Thursday, January 29, 2009
Right now, the firewood I have left is buried, tarp and all, under a foot of snow. By the time I get it dug out and split, it's got a lovely coat of snow stuck to it. Then I bring it in and the snow melts, leaving wet wood and puddles in the floor. ugh.
At least I am not trying to drag wood up the hill in this snow, as I have had to do every other year we've been here.
It seems that every year since we moved in, we've not been ahead with firewood. The first couple of years it was due to not really knowing anything about firewood: how much we would use, what kind, what size, etc. Heck, I didn't even know what a cord was. The rest of the time, there were contributing factors, which left me doing my best to gather all the wood on my own, with the help of the girls.
This past fall, however, we managed to lay in a nice stock of firewood. I didn't care that it wasn't split. I only cared that it was brought up the hill, because hauling wood uphill in the snow totally blows.
We did have a nice supply split and stacked, but it went fast. For those of you new to my blog, keep in mind, this is all done by hand: we use a chainsaw to cut the wood, then a wheelbarrow to get it up the hill, then an ax to split it. Sure, a log splitter would be nice, but then would I have these manly biceps? Probably not. But thanks to the Country Wife Fitness Program, I'm buff enough to bust any log!
Every spring, I put off cutting wood, mostly because it's all I think about all winter long, and I'm sick sick sick of it. Not this spring. NO sirree! That wood will be up the hill, split, and stacked, before the first leaf turns. No if, ands, or buts!
I guess that's how homesteading is, though: learning from experience.
Oh, yeah, and about that snow:
What you can barely see in the pic is the fish pond. Remember Little Sis' kiddie pool turned fish/frog pond? That's it. It's 18" tall. It's still standing, not collapsed or anything, just buried. That is a LOT of snow.
And more is on the way early next week. ugh.
Friday, January 23, 2009
I think we ended up with more than a foot of white stuff on the ground over the past week or so. It got so packed down that we were walking on it, making the ground seem about 8 inches higher than it should've been. It's really noticeable when you bend over to scoop up chicken food out of the container that now seems way below ground level. Weird.
Finally, it's melting. It didn't all melt, but a lot of it did. I can see the ground in a few spots. But now it's getting cold again, all the melty stuff is re-freezing, and more snow is predicted.
How long till spring??
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Little Sis watched, wide-eyed, as over a million people crowded into Washington D.C., and former presidents filed past the tv cameras.
Big Sis and her Rainbow Sweetheart watched, excited and hopeful that real change will come about now, letting any adult marry the person of their choice, legally, regardless of gender.
DH and I watched, hopeful for an end to war before our son gets shipped out. And of course hoping for an end to the current economic crisis.
President Obama spoke, quite eloquently, of equality, working together, and change. Maybe, now that we have an African-American President, just maybe, we can all be colorblind. Maybe, just maybe, we can stop worrying about if others are gay or straight or Muslim or Christian or Atheist, and just strive to better ourselves.
Mr. President, here's to hope! *raises glass*
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Ok, fine, so the cutbacks at DH's employer are going to last a while longer. To make ends meet, yours truly needs to find something, at least part time.
It's not that I'm not willing to work. I'm a little excited about it, actually. It will be interesting to be back out in the 'real' world, meet new people, learn new things, meet new challenges.
BUT...and you knew there had to be a but, didn't you...it's been ten years since I was part of the workforce. TEN years. A decade. Yep, one whole decade of sitting on my fat arse, munching bon-bons, wearing curlers and bossing around everyone in sight. *snorts with laughter*
In reality, it's been ten years of raising a family, rehabbing homes, establishing a small farmstead, working toward self-sufficiency, homeschooling, learning new skills, reading textbooks, studying, and lots and lots of firewood.
Once it was decided that I would start job hunting, I had to look for my resume. The one that I last used more than 12 years ago. It's not on my pc, which is new. It's not on my other pc, which I purchased after my 'retirement'. I found a disc labeled 'resume'..but it's not even there! Finally, after a lot of digging through old files, I found a hard copy. Remember those? On real paper? Ancient!
The next step is to update it with all the hooplah from my last job. Thankfully, I have a full job description in a file. No idea why, but I'm glad it's there.
Then on to the cover letter. I'm still working on that part. I've looked up sample cover letters for returning to the workforce. Some say to address the employment gap. Some say don't. I'm going to, lest my future employer think I've been in prison all that time. A few things I've read said that most employers view 'housewife' as 'living in luxury'. um. yeah.
I've even filled out online job applications. Apparently, you can't just walk into a store anymore and ask for an app. You either spend an hour sitting in front of their 'application station' or apply online. The app asks questions about my pay rate at past jobs. I have no idea! I know that I have never worked for minimum wage, not even at my very first job working in a grocery store deli. Of course that was back when minimum wage was only $3.15...or was it $3.00? I'm a friggin' dinosaur.
Anyway, back to the online apps, if you have ever done one, you know what I mean: My life doesn't fit in those little boxes. And what's with those tests after the app? Moronic questions like "would you ever steal from work?"?? What the heck?? Who FAILS those??
But I suppose the real point of my post is that I don't want to give up my dream of living a self-sufficient life as a result of going back to work. We all know that many women found they saved money by quitting their jobs. I've always thought if I went back to work, we'd spend the money I made on ready made food and fuel oil, since I am the one that does the majority of the gardening, cooking, and firewood. That, however, has changed with DH being home more, so things will balance, I think.
We've become more self-sufficient each year. I think we started slowly, back when we lived in the city, with our herb garden and 48 tomato plants. I froze tomatoes then, and used as many as possible while fresh.
