One of the myths of Modern Pioneering and Homesteading is that there is little work to do in the winter. For the original Homesteaders, the winter was a test that was often not passed, with failure costing the ultimate price. Many died during the winter months, from lack of preparedness, malnutrition, succombing to elements or other reasons.
Thankfully for us, our lifestyle prevents the deadly cost of winter, but the reality is, there is just as much work to do in the winter keeping the animals safe, warm, well fed and watered as there is in the warmer months. If you want to make the summer ahead the most productive and efficient, you must plan ahead. You must complete projects that don’t get finished during the planting/growing/harvesting seasons. Currently we have two major projects in the works that will benefit our lives for many seasons and years to come. We are building a greenhouse and remodeling a building to create a harvest kitchen/butchering area and milking area to use throughout the year.
I will eventually post on both projects on their own, with more detail, but for now here are some sneak peaks at these two projects.
Our new greehouse will be small, but hopefully large enough to start all the seedlings we will need and to get a fodder system started for feeding the chickens, turkeys and rabbits. It is 8 x 12, and will have cost us just about $200 to complete. We utilized several used pieces and at this point, I am very happy with the project. We have moved it outside so that we have our shop back available to use for other projects, but the plastic has not been placed on it yet. As soon as the weather cooperates a bit, we will get this finished up and I will start some seedlings.
On a different front, we have decided to renovate this building. For the past few years is has been a catchall for various items, stored chicken feed and house broilers, pullets and turkeys on the back side.
The siding has been completed thanks to Hammer Down Construction and Fencing, LLP, a local construction crew that branched off BKR Construction. You can also contact the original BKR Construction that specializes in complete structures in larger area than just Southwest Missouri. I recommend both whole-heartedly. I’ll post more pictures as we complete this project. The plan will be to have a harvest kitchen in the area with the white door where will butcher, can, dehydrate, make cheese, etc. This area will also serve as a place to store our homecanned goods. The back lean-to will be completed into a milking parlor, where we can milk Serena out of the weather and have the milker washing, and cold milk storage in the harvest kitchen. Lots of pluses to our plan, not the least of which keeps much of the mess out of our family kitchen.
We have already completed our first Rabbit hutches. We need to make probably one more for growing out. But when we get culled down, we may have enough room. No further rush on rabbit projects. Though we do have one set of 6 cages that need some work, but for now that can wait for spring and warmer temperatures.
When it looks like this outside, it makes indoor projects all the more appealing.
But for all the inconveniences we are given during the winter, God still leaves us with beauty beyond measure. As much work is created during the winter weather episodes, there is also as much beauty. God gives the plants and animals a rest cycle, and Modern Pioneers can benefit from it as well. As difficult as we may think it is, imagine what our ancestors went through, when mere survival was a the measure of success after every winter.
More baking gets done in the winter than the summer. I’ve been trying some new recipes and tweaking some old ones. I’ve made soft pretzels, and have worked on a couple of recipes for bread made from my home-ground oat flour and whole wheat flour. All have been delicious.
Being a Modern Pioneer we are blessed to be given a time to get our ducks in a row for the next year, rather than making sure we survive to plant the next crop. We are truly blessed to live the life we life. I snapped this picture of one of our grandsons a couple of years ago, after I got control of my laughter. Even at his young age, he understood the importance of keeping your ducks in a row.
Now it’s time to get to planning the garden. It will be planting time in a few short weeks.