That kind of cold

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. sauces-007. 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. sauces-020

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. wednesday-006

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.

And here they are. wednesday-004


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.) wednesday-012

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. wednesday-020

I hope you all have a lovely day,

Your friend on the farm.




54 Comments on “That kind of cold

  1. For the pain in your fingers , have you tried a copper bracelet? I have two copper rings , one for each hand, but not very conducive to a farmy person as there is the possibility of getting rings caught on machinery, but a bracelet might work.
    Anothern finger in another pie….there is no let up with you….tell me what is an etsy

    • I knew an old lady who wore a copper bracelet for arthritis.. it is such a whimsical idea, does it work for you?

      • and arnica for your poor sore fingers…..some cream you can massage in, maybe you have some still from the tail bone problem last winter? the gloves are wonderful KIm.

      • Absolutely.. I used to suffer badly but now not at all. It would not straihhten fingers but may help the pain. Cheap copper bracelet, gjve it a try..not a lot to lose

  2. Those gloves are perfect, there were moments I would have used them here this winter! Clever girl Kim. Did you knit the wrist rib and then crochet the palm and fingers section? Is there any chance of the pattern for non-USA fellows – pretty please? Laura

  3. Those gloves remind me of the ones my mother used to make us. Mittens, like those, but with a sort of cap over the tips of the fingers that you could fold away over the back of your hand and button down out of the way when you needed your fingers, and fold back when you needed warmth. She made us scarves as well, which were double thickness, a long tube with the ends sewn shut. If you turned one end to the inside, it made a woolly cap you put on your head and then wrapped the rest of the scarf around your neck. My mother brought up three small children in wartime occupied Holland, and had a very, very thorough understanding of just how cold and hungry you can get…

    • Holland had a very hard time, I bet she was clever at stretching a budget and keeping you warm.. I knew a woman who would start unravelling an old garment and knit straight from that garment to the new one.. they never wasted a thing those women.. I can learn from that for sure.. c

      • Any wool used in our house had at least three lives: as the original pullover, as a child’s pullover once the adult one was worn through and the wool was unravelled and washed, and then as knitted squares which were crocheted together for blankets. I have one of those blankets left, and I can identify most of the garments that went into its making!

  4. Good morning, c! My sister informs me that she stirs yoghurt into her sauerkraut. I haven’t tried it myself, but I wonder if you’ve heard of this?

  5. Good morning, Celi! My brother in Nebraska tells me he had a bumper crop of cabbage this year too! I’m still swimming in tomatoes, but I’m grateful for them. Those sauces will be a delight on cold winter days.

    • Morning darling, i had a dream with you in it last night, we were in a completely empty landscape but for the most magificent tree, it had fallen and we had ropes on her and were winching her back into place. Successfully too I might add. All is start black and white, very high contrast. The tree was alive but it was a leaf less tree, always had been. This seemed very normal to us. We were just focussed on helping her stand up.. Interesting dream.. thank you for the help by the way!.. c

  6. Hi Celi! You are so right about putting up stores of food to get through the winter. We are busy doing that too. Just the thought of another really long, cold winter is depressing! 😦 But, I hear thunder and see dark clouds moving in right now, meaning rain this morning, and that is certainly uplifting!!! Just love the gloves Kim made for you!!!

  7. God forbid that next winter is as bad as your last one, but it’s as well to be prepared. I have gloves like that – the first pair was bought long ago in Paris, and my daughter makes them now, which are crochet, and much warmer.

  8. Oh that last pic!!! It looks like the hens are comparing their middle toes and trying to determine who has the most sexy leg and foot!!!! Like women compare their shoes….. Fabulous! Chicken Vogue or CosmoChick will be calling for that pic!!!!

  9. C, so sorry your fingers are so sore! Here’s hoping your next winter won’t be as cold – I am ever the optimistic.
    Have a happy farmy day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  10. It’s interesting that you mentioned your finger joints feel like they are being stung by bees, because there are people using bee stings to ease joint swelling, pain and arthritis. I know nothing about it personally, but you’ve got your own bees and the internet for reference 😉

  11. Are those chicks in a row, eyeing the talent down below and comparing notes? I love the mittens, I might well have a go at making them. My hands are always cold. So cold I wear gloves eleven months out of twelve. A double layer of fleece made in that shape, might work for you too. Enjoy the food gathering.

