One of the best things about having family visit are the hobbies and interests that can be shared by the group. When Isaac, Joe’s brother, visited the day after Thanksgiving, he brought up his guitar. In what’s becoming a tradition around here when Isaac stops by, we spent a few hours on Thanksgiving weekend as a family singing random songs – Cat Stevens, James Taylor, Boston, and a little country. Vaughn absolutely loved it and was rocking out to the music. While I didn’t get any footage of that, I did sneak a bit of Joe (one the left) and Isaac (on the right) singing “Amanda” by Boston. I stressed that I shot this without them knowing, so it’s raw. You can hear my son playing at my feet, and our lovebird singing with the boys.
It’s amazingly homey and I love it.
I promise that next time I’ll try to get a cleaner, less candid video. (I say this just to appease the boys.)
Tonight will bring our area of the North East its first frost/freeze warning. Normally I don’t get too bent out of shape when it comes to these things. I might put blankets over some of the more delicate plants, and say a quick spell or two to the gnomes and such, but the map that was put up on the local weather channel shocked me.
When the map shows this much of an area lit up for frost and freeze warnings, it causes a person to sit up and take notice. Normally this comes after three or four small, patchy frosts. This is early. (While part of me hopes my hunches are true for an old fashioned new England winter, the lack of wood makes me hope that we still have a couple more months before it all comes in.)
Taking a word of advice from my intuition, and letting the wind wrap around my face so I could feel its bite, I decided to run amuck and collect all the produce left on the vines and still growing.
It’s a small harvest, to be sure. We didn’t have much luck with the produce this year, with the exception of the beans that we’ve been picking like mad and the cukes that have already come and gone. The lettuce is our second crop, so I guess I can’t complain too much on that spectrum. While it seems like a little, we’re thankful for every bit of it.
We will still be covering the tomato and pepper plants, along with the small bits of lettuce that I’m hoping will survive and have a little longer to grow. Part of me hopes that I pulled everything a bit prematurely and Mother Nature will prove my instincts wrong. The problem with that: I’ve been correct on our winters the past two years. Sometimes it stinks to be right.
Oh, and as you can see, that’s a desk temporarily in front of the cupboards. It was the computer/office desk and will be moved upstairs shortly to be a sewing/knitting machine desk. As a gift to ourselves, we welcomed in a new piece of furniture into the home that will hopefully entice us to be more business oriented when it comes to the homestead and will allow me to think/work more professionally on my thesis.
Today has brought the first cold, shiver-inducing rain of fall. While we’re looking at 80F for the next few days, mixed with humidity, there is no doubt that fall, and thus winter, is right on the horizon. After spending just ten minutes stacking wood, I was soaked to the bone and had to make the conscious decision that it was too wet to trust swinging an axe. Even though we’re behind on wood right now, I have no doubt we’ll get caught up before snow flies.
(I’ll be honest and admit that part of the issue is me not being able to wrap my head around us having to treat homesteading as a job. It’s hard to let the husband go off to cut wood when I haven’t seen him all day. I’m trying to forcibly adjust to that.)
Needless to say, we’ve come a long way from the above photo, taken in 2009. We’re no longer hesitant on whether something will burn. We know how to spot dry, dead-standing wood, and realize the need to use as much as possible from each and every tree that’s cut. While our jobs have changed since Vaughn was born, and I no longer get to help spot and load, I’ve become adept at emptying the truck and banging out two to three days worth of split wood in a twenty minute period. Joe has become more confident with felling and cutting to the point that, if he wanted to, I’m sure he could do a basic Wood Harvesting 101 lecture.
Aside from getting the wood in, food storage is coming along. It’s going slow, but getting there. Some items in the garden have been planted that we’ll try to winter over with a thick blanket of hay. Others still need to be planted. We have plenty of jam, some vegetables frozen, and are working on getting pickles put up. We’ve diversified greatly since last year. Here’s hoping we’ve done better with our estimates on what we’ll need to last through the winter now that there’s three of us.
There may be chores that need finishing and events that need to come to pass before we’re fully ready for the winter, yet that doesn’t set us to worrying. There have been times where we’ve bit out nails not knowing if we’ll be ready, but what’s the use in wasting time fretting? There’s stuff that needs doing.
Things have been crazy-go-nuts here on the homestead with harvesting, cutting and splitting wood, prepping for fall classes, and having a mobile little one running amuck. That being said, I figured that I owed you all at least a quick post seeing how it’s been so long.
For the past month or so I’ve been living off from homemade creamer in my coffee. It was an idea I found mentioned on a few other homesteading blogs and I decided to run with it. The recipe is easy enough to memorize and make any time you’re out:
– 2 cups of any type of milk or creamer
– sweetener to taste
– 1 tsp. of vanilla
– spices to taste
So far I’ve played with using cow’s milk, coconut milk, almond milk, heavy creamer, whipping cream, and light cream. Maple syrup, honey, and sugar all work well for sweeteners. Cinnamon sticks, cloves, and almond extract have all joined in the mix on occasion. This is a wonderful add on to any cup of coffee, chai, or cocoa.
I was getting a little disenchanted with the whole homesteading thing this morning while reading a friend’s post. This friend has been going at this much longer than I, has more knowledge, and is much more efficient. However, it got to me nonetheless, and I felt like I just haven’t been doing enough to simplify our life and help with the homesteading schemes and dreams as they were. For us, this means doing things naturally, safely, and mostly on our own. I decided to sit and think of at least ten ways that I’ve made our family healthier, safer, and/or more self-reliant.
4. Taking the plunge of getting our first livestock: laying hens. They’re free ranged with no antibiotics. Great, healthy eggs high in vitamins than store bought ones and we know how the girls are treated.
5. I’ve increased the amount of repairs done to clothing to keep things being used longer.
6. Knitted items are being burned our at a decent pace now and a braided rug has been started.
10. We’ve been able to focus on making even more food at home than before, which is great! Bread, ice cream, pasta, and many other attempts have come out well. Some things we’ll still buy as we only have so much time in the day, but its’ nice o know that we can do these things in a pinch.