Beating the Reptition of Daily Homestead Tasks


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In our almost one quarter of a century living at 9,800-foot elevation, with our nearest neighbor close to one mile away, we have learned some valuable lessons. One of the lessons we have learned is that remote homestead living is a never-ending learning process and it has been filled with repetition.

Heating During Long Winters

Life at this elevation comes with considerable repetition, especially when it comes to the tasks required to heat our cabin. Each year, we need to cut, split and stack between nine to11 cords of firewood since our primary heat source is our wood stove. We recently added two Electric Thermal System heaters (ETS); however, our primary source of heat remains our woodstove. The ETS heaters keep us from having to get up at night during real cold weather to feed the woodstove. They also keep it warm so when we get up in the morning we don’t have to get the wood stove going immediately.

Firewood: The Never-Ending Task

Getting our firewood for each winter is repetitive and time consuming. We try to get it early each year but depending on the weather it sometimes takes us most of the summer to accumulate a sufficient amount of firewood. Since we enjoy the radiant heat we continue to use our wood stove as our major heat source. As can be seen in the photo we are not the only ones who enjoy the radiant heat.

Shoveling Snow

Another repetitive task is shoveling snow. When we bought our property 40+ years ago the HUD report said that our average snowfall was 264 inches per winter. We have received less than that amount for the past few years and weather patterns seem to be constantly changing. We are getting more wind now and less accumulation of snow. We seem to be repeatedly clearing snow from either storms or drifting. This condition appears to be the new pattern for 6 to 7 months of the year. 



Tree Growth Rings Reveal Past Weather Patterns

A changing weather pattern can be evidenced by the growth rings on the trees we cut for firewood. There may be 10 to 20 years of tight rings where there was little growth due to less moisture. Then there will be several years of more rapid growth where the growth rings are spaced out further. Some trees are up to 100+ years old or more, so we have a good indication that weather in the mountains runs in cycles. 





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