Miss c’s almanac says; get ready for another cold winter. Bad cold.
I know it is summer and we are just beginning to harvest, and the last thing we want to think about is the winter. But if you live a simple old fashioned farm life like we do we are always thinking about the winter. The winter is the biggest threat to our survival there is.
We need to harvest wood. This house is heated with fire and sunlight. The ruminant animals subsist solely on good hay so we need to fill the barns with hay, the pigs live on really good hay and a little grain, so that has to be considered. They all need to sleep on something warm so we need to buy straw, the carnivores (dogs and cats) need meat. I need lots of tomato sauces. . Everyone needs shelter and water that is not frozen solid. The larder needs to be filled with vegetables. The freezers will have pork and chicken this year, no beef and no lamb. There is no fruit for the cellar as last winter killed any hope of stone fruit or apples and the blight killed all the pears. No wine, once again due to the winter, same for the honey, though I am trying for one tiny super of honey from the new bees, soon I will have to concede that the bees will not have time to collect their own stores and I will leave it in the hive. The fields are heaving with forage and flowers so I am hopeful on many fronts. And the cabbages are doing marvelously this year so we will have a whole winters worth of sauerkraut. I am hoping that daisy will supply enough cream for enough butter and ice cream in the freezer. The freezers are filling up. It is good.
So you see the winter has a huge impact on our diet if you are living a subsistance/ sustainable lifestyle. And the cold will come back and we must be prepared. The summer is all about getting ready for the winter and this is something I never really thought about when I was living in a coastal town in New Zealand where you can grow and pick vegetables all year round.
Kim, who you will remember came and Farm Stayed in July, had brought a ball of wool with he r(as well as a whole lot of fabrics) that was the perfect colour for me and generously asked whether I would like her to make me some gloves. She is very clever is our Kim. I showed her my two bent forefingers. Last winter was so mean it left the top joints swollen and a little bent. They have not been the same. In fact they hurt like they are being stung by bees. Last winter I kept pulling my fingers down into the palms of my gloves to try and warm them on each other. It was hopeless. So I asked her if it was possible to make me a pair of fingerless gloves, kind of like mittens but that were long enough to cover the tops of my fingers and open at the top. Then when I need to use fingers I can roll the gloves down, and later flip the wool back up to cover my fingers again. But still allowing my finger tips to be free. Then I can wear them inside my big skiing gloves and hopefully the joints in my hands will not take so much of a beating.
They are marvellous. And now Kim is making me a summer pair too. (Just quietly Kim and I are talking of having a little etsy shop and we are designing some of my miss c essentials, she is making the prototypes now, more on that later.)
Mr Pink is in with the layers now. She was not getting enough to eat living with the meat chickens who are doing surprisingly well now that they are getting milk every day. I created a little hideaway for Mr Pink so she can stay out of the way of those nasty big baby layers. She has her own water and feed in there but can come out if she wants to – she does not want to. Sensible girl.
I hope you all have a lovely day,
Your friend on the farm.