Friday, October 9, 2009

Preparing for Winter - part 182

It's been getting darker and darker in the mornings, and rainy and windy and I've been filled with a bit of a sense of doom for the last few days. When Mama Pea pointed out that much of this dread is because last winter was so terribly hard, I realized that she's right. Every single day since last winter ended, I've thought about how to make this winter better. Now that it's coming close, it's time to implement things, and to see if my planning has been good enough.

Blog reader Cindy sent a list of questions she asks herself this time of year:
Do I have enough food to last a few days?
Do I have enough wood for the stove in a convenient and dry place?
Do I need a better pair of boots or mits?
Do I have my lamps and lanterns ready?

That's a really helpful list for me, because it highlights two things I do NOT have ready. I don't have several days of food socked away, and I don't have lamps and lanterns ready.

It's time to tack up the plastic over the foundation and buy bales of hay to hold the plastic down. It's time to force my windows closed, seal them as best as possible and put up the inside storms. It's time to re-arrange the front room so a week's worth of wood will fit in, and move the bed into the front room. It's time to close off the cold parts of the house and fire up the wood stove. It's time to get the electrician over to tie the generator into the electrical system.

It's been cold the last few days inside the house - about 54 to 58. It's so windy that I know from experience that lighting a fire in the stove won't help. The other day, honestly, an hour after the electrician left from making his material list - the power went out. I was not prepared, and read under blankets by flashlight for several hours until the power came back on. I looked once more at the wood in the woodshed and I'm terrified (relatively speaking) that it's not enough. My wood splitter has been broken for months now and is at the repair shop now.

Wood is one area I've got covered this year, thanks to the loggers. I went up to ask them to give me some, and 10 minutes later they dropped off a cord by the shed. Sweet.


  1. Oh, Jordan, Mama Pea will feel so much better if you work on getting that supply of food laid in. If you were to be snowbound, or ice bound, or whatever, this winter you'd be soooo much more comfortable if you had lots of good food to put in your tummy. No fun at all being a little chilly with no fuel in your body. And don't forget the dog and cat food, too. (You probably don't have enough mice left to go around for all of them!)

  2. Hi Jordan!! I think I found you on Jenna's comments over at CAF. I've been reading through you and ROCK ON!! You are doing OK!! I'm echoing Mama Pea..stock up your larder, girl. Buy some big cans of tomatoes and cans of other things you can throw together to make yourself a good soup. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that red woodstove. Find a pot that you can plop on top to cook in, if you need to, unless you already have. A large can of stock and a couple of potatoes cubed up & thrown in on low until your potatoes are done is (see the soup trend here..the crockpot is my friend, but only if the electric stays on.)We got a deluxe generator hooked up now, but before we had a portable one that wouldn't run as much, but we could run the furnace or the water hot water, but hey, after all, the electric's out!! But the toilets would flush.and you could fill up water stuff and then switch it back to heating... Some lamps and lamp oil is always a good thing...just in case. A supply of candles...pick up some good smelling ones at a craft store (Michaels and AC MOORE around here) ...they are fairly cheaper there and the smell helps you to feel more homey and cozy. Make sure you have a supply of books...we like to have a jigsaw puzzle going in the winter and my mom has survived her retirement in the winter by doing jigsaws!! Maybe make up some cookie dough and freeze some spoonful drops, then bag them,and pull out a couple to pop in the oven and do double duty as the oven warms the kitchen and the cookies warm the tummy! And the pie problem.. my mom picked up some smaller pie plates/tins..potpie or a little bigger size and make some in them..make them up and don't bake, but freeze them for those cold winter months when you dream about blackberries.Then there is not so much to finish alone. It is so sad to throw out dessert! I've done it before, hard to believe around here. Mostly something got forgetten. I also bought 5lb package of ground beef and made a double batch of my favorite meatload and then formed it into mini loaves, lined them up on a cookie sheet or two and froze them enough, then put them in a ziploc bag. Pull out however many you think you can eat, and bake it/them..if I'm in a hurry, I defrost in the microwave a bit. Stick a potato in with and you'll have something to stick to your ribs and help keep you warm on the inside. I have to go tend to the bread..I bake some when I have the chance and have figured out that the kids are better at grabbing a roll, than slicing the bread, so I make a recipe for 2 loaves and shape one to rolls and the other a loaf. More aroma therapy. Keep you chin up with your garden. My friend and I did a bit of it this year. All of her tomatoes and peppers she grew in pots around the outside of her deck. She didn't do too bad. I have a raised bed and a half and then a few other spots that I cleared some other stuff from. Something ate all my peas, plants and all down to 2" or so. I should have plants my green beans thicker. My squash were rather a bust, but I started my green peppers from seeds and I did pretty good with them. Did very well with the cherry tomatoes and the other ones were OK, too. Make notes for next year. Sorry this is so long, but I think my spiritual gift is CHEERLEADER! Although a couple of weeks ago, my hubby asked what were the signs of depression and I couldn't decide if he was asking for him or me. The rainy weather is not helping... stop over and check me out...and I'll keep checking in on you!!

  3. Hey Karen Sue - thanks for stopping by! I think I'm going to print your note out so I can tape it to the refrigerator!

    Mama Pea - earlier this week I saw Pancho get a mouse in mid-emergence from the stove. All the animals burst into action and 3 minutes later, the rodent was in Desmond's belly.