Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Ready for Winter?

Part time Farmers, Smallholders, Homesteaders, call em what you will, are never never ready for winter. In the same way they say you'll never meet a full time Farmer who admits to being either rich or happy, you'll never find a part time one who says, 'Yep, ready for winter.'

Everything seems to build up until there is a list as long as all of our arms and daylight amounts to - not much.

Today, we had day two of Rayburn replacement. It has taken  a while to convince the landlords that our only source of heat, main cooker, water heater and general heart of the household, had died.

IMG-20131118-00740Here it is, breathing its last. It's been here 38 years, since the house was built, and we've been here 6 - for none of those six years has it really been at what you might call its best, but it's been a good deal better than nothing.

Since Neil it now transpires will be without a job, three weeks before Christmas, it hasn't been practical for me to give up my outside work, it simply has to fit in around everything, and I do mean everything, else. So the plumber plumbed while Neil, who had fortuitously taken a few days off to try to catch up on that list, helped out, H, who has broken her foot, sat on the sofa in pain doing homework, and I retreated to my bedroom office to work for a living.

When I came down, our new-to-us recycled Rayburn was in place.


Ta da. So excited. It's so pretty and shiny.

This gave us an  hour or two to attempt the day's next task, turning this pile of pallets:

IMG-20131119-00746into an improved and extended shelter for the goats. We have to move the other three down to 'Goat Valley' now urgently, and there just isn't adequate shelter. As usual, there is also inadequate money, so Neil scoured the trading estates and came up with these.

We were already short of time and daylight, but we got this far:

IMG-20131119-00750which was really an achievement, but as Neil goes back to work tomorrow, leaving me with work, farm chores, injured daughters and uninjured ones at school, etc etc ... it may stay like this for a day or two.

After a great deal of toting people hither and yon, Neil was out at a meeting this evening, so I set my hand to finishing up some bits and pieces headed for my Folksy store. Not there yet, but today's task was to complete some small lengths of bunting, happily upcycled from vintage linens.

IMG-20131119-00756I think this is rather festive, with its pretty stars, but H thinks it would look sweet in a baby's room.  Tonight I was hand sewing buttons on the plain flags, while bread baked in my 'new' Rayburn.

It does feel like we are a step closer to being ready for winter. The Rayburn is working, the goats nearly have a roof, and one or two items are closer to being ready for the store.

Are you ready for winter? How do you prepare?


  1. If any part time farmer / smallholder ever told me they were ready for winter I would quite simply not believe them!

    I've been home alone this last week as it's olive harvest time. Someone had to stay home to care for animals and kids, and beyond them, not a great deal has been done. Partner returned last night, dropped off the volunteers, then vanished back there again to finish up. On the plus side, there's no need to cut goat food as I've now a huge pile of olive prunings to work through.

    My long awaited new goats arrived yesterday so I shall also be building new goat accommodation. Everyone is accommodated as I write, but there are kids due, nowhere to house the Billy, and chaos fast approaching. Time to drive around the forest roads I think, and see what 'treasures' my filthy dumping neighbours have left which might be pressed into service.

  2. Oooh that's pretty! The bunting. And the Rayburn. But you know I'm partial to a good pallet too.

  3. Yay for the new Rayburn! It looks so exotic to my American eyes, Jackie. It's just the kind of stove many of us adore but here they are too pricey for most of us. At least now you'll be toastier! And the bunting is just lovely.

    I'm sorry to hear about H's foot. It's difficult to focus on studying when one is in pain. Prayers for a quick recovery.