and apply dormant spray – especially since there aren’t any leaves or fruit on the trees at this time.  It’s either do that, or have the trees suffer and perhaps not produce any fruit at all or, worse yet, die.  I prefer to eat fruit from live trees.  Of course, anything sprayed on the trees when they have leaves, blossoms or fruit will be eco-friendly and organic!  If anyone out there has a better solution, please tell me!  Any opinion or advice on this subject is always welcome!Dormant spraying fruit orchard

The soda can heater was reattached to the trailer.  This device prevents the trailer from freezing inside fairly well.  Of course, if there isn’t any sun for a few days the soda can heater will not work.  However, as soon as the sun cracks through the clouds, this puppy cranks up the heat!  If you would like to see how we made our soda can heater, click HERE.  We did drain the water pipes in the trailer – just in case!  It’s easier that way.Soda Can Heater

The windows in the outhouse, trailer and shed were locked down and doors were bolted.  We also loaded the truck with more firewood to take down to our current home in the valley.  We love wood heat as it heats to the core!  We don’t have much firewood left in this pile, but we will need to get another truckload of it in January when we come up to burn a brush pile and work some more on our back road.  This is the wood left over from an incident that happened to us a few years back when our entire 30′ x 330′ easement was harvested of all trees so that electrical lines could come down our private road, past us  and to the house at the end of the road, through a grant given by and executed by the USDA.  Unfortunately, that house was not built with permits and was also not up to code (even though I had advised the USDA of this fact long before the logging was done), so the power poles or lines never went in!  If this ever happens to you, just know that it is impossible to fight our government for negligence unless you have a lot of money!  I refuse to be bitter about this, but a lot of valuable timber was cut from our property against our wishes and unfortunately no one will take responsibility!  At least we were able to keep some of the wood for firewood!Stacked Firewood

Another year has passed on our future homestead and we are happy with the projects we tackled this year. Next spring we will put the finishing touches on the outhouse, finish our new back road to complete the loop on our property, and begin clearing for our garden and chicken coop!  And maybe, quite possibly, start building our house!

I am sharing this article at:   Make, Bake and Create;  Healthy2Day WednesdaysDown Home Blog HopCottage Style PartyWildcrafting WednesdayWhat I Learned WednesdayWicked Awesome Wednesday;  Whatever goes WednesdayShow and Share WednesdayWined Down Wednesday;  The HomeAcre HopHome and Garden ThursdayFabulously Frugal Thusday;Thriving ThursdaysSimple Lives ThursdayMountain Woman RendezvousCatch A Glimpse Party;  Create it ThursdayFrugal Days Sustainable Waysl ; Time Travel Thursday;  Freedom FridaysFriendship FridayFrom The Farm Blog HopTGIF Link PartyLittle House Friday DIY Linky;  Small Footprint FridaysPinworthy Projects PartyFarmgirl Friday;  Friday Flash Blog PartyWeekend re-Treat; Family Fun FridayFriday’s Five Features; Friday FavoritesOld Fashioned Friday

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14 thoughts on “Winter Homestead

    • The soda can heaters are really cool! The air coming out of the heater can get really hot and it works quite well! Google for them and you will find quite a few articles on how to make them, and just as many different ways to make them! But, they all work pretty much the same.

    • Thanks, Stephanie! It seems I’m learning new things all the time! I get a lot of great ideas from my fellow bloggers, from some great books, and from my friends and family. This blog is not only to let our friends and family know what crazy things we are up to, but also a record for ourselves, kind of a scrapbook. When I get discouraged (and I do), I look over my blog and see what we have accomplished, and it always makes me feel better! I am glad to have you along on our journey!

    • Thank you, Dawn! That soda can heater was a fun project for my husband and I to put together! When we were testing it out we had quite a few neighbors come over to see what we were doing, and they were amazed at the amount of heat it put out – even on a cold winter day! We are hoping to incorporate a larger, more professionally built one into the house we will be building up on our future homestead, with an inline fan.
      I appreciate your thoughts!

    • Yes, I have been happily content with my life lately – which is always a good thing – and I feel blessed! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  1. I am so glad to read about your soda can heater’s efficiency. I am planning to add one to our future goat shed.

    Thank you for sharing this post at the HomeAcre Hop; I hope you’ll join us again this Thursday.

    • What a great idea for a goat shed!! I have an idea where we pour a cement floor for the chicken coop with pipes imbedded in the middle of the concrete – then use a solar fan to push heated air from the soda can heater through the pipes and back to the soda can heater – thus heating the concrete. Then, at night, when the soda can heater is no longer working (no sun), the cement floor will radiate the stored heat, thus keeping the chicken coop warm at night! I think this would work for a goat shed also! What do you think?

  2. Your winter preparedness looks like its coming along nicely – I wish I knew something about the fruit trees – the soda can solar heater is quite fascinating! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,
    kathy

    • The soda can heater is really a fascinating thing – who knew it would work so well! We plan to actually put one on our house! Of course, we will make it look a bit more professional! Thanks, Kathy

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