Friday, February 28, 2014

Thankful Thursday - the people in this house.

This is my late Thankful Thursday post. I started writing it on Thursday and didn't get it out, but I still wanted to publish it.

On Wednesday, I joked about my slight headache from lack of coffee. I also get headaches or migraines when I’m just plain exhausted. I don’t think I can blame this one on the coffee at all.

At some point Wednesday morning, I could tell it was going to be a bad one and told the boys that we needed to hurry and clean up as much as we could before mommy got really sick. I scrambled in the kitchen, did laundry, and put away odd things, and left the living room to Noah. Eventually the exhaustion part started to hit me too – so I sat in the living room and watched Noah s-l-o-w-l-y clean up.

I just sat and watched for 45 minutes. I saw an incredibly curious and inquisitive boy. A very distracted boy, but a sweet, sweet boy. He’s growing up. And it is so easy to miss some of that. Usually, when the boys are playing quietly, I do something else. When they are distracted from the task they’ve been given, I join them and help, or coach them through it. When I’m spending time with them, we are always doing something – reading, coloring, talking, playing a game, counting, baking… but it isn’t normal to just sit there and do nothing while watching them. It was a sweet time to observe.

Lunch, a nap time that didn’t go as planned, a tv show on replay… By the time Joel came home, I was curled up on the couch and so nauseous from the pain that it was hard to keep the Tylenol down. He sent me to bed.

I was tearfully thankful that he was actually home with me, that I didn’t have to struggle through another three hours before the kids’ bedtime, and that Joel cared so much to take care of everything and send me off without my asking. When I emerged from the bedroom, and my headache was much better, Joel had made the most amazing stir fry, veggie and rice dish and lattes for dinner.

Being sick was another reminder of how incredibly blessed I am to have the people in this house here with me. I have two amazing sons that I will be watching grow up, and I have a wonderful husband who loves us and takes care of us.

I am so thankful for my family.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Why this picture is scary.

The first seedling to emerge. Rhubarb.
I’m just going to put this out there: these seedlings are scary. Terrifying.

I’m excited, but there is something else going on too. I don’t see signs of success – I see signs of imminent failure.

Okay. Maybe I’m being a little dramatic.

We’ve had just about everything happen to our seedlings in the past. From forgetting to water them, to not enough sun (we have a grow light this year), to too much water, to the cat ate the plants, to spindly ones, to starting too late, to – just forget it and buy a few starts from the nursery.

Starting seedlings inside can be easy if you have your head on straight. Like ours were when Joel and I were first married and had an awesome veggie and flower garden.

But you have to have that head on straight and keep it there for 2-3 months. And over the course of 2-3 months of starting, thinning, transplanting to bigger pots/cups and observing, other things tend to take priority and I just momentarily forget about the weepy, spindly plant or the cat that just threatened to eat the starts. Before I know it, it’s happened: the cat has them hanging out of her mouth, or the plant is down for the count before I could say “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” – probably because I forgot to say that too!

I'm good with research, sorting the facts, and planning, but not so good at timely memory. I need lists and schedules nowadays if anything is time sensitive - like starting seeds at the right time of year.

And this year - we really want this to work to save us money in the food budget. So it's much more intimidating. It's not just for fun anymore.

I think our detailed starting schedule will be a huge help. Hopefully all our lists and planning will pay off and we don't sabotage them with forgetfulness.

But hey! You are along for the ride. I no longer have a blog that I blog at “every once in a while”. I can’t just “forget” to record when we totally fail! And not that I record our entire life's details – but I enjoy recording about our homesteading in particular, the successes *mumble, mumble* and failures *mumble, mumble* - okay, maybe the failures aren’t as much fun.

Let's raise our coffee cups to "starting somewhere" and "keeping our heads on straight".

Cheers!


I shared this at:
The HomeAcre Hop
Green Thumb Thursday
Simple Life Sunday
Homestead Barn Hop
Simple Saturday Blog Hop

Monday, February 24, 2014

Maple Sugaring for the first time


Listening to: http://amzn.to/1ik0njK

Boiling: Sap!

