The First Snow of the Season

The weatherman was predicting up to 7“of snow overnight in SW Michigan and this meant snowfall on our homestead as well.

VET pool shack sotnes show USE

Thick and wet snow sticks to the burning bush at the pool shack.

I worked long past dark removing from the coop the last of the plastic waterers, 2″X4” chunks of wood I use to raise the feeders and watering cans off the ground. Everything was quickly stashed in the pole barn before they got buried under the snow. The final few chunks of pumpkin from the runs were tossed into the compost bin.

Garden coop and Oak USE

Our vegetable garden fence is layered with fresh snow.

Gene drained the water pipes on the studio and converted the water over to the house well. He covered the outside faucets with a styrofoam covering as a “better safe than sorry” effort.  One year we had a broken pipe with water running under the fridge and all over the studio floor and that was a two-week nightmare!!

Polr brn under trees USE

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep.

I took the 9 lb. organic chicken out of the freezer to begins its 5-day thaw for Thanksgiving.

HORZ playhouse USE

Playhouse in the snow.

We were lucky that while we did have a couple of inches of a wet snow dusting, it is the wet quick to melt kind of snow. And best of all it was not enough snow to cover the driveway or sidewalks or have to be shoveled off. Relief!

VERT edge of woods and leaves

The leaves at the edge of the meadow and woods.

We will be driving about an hour and half each way today to a family memorial so I was relieved that our plans did not have to change either.

Chicken complex under oak use LAST

The chicken condo complex under a light snowfall.

The chickens are not happy though. They came out of their coops and took a look and went no further. I spread out two large buckets of bark chips to give them a snow free place to hang out. They are all milling around the enclosed run areas and going in and out of the two coops and complaining.

Pines house fence BEST USE

Greeting from the Small House Homestead.

The long closed up in the coop and run season has begun.

Small House homesteader, Donna


The Final Push for Winterizing the Homestead

Coop tarp and straw USE

Trying to block the west blowing winds from the coop.

Snow! We barely made it by the skin of our teeth!

Porch sidealk stone beds outline USE

Our three season porch and backyard in the first snow of the 2014 season.

Homesteaders everywhere are in the final thrust of getting land and buildings ready for the wind and snow of winter. We are no different on the Small House Homestead.

Coop long view barn run USE

The first snow of 2014 fell on SW Michigan last night.

I have found that no matter how much time we spend preparing our land and outbuildings for winter (and we spend a lot of time getting ready here in the snow belt of Michigan) there is always more to do. Now that the leaves are mostly picked up our primary efforts turn to the rest of the chores we must do before the snow begins.

Snow on pumkinUSE

Snow on the pumpkin!

And the rub is that the Upper Peninsula of Michigan received a foot or more of snow yesterday so we know that snowfall in our own county is not far behind.

gene unloading in the barn

Gene is lifting a bale of straw from the barn of the local farmers we purchase them from.

Yesterday the main push was to get the two cement and mosaic garden bench tops wrapped with plastic, to put up the stakes and board protection pieces at our mailbox to protect it from the force of the plow, to find and push in the reflectors along our sidewalk and driveway as a guide for the snow blower, and staking and wrapping the bird netting around the hydrangeas to protect them from the deer eating every single bud.

Tarp from gandplank end USE

The chicken coop in the cold and white landscape.

Late in the afternoon we drove to a local farm to pick up 16 bales of straw to protect the chicken coop from the winter winds. Then we built a protected “play pen” around the coop itself. I was hoping we could make a plastic run over and around the coop like the Chicken Chick does for her coops but the idea of creating a roof has stymied us and Gene is balking about any more expense related to the coop. I also hate the idea of using plastic that will eventually enter the waste stream but I’m just not sure how much the straw bales really protect the coop….I will need to do more research on this issue.

Sassy muscles-in path USE

While the chickens certainly did not want to come out of their coop today, Sassy loves running in the snow! 

Truck in barn Cindy lifting

How would we run a homestead without our truck! Notice the vanity plate…”Heat & Beat” refers to Gene’s blacksmith forge!

Small House homesteader and chicken keeper, Donna