November 22, 2016

Winterizing

Just when I was beginning to think that our mild autumn days would never end, the forecast came in - not for our first frost - but for a hard freeze. We spent all day Saturday getting ready for winter.

My first order of business was to rehang the dining room curtains.

Closed at night for added protection against the cold.

Open during the day to let the sunlight and warmth in.

It's almost a shame to cover up those pretty new windows, isn't it? But increased energy efficiency is more important than being able to admire our handiwork.

Next I moved into the garden. We don't have much growing there anymore, but a freeze would certainly bring an end to the little we were getting.

I got a good amount of green tomatoes. Some I'll let ripen, but we
had to have yummy fried green tomatoes with our Sunday burgers. 😋

Dan helped me cover the hoop house.


This year we added a door! Don't laugh! It's the old door from our original chicken coop. Not a perfect fit but pretty close.

Where our chickens used to live.

Our chickens used to share the old shed with the goats. Chickens on one side, goats on the other, with the milking room and feed storage in the middle. We saved their door when we built our current chicken coop.

I just hope I don't regret reusing last year's polyurethane on the hoop house. It's just utility grade, which means it's cheap, but it doesn't have UV protection. That means the sun will dry it out and deteriorate it faster than plastic with UV protection. Greenhouse grade would last longer, but I haven't found that locally yet, and the cost of shipping nowadays often prevents me from buying better products than what I can find close to home. We plan to upgrade this as soon as we can.

I had only one winterization job for the goat shed, to cover the remaining original window.

Nails in strips of cardboard hold the plastic in place.

You may recall that the Little Barn is actually built onto the original goat and chicken shed. Dan made window covers for the newly built part, but not the old. This old window gives light and allows in lovely breezes during summer, but it creates cold drafts during winter. Eventually we'll re-side the old section of the shed and build in new windows, but for now I covered it with an piece of old shower curtain, doubled. We still get the light but not the cold air.

While I did that, Dan filled the wood box.


On my way back into the house, I brought in my three potted plants.

Aloe vera, Meyers lemon, and ginger.

The Meyers lemon and aloe vera will do okay on the unheated back porch, but the ginger plant will need to be brought in where it stays a bit warmer. It doesn't much like temperatures below 50°F (10°C).

The next morning the temperature was well below freezing. The odd thing was that there was no frost. That's how dry we are. I was happy to see that the Little Barn remained about 10 degrees warmer than the outside air.

The only thing I forgot to do was to find my winter gloves. By the time I got in from morning chores, my fingers were freezing. That made the fire in the cookstove all the more welcome.

With a pot of oatmeal on top cooking for breakfast.

I know quite a few of you in North America have been getting snow! Any of you in that camp? How about the rest of the world?

Winterizing © November 2016 by Leigh 

34 comments:

Weekend-Windup said...

You are getting ready for the autumn. Happy to see your green tomatoes. You are doing a great job!

Chris said...

All your hard work is coming together at the end of the season, as another starts. Winter is knocking on your door, as Summer is knocking on ours.

At this time of year, we have to prepare for thunderstorms. We'll be happy if we can get our new rainwater tank installed, before they arrive. Which we are getting close to now.

If you're going to have indoor plants, I think you chose well with edibles and medicinal plants. So worth coddling through the cooler months, if it means you can have access to their healing properties.

I love your new windows and treatment. Now you two, stay warm now, and give each other extra cuddles. :)

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

Reading this has sent me out to get the potted plants in! I had forgotten all about them. LOVE your stove.
Gill in a very wet and windy England x

Leigh said...

And those fried green tomatoes were divine! I may try oven frying the little ones, like I do potatoes or okra.

Leigh said...

Truth be told, I do NOT have a green thumb (but don't tell anybody, I don't want that spread all over the internet :). I'm really looking forward to eventually getting a greenhouse built, because we don't have good natural light in the house for plants.

You've had your challenges with those rain tanks but I hope it's smooth sailing from here until you get them in working order! It would be horrible to miss all that rain.

Leigh said...

Gill, thanks! I've forgotten potted plants a few times in the past and always regretted it. Soon it will be time to harvest the ginger anyway, but I'll still need to keep the replanted rhizomes alive and well.

Jason and Michelle said...

We had snow last week, it didn't stick around long. The temperatures here have been running warm. This weekend it appears they will be dipping, with snow forecasted.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

What a cozy post! Saturday past we had sleet, all day. High winds meant extremely low temps and...my furnace broke late that night but the man came out at 1:30 and got it working. Your wood box looks wonderful; my wood rack is full and the wood stove steady since Sat night.
If y'all have craigs list or freecycle...put a note on there asking for old doors or windows...for the greenhouse. Once you have those in place, you have decreased need for plastic.

Ed said...

Better than the door on your hoop house, I love the latch! I've seen that specific latch used around our farm before!

We got a couple hard freezes so I did some very needed pruning and also cut up an old dead tree that fell into our yard. We always go liberate a red cedar tree from it's earthly toil (to quote a friend) to use for our Christmas tree after the big feed on Thursday. We'll spend some of Friday setting it up. Other than that, I'm pretty much ready for winter but the chances of us getting any lasting snow until sometime next year are generally slim.

Val said...

We have had 2 ft of snow since Monday and thankfully the wind has finally stopped. We plowed and used the snowblower yesterday but there will be plenty of snow blowing and shoveling for me today. The sun is out tho and it isn't really cold tho.

Renee Nefe said...

We had our first winter snow (there was plenty of snow last spring right up to May) on last Thursday...it snowed a bit on Friday also but was all melted away by Saturday. It has been warm-ish since. Yesterday it was nice & warm, I was outside working on a well ventilated project and dug up the carrots and beets for the veggie broth. Today it is Florida snowing. ;) The trusty weather folks predict more snow...we'll see. if this turns to snow it will be miserable with a layer of ice underneath.

Susan Humeston said...

How close are you to the fires? Ever since I read about them, I thought about you - and worried a bit. When I see a new post from you, I'm glad because that means you're all ok. I'm definitely praying for rain for the whole Southeast. The Smoky Mountains are one of my favorite places and it pains me to think of all the destruction in that area.

Vintage Maison said...

In Limousin, France, it's rain, rain, rain.

Laura said...

I would re-think the cardboard holding the plastic - if the goats can reach it, they'll eat it. Mine found a cardboard box (don't ask), and demolished it in short order. Real wood strips would probably be better, held in with screws. I'm working on the final winterizing here, too. I have to cover the front door (it leaks air badly, and I don't use it anyway) with some polar fleece that I got on sale. The garden got it's new cover yesterday, too - 6 mil plastic drop cloth. One 10x25 piece covers both 8' beds as well as the ends (hoops over the beds). We've had a mild, wet fall, but no snow yet. It's predicted to start this week. I need a heated hose - I have one outdoor faucet, and it's in the pump house, 175' away from the animals...

Mrs Shoes said...

Oh YES! Here in the fuzzy navel of Canada, I can barely see the old house (which is just across the yard) for the flakes of snow whirling in the air!

Leigh said...

It's that unpredictable time of year!

Leigh said...

Sleet! Not my favorite.

Recycling old window for a greenhouse is a great idea. We've been saving all the windows we replace with the intention of using them for a "real" greenhouse one of these days.

Leigh said...

LOL, hey, whatever works, right Ed? :)

A cedar Christmas tree would be wonderful. I love the smell of cedar. I'll probably do like I did last year and get a smallish potted evergreen I can later transplant to the yard.

Leigh said...

Val, that's a lot of snow! Sun with no wind really make a difference in how it feels.

Leigh said...

Ice underneath is usually what we end up with. Making broth sounds like a great job, though, on a chilly day.

Leigh said...

Susan, thank you for asking. We aren't close enough to be under any real threat so far, but when the wind comes from certain directions we have a smoky haze until it shifts directions. Destruction by fire is always a sad thing.

Leigh said...

We could use some of that!

Leigh said...

Good idea to cover your front door! Leaky doors and windows can really be unpleasant.

For that barn window strips of wood was my first choice too. I scrounged around for something the right size, but came up empty handed. I was not going to go out and buy something so cardboard it is for now.

My goats have never shown an interest in cardboard before, but the will pull and chew on plastic!

Leigh said...

Those flakes really make it feel like winter!

Thomas Stewart said...

Leigh,
I know it's been a long time without a comment from me. But I have been working to leave the Homestead that I have lived on for the past 9 years. I will send you an e-mail telling you all about it.
Sense "Mathew", We have been cold and windy. Today's high 54 and tonight's low will be 26!

Goatldi said...

Nor Cal chiming in. After a 36 hour of colder temps and no rain it is back. Pouring and brought its friend wind which adds to the effects. Loving the sounds of it blowing through the pines . We need some good hard freezes to keep the insects under control. If we don't get them this winter the grasshoppers will be at biblical levels this Spring as they were in 2013. Nice wintering had similar curtains in last home worked well. Nice job on the barn window my girls would eat it and yours won't. Silly goats selective eaters that they are. Stay warm!

Leigh said...

Tom, it has been a long time! And what shocking news that you are leaving your homestead! I thought things were working out to make your living there. Sincerely hoping all is well wth you.

Leigh said...

We need those hard freezes too, but also rain! Yes, goats are funny that way. And it doesn't mean my girls won't all of a sudden decide to demolish the window. This particular group doesn't seem to work that way (they have other tricks :)

Little Homestead In Boise said...

I saw that storm hit back east, cold. It was 28 here yesterday morning with a little snow in the forecast for this weekend. We use insulated curtains on all our windows too, cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter. Good upgrades, you do what you can...

Sandy said...

Leigh,

It hasn't snowed here yet. It's been cold, temperatures reached low here. We've winterized our RV, and started winterizing the outside water sources.

Leigh said...

I grew up in the midwest and remember my mother changing the curtains twice a year. She used heavy drapes for winter and lighter curtains for summer. The little things do help.

Leigh said...

Winter in an RV will be an adventure!

Jayne Hill said...

A lot of clear blue sky followed by freezing nights in northern England. Hope your cover survives the winter, picking hundreds of small bits of degraded plastic out of plants and flower beds is a vile and tiresome job :(

Farmer Barb said...

I like your wood box by the door. We might actually have a winter here, so my welded steel wood boxes will come into use! No snow yet, but lots of wind. We are 18 inches behind on rain, so snow would be a welcome salve to the drought. Wishing you lots of gentle rain!