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12 degrees

Frost on comfrey

I hear that this is going to be a cold winter, and the season is doing its best to keep us on our toes already.  Saturday night dropped down to 12 on our farm, which is quite unusual for November (and, actually, for any time).  The floodplain froze solid, and so did the chicken waterers (even the heated one) along with our own water line (although I did leave the hose door open, so that's not a fair test).

Waterline frost protection

On the other hand, the fridge root cellar held steady at 34, which is the perfect temperature for our overwintering carrots, cabbage, and potatoes.  I'm not actually sure whether the light bulb came on to mitigate the cold or not, but whatever happened, it worked.

Cats in front of wood stoveI've also been keeping track of the night lows in the trailer, something I wish I'd done last year so I could compare pre- to post-roof temperatures.  On cold nights, I generally get the fire in our little Jotul blazing, stuff it chock full of wood around 8:30 or 9, then damp the stove way down so the logs are just barely smoldering.  Come morning, all that's left is enough coals to make the morning fire spring back to life.

I've been aiming for morning lows at or above 40 since we store butternut squash and sweet potatoes in the kitchen, and that's what we've been seeing every night, even this ultra cold one --- 40 degrees inside when I woke up.  I'm pretty sure it would have dropped to freezing in the trailer Saturday night if not for our new R-30 roof.

I hope you're staying warm!



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I am storing my winter squash in our living room. I did get a light mold around the squash that I grew. I wiped it off and they still look good with a solid feel.

Should I wipe them down with a weak solution of bleach Water.

Comment by mona Mon Nov 26 10:04:36 2012
Use vinegar not bleach. Bleach may make it look clean but doesn't actually kill mold. Vinegar can kill mold.
Comment by Marco Mon Nov 26 11:14:26 2012

Mona and Marco --- Some people like to wipe down each squash with a bleach-water solution when they first harvest them. I haven't heard vinegar used that way, but could see it.

I don't tend to do either because our squashes never mold --- I'm inclined to think that if they're molding for you, then it's too moist where you're storing them. They like it moderately warm and dry.

Comment by anna Mon Nov 26 11:26:46 2012

Anna, Have you looked into permies.com and the rocket mass stove that is advocated there? They talk about how damping a fire down makes the stove less efficient. And thier design lets it burn hot but slowly release the heat. Just mentioned because 40 degrees sounds cold for us humans. You two must be very rugged.

Comment by Phil Mon Nov 26 13:26:53 2012
Phil --- I started writing you out a long reply, but decided instead to post my answer tomorrow morning. I actually get this question a lot, and the answer is complex.
Comment by anna Mon Nov 26 16:05:36 2012

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime