Homestead Monthly: November {barn demolition, butchering, and winter preparations}

homestead-monthly-november-2016, Homestead Monthly: November {barn demolition, butchering, and winter preparations} | Whole-Fed Homestead

Bye Bye Barn
So, one really big thing happened this month that has taken a lot of our time, energy, and brain space. We essentially “sold” our old 100+ year old big beautiful barn to a reclaimed wood furniture company. The back of this barn started to cave in during the last month, so we knew it was time: it was coming down, either at the hand of man of Mother Nature.

At least this way the wood wouldn’t rot in a big heap, but instead be given new life. Plus we made a little money from the sale of the wood, and part of our deal involves the furniture company building us a dining table from some of the wood!

Watching it come down was heart-wrenching. We never used the barn, because it was already too far gone when we bought the place, but it was obviously the heart of this homestead for the past 100 years.

old barn, Homestead Monthly: November {barn demolition, butchering, and winter preparations} | Whole-Fed Homestead

They aren’t finished with the tear-down quite yet, but that should be wrapped up soon. We worked on the design and specifications with the company, and we expect it to be complete this winter some time. I can’t wait to see it!

Butterflies… in my Stomach
I was asked to speak at a local gardening seminar in January! And I couldn’t be more nervous. Seriously, every time I think about it, it makes me nervous in my stomach. You know when you agree to something, and then a little while later you’re like, “why did I do that?!” Haha, that’s how I feel! It was my idea, even! I did plenty of speaking, and even some performance arts in high school and college, but I never got over the nerves part of it. Apparently I still haven’t!

My talk will be called: “Rare and Unique Edibles for the Home Garden.” I get to share all about my favorite weird and unusual things I like to grow. It is still two months away and I have it mostly written, so I will be practicing a ton over the coming weeks. Once I start talking about rare plants, I’m hoping that my passion will take over and the nerves will go away- like I’m just talking to a friend about gardening. Wish me luck!

rare beans, Homestead Monthly: November {barn demolition, butchering, and winter preparations} | Whole-Fed Homestead

And if you’re local to Western Wisconsin or even the Twin Cities, it is an AWESOME event, consider checking it out —> here! (2017 info should be updated soon!) And if you’re a reader or a Instagram friend, please please come say hello if you see me there!

Wrapping Things Up for Winter
All of the outdoor stuff is pretty well finished and packed up for the winter months ahead. As I’m writing this we just had our first real snow fall, so today feels like the first time we’re really “cooped up.”

Over the past couples weeks we finished preserving the last of the kale, celery, parsley, and we picked the last of the pumpkins and chard.

scarlet kale, Homestead Monthly: November {barn demolition, butchering, and winter preparations} | Whole-Fed Homestead

I packed away all the herbs that had been hanging to dry- mainly the sage and rosemary.

We prepped the garden for spring next year by filling it with all the leaves we raked up around the yard, and we gave the chicken coop a good pre-winter clean-out, dumping all of those goodies on the garden as well.

We butchered a few of our ducks (we had too many males) because… if you have male ducks… well, you know. And also, it’s too many unnecessary mouths to feed. We are now down to two ducks- a breeding pair, which is what we intended to keep when we first got ducks.

butchering ducks, Homestead Monthly: November {barn demolition, butchering, and winter preparations} | Whole-Fed Homestead

They were old ducks, but we made use of the whole animals as best we could. We were incredibly surprised to find that the meat was not at all chewy or rubbery, which we find old stewing hen meat to be (but we eat it anyways!). Two of the ducks we butchered were 7 years old- they spent the first four years of their lives in a small pen, and the last three here with us, with the run of the yard and all the bugs, slugs and greens they could eat! It was truly delicious meat.

Getting Crafty with Nature
I grew up doing and making a lot of Christmas-y things… I love to make wreaths, greenery arrangements, Kissing Balls, and especially ornaments. This year I tried my hand at some milkweed pod ornaments! They are just simple rustic santa faces painted on dried milkweed pods. I think they turned out cute!

milkweed pod ornaments, Homestead Monthly: November {barn demolition, butchering, and winter preparations} | Whole-Fed Homestead

I plan to have a tutorial for this coming soon, so go collect your milkweed pods now if you want to make them in time for Christmas! They are a great gift for the nature-lover in your life. If you’re looking for other handmade/homemade gift ideas, try: Cranberry Pine Centerpiece, Beeswax Birthday Candles, Truffle-Covered Walnuts, and Honey-Sweetened Canned Apple Pie Filling.


We had a wonderful November on the homestead- unseasonably warm and unusually beautiful for this time of year. I’m hoping that this long, warm fall is going to make the winter fly by at top speed! Thanks for being here with us.

Enjoy reading about what’s happening on the homestead?
Check out our previous monthly updates!


homestead-monthly-september-2016     Homestead Monthly August 2016     Homestead Monthly July 2016

Homestead Monthly Jun 2016     Homestead monthly April 2016     Homestead Monthly March 2016

Homestead Monthly Jan 2016     Homestead Monthly December 2015     Homestead Monthly Nov 2015

Homestead Monthly October 2015     Homestead Monthly September     Homestead Monthly August 2015

Cukes in crock Feature Image     June homestead photo feature     The homestead monthly May 2015

Homestead Monthly April     Homestead Monthly Feb March     Homestead monthly december january, Whole Fed Homestead

fall leaves     chicken gang porch w words     homestead monthly w words

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