Homesteading – the Long Winter

fence posts, waiting for spring

We don’t have a lot of farm work to do this winter, with no animals and no wood heat. We are very much people who stay at home, who don’t shop for recreation or go about visiting – an activity my mother called “gadding.” We are still getting our little house in the order which suits us, but there isn’t much to do, since it was quite suitable to start with. It is a bit of a long haul until spring.

My spinning wheels are assembled,but I need something to spin. My wool is unwashed and uncarded, and this is no time to be washing wool. I will call a friend or two to find some roving, which is what we call wool that is washed, carded and formed into a long loose skein for spinning. Nicholas is spending his time reading, which is tiring for him, but he is trying to stay up with his subjects of theology and physics. He likes to listen to lectures by the Anglican theologian N.T. Wright on line. We spend time talking and making plans, and I regale him with stories of my youth and family, which he finds amusing. Sometimes he tells me of his Cockney family, and their idiosyncratic ways. He has the British gift for mimicry and storytelling. We keep each other entertained for hours.

I need to do a little knitting and sewing, and will start that again soon. I have two dresses to make, coordinating capes and aprons, and I want to make new duck curtains for the living room. We spend some time each day in private prayer and study, as well. A quiet life leaves lots of time for that.

I had bought some books to read over the winter, but I am almost through them now. There are some old friends on the shelves I can read again, though. We are rebuilding our library, and I am being cautious about what we add. Clergy have a bad habit of buying interesting books (especially if we have a fund that provides for that, which we don’t now) and then never reading them. I want a library of the classics in both literature and theology.

Is it dull? A bit, if we let it get that way. This is the slow winter, the winter with little work. Perhaps it is the time God is allowing us to rebuild our strength, to live quietly, to make plans and decide who it is we are.


12 thoughts on “Homesteading – the Long Winter

  1. Sounds pretty good to me! It is very similar to what we do around here. We read alot and have our hobbies, I do my cross stitch and some other crafts and when Jim isn’t working he builds planes and rockets. They are so awesome! I only go out to run an errand or like today a quick trip to Goodwill. We simply like being at home best.
    Dover Thrift Editions are very inexpensive for classics and Barnes and Noble run specials all the time as well. The B & N classics usually have excellent introductions as well.

  2. We stay home, I catch up on reading, sewing, and knitting, I also watch my grandsons, and keep up with the indoor housework. My husband is home a lot more in the winter, he does odd jobs around the home, and keeps me company when I have errands to run, he likes to cook, and voluntarily takes over the laundry and bread baking during the winter months when he is home four to five days per week.
    We enjoy a good game of scrabble occasionally. And, we enjoy planning our vegetable garden for the coming spring.
    We are content, we do not have a need, or desire, for constant entertainment and activities.

  3. How do audio books work for Nicholas? I’m not sure if there are books on tape for periodicals in his subjects, but if that helps him retain the information, it might me worth looking into.

    Since both of you are interested in theology (I am assuming here) what about you reading aloud and both of you discussing what you have read.

    I do have a book habit myself, but I have read nearly all that I have purchased . . . even the ones purchased for the grandchildren. LOL I belong to a book club that is US $9.95 a month (it includes shipping) *and* I get to choose which books are on my reading list. I just got The Hobbit for myself and the grandkids this month.

    I don’t consider your life dull. If you and Nicholas feel at peace and content, what more could you want? More stuff? Bigger fuel bills for your vehicle? I do feel that Heavenly father gives us times/seasons of rest in our lives. It isn’t until those times are past that we see the growth and how much we truly did as we rely on Him to lead us.

    I am largely housebound winter and summer, although the coming wheelchair may help with that. I don’t fee the pull to “go” places. My daughter gently drags me shopping and such since she worries about my lack of social contact. I just don’t have that big a need for social contact. I can “talk” online at a time convenient for both me and those whom I “talk” to, even if they are in European countries and I am in the U.S. I have one friend that I talk to for a while on the phone each day. We both have health challenges and commiserate about children and getting through the next hour sometimes , which for me is enough for the past two years and right now.

    Enjoy settling into your new home. Each day now is a little longer than the one before and soon spring and starting seedlings will be here.

    • When I am out to church I may see of there are some books around to be lent. He might use audio books, so I will look into that. I could download lectures and such from the internet onto CDs and he could listen to them on the walkman.

      You are so cheerful most of the time about your challenges, and I find that a great example to all of us.

  4. Amazon is my friend. I can buy secondhand books for half what I’d pay for them new, plus skip the guilt about consuming new products. Yippee!

    As I get older, I find I have less and less appetite for frivolous entertainment. If it’s a book or magazine on the subject of farming/permaculture/home skills I buy it. If it’s the latest ‘must-have’ fiction I ignore it. The only exception is some books reviewed by NPR. They’re usually worthwhile.

    I am turning into my father. Heaven help me.


  5. Your life sounds like my dream really. Staying at home reading books, knit and sew. Frankly, when I picture heaven it looks a bit like that. I work all the time and I am so sick of not having a life ie what you have. Enjoy it some for me too, please. 😉

  6. Have you considered a Kindle for your husband. The nice thing is that he can purchase books at a much deeper discount and some are even free. You can also adjust the font on the reader so that it is comfortable for you. Lastly, it is not back lit like a computer screen so it does not make your eyes anymore tired then reading a regular book with your comfortable font. Just a thought from the techi girl. I personally love the one my dear husband gave me for my birthday.

    • We’ve decided not to buy anything more that needs to be recharged. I am concerned about the number of battery-powered devices we have. (Okay, three.)

  7. magdalena,

    wrote a very lengthy response to your battery and tech comment…lost it, so I’ll try and crunch it into a quick repeat.

    you may wish to investigate
    if this page doesn’t work, their international home page is
    long time producer of the best range of large/giant print books and unabridged audio titles for VI readers of all ages from children to elders.

    the Victor Reader Stream;
    see I have one and it is fantastic!! plays MP3, DAISY (Digital Audio Information System if memory serves me correctly), its main competitor (both formats specifically for VI use with heaps of navigation and search facilities built into the recordings such as book, chapter and verse search on audio bibles, multiple bookmarking, etc), it also reads MSWord docs and TXT docs; just transfer them from USB or your laptop. VI friendly; it is a screenless tool designed for us that can be plugged into the mains; though it has a battery that I’ve not needed to change for 3 years with a brilliant charge life etc. It also records passing well.

    I used to use their predacessor technology back in the early 80’s before my acuity became too shot. but they’re a fantastic option – always go for the full colour!

    They also have hand-held sized versions but these aren’t meant for serious reading.

    They’re costly, but when funds are a little more forthcoming in your neck of the woods, such would be a perfectly justifiable investment. This question comes up for all of us who would ideally love to live the homestead light footprint way but limited by disability or medical condition (you’ve ably addressed this question previously). As acuity becomes weaker, simple non-powered workarounds such as the simple magnifying glass or sheet are not strong enough. Eventually you get like me with acuity so bad you’re on the wrong side of the print divide 🙂 better than losing it altogether though…

    There are those in the theological world who believe St. Paul may have suffered vision impairment – hence his ‘thorn in the flesh’ comments and those re using such large letters and not writing through a scribe for one particular book, as he stated so clearly at its end; I’m not combing through all the Pauline letters to book chap and verse the text folks, Magdalena will likely know what I am talking about, though some theologians think this is fanciful hypothesizing without clear proof, this VI theologian in the making thinks its 100% correct!!!!! 🙂

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