Resilience In Retirement
Congratulations on the Monarch caterpillars! Seeing the butterflies is great, but it’s a real joy when you can see the caterpillars too since that should be an excellent indication that you are creating viable habitats. I see a fair number of the butterflies around my place and am happy to be finding several fat healthy looking monarch caterpillars as well.
I’ve been actively growing common milkweed in patches all over my property, partially for the monarchs and other pollinators, but also as a fabulous food source for me! Around now in my region of MI I’m harvesting the immature, and thus still tender, seed pods. One does need to cook them to neutralize the sticky white sap, but if you do that they are an abundant, perennial vegetable without any real strong flavors making them fairly neutral to use in all sorts of dishes.
A quick update:
1. We got our first significant snowfall today, about 4-5”. The high temperature was about 28 degrees F and the sun never came out. However, about 2:00 pm our solar panels on our 9-pitch roof spontaneously shed about 90% of the snow on them. Yay! 🎉 We generated practically no electricity but it’s nice to see the panels shedding snow. The snow didn’t damage our newly installed gutters but it did slightly damage the Rose of Sharon we planted this summer. I’m going to have to build something to protect it before the next snow.
2. Please forgive me, for I have sinned. 😔 I used a 15+ year old GAS-POWERED snowblower to clear my driveway and walkway. We took the snowblower away from my mother in law because her neighbors called us 3 years ago to say she was out snow blowing her driveway at 85 frail years old. She hasn’t used it since and we took it this summer with her blessing (to remove the temptation). We’ve never had a snowblower: didn’t need one in Philly and couldn’t afford one in Rochester, NY in our 20’s. And like all sin, it was a lot of fun (especially compared to shoveling)!
3. As mentioned above we got new gutters installed and are draining them into two used 300 gallon water totes (one on each side of the house). One inch of rain causes each of them to overflow. We plan to use the water for our gardens (gravity-fed) and, in a dire emergency, to filter for drinking.
3. We’ve been using the wood-burning stove to hone our skills and be ready for when we have to use it to supplement our air source Mitsubishi heat pump system which we’re told will struggle below zero F. and completely give up at about minus 15. We keep our house thermostat at 68 degrees and keep the doors to our mud room, guest bedroom and study closed tight unless they’re being used (not often). I measured the temperature in the guest bedroom the other day when the outside temperature was 18. The temp in the guest room was 50 so we’re saving a lot of energy simply by keeping those doors closed. Instead of having to heat 1480 sq ft I estimate we’re only heating about 900 sq ft.
4. Our cheapo deer exclusion fence has been 100% effective. I seriously doubted it would work and I’m equally amazed it’s been so effective. Black bears have been spotted within 2 miles of our house, but none here. We have up two bird feeders. There is a squirrel around I haven’t caught but even he hasn’t bothered with the feeders yet. That may be because there are 3.6 million acorns on the ground on our lot and within 300’.
5. We got our first electric bill with a balance due in November: $55. That amount was deducted from the credit we’ve built up over the summer with our solar panels.
We’re having a blast, loving Concord and all of NH. We should’ve done this 40 years ago!
- This reply was modified 5 months, 4 weeks ago by thc0655.
Nice Looking Fire. Your wood stove looks almost identical to the one we have in our 750 square foot cabin. For a number of years it was the only source of heat and it easily kept the entire place at 75 degrees even in temperatures near zero. Many of our neighbors have wood stoves without a glass front, but for me watching a fire is one of life’s basic pleasures.
One of the things the salesman at the wood stove store insisted on, was that we get a stove with a flat top. He was right. We purchased some Lodge brand iron dutch ovens and have successfully cooked stews and roasts on top of the wood stove.
New Hampshire winters can be a challenge but there is a good deal of fun and a great deal of satisfaction in meeting the challenges.