A few weeks back I was pretty worried about whether we would get all our winter prep done.  It seemed like we had so many big projects to do and so many other little things also filling our weeks.  I have been helping my friends at Merry Gardens Farm prepare for the Farmer’s Markets the last few weeks, canning with Connie, and harvesting honey, all while still also finding time to relax and visit friends like Bruce and Bud in Osage.  Whew!

Well, we’ve made some really great progress over the last few weeks and this past weekend, we made strides on our big projects.

We mixed 4.5 buckets of mechanical cob – cob with some additions for strengthening (manure, cattail fluff, and straw) and were able to get it all applied to the Rocket Mass Heater. This batch was pretty thick and dry so now I know to mix the next batch a bit differently for better workability.  I will likely add some sand and lots more water.  I’m feeling better having added quite a bit of mass to our stove.  We were able to do this with some help from new friend Diana who really enjoyed painting the mud for me as we laid cob. We also got a few more buckets of cob mixed for more applications in the coming week.

We cleared the trees in the area where we need to put up our wood shed.  I think we only took out 6 larger trees (2.5″ diameter or larger) and a dozen or more small saplings.  We also got Wyatt over for stump removal.  It’s amazing how the grading really opened up the space!   We are now thinking we’ll push the shed a few feet to the east for better accessibility around the NW corner of the Harn.

Wyatt also did excavation so we could add our foam board perimeter on the North and East sides of the Harn.  What is that?  Well, it’s an addition of foam board coming out from the foundation of the Harn which pushes out the frost line.  Theoretically, we should have a warmer slab this winter than last.  Time will tell…  Check out this video of Wyatt’s work.

We are set now for the expected rain this week; things should settle into place.  Once the rain quits, we’ll work on building the wood shed and chopping some of the MANY trees we culled from the forest.  We had some big storms last year so Dan and I have collected quite a lot of deadfall to process.

And while it rains?  I’ll be canning tomatoes, more crabapple jelly (last batch was syrup which should be pretty yummy on pancakes), maybe tomato soup (Connie has a great recipe) and possibly starting on some corn cob cordial.  We’ll keep you posted!  Hope your fall has been productive and fun too.