    • I seem to have a distant memory of having sheepskin mittens in my UK childhood and that they were not only warm but didn’t get as wet as other gloves. They were a bit unwieldy but you could pull the mitten bit back and use your fingers just like kim’s mittens and they did keep your fingers toasty. Have you seen sheepskin mittens granny or is my memory playing tricks on me?

      • Red Box gal, I have tried sheepskin gloves and mittens down the years, but they were far too bulky in the palm of my hands, taking away any little grip I had and they were hopeless for holding the steering wheel in the cold of winter. I find the only gloves that work for me are silk lined soft leather. They are certainly not for style, after about a week, the shape of my crooked fingers stays in them and they stand like 3D sculptures. Hopeless for doing chores.

  12. That is a really interesting perspective on summer and what it’s for. We don’t live on a farm, but summer — because of school — does affect the rhythm and productivity of our lives. I think of it as a time of laying store for the children, to be honest. Their school is so demanding…they need this time to store up energy, optimism and vitamin D. They need this time to reclaim childhood. The long cold winter of books is almost on them. And I just recharge all the batteries that raising them in the city runs down. We all need this time. I love your observation…it runs deep and wide.

  13. What lovely gloves and a talented gal Kim is.
    Ah, with this rather cool summer, I keep hoping we will have a mild winter . . . sigh!

  14. We have sailing gloves with the finger ends gone so we can grab lines. Those gloves are perfect! I lover your idea of layering your beautiful new ones in winter – we learn to adapt as we go…women more than men, I think.
    I am watching signs about the winter ahead, too. We’ve has cool fronts – 81 as a high one day which is most unusual. I always notice when Mother Nature is pulling the switch for season change – the morning light is different…and I swear I saw the first flip of the switch last week…we’ll see.
    When we had the farm, we had a huge freezer as long as a twin bed it seemed – and waist high. Each fall that freezer was packed full..and by spring, mom was bending over pulling stuff off the bottom. Funny the things we mark the seasons with?
    Make lots of tomato sauce! Full of good stuff to keep you well during the winter.
    Smiles and encouragement sent!

  15. I am so sorry about your bent and painful fingers. Maybe frostbite last winter? We, too, spend summer getting ready for winter. Our wood is in. Beef in the freezer, but no lamb or pork. Some chickens. If we lived closer maybe we could trade some. Those gloves are beautiful, Kim. Nothing like wool to keep warm, is there? Our fruit trees are loaded, but of course, the frost will come before they get ripe. Three weeks until first frost….I shudder to think about it.

  16. I live in a river valley in Central California. My house is also heated with wood, so putting away a supply for winter is always important. But severe cold here is not a problem. My main task through the fall is making sure I can evacuate everything if there’s a flood. Severe droughts here, like the one we have now, are usually followed by flood years. Winter preparations are good in a way because they give our lives a cyclical goal. But the older I get the more I dread winter. It’s interesting that we each have challenges that are specific to the rural areas where we live, but the feelings are the same. And they probably aren’t much different than those our ancestors had 100 years ago.

  17. Once again you’ve given me insight into the planning and forecasting required for sustainable living, especially in a harsh climate. I have actually thought of you many times when I cart bath water out the door to revive a few drought-stricken plants. And when I clean up after our giant tortoise (seriously, the size of a cow pat) I chuckle and think of you and maybe “pretend” just a little bit that I’m on a farm, mucking the barn. I wonder if I’d have both the strength and energy, or even the wherewithal to so strategically manage to plan and prepare as you do. I hope the winter isn’t nearly so harsh this year for you…and your poor fingers!

  18. I have joint swelling in my fingers due to Lyme Disease. Have you tried turmeric? You can make turmeric golden milk, it’s a fantastic natural anti inflammatory! I use almond milk but you could certainly use whole milk. About 1 1/2 cups of milk, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla, and about 1 teaspoon (or more) of raw honey. Very soothing, good for the tummy too. I also put turmeric in my morning smoothies. 🙂

    We have had roasting hot weather for the entire month of July and now into August. I’m ashamed to say, I’m looking forward to Fall already! Of course, by the time November hits and then we have to endure a 9 month winter, I’ll be sorry.

