In which the weekends make me tired, but at least it isn't winter yet

No matter what is happening in the rest of the world,
here on the Farm we are prepping like crazy for the rainy season.

The list is always the same:  shelter, heat, food.  

We work on all all those things throughout the year, for us and for the animals, but we know that the exam will be handed out in the middle of winter when it will be difficult (if not impossible) to catch up on the tasks that keep us busy in the dryer months.

Firewood is a perennial Big Deal here.

The shed is FULL!

The pro tree crew makes it look easy--and of course,
 they have all the right equipment for the job!

Her family kept about half the wood from that tree, and the rest came out here.  

The green rounds were so enormous--and so heavy--that we couldn't lift most of them into the rented wood splitter, so we ended up rolling them into a heap in the driveway, and covering the whole thing with tarps for a year to allow them to dry out some.  

The tarps keep the rain off and allows some air circulation underneath.  If we lived in an arid climate, the wood could be left uncovered to allow it to dry faster, but here in the Swamp, the air is wet!  That's why we tarp hay inside the barn--the barn keeps the rain off, and the tarp keeps the wet air off.

Our wonderful neighbor kid Antonio volunteered to help split the giant rounds

Even after a year of seasoning, the rounds were still really heavy.  Antonio split each round into 8 pieces with the splitting maul, and then we split those pieces with the mechanical splitter.  Each of the 1/8 rounds filled up a wheelbarrow with split chunks of wood.  

We go through 2-4 cords of wood each winter, depending on the weather and how much time we spend at home.  I'm betting that we'll be home more than usual this year, so we wanted to fill the shed all the way up--and we have!

My family believes in neighbors helping neighbors--and we also believe
in thank-you gifts that include chocolate chips.  Antonio got a dozen 
cookies all to himself (his mom says he shared with her)

With the firewood taken care of, it's time to look at animal needs.  The barn is freshly painted (photos and a video tour hopefully coming soon!) and I took advantage of dry weather to bring in a pallet of wood pellets for bedding.
I used a tool box and a paint platform as stairs so I could hoist the final layers--
the stack is significantly taller than me!

The farm gardens are slowing down now.  The beans and sunflower seeds are all harvested, shelled, sorted, and are drying on racks before we put them into jars to store. The herbs are ready to move onto the drying racks as soon as the beans move out. 

The corn is out, the potatoes are out, the berry bushes are tucked in for the winter.  The squash vines are beginning to die back--we will harvest butternut squashes and pumpkins this month.  

And then, there are the apples.

Jim patiently taught me how to can stuff, and I've been doing a batch or two
of fruit sauce each weekend: pick, wash, peel, core, chop, can.  All by myself!

With all the work that needs to be done, it's hard to take a break.  But when I'm finished with the chores, there's a certain Somebody who knows where we need to go.

Maybe we look for mushrooms, maybe we just go trot for a while.

The weather is still warmish, but we're almost ready for winter.  

I'm in no hurry, though.  Could we just keep the sunshine around for a little while longer?



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