Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Musings

Whelp. It's pretty obvious Winter is here to stay a while now or at least it's a good bet it is. It may not be officially Winter yet but pretty much all of us got our first taste this weekend from the looks of the reports from around the country and fellow bloggers.

Only about 120 days left till Spring now!!!

We finished up the last few Winter preps around here this weekend. All the water tanks now have heaters. Once again the North and West foundation walls of the house sport new square bales of hay for wind blocking and added insulation. I try and put hay bales around the house each year. By Spring it makes for some excellent planting soil and lowers the energy costs of heating all Winter but last year hay was so scarce I didn't get to replenish the supply. It wasn't a huge big deal as over the years it has built the soil up around the foundation enough and the bales were still in fairly good shape from the year before but this Fall they are all gone. I needed more. We also keep a supply of small square bales in the barn for feeding in extremely bad weather when we don't feel like messing with the big round bales. Someday I need to get our old square baler working again but for now we just buy the small squares from our neighbor.

These two steps, tank heaters and square bales, are almost always the last two major Winter prep acts we do. Usually it isn't done until December but typically we don't go into almost single digits until December either, like we did this weekend.

I think finally I can now turn my attention completely over to wood cutting. The hunters are thinning out although harvest numbers seem to be way down the cold thins em out faster than dying deer. My step father only got one deer this year which is really unusual and means no venison for us unless I go out with the Black Powder carbine later.

We will see what December brings. I am not all that fond of venison honestly so unless the Mrs. starts whining I doubt I will bother blasting a Bamby.

Two days of cutting and scouting around produced well in the firewood department and my racks, which were getting depleted by this morning, are now over flowing once again. I now have seven or eight large old dead Honey Locust in easy reach over at my Dad's old farm and a couple of dead Elms besides one large White Oak. Those should get me through Winter and then some and are all relatively easy to get to as a bonus incentive. The only problem is that much Honey Locust is going to have to be managed closely and mixed with some other stuff carefully.

I pretty much melted the insides of my last wood furnace by burning too much Honey Locust.

Lesson Learned.

I am also eager to get to work on an outside forge and I have been musing about how Honey Locust charcoal would work with it. Just another bit to add to the long term project list but something to think about. My guess is Honey Locust charcoal would get to much higher temps since it burns so hot but at this point I don't know enough about it to say for sure.

Another interesting thing that happened this weekend were a couple of inquiries about bees wax. My neighbor down the road was asking if I had some to sell when I got the hay and a close friend of my Wife's who is also a close friend of my Dads inquired about some as well. Both wanted it for a bullet mold release agent. It works, although I prefer to use paraffin wax soot for my release agent but what took me back was discovering two new bullet casters that close in my social connection sphere.

Something else to muse about there and the implications are kinda telling if you ask me.

Luckily I had enough surplus to give em both some bees wax and I told em about the paraffin soot method. The books I have read on casting bullets never seems to mention the paraffin soot but it is a trick I learned before when casting sculpts I have made.

One good thing about Winter it sure gives me a lot more time to think and come up with all kinds of schemes to try.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!


  1. The first days of Winter and Spring are just dates on a calendar; all that really matters is, "What's it doing outside?" We could well have snow on the ground until May. Stay warm & safe, my friend.

  2. A forge sounds way cool to me.Keep us informed on that one please.

  3. We have dug up 40 or so pineapple plants and planted them right in the ground in the greenhouse. Papa Bear even dug up a few large banana trees. We are going to attempt to make a barrel heater for the greenhouse. We still have plenty of propane but I don't want to use the electricity to run the heater and fans. The greenhouse needs covering really bad. I don't know what we'll use for wood unless we scout the property for dead stuff. We have a lot of jack oaks or scrub oaks. I don't know if these would be good to burn green or not.

  4. I'm going to have to look up Honey Locust trees. Never heard of them or seen them. I'm interested to see how your forge. Might give us some more ideas for The Compound. Happy Thanksgiving, I really enjoy reading your posts!

  5. Locust is good wood, it seems to be dying out here. Freezing rain this morning but I have a lot of dry wood in the cellar in wheelbarrows ready to burn.

  6. PP,

    Yep, winter is here :P
    It sounds like you've done good on your preps.
    The snow didn't stay here, ice is melting, and temperatures are warming.
    Stay warm, and safe.


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