The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Cold homestead

Frozen eggs

One of our readers commented that he figured we'd drive in all of that delicious punky wood by the end of the week based on our weather forecast.  He was right about the cold, although not about our energy levels.  A day baking pies followed by a day of extended driving and visiting meant that Mark and I just wanted to be lazy during the second frigid morning in a row.  We even missed a couple of eggs in the nest box, which froze solid and cracked --- a treat for Lucy once they thaw.

Snow on the back garden

I try not to bore our readers by talking too much about the weather, but I think about it a lot.  A low of twelve degrees and a high near freezing for two days means morning chores are cold and the wood stove is blazing.  I can't feed us lettuce because the leaves are frozen solid, but I can push down through the snow to gather leafy greens and Brussels sprouts (although my fingers get cold in the process!).  Our wash water line freezes up, but we still have drinking water since that line stays waterless except when the pump is running, and the fridge root cellar stays barely above freezing with the help of a backup heater attached to a thermocube.  (0.3 kwh of electricity used so far.)

Leghorn in the snow

The chicken tractor stays put since Mark threw a tarp over top of it before the snow started, leaving a bit of snowless ground in the current location but none in the surrounding yard.  Even though I don't have to move the tractor, morning chores take longer because I need to swap out the Avian Aqua Miser Original in the tractor and backup coop (and check on the heated waterer, although it's still flowing so far).  On the plus side, cold weather also settled down the one pesky Leghorn who is living in that backup coop because she spent the last month breaking into the yard to hide her eggs hither and yon.  For a week after being cooped back up, bad hen paced the fenceline, but chickens really don't like walking in the snow, so she finally gave up, settled down, and laid in her nest box.

I always find the temperature extremes fascinating, but I have to admit that I'm glad I live in a region of quickly changing weather.  Before we can get heartily sick of the snow, it starts to melt, and by this time next week, we'll be enjoying a high of 60 degrees.  I feel for those of you who live in the frigid north and won't see bare ground until spring, but you can laugh at us next summer when we're sweltering in the sun.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Those frozen eggs would be fine, growing up in Minnesota we had them from time to time, just let them thaw and use them soon!
Comment by Anonymous Mon Dec 2 19:10:11 2013

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