At least, in the Northern Hemisphere. “Almost where?” Well, really, pick your place. (“Hell in a handbasket?” Why, yes…) Fall is also almost here, with all that entails–we had our first delivery of firewood this week, which means that 1) it’s going to rain, and 2) we’ve got some stacking to do.
We heat with woodstoves, as I believe I’ve mentioned. The house is going on 130 years old, and predates central air. As such, it’s not designed for it, and was never retrofitted for it. Doing so would entail massive changes to some of the domestic infrastructure, as well.
And yes, it’s a delivery of firewood, from a local garden center (less than 5 miles from the house, as the crow flies). Why not cut it ourselves? We’ve got woods, after all… Well, from everything I’ve seen, a well-managed woodlot can produce about a cord per acre per year of firewood; judging by the seven winters we’ve spent in this house, we run through between four and six cords a year. I estimate our woodlot as about three acres, maybe four. So, we’d still be ordering a little, or else over-thinning the woods. And given the clear-cutting of over 150 acres on the properties next to us, for the purpose of housing developments, I’m loath to do too much more than the occasional trim.
The weather has also broken enough that we’ve been able to use the oven. I mean, we’ve cooked with it, of course, but we’ve had every fan in the house blowing, to try and alleviate the heat. But with fall approaching, and temperatures “only” reaching into the eighties during the day, I’ve been able to start making sourdough bread again. The starter survived its long, cold sojourn in the refrigerator pretty well, and was up and running nicely in just a couple of days.
It’s also time to start thinking about preserving things for the winter. (Yes, it’s always time to think about preserving things for the winter–but this time of year is when we really get serious about it.) I’ve got plans to cure and smoke a bit of meat–I’d like to do a few pork bellies of bacon, at least, if not a ham or two. Then there’s the ancillary smoked cheeses and veggies and other such things. (I’ve even seen folks smoking honey, which looks interesting, and may be worth an experiment.)
All of which to say, it’s the anniversary of 9/11 as I write this, and I really don’t want to think much about prepping right now. I didn’t directly lose anyone on that day. But I was active duty military at the time, and to say it upended the daily routine would definitely not be overstating the case. And there have been several folks shifted to the rolls of the Eternal Watch since then.
So, this week, I’ll ask that you take a little while to think about those events. But more importantly, look around, and take count of what you’ve got, and spend more time appreciating that. Until next time!