Our homestead under a November blizzard.
My day starts early on the homestead, somewhere around 5 or 6 a.m. There are animals to be fed, chores to be done and snow shoveling…always snow shoveling. Gene is off working at Menard’s so I am in charge of the homestead today.
Not fancy, but dry, our old pole barn shelters our vehicles, chicken feed, lawn tractors and my canning gear.
While many farm folks call their a.m. and p.m. work their chores, I’ve taken to calling my chores my rounds. This is like an animal that checks its territory every day to make sure no invaders have been around. Have you noticed that kind of behavior in your farm dogs?
Sassy with her ball. Snow dog!
I start first by throwing a load of laundry in the washer and then dress in my warm clothing to check in on and feed the chicken babies. I figure they are the most vulnerable and the hungriest after a long cold night. I learned recently that chickens do not eat at night because it is dark and they can’t see well enough to find their food. Being used to hunting dogs, who located everything with their noses, this comes as a surprise to me.
This is the road in front of our home during the blizzard. No traffic!
The chickens go first; fed, watered and their coop cleaned out. I’ve been worried about the high humidity in our coop but have been hesitant to keep a window open especially with babies not fully feathered in this subzero temperatures. Today I cracked a window using a paint stick on the window under the tarp that I hope is getting the least amount of wind in the coop today. Baby chickens need to be kept out of drafts too. The coop humidity has been running at 85% and it needs to be closer to 50%. I have to figure out a way to make this happen. I’ll keep you posted on this issue.
An inside view of our coop when the chicken babies came to us at about 2 weeks old.
I did not see Snowball eating today and she seemed to be breathing a bit harder while resting on the roost bar the rest of the babies so I am keeping a close eye on her today. I am worrying about mold growing in the coop from the high humidity. I am looking for a used small dehumidifier to help with that situation.
Then I walk back to the house to get Sassy for her long block a.m. walk. We have two paths in the woods that we walk every day and often several times a day; the long block and the short block. There are many more trails in the woods leading back to other property owners land but these two are where Sassy is allowed to go. Even though it is against out township ordinance, we have many lose dogs here in our rural area, sometime running packs, and I don’t want her wandering off into the wood unattended. With deer hunting going on she wears a bright orange collar with a bell. I like that I can hear where she is even if I cannot see her for a moment or two.
My faithful sidekick, helper and protector, Sassy loves to help me “feed the birds.”
Then together Sassy and I check the songbird garden bed giving the birds their seeds and water. Sassy is always hunting for dead or injured birds…a hunting dog is always a hunting dog.
If there is mail to go out it gets put into the mailbox and if there are other outside chores we do them while I am dressed warmly. Shovel the sidewalks, scrape away the snow at the chicken run gate, and dump the kitchen scraps into the compost and so on.
The sidewalk between our porch and driveway is our main entry point for family and friends.
Today I also changed out the Halloween flag and décor at our front door. Even though we haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving yet, winter came upon us so quickly this year that I had not yet made the switch over. Usually I leave up the Thanksgiving items up and don’t do Christmas things until a few weeks later but this year we are in winter lockdown and I feel like I might as well get them out before the snow gets too deep. Fourteen years of living in the snow belt, has taught me that 93” in of snow in a month is not unusual here. Last year we had the bitter cold AND 6 ft. of snow by the end of winter. Homesteading is definitely not for the faint of heart!
This is homesteading as a lifestyle choice. My job is not a difficult one but this home centered life brings me great joy and satisfaction in a job well done. I really like knowing I am keeping this place running smoothly and contributing not in cash but in comfort. I am happy that I can have a hot homemade meal on the stove when my husband comes home from work. I can greet him at the door and let him know in words and in smiles that I am happy that he had come home to me again.
This is radical homemaking at its finest!
Small House Homesteader, Donna