Hot and Cold


I put on a new chain, filled the gas and oil tanks and went out with my chainsaw to tackle a large pile of logs and limbs in the backyard. My tendency to procrastinate had allowed the pile to grow all summer, but my son James had offered to help and this needed to be done. So, on one of the hottest days of the year, I cut wood to use on some of the coldest. We will probably burn these logs in the woodstove around January or February.

Our house has electric heat and in the Pacific Northwest electricity is affordable, but on those really cold days, the woodstove heats our home better than anything else does.

There is a natural rhythm to life in the country. In March as the days grow longer and warmer the chickens go into full summer egg production. In April we hive bees. In May the garden is tilled and planted. During the summer we cut trees (usually the dead or fallen), tend animals and care for the garden. Honey is spun from the honeycomb in September. Also during that month fruits and vegetables are canned and preserved.

Part of that natural rhythm is the cold of January and February. Some years our woodstove will burn for days on end during this time.

By late in the afternoon the chain on the saw had gone dull, but the pile had been reduced to logs and hauled into the woodshed. We were hot and tired, but ready for the cold days of winter.

As I drank a tall glass of cold water I made a pledge to myself. Next year I’m going to cut wood on a cooler day.

Click on the following links to read my author bio, life in Lewis County or more about my life on the farm.

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Three Pictures

As I gazed at three recently taken pictures it occurred to me that each had something to say about where and how I live.

Kyle Pratt, and friend Pat, standing in the road.

The first picture is of my friend Pat and me (blue shirt) standing in the middle of the dirt road that passes in front of his house. We were waiting for a friend who had never been there before and the road seemed like a good place to keep an eye out for her. During the nearly ten minutes we stood there her car was the only vehicle that came along.

Kyle Pratt in his backyard.

It doesn’t often snow here, but when it does it’s time to get the camera out. My wife Lorraine took this picture of me in the backyard. For many years I lived on military bases and suburban communities and my backyard looked pretty normal for those areas, small with mostly grass and some flowers. In this picture an apple tree obscures the view of the hen house behind it. The apiary is hidden by more trees and a blind. The greenhouse is out of the frame to my right and additional fruit trees are off to the left, but my backyard still looks pretty normal—for this area.

One of my summer jobs is filling the wood shed (also in the backyard) with an ample supply of logs. I do this gradually as I clear trees that have grown to close, are dead or have fallen during windstorms.

Kyle Pratt keeping the home fires burning

The recent snow arrived with arctic cold and was the first time this season we fired up the woodstove. We could use the electric heaters to keep the house comfortable, but we’ve learned that the woodstove actually keeps the house warmer and, since all the wood comes from our property, it costs us very little.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words and perhaps I could write more, but I think these three photos say a great deal about the way I choose to live my life. I wouldn’t change any of it.

Click on the following links to read my author bio, life in Lewis County or more about my life on the farm.

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Living What I Write

I don’t just write survival or prepper themed books, I live the life.

Kyle Pratt with a bee frame

Many of the people who aren’t involved in prepping think of those who are as crazy. I think of prepping as insurance against unforeseen problems. Where I live in Lewis county, Washington state, it can flood this time of year. During winter storms the power can go out. I like knowing that I’m prepared.

As part of my chosen lifestyle I live on a small farm. Most farm activities lend themselves naturally to a prepping lifestyle. One thing we do on the farm is raise bees. It’s a small operation, only two honey bee hives, but we usually harvest a nice amount of honey.

Lewis County Beekeepers Assn. meeting

I’ve been a member of the Lewis County Beekeepers’ Association for years. A few days ago I showed up for a meeting and noticed a sign by the door, “Capacity 82.” The room was nearly full when I showed up so, just to amuse myself, I counted heads. There were over seventy people in the room. It was nice to see that many people interested in bees from our rural county. Especially, this time of year when the bees are in their winter cluster in the hive.

Orchard Mason bee homes and supplies

The topic that night was the orchard mason bee, a native bee of North America that is also dormant this time of year. The speaker, Tim Weible shared some great information about how to build mason bee houses (they don’t live in hives), their biology, coping with mites and more.

I live close to nature and when the animals, insects and planets on the farm are doing well I know that I’m better prepared for whatever might come.