Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Buttoning Up and Battening Down

Winter arrived last Thursday for the long stay. Snow has fallen, both wet and powdery every day since. While we took note of all the signals that winter was on its way, we were still behind in stuff to get done around here. For me, buttoning up the barn with new tarps was job one, for Gene, firewood. The barn tarps went up last Thursday morning as the snow started flying.

The big wide front opening is most important since it protects the hay. The side opening and rear are smaller. Bob is parked in the rear of the barn next to the tack room and the tarp there is much shorter and is simply latched across with an old short trailer tie so I can slide it open and closed. It's so dark and dreary in there once the tarps go up I wasn't inspired to take pics. But the barn cats enjoy the snugness and the little caves the hale bales make are warm and protected.

Gene again weighed the costs of different ways to fill the wood needs around here. We have a lot of available logs from the culled power line trees, plus some free stuff out at Tub Springs from an old growth tree which came down last spring. This year, he finally decided to invest in a log splitter.

The new baby is rated 25 tons and splits logs either horizontally or vertically, which I'm told is important since a lot of logs are too big to pick up and put on a splitter. It has already spent a day making short work and garnering two cords of wood from the massive old growth tree. I'm told there is more to do over there. It goes nicely with his new chainsaw, an unexpected arrival. Gene loaned his old one out and you know the story. The loanee forgot to mix oil with the gas and fried the engine. He did the stand up thing, and returned a new one (same model), to Gene along with his old bar which is a longer than standard for this particular saw. I had SERIOUS chainsaw envy when I saw it. I have lobbied for a small one for a number of years for limbing trees and clearing small snags on the property. This isn't suitable for that (too big, too heavy), but I remain hopeful!

The trailer is doing its winter duty as run in for the donkeys.

 It's not ideal, but it works. Between the blankets, the great little grove of firs and the trailer they have protection both to eat and rest. And it keeps it very near the plowed driveway should we have an emergency and need to get it out fast. I am thrilled to announce that we have an equine vet that has moved to the Greensprings and set up shop. No more expensive farm calls. Dr. Gail Colbern DVM, MS will also handle any small animal emergencies up here on the mountain. I can't tell you what a relief this is. An emergency in bad weather would take anywhere from 3 to 8 hours for any of the valley vets, assuming they could even make it up the mountain roads.

The round pen has been closed off with the removal of the trailer but it was a good set up being able to use it for trailer loading training and I'll move it up there again next spring, or should I say Gene will be directed to do so..;)

The two bird feeders around the house are again supplying black oil sunflower seed for the winter birds.

 Mostly Junco's, Chickadees, Nuthatches and Stellar Jays. We get some native LBJ's (little brown jobs) in the late morning and the flock of turkey's makes a stop there every couple of afternoons. The fox has been spied by both of us also under the feeder in the pre dawn hour. Both feeders are hubs of activity all day long.

Parting shots: Cold days, warm friends. ( Smoochie & Robin)


  1. I think Smoochie and Robin have the right idea!!! Your pictures make me want to light the fire in the fireplace and grab a project to work on! Lots of winter preparation going on at your place!

  2. Theresa, Smoochie and Robin are nice and cozy with a splendid place to watch the action. The last picture is just perfect.

  3. brrrr! Stay warm and as dry as possible up there. We are enjoying indoor hobbies more here in the basin. see you soon.

  4. oh my what a difference a couple thousand feet make - we've had no snow, have seen it on the tops of the hills but hasn't made it to our house yet.

  5. Ah, snow :-) It sounds like you and Gene have been quite busy getting ready for winter. The log splitter is a grand idea. Log splitting is great exercise, but after a short time, everything starts protesting, or is that just me? Birdwatching is a lot of fun and it sounds like you have a nice assortments of bird visitors to your feeders.
    I'm getting my snow tires on tomorrow :-) Maybe I'll wax my skis....

  6. Such an encouraging post, reading about all your industriousness, tools, and set-up!

  7. Oh my, snow! What a great investment with the log splitter. I would love to have one but it's not at the top of the list yet. :) Poor puppies look cold!

  8. Snow! I know that it gets annoying to have it but it sure is beautiful.

    Smoochie and Robin are cozy pals!

    I have never seen a log splitter....I live in the suburbs.

  9. Looks like a proper winter! There is something so cozy and elemental reading about your winter prep plans. Darned hard work I know! Looking forward to the sewing and weaving projects that are sure to come. My guy has been getting in the firewood too. Still insists on spliting by hammer and maul but we are not dealing with oak and such.

  10. Brrrrr! I like the Knoxville variety of snow: Snow a few inches, look pretty, melt, repeat. Your kind of winter would make me...move!

  11. Wow...10 miles from you but a world away in relation to snow and being independent with log splitters and chainsaws! I know what you mean by envy over a new tool.One year we bought a backyard shredder for small tree branches and I immediately took it for my own. Feeding small branches into it's greedy mouth is just too cool and to hear that motor grinding them into small chips to compost is pretty darn nice.

  12. Oh my...Snow!! Glad you got the tarps in place just in time. And great log splitter. Glad the chainsaw borrowing neighbor was upright about the damage.

    Take a cue from Smoochie and Robin and stay warm!!

  13. We had snow last weekend; it's gone now and raining, but since I was going out of town and knew it was coming it was quite the scramble to get ready!

    Your place looks so cozy in the trees - I miss my trees, but the junipers help fill the gap.