Off Grid Living September 2017

September started off hot and dry. Since sometime in August we’d had smoke from the surrounding fires. We’re very fortunate to not have any nearby fires. Much of the smoke we were getting was from the terrible fires in Montana, Idaho and eastern Wyoming.

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Toward the middle of September the weather turned cooler and we had quite a bit of rain.  The rain was helpful for containing the fires and washing our smoke away.

It also gave us an early taste of winter. We battened down the hatches and fired up the wood stove. The rain and cold hung around several days. We’re now having mild temperatures and occasional showers. We’re taking advantage of this time to continue to prepare for winter.

Off Grid Living September 2017 | HomespunOasis.com

Winter Preparations

Our wood stove is our main heat source so gathering up enough wood for winter is one of our priorities.

We’re also working on a coop for our laying hens. We had plans to build a brand new coop but ran out of time and money. So we’re re-configuring our original coop that we built when we first moved to Wyoming at our old place. We’d hauled it up here and had been using it as a brooder for our meat birds.

We’re combining the coop with one of the chicken tractors, also used for the meat birds, to create a house and out door area. They’ll still free range on days the weather permits but this will give them a warm secure area.

They had been living in the other chicken tractor. We’ll leave that one as-is for raising future batches of meat birds. Our original plans had a brand new coop being built but time and money determined that we’ll rig something up for this  year with plans of building better housing in the future.

We’ve tried up the goats for the winter. We had talked about keeping them going a little longer but decided it was time to be done. With our busy schedules it’s nice to have that extra hour or so each day to devote to other things. We’ll space out breeding beginning in November for spring and early summer babies. I do enjoy milking so I’ll be looking forward to it again when the time comes.

Next up on the list is insulating our ceiling. We had it partially completed before last winter. Once the cold weather hit we discovered that our insulation wasn’t quite right for our needs. The roof would freeze and then as the inside of the house warmed the roof we’d have condensation. The insulation panels started popping off and we had several water drips.

We consulted with a contractor who suggested we add a moisture barrier. We’re going to start with the section that we didn’t do last year — the open area that is hard to reach which is the reason we didn’t do it last year. We should have the supplies delivered early next week.

Off Grid Living September 2017 | HomespunOasis.com

Building Progress

Our kitchen is nearing completion. It is very exciting. We still have a few little things to complete. And a couple of big things. We’re still a dry cabin (no incoming water) and our current solar system set up is temporary. But overall it feels like a normal kitchen.  I hope to give you a proper “tour” in the next couple of weeks.

We’re also working to complete the pantry in our mud room addition. The pantry will house our freezer and dry goods. The few canned goods we keep on hand will be housed in the kitchen since the mud room is unheated. Once the pantry is completed, we’ll finish the mud room part by adding space for coats, boots and more. The current plan is to finish these items before starting on the ceiling insulation project.

Off Grid Living September 2017 | HomespunOasis.com

MISC

We’re stocking the freezer. Joe harvested a whitetail buck and an antelope buck, I harvested a doe antelope. This is probably just over 100 pounds of meat. We still have few more game tags to fill.

I’m canning some of the meat. I’ve done this before, but it’s been several years. My neighbor and I got together so we could re-learn how together. We used Elk and Venison Recipes: How to Can it; How to Use it by Sharon Peterson as our guide. It turned out great! I plan to can and jerky our next deer to help conserve freezer space.

What’s been going on at your place this past month?

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