    Love the chickens in a row! How nice of them to line up like that for you. 😉 ~ April

    • Woops! Forgot to tell you to heat the milk and then whisk in all the ingredients! I wait for it to cool for just a few minutes before adding the honey as to not kill all the good bugs. 🙂

      • I have read about the healing properties of turmeric, i will certainly give it a try, funny how you are allergic to milk and i am allergic to almonds! c

        • I start and end my day with a mixture of about 1/4 teasp ginger, 1/4 teasp turmeric, 1/2 teasp cinnamon, 1 tablesp honey and 1/2 cup hot water, helps with the arthritis and makes it more bearable (ginger, turmeric and cinnamon are anti-inflammatory, the ginger and turmeric anti-viral too, the honey also is antiseptic). My maternal grandmother used to put ground ginger mixed with a little honey on scrapes and shallow cuts – they never got infected. My father was stung by a nest of ground bees and had no problems with his arthritis for several years afterward.
          Love the chickens all in a row.

  19. I don’t think I like Ms. C’s almanac. I don’t want another winter like last winter.

    Unfortunately, our summer hasn’t provided the best weather for my garden or should I say my tomatoes. They have really struggled and several of my plants have blight which means I won’t have the production I had last year. Fortunately, I have enough tomatoes canned from last year to get us thru this winter as well, but my tomato sauce supply is very low and I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll have enough tomatoes for more sauce.

    We are not even close to the level of self-sufficiency we had hoped for by this point, but each year we learn something new we are one step closer to our goal.

  20. Where does the time go… I know there are months yet before the season changes and we swap, but time is passing in a blur like miles in a fast car… For us, over a little longer timeframe, it is about putting aside and preparing for our city to country move, but akin to your summer for winter preparations, so while it is going fast there are times I whine… are we there yet 😉

  21. I have found a good deal less soreness and pain in my arthritic joints since stopping consuming dairy. 😦 I wish it wasn’t so, but it is. Perhaps when you have less fresh milk, you will find the enforced elimination of dairy benefits you in some way, though, I’m with you enjoying the dairy products. I don’t always comment, but I always read and am interested in what you say.

    • It is quite possible, and we will be drying Daisy up as soon as I can so then I will be full on in the dairy free trial!..we can compare notes.. c

  22. My mum swears by the copper as well. I really hope winter isn’t as harsh this time round. I’m wondering if it is why my peach tree didn’t even flower.

  23. Being self sufficient sounds like very hard work. I will be heading back to Casa Debbio to do autumn plantings. For me this is fun, I am not dependent on the resulting produce. Top marks to you for taking the path you have.

  24. Well, Cecilia, with all that cabbage you won’t be suffering what my poor Arthur is. You’ll be able to blow John out of the bed for sure–and he–you!

  25. Those gloves are the most beautiful blue, Miss C. If we had to be self-sufficient here I don’t know what we would eat. Potatoes and garlic, I expect, with wild onions thrown in. Of course, if we had to be self-sufficient we would get chickens and bees. We have lemons and a few apples on our apple tree (and I just finished eating the apples I dried last summer). Good luck with the sauerkraut, tomato sauce and other projects.

  26. Dear Celi, my sore red joints in my fingers have completely disappeared, since I gave up sugar. I say that I have my hands back… sadly that means cutting out wine as well !!!! I also don’t eat anything from the night shade family, including potatoes – sometimes, -no tomatoes, peppers and aubergines … they are all killers for incipient arthritis and make the joints very sore and red…. I use the herb stevia to sweeten my coffee etc…
    For someone who loves food this is terrible… but I do love having pain-free straight fingers again…( and my old figure back too!!!)

      • honey is sugar too… I read every label on everything I buy now… but you may feel this is a bit drastic !!!!!

        I still treat myself to potatoes occasionally, but feel it if I have them too often, same with tomatoes…
        experimenting may help….especially when one loves eating !!!!

  27. It’s a harsh reality indeed, your winter. But you are on to it, and preparation is obviously the most important thing. Love your fingerless, fold back gloves – just perfect.

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