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Sonlit Acres

Encouraging sustainable living

Winter On The Homestead.

Winter on the homestead brings us to the season of enjoying the labors of spring, summer and autumn harvest. A time to enjoy the many foods we have put up along with the warmth of the wood we cut, blocked, hauled, split and stacked into the wood shed and is now crackling in the wood stove. A time to take the hay we put up to feed the animals down from the loft and do just that, feed that big but friendly cow that gives us fresh raw milk and homemade butter. It brings fewer chores to do in one aspect and some new ones in another. No wood to cut, garden to plant, weed or harvest, the canning is done, as is the haying and all the equipment put away.


The new things if you live in snow country like we do, is to keep the porch, walkways and driveway cleared of snow. Not as time consuming as putting up the wood or the hay, but sometimes time consuming if the storm is big and nasty enough. It brings about time to spend as a family with outside activities like snowmobiling, snowshoeing and of course the snowball fights. Now snowball fights are great fun if you go out with the children and build forts of snow and big mounds of snowballs in each one. Having a snowball fight. Tossing your snowballs into the opponent’s fort. Of coarse who can forget the age old favorite of ice skating.


Some jobs are made more difficult but some are made easier with the use of snowmobiles, like taking feed and water to the small barn for whatever we may be wintering in there. A few years ago we decided that hauling water to the cows and horses took up a bit of time. So we now plow a path to the wells overflow and put a stock tank down there. The animals are released twice each day to go and drink. This has worked well and the animals have a great time bouncing around the yard for a few minutes while they get their water.


Barn clean-up is made easier by the use of snowmobiles and a big sled, all bedding is loaded and pulled to the pile where it is put someplace near the garden for future use there. If slaughtering is done animals are towed to the hanging post on the wood shed once they are killed. So all in all winter can restrict activity, but the use of what is now considered a recreational only machine can make the job easier. Wood for us is hauled home with a snowmobile; we cut wood through most of the winter as long as the snow doesn’t get to deep. Winter is also a time to start planning next spring’s activities. What we will plant, where we will plant it, how much is needed to plant based on last season’s production of your favorite vegetable.


If you have a good sized workshop, it's a good time to bring your equipment into shape for next season, your able to work at a slower more steady pace. Taking your time to do a good job, as the stress of a breakdown in season can be the difference of weather you get the hay in today or loose it to a fast approaching storm. The workshop is also a place to work on a hobby or build some of that cool rustic furniture that some pay big money for in those country catalogs.


Winter, depending on the weather gives one a chance to also saw lumber for next year’s projects, we have sawed many projects out with a simple attachment called an Alaskan saw mill. It's not as fast as a more expensive band mill, but you would be surprised how much lumber one can cut with it in just a couple of hours use a day. Winter also brings out the lazy side of us, nothing like perking a fresh pot of coffee, or bringing a mug of hot chocolate to temperature and just watching the snowfall gently through the window.


Now that my coffee is done, I'll just go outside and saw up some boards with the mill, but first I think I need another cup of coffee, and oh yes the stove needs another log and I think I'll watch the kids lob those snowballs, now all them snowballs have made me tired, time for a short nap. Wow, the days sure are short, look how dark it's getting! Oh well the lumber log will be there in the morning.


Maybe, just maybe winter was made for those on the homestead to slow the pace, enjoy the fruits of their labor, a time to celebrate the many blessings that have been poured out to them. A time to ponder and reconnect to our families, you know the ones that thought we moved away or died months ago. Oh yes, did I say it's time to feed the stove another log and have the evening chess match. Is it bedtime already? Boy those winter days are short. Guess I'll get up and try again in the morning.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.



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