Last year, however, was our biggest leap toward self-sufficiency, or at least the most noticeable, when we greatly expanded our garden, canned many items, froze even more, and actually got ahead, for the first time, with firewood.
I don't intend to let that change. I refuse...refuse...to go back to eating factory food. I love baking our bread and raising our own food, cooking meals from scratch, eating fresh eggs, cutting firewood and tending our land.
True, life will be different, but we'll continue to homestead, homeschool, and rant about..um..everything.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Happy Blogaversary, Mouse!!
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Now that we are in the country and rarely watch tv, we had to find another way to stay abreast of severe weather. It's even more important to know what to expect when you are somewhat isolated and rely on firewood for heat.
Hearing that severe weather is headed our way, we usually bring in extra firewood, make sure we are stocked up on drinking water, and attempt to get everyone bathed in case of power outages. (No power means no water.) I also try to get the housework done: dishes and laundry washed and the rugs vacuumed.
We keep up to date on the weather with a NOAA weather radio. Ours has an alarm that goes off if a warning is issued for our area. The alarm doesn't sound for advisories, though.
We also get emails from EmergencyEmail.org If you haven't yet signed up for this handy service, you should; it's free. There have been days that I didn't think to check the weather; it was sunny and calm. Then I get an email to let me know that there's a watch or advisory for our area. They also send emails warning of other things, such as security threats and product recalls.
Speaking of, we are under a winter storm watch for tomorrow. Funny, because I was just saying that we are about due for a big snow. So far, we've had just a couple of inches at a time. Yesterday, we were supposed to have less than an inch, and we ended up with at least three, which at least a start.
The kids are hyped about the snow; Santa brought new sleds for Christmas. DH has been wanting to drag out the sleds almost as much as the kids. Thankfully, he doesn't work tomorrow.
If we actually get some snow, I'll post pics...if the power stays on.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
DH went back to work today after two weeks of shutdown (holiday time off). I miss him already. We're both sort of glad that he will be working only three days a week for this month. It will be a good way to ease back into the workaday schedule.
Even though it will make our budget tight, I am thrilled to have the extra time with him. We had a great time during shutdown. It was nice to live on our own schedule, and not that of a time-clock. We didn't get as much done as we'd planned, but we took time to relax, watch movies, go for walks, hold hands, play with the kids, and just enjoy being together without the rush.
I suppose I need to take advantage of his time away from home to get a few things done. I tend to neglect a lot of chores when he's around. Who wants to clean when they can snuggle instead?
My big chore for today, which will probably take the rest of the week, is to clean out our bedroom. Somehow, it's become a catch-all for things over the holiday period. Presents were stacked in there, and now decorations are waiting to be put away, as well as a basket or two of laundry. I also need to clean the windows and clean underneath the bed. ugh. Maybe I'll just sit here surfing the net instead. *shrugs* Probably not a good idea. With the number of spiders that have taken up residence in my room, I run a severe risk of waking up inside a cocoon.
If you don't hear from me in a few days, it's because I was eaten by the monster living under the bed.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
When I was a kid, I thought it was amazing that I could possibly still be around in the year 2000. It seemed so far into the future that my friends and I discussed the hover cars we'd own.
Here we are, nine years after Y2K, and I still don't own a hover car. :(
*shrugs* Just as well. I'm having a difficult enough time with the changeover from VHS to DVD. What the heck is Blue Ray, anyway?
Here it is, another new year. I don't make resolutions, but I do make a list of goals. I've been doing it for a few years now. It sort of started out as a list of things we wanted to do to our home and property when we first moved out here to the country. Then I added to the list: skills I wanted to learn, projects to do, books to read, etc.
At the end of each year, I make a separate list of things we have accomplished. Sometimes there are a lot that weren't on my 'to do' list. I also jot in significant events in our personal lives, as well as unusual weather and anything else out of the ordinary.
I keep all of these in one notebook. I find it very interesting to flip through and look at past years' lists. It's an amazing sense of accomplishment to think of all the skills I have learned in a few short years.
I'm currently working on the Goals List for 2009, and the Accomplished List for 2008. We really got a lot done in 2008. More than I thought. I won't post them all here, but one of the more interesting things I found, in looking back over the past few years, is how self-reliant we are becoming. Slowly, at first, starting when we first moved to the country and realized that we were often without power, snowed in or otherwise isolated due to downed trees or even flood waters blocking the roads. We realized that we are some of the few that stick it out at home when things happen. Many of our neighbors head for hotel rooms as soon as the power goes out. Which means we can only rely on ourselves, our skills, and our preparedness.
We have learned many new skills: using a chainsaw and ax to split firewood, developing ways to haul the firewood; gardening, growing hay, etc, all without a tractor or tiller; canning, dehydrating, and freezing foods. The list goes on and on.
I think the one thing that really made me realize how far we've come is discovering that, over the past year, we purchased very few canned items. I think once or twice I picked up a can of tuna at the store, and I did buy canned sweet potatoes and canned pineapple during the holidays, to save time. I can't really think of anything else. We did do frozen pizzas, as I mentioned before, but overall, very few convenience items. This may seem like a small thing, but if you stop and think about what most people buy when grocery shopping, maybe it's not so small, after all.
I'm still learning, and we have a long way to go to be as independent as we'd like to be. For this year, my number one goal is to find ways to be comfortable in case of long term power outages. But more on that later. For now, since it really is a new year, I guess it's time to take down the Christmas tree. *sigh*
Happy New Year to everyone!!!