I woke up this morning and it was cold! It got down to 38 last night, unseasonably chilly for mid-September. Yesterday we broke down and brought the old woodstove back in the house. We take it out in the Spring and bring it back in when we need to, this year however we hadn't planned to bring it back in at all. Our coal cookstove is almost ready to use, but we've had a delay in trying to find some replacement pieces; it dates to the early 1920s so parts aren't readily available. Anyway, a fire was definitely needed so the woodstove has again taken up residence in the living room. I had hoped that the boys would make a fire this morning but Aleks went straight out to milk instead, so I jumped out of bed and pulled warm clothes on myself and Asa and then went out to make the fire. I burned some paper and cardboard first to heat up the chimney, a warm chimney draws better than a cold one. We have an abundance of corncobs right now so I used those and some smaller twigs and then found what bigger pieces I could to get a nice fire going. We have very little firewood around as we had planned to be using coal. Levi helped with all that and then brought Asa's highchair in and placed it by the fire where he ate breakfast in relative warmth. We generally move the dining room table in by the fire for the coldest months for just this reason, it makes for a cramped but cosy living room.
We have some tomatoes to finish up and a batch or two of salsa, but the pressure has eased for the most part on the food preservation front. We're still shelling beans but we'll be doing that for quite some time. I want to put some beef in to corn later today, in about 2 weeks we'll be having corned beef hash or corned beef and cabbage! I found the most wonderful book about preserving meats without refrigeration "Cold Smoking and Salt Curing". I can finally learn to preserve hams etc. in a way that is consistent with my vision! I'm so excited!!! This book, unlike many how-to titles, instills confidence in my ability to be able to do this safely. For instance, when we first raised turkeys we bought 5 poults. I'd never raised anything like that before, but I just figured that I could do it successfully and I did. Then we bought the "raising turkeys" book and read how hard it is, all the diseases turkeys are subject to and all the equipment you need etc. We lost confidence and it took a while to get it back again. I hate self "help" books like that. My philosophy is that illiterate people have done XYZ for thousands of years, surely I can handle it. Maybe that's naive? I don't know, but it seems to garner its share of success. We seem to do a lot of things in ways that aren't considered "proper" today, especially with animals. You're never supposed to raise chickens and turkeys together, but we have for years with no problems. Broody chickens are set on turkey eggs which they hatch out and raise without difficulty. It sure beats trying to duplicate nature with an incubator!
We'll also be picking up black walnuts and shelling them soon and the apples are almost ready to be gathered in, I so look forward to the Autumn smells and tastes. We're going to brine and cold smoke our Thanksgiving turkey, a process that can take a month and a half so we'll be butchering it around the beginning of October. I'm excited about that too, life seems very satisfying right now. :-)