19 Days to Go

With only 19 days to go until we vacate the winter rental to take up permanent residence on the homestead, I am starting to feel the pressure of all that has to be done. The biggest obstacle to progress continues to be the stubbornly late spring. Some melting has occurred in the last week, which was good for the spirit, but caused some new problems. Our borrowed driveway has no gravel and that means that I am walking in lumber and supplies about 500 feet. The old workshop has been flooding, and I have had to divert effort to shovelling, pumping, vacuuming and bailing out the water.
Whatever the difficulties, we need the first two small buildings complete enough to give some minimal function by April 30. The outhouse/ generator shack is basically all framed out and the roofing felt and metal installed. The cookshack is finally progressing, with the floor basically assembled and mounted on pressure treated skids.001 The 8’ x 12’ footprint of this structure is likely a prototype for several other structures on the homestead. It is a useful size for storage sheds, firewood sheds, greenhouses, chicken coops and other miscellaneous structures. The fairly modest amount of labour and materials required will allow us to get the functions that we urgently need within the limits of our scarce resources. Another advantage of small skid mounted buildings is the flexibility of portability. We have a lot of learning to do, and working out the best way to develop our homestead on this rambling acreage may be a long learning curve. A final note is that the municipality does not require building permits for structures less than 100 sq. feet. Cutting down on paperwork, fees (and possibly our property taxes) makes perfect sense to us.
The forecast tonight includes a snowfall warning (more than 10cm) and falling temperatures. The upside of that is that I should be able to drive into the yard for a few days. I re-mounted the wheels on the trailer today and will bring it into town tomorrow, load it with as much as it will hold and return it to the homestead before the ground thaws again. It will have to stay loaded for a few days as at present there is no storage space available. As soon as the weather relents and the cookshack platform is ready to move outside, the old workshop will be given over to storage. Work will have to be done mostly outside from that point.
002Just to keep things interesting, one of the generators broke down today. It was having trouble starting, then belched a large cloud of brownish black smoke and soot. On the next pull, the starting rope broke. A single profanity rang out through the bush causing the birds to momentarily cease their twittering. Something else to fix, the great thing about homesteading is the job security.

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12 Responses to 19 Days to Go

  1. deighlytfl says:

    Ah, the end of winter, the beginning of Spring…and of constant complications, lol! So glad to know that all us homesteaders suffer through this kind of thing. My condolences on your generator. I’m rebuilding a structure that was ripped apart by high winds. I dream of one day having a generator, but I think I may be able to afford solar before that day arrives, lol. Don’t let the pressure get to you. May the stresses of the season not destroy your reason πŸ˜‰

    • Hi deighlytfl, Thanks for the encouragement, I know we will manage no matter what crazy weather comes our way. I think you are right to go straight to using solar panels, using a generator this much is an expensive, short term compromise. I hope you are able to post pictures of your homestead at some point, it helps me get a better sense of the story you are telling. Good luck with your old building restoration, Just remember the old line “How do you eat an elephant? …….one bite at a time.

  2. I’m in awe of the amount of work you’re doing! Good luck getting prepared for the move out to the homestead!

    • Thanks Emily,
      My biggest worry right now is being able to provide reasonably comfortable living conditions in the first few weeks out on the land. I don’t mind living rough, but E is working at an office job and needs to be able to get a proper rest and maintain a professional appearance every day. The full time paycheque she earns is critical to allowing me to concentrate on building on the homestead. So I am going to have to do whatever it takes to overcome the conditions. We got a major dump of snow yesterday, and I tried to clear it away but the soft mud underneath made things difficult. This morning it is much colder, (around -10) so the ground should be stiff enough for me to truck the backup generator in to the old workshop. A big fire in the woodstove, and maybe I can resume building.

  3. jj says:

    ” the great thing about homesteading is the job security”

    Oh, ain’t that the truth! I hope the snow doesn’t set you back too much. We were forecast for up to 8″ here, but only got about 3, thank goodness. We’re ready to retire the snow shovels for this year…

    • Hi JJ,
      We will persevere. I got the backup generator into the site this morning, but the old 4×4 had its work cut out for it. The forecast for tonight says -20 so I should be able to get a load of lumber in. Hopefully that will keep me building until conditions improve. Good to hear that your snow wasn’t too deep. Are you itching to get out in the garden?

      • jj says:

        oh, yes. Once we can see it, of course πŸ˜‰ I’d imagine you’re in much the same boat!

  4. Pretty much the same, except my pile of finished compost is about 2000km away.
    Guess I’ll have to start a new one.

  5. cdndirtbags says:

    What’s up with the weather, hey? Doesn’t mother nature know it’s go-time? πŸ˜‰

    • Mornin B,
      Just woke up to 23cm of new snow. New plan, forget the tent, I will build an igloo. We are celebrating this morning with the traditional Easter snowstorm breakfast (garlic sausage and eggs). As soon as I can get the tent platform cleared off and dried out, I am putting up the tent. Screw it, come hell or snow blind Easter bunnies, the floor for building 2 goes outside this week.

  6. Marcela says:

    so much inspiration here, from everyone on this thread!

  7. Yeah, I have noticed that if you are talking about homesteading some really amazing people come out of the woodwork. Some of these folks have taught me a lot, and I hope to learn a lot more from them.

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