In February of 2009, my husband and I bought our first home located on a few acres in Johnson, Vermont. We live here with our dog, Ollie, two cats: Elvis and Atticus, six Nigerian Dwarf goats: May, Chutney, Poppy, Juniper, Willow, and Jokers Wild, and about fifteen laying hens. And to top it all off we welcomed our daughter, Isabel, into the world on January 11th, 2011.

We're slowly updating our 1850's farmhouse while steadily working towards a healthy, meaningful, self-sufficient life together.

This blog details our endeavors along with our successes and failures- all in good fun. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!


May and I enjoying some sunshine
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Lovingly Posted by Melissa Friday, December 18, 2009

Ok so let me just say right off that I really do love winter.  One of the things I love the most about Vermont is its changing seasons- its variety.  In the summer we can hike, bike, kayak, play frolf, and garden.  In the fall we have the foliage, more hiking, cidermaking, and more biking.  In the winter, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing (if you've got the coordination for it, which I most certainly do not), skiing/snowboarding, sledding, hot chocolate, and making snowmen!  And, of course, in the spring we've got mud season...thats all I have to say about that.  But honestly, over the past few days it has been just too cold.  We've been having sub-zero temperatures even during the day (with windchills around -20).

Luckily we bought our heated water bucket for the barn a few weeks ago so we didn't have to worry about the girls' water freezing all the time.  But our barn is just a little too big for two little goats and a dozen chickens to really keep warm.  Last night I plugged in a couple heat lamps to try to cut through the frigid air in the barn, which seemed to help a little.  Granted, the barn is incredibly comfortable compared to the air outside it- but the girls were still shivering, so I made some warm oatmeal with carrots and applecider and brought it out to the barn. 

May happily crunched away at the warm carrot slices (I couldn't get Chutney to even try it) and the chickens took over the oatmeal...it was too funny to see them all eating out of the same little bowl.  I wish I had brough my camera out.  I also had to give May a shot of Lutalyse to induce her heat in preparation for her "date" on Sunday.  Hopefully she'll be ready to go and we'll have some new additions to our farm around the end of April.  But it was convenient to have her occupied with her warm carrots while I had to stick a needle in her butt.

On another note, we officially had our first pipes freeze yesterday!  Yippy!  (That last exclamation laid heavily with sarcasm.)  Yep, thats right folks, who would have thought that our beautiful old house would lack sufficient insulation in some places?  Surely not I!  (Sarcasm again.)  Luckily the only pipes that froze were those going to the kitchen, the water in the rest of the house is still working, so I am exceedingly thankful for that.  So now we've got all our drawers and cabinets open/removed to expose the pipes behind them in hopes that they will thaw slowly enough that they won't burst.  Hopefully by the time I get home today we'll have running water back in the kitchen- Kyle's on it.

That lucky duck has the day off today.  The original plan was that he was going to run wiring and plumbing up to our upstairs bathroom so we could move our washer and dryer up there.  But he might be taking a good portion of the day to run new PTEX tubing to the kitchen to bypass our frozen, copper piping.  He is fairly sure the problem is that the current pipes run under the house where there isn't any insulation.  So his solution is to run this new tubing so it will go through our walls and floors where it will be a little warmer.  We'll see how it goes.  Personally, I'd rather have the washer and dryer upstairs than running water in my kitchen right now...a girl gets a little sick of not being able to use the dryer and the oven at the same time (more on that later).


  2. Never a dull moment, eh? Can you close in a stall or corner of your barn (temporarily) to put your critters into so they can stay warmer? Glad you had some heat lamps.

    I can remember the pipes in my grandmother's house freezing AND bursting. What a mess. I was too small to follow up and see what was done about it. I just remember my father standing under a lot of dripping water, trying to wrap the pipes with something so they wouldn't leak.

  3. Melissa Says:
  4. Hey Beth!
    No kidding! Unfortunately the way our barn is set up it isn't possible to really close up sections of it...but I am seriously considering creating a lower ceiling in there for storing hay/grain...that would help some. That roof is too high to really keep the place cozy.