Favorite tool we're using: http://amzn.to/1eqaWKX

Loving: every moment of it.

This is our first time Maple Sugaring. In the past I haven’t seen much of a point. Not that I don’t love maple syrup, but we didn’t use a lot of it. As I started to make nearly everything from scratch, I started using maple syrup and honey virtually exclusively (instead of cane sugar) - and a lot more of it since we were making all our deserts and treats instead of buying them.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thankful Thursday - the slow things

I'm thankful for the slow down of a homemade latte.


Of a sweet conversation with my son.



I'm thankful for the slow down of a long bath time for the boys.

Of pulling two kids around in sleds in the snow.



Of taking deep breaths and knowing it's about more than the goals and tasks for the day.


I'm thankful, today, for the slow things.


I've shared this at:
Simple Life Sunday Blog Hop
The Barn Hop

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Our 2014 Seed Starting Schedule and grow light setup




I've finally finished our seed starting schedule for this year. I didn't include thinning dates, just the dates for indoor planting (if applicable) and when to set out or direct sow. To plan the dates, I used:

Almanac Seed Starting Dates (according to zip code!)
The Year Round Vegetable Gardener (for fall planting)
Baker Creek Catalog
Good old fashioned google

It turned into a color coded spreadsheet so that I could just glance down the week we are in and see what seed starting tasks fall within that column.

  • Green is the suggested planting range for outdoors, dark green is moon favorable dates. 
  • Brown is the suggested indoor starting dates, and dark brown is the suggested moon favorable indoor starting dates. 
  • Most of these have specific dates that I jotted down from the Almanac information. 
  • A few have pink for when I expect to be harvesting them so that I could plan when to do a second sowing for the fall garden.

Here is the chart that I'll have to print out and tape together:

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Our 2014 Chicken Choices - for now

Oh, Chickens. We like our chickens. I wrote a post about trying to find the perfect dual purpose chicken – so far, we like the Buckeye the best. It still remains; they are a really good mix here! Winter hardy, pea comb, fair egg production, good size, tasty, independent and good foragers.

But… I might want to look a little further.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thankful Thursday - in print



I didn't know what this would become today. I'm thankful for so many things, but I don't think about that constantly. It's easy to just focus on the lists and chores. Those aren't bad, and those are things to be thankful for in themselves - but it's good to recognize that instead of treating everything like a drudgery.

As I was walking around and snapping pictures of the things I'm especially thankful for this week - it seems to have a theme of book and resources and how those impact us. Here it is:

Monday, February 10, 2014

Around the Homestead – Crafting and Thinking

We had our small group over yesterday. There were 14 of us – 8 kids! This is the WELCOME (seriously!) result of the meal we shared:


It was SO nice to have them all over. We enjoyed turkey and dumplings, boiled dinner, salad with ginger miso vinaigarette, and some kombucha! One of our friends left me some wool roving to try out!


I didn’t even have an official drop spindle yet – but I knew Joel would make me one. And right away, he made me a really fun one with a cross section of maple. He will be making several more with a little more fun added and we’ll be listing them on Etsy sometime in the future.



Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thankful Thursday - from the kitchen

My mom posted on Facebook something about making this a thankful Thursday for herself. I thought that was a fantastic idea. I snapped a few pictures and decided to stay in the kitchen for my Thankful Thursday. Okay, lets start:




Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Our 2014 Seed List and Companion Planting Plan

We finished our seed list last night. We still need to search out and think more about the plants, potatoes, and garlic. Last year we just planted some organic potatoes we bought at the store that started sprouting – but there is a variety in the High Mowing catalog that I would like to try (German Butterball) which is an heirloom variety and looks delicious. We only had success with russet last year, but I love yellow potatoes in soups.


We are going to give turnips and parsnips a try since they would be more crops that could store well in winter. We are going to end up eating seasonally for the most part, mainly because that’s what makes sense when you want to let your garden feed your family. I can’t expect to eat fresh tomatoes in February, but I might have a good store of winter squash and root vegetables, plus some frozen green stuff (green beans, spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts…) and canned tomatoes for soups.

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