Life is so busy for us this fall, I have really enjoyed taking you on a walk around our homestead the last few days and showing you what is happening with the animals and the gardens and harvest. Today I want to show you the projects that we are working on right now.
Fall is the perfect time for projects around our homestead. Winter is too cold and snowy, spring is full of garden prep, baby animals, and catching up/cleaning up from winter, and summer is much too busy to really get time to work on new projects. So fall seems to be the time we are most able to do things around the house and homestead.
The first thing we have been working on, which is not technically a new project, but more like a yearly job, is collecting wood for the winter. We use two wood stoves to heat our home, so firewood is a must each fall.
First, we have been cutting down some dead trees on our own property, bucking them, and then splitting them. Some were pretty rotten, but we will use what we can.
Having the tractor for a few weeks has been really helpful with this as it can be used for pulling and hauling.
Many hands make light work when it comes to stacking wood. The pile has grown about 5 times bigger since I took this picture.
We have someone who has given us permission to take all the beetle kill pine trees down off their property for wood. So we will continue to work on this until we have enough to get through the winter warm and cozy.
The next project is the root cellar. We found a place on the property where we were hopeful to dig into the hill and not hit rock too quickly. We did hit rock sooner than we hoped, but it is our best chance of a good root cellar location on our property so we are going with it, even though it isn’t as deep as we had hoped.
We framed the cellar, insulated it with wool skirtings to help keep the rodents out, and wrapped the top and sides in a tarp. We back-filled with what dirt we had at the site (after the below photo was taken). Now we just need to finish covering the mound with dirt from other areas of the property where we have done some other digging.
Once we get the burying done we will finish the front and put the door on. We are contemplating ways to make it as bear-proof as possible.
The last project that is currently in the works is the smokehouse. My husband got the idea/plans for this smokehouse from the book “A Guide to Canning, Freezing, Curing, & Smoking Meat, Fish, & Game” by Wilbur F. Eastman Jr.
First he dug a spot for the fire pit, and then a ditch from there to the smokehouse itself. To give himself an idea of the size of the smokehouse itself he did a quick preliminary framing with pallets of the house.
You can see the square area for the fire pit here, with the ditch coming off the top of it.
During the digging I remembered that someone we know had an old broken wood stove that had been sitting out behind their house for years. We called them and they were more than happy for us to haul it off for them. We widened the fire pit hole a bit and it fit in the spot beautifully!
Husband hooked up the stove-pipe and elbow and supported it underneath in the ditch.
Then we back-filled the ditch.
The fire portion is finished! Now he just needs to build the smokehouse itself. He plans to use pallets for most of it.
It is so fulfilling to take stuff, whether it is 30 years old (like the wood stove), or relatively new (pallets), and re-purpose them into something new and useful. So far we have not spent even one dime on any of the projects I have discussed on this page. They have been made from items we and other people have lying around, lumber saved from remodels and job sites, plus free pallets. It is so wonderful!
That is it for the projects-in-the-works here at Willow Creek Farm. We have a few more projects on the fall to-do list, but we haven’t started them yet. I look forward to sharing with you how everything turns out once they are done.