Kind of a nothing/update post :)

Wow.  It’s been a couple of months at least……it’s not so much that time just flies by, it’s just there’s always so much to do that sitting down and spending time at my computer keeps getting pushed to some other day, then some other day and so on.

One would think after all this time, we would have a handle on anything winter can throw at us – not so.  Winter seems to come up with different things to throw at us every year.  This year is the winter of the never ending melt.  Yes we got snow, lots of it.  And of course the snowblower happened to be broken – and no we didn’t find time to fix it – so yours truly spent almost an entire day off shovelling shovelling great quantities of the white stuff as it continued to fall from the sky with a vengeance.  Hubby spent his own day off doing the same thing.  We fixed the wretched snowblower.  Of course, it hasn’t really snowed enough since to get the thing out.  Rather, the temps have hovered around that freeze/melt zone and we are now in a fight with the ice.

The driveway is a skating rink.  The area between the house and the barn is a skating rink.  The roof of the house has a six inch layer of ice covered with a couple of feet of snow that spends it’s time slowly and inevitably sliding off of the tin roof.  Problem is, the roof isn’t at such an angle that the damn stuff just slides off – no… slides an inch and drips onto the patio.  Then slides another inch and drips some more.  Once it’s a couple of feet past the edge of the roof we go out with the splitting maul and pound on it until it breaks loose, pick up the chunks of ice and heave them into the yard, throw down some salt (futile) and slip-slide our way through the day, try not to wipe out and break a leg.

I’ve tried ‘boot chains’ – these are similar to the chains you would see on a truck tire.  I learned something – for one, boot chains slide just as good as no boot chains.  Secondly – if they happen to do their job and plant in the ice, one is likely to break their neck as you are not expecting to suddenly have traction.  The last thing I need while packing anything around on the ice, is to have to pay more attention to each step I take than I already do.  My son, on a recent visit, dropped off a new style of ice grips – these are similar to the spikes that you see on the cork boots loggers wear.  These simply sit in the arch of your boot, give you just enough traction to go from here to there without having to think about it too hard, and aside from a bit of peg-leggedness, work pretty good.  Bruce commandeered them right away – thereby saving at least a half an hour on morning chores.

So here we are, nearing the end of January and I have at least another month of this nonsense to look forward to.  I’m good with snow.  Lots and lots of snow.  I’m good with cold – I’ll pick cold and sunshine any day of the week over socked in dreary not quite freezing weather any day.  I’m hoping for a more ‘winter like’ February.

Christmas has come and gone – and thank you for that.  I’m not a fan of the season.  Just not.  I find the commercialism incredibly irritating, and the more I’m exposed to the eye twitching Muzak in the stores, the glut of decorations raining down on my head just after Halloween – the more irritated I get.  Yes – when my children were living at home, we did Christmas.  I’ve stood in the line-up at the butcher so I could haul home the largest turkey they had.  I’ve baked every Christmas goodie imaginable.  I’ve struggled to scrape enough money together to get the kids something, I’ve argued with relatives about whether or not we all needed to buy things for everybody else’s kids…..I’m sure you all know the drill.  This year I posted something on FB about the gluttony of the season after I’d been inundated for an entire day by our radio station on location flogging cheap televisions.  I wanted to know if anybody really really needed another sixty inch flat screen TV.  I got a ‘bah humbug’ from my step daughter in reply.  Once my kids no longer lived at home – many years ago now, I literally stopped doing Christmas – still, it doesn’t stop me from finding myself being slowly ground down by the season.  Don’t get me wrong – each to their own.  My son could care less excepting for his daughter, and my daughter always manages to feed fifteen people – turkey, ham, and all the fixings, all the cheer, all the gifts are purchased and wrapped and under the tree on time.  I’m almost certain though, she spends at least part of her day, sneaking off for a few nips of spiced rum – just to get through it without snapping from the stress.  Hats off to her, I say 🙂 If I were surrounded by her fractious in-laws, I would lock myself in a closet with a case of the stuff.

