Thursday, August 7, 2008

Winter Preparations

Even though we are still in the summer months, my thoughts are turning towards winter and the preparations we need to make. For the past few years, we have had at least 1 ice storm that has had power outages or other hazards involved. One year, the ice storm froze our driveway to the point that it was 6 weeks before we could safely drive our car out of the driveway. Ever since then, I always assume the worst for the upcoming winter. Some are easier than others, but living so far from a city, we have to take into consideration that road conditions could leave us without a way to bring in supplies for an extended time.

I have been taking stock of the pantry inventory. Now is the time to be laying in a sufficient food stores for winter. We eat a lot of homemade soups, stews and casseroles through the cold months. I am starting to put up jars of homemade soups. Some are in pint jars for my husband to take to work for his lunch, others in quart jars for family meals. I cook a double or triple batch of the soup when I am making dinner. After I have taken out a portion for our evening meal, I put up the rest in jars. What a blessing it is to have these ready-made meals in the pantry! On days when we are busy with other tasks or out running errands, it is nice to come home and have the convenience of these soups & stews to make quickly. Some days, I will simply empty a couple of the quart jars into my slow cooker in the morning and let the soup/stew cook all day.

Another preparation I am taking stock of is our winter clothing. There are warm fleece socks to be made. We use these as both slippers in the home and as boot liners for when we are outdoors. I am drafting patterns to make Micah some flannel sleep pants that will fit comfortably over his cloth diapers. Abbie also will have new flannel pants to wear under her nightgowns. I am planning to make Abbie some fleece jumpers to wear. She has worn them in the past and they kept her nice and warm even on the coldest days. It seems that my sewing list gets longer each time I look at it, but what a joy and a blessing to know that I can make these things for the family.

There are blankets to inspect and make sure they are in good shape for another winter season, a couple of quilts to be made for the little one's cribs, and maybe some flannel crib sheets to sew. Much of the sewing are fast projects that take longer to trace and cut out the patterns than it takes for me to sew the things together.

Joe has already been building up our stores of firewood. Our supply of wood for the cook stove is getting quite impressive! We still have firewood left from last season for the larger wood stove that we heat with. The still needs to be stacked and made ready. It is already split and has been curing all spring & so far this summer.

Another project Joe is going to be soon building is the chicken coop. Next spring, we will be getting a new flock to replace the ones the wildlife killed last year. We are planning on buying pullets. Half of the chickens will be a brown egg layer variety and the others will be meat chickens. I also am hoping to buy some heritage breed turkeys and for Joe, I am wanting to get him some more guineas. When he builds the coop, he is also building a detachable chicken tractor that can be moved about the yard during the day, then put back to the coop at night so the flock can learn to roost in it.

There is much to be done, but by and by we will get it accomplished.