Sunday, November 30, 2014

Winter Arrives!

Winter has arrived here at Grace Note.  The snow fell on Thanksgiving Eve, collecting about 10 inches here.  The trees were very laden with snow, branches bowing under the weight of it along with the ice that also formed.  Though we're used to winter after a lifetime of it, it's beauty is undeniable and stunning.  There are many hardships that come along with winter as well.  We lost our power for almost 4 days just in time for Thanksgiving dinner.  We had decided not to have turkey this year as we were staying home just our little family unit, other family having other commitments or stuck at home in the storm.  We also felt that it was appropriate to have one of our homegrown chickens for a meal when we traditionally give thanks.
Having raised and harvested those chickens, seeing them through their lives and deaths, we felt enormously grateful for them and the nourishment they provided for our bodies.  We tried to do a totally local meal, and outside of the fact that we didn't do local stuffing, we had the chicken, our own sweet potatoes, pumpkin and apple cider from the farm stand at the end of our road, butter made from the cream of the milk we get each week from our milk csa share.  As we have an electric stove, we were not sure how successful the meal would be cooked on the wood stove.  We decided to kick it old colonial school style and cooked everything but the chicken on the top of the wood stove.
The sweet potatoes were wrapped in foil with butter, salt and pepper added.  The gravy was heated there and the stuffing made along with the pumpkin with butter and cinnamon and nutmeg.  Music Man did a beer can preparation for the chicken and cooked it on the gas grill, a little salt and pepper and olive oil on the skin.  The meal did come out better then I had expected, but the whole time I was preparing it, I was thinking this is how it was done after the advent of wood stoves.  Before that, the whole meal would have just been prepared over the open fire.  I imaged the generations of women that came before me here in this place, preparing the same meal I was.  The generation of women when it went from cooking over the open fire in our enormous fireplace to the addition of the wood stove and how they must have felt it was the height of convenience after cooking over the flames directly.
We also got a very comforting heat from this stove.  With the help of a friend, Music Man replaced the too small inadequate stove that was here with a second hand stove Music Man bartered for years ago.  It is a beautiful stove that was crafted in coal regions of England and will burn either wood or coal.  We have moved this stove around for the last 7 years from home to home, waiting for the right place to install it.  We have found that place.  It looks great here, feels more period to the house and also heats like a champ in this under-insulated old home.  I stayed, for two of the three nights we didn't have power, feeding it with logs every couple of hours and we stayed very comfortable.  For heat and cooking ability, we couldn't ask for more for a power outage. 
We also lost our ability to have running water.  We do have a small generator that could power some of the least draining appliances, like the TV, the refrigerator, the freezer in the garage that houses all our chicken and the pork we also bought from a local farmer.  But we have discovered that this house is wired very badly.  The water heater is hooked to all the upstairs lighting and outlets, the stove is hooked to too many things and the well pump is also wired with half of the other circuits in the downstairs.  Not only kind of dangerous, it causes us to not be able to run the important things like the stove and well pump because the generator isn't strong enough to power those along with everything else they are wired with.  So, we didn't have running water, but with the snow melt coming off the roof, we were able to collect enough in buckets to flush the toilets and water the dog and chickens.  I had enough drinking water to last us for a while, so we were fine there and other then having to heat water to wash dishes and not showering for too many days, we were fine with our lot.  The picture above shows the old well that is on the property, the original water source for the farm, and we probably could still draw water from it if we needed to, but the water would not be drinking water as I'm sure it's not bacteria free.

All in all, we are embracing winter's arrival and the beginning of the "rest" period.  Time for knitting, time for reading, time for garden planning, time for sledding and snowshoeing and many of the other activities that winter allows.  We do get tired of the shoveling and snowblowing and cold, but we do try to embrace the wonders and beauty of the season as well. 
Wishing you a warm and comforting arrival of winter at your farm,

1 comment:

small farm girl said...

Such beauty! Love the pictures!!!! I'm glad you made it through without electric. Makes one wonder how much easier we have it now.