Aside from that, Bruce has managed to wreck his knee at work. For the last half of October until now, it’s been in a brace – surgery to repair it is scheduled for the beginning part of February.  It’s been a bit of a strain – neither of us is used to being unable to do something – even injured, we just carry on.  The knee thing though – that’s been tough.  Without the brace, it dislocates at random.  Put on work boots?  Dislocate. Roll over in bed?  Dislocate.  Unbelievable.  I’ll be glad when things are back to normal around here. It’s not that I can’t pick up the slack if I have to, but I’ll be happy when there’s no more slack to pick up.

On a brighter note – I have, in my hot little hands – ALL of the seeds for my garden this spring.  Looking out the window at the moment, it’s hard to imagine a garden – the snow is deep enough out back I can’t actually see the garden beds, and they’re three feet high.  But like every year, they will reappear, I will pull the covers off, mess up the dirt and plant away.  In the mean time, I keep busy in the house – taking advantage of the fact that the cook stove is running full time.  Perfect time to can up quarts and quarts of beef stock, make head cheese to can, and put to use the awesome juice steamer my son bought for me this past fall.  Every time I see berries on sale I grab ten pounds and in just over an hour I have some darn tasty and healthy juice in jars.

The animals?  Well this winter has been a dreary one for them too.  The horses want to go DO something – you can tell – but no way no how are we taking them out on the ice.  The heifer – neither of us can decide if she’s really pregnant or not.  You would think this would be simple – oddly enough, not so much.  Goats are easy – they go from being skinny goats to round barrels with four pegs sticking out the bottom.  This heifer?  Well, we know she was covered – we know the date – this from the people we  bought her from…..but in no way shape or form does she look pregnant to me.  I had my doubts a couple of months ago when she stood in the corner of the field and spent a good hour ‘mooing’ at the top of her lungs – at a bull some two miles down the road.  I suppose I could get the vet out to do a check – but though she’s very tame to be handled now, I don’t think she’d be very tame to be checked out by the vet – and we’ve no way to restrain her.  Think we’ll just wait until the theoretical due date and see what we think then.  It’s funny – we’ve talked to several cattle farmers – some say she will ‘bag up’, some say she might not.  Some say you can’t tell with a first timer anyway, some say they can’t tell regardless of the age of the cow.  Regardless, if she is pregnant – the due date is February 14.  Will let you know what happens.

So on that note, I will finish off this post with a promise to get back to the story of the ‘Well drilling’ episode – as soon as I can free up enough time to sit down and write it properly.


About valbjerke

Farmer, Transmission Rebuilder, Self Sufficiency Nut. Like the old school way of doing things. "Fast is fine - accuracy is final" (quote by some way back famous gun-slinger - likely just before he got shot dead)
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11 Responses to Kind of a nothing/update post :)

    • valbjerke says:

      Hmmm. How do I explain head cheese …. Actually most any farmer who raises pigs knows what this stuff is – and any of us die hard farm women know how to make it. It is said – you can use ‘everything but the squeal’ on a pig – and I do. Boil the head, take the meat off, throw in some beef brisket, some spices….cook it up and can it for later in a pressure canner. Or pour into a loaf pan and let set up. No pigs heads available? Hocks will do fine too.
      I grew up eating it – love it on toast. The hubby – not so much. Won’t touch it. That’s probably more than you wanted to know about head cheese 😊

  1. Pat says:

    WOW! lovely weather you’re having! We’re so dry here everyone is praying for moisture, everyone. We’d take snow, ice rain or most any other form! We’ve got plenty of wind, and it’s moving a lot soil around. Guess it doesn’t make any difference where we are, the weather is winning!

    • valbjerke says:

      Yeah – seems the winter weather is whacky all though the country this year ….. Lack of moisture isn’t a good thing…. We need at least another three feet of snow to reach our ‘normal’

  2. so sorry to hear about Bruce’s knee… that is a tough one!
    our driveway was also ice… I went along the whole way when the snow banks were soft from the sun and threw shovels of soft snow on the ice… immediately great to walk on … As I ran out of ashes from the firebox I had to try something…
    my heart did a little “i want seeds too” jump in my chest… thinking Spring must be what actually melts the snow!
    Praying strength and healing for you all… and a calf on Valentine’s Day would be sweet!

    • valbjerke says:

      Yeah we did the ‘shovel snow on top’ as well, and the ashes. Now we’re trying sawdust – Hoping it freezes in overnight.
      I would love a calf on valentines day 😊

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