This Month On The Homestead: Mud, Trellises, and The Land Trust

Mr. FW and Frugal Hound strolling the woods

If you’re just tuning in, this is a recurring series in which I document each month of our lives out here on our 66-acre Vermont homestead. After leaving urban Cambridge, MA in May 2016 to chart this wholly different life, we’re experiencing a constant learning curve of exploration (and plenty of stupid novice moments). Check out last month’s installment here.

April 2017

I’d forgotten what spring means. I’d forgotten how the grass greens itself and the plants reanimate from a dormancy that seemed so permanent, so fatal. I’ve forgotten the names of flowers and the way in which bulbs progress. I forgot how the buds on each individual branch of each individual tree sprout with a certainty that they’ll bloom. I’d forgotten, but fortunately they did not.

For months, all we’ve seen in every direction is white. Sedimentary layers of ice, snow, snow, and ice. Our fields were wide swaths of bridal satin, broken only by the darting imprints of little creatures and our own clumsy snowshoe tracks. Our trees were caked with icing that puddled on the ground as gravity reclaimed it from heavy, bent branches after each storm.

Mud Season

Babywoods demos our muddy driveway while inspecting Mr. FW’s chainsaw work to remove a fallen tree

As fellow Vermonters know, spring is not the season that follows winter in these parts. Mud season is the necessary intervening experience. Since many of our roads out here–not to mention everyone’s driveway–is dirt, when the snow melts and saturates this loamy earth, the predictable result is m.u.d. We’re not talking a few piddly puddles that a mini pig in boots would look cute in, we’re talking kettle drums of soft earth that a person can lose a car in, let alone that mini pig.

Heavy trucks aren’t allowed on side roads during this season, children are warned not to lose their boots in the muck, and neighbors say they’ll come see you once mud season has passed. Fortunately, this year was a relatively mild mud season for us and there are only a few ruts meriting their own zip codes on our driveway, which Mr. FW will need to grade with the tractor.

Our cars–the dainty Prius included–managed the season quite ably indeed since our snow tires perform the remarkable double duty of mud tires. All in all, a rather brief and uneventful mud season. No one lost so much as a boot.

April Showers

Although April 1st kicked off the month with a legitimate snowstorm/blizzard, by the 30th we were awash in greening grass and budding trees. Even a few early flowers–crocuses, daffodils, and some pink stuff I don’t know the name of–graced us with sparkling color. Such a profound change from the monochrome of winter.

I took this pic on April 1st…

All winter long, there weren’t many outdoor tasks requiring our attention other than moving snow. But as soon as that snow melted, we were faced with the eternal truth of springtime: we were already behind on chores. Mr. Frugalwoods is outside almost every evening tackling chores ranging from clearing fallen trees to pruning our plum trees.

We have a bevy of black raspberry bushes in the garden bed closest to our house and harvesting them last summer entailed a full body immersion with thorns and prickles everywhere. I felt like a bear throwing myself into those thorny brambles. To combat this situation, Mr. FW built two trellises (trelli?) for our berries to vine on. This, apparently, being what you’re supposed to do.

He cut a few young hop hornbeam saplings–as part of his ongoing forestry maintenance–to serve as the posts for the trellises since hop hornbeam is a relatively sturdy, rot-resistant wood that’s plentiful on our property. Then, he tied sisal twine (it’s like thin rope) to create the trellis rows and tie up the berry vines. Technically, you’re supposed to use wire, but we didn’t have any wire and we did have twine, so we’ll see how they do. Thus far, a moose hasn’t crashed through the trellising system, which would likely be its chief predator. Fingers crossed.

Second Summer

Mr. FW using our post hole digger to set the trellis posts

Since this’ll be our second summer on the homestead, we feel like we have a slightly better idea of our priorities for our land. Or rather, we have a slightly better idea of just how much we won’t be able to accomplish during Vermont’s brief–and furious–growing season.

Last year we made peace with the fact that there’s no way we can achieve the permaculture dream of growing all our own food in the first few years out here. Homesteading is our longterm life plan and we intend to live in these woods for, perhaps, ever. Anytime one of us starts to tick off the list of things we haven’t accomplished yet, the other one chimes in with a reminder that we have decades to bring this dream of ours to full fruition.

Stressing out in the short term is counter to the real goal of this lifestyle: a peaceful coexistence with nature absent the frenzied urban life we left behind.

Off The Homestead

At the wedding (not our typical look)! And yes, I bought my dress at a garage sale for $5 approximately 5 years ago…

We were gone for several days to Orlando, Florida for a family wedding this month, which provided a fun change of pace. Babywoods got to splash in a pool, run around with her grandparents, aunts and uncles and throw food down my nice dress in a restaurant. All in all, a lovely trip!

Since Mr. FW was the best man in the wedding, I had to solo parent Babywoods during the ceremony, which actually worked pretty well for exactly one reason: I brought a backpack crammed with food. I kept Babywoods in the hallway of the church and let her run around until the literal second before the wedding started (I had the wedding coordinator tip me off).

Then, I slipped into the very back pew in the sanctuary, clapped a huge bib over her fancy dress, and commenced the feast. I let her double fist veggie pouches and, when she started to make noise during the vows, I deftly shoved an already-peeled banana into her mouth.

No one heard a peep, so I think it was a resounding success. Not an experience I want to repeat daily, but it totally worked for a wedding that I very much wanted to attend and did not want a yelling 16-month-old to rudely interrupt.

We had a wonderful time visiting family but both agreed we were happy to get back home to our quiet, peaceful, nature-filled routine. Mr. FW and I are homebodies and woods-bodies to the core.

Alert: We Have A Volunteer Land Steward In Our Midst

The finished raspberry trellises along with their floral friends

Have you ever wanted to navigate by compass through acres and acres of dense forest looking for property boundaries with a map that was hand-drawn (poorly) in the 1880s? Well, Mr. FW sure does. The man lives to navigate seemingly unnavigable pieces of forest–the fewer actual trails the better. He’s been traversing our property for months now and decided to take it to the next level.

Fortunately for him, there’s an organization that actually needs his weird brand of technological-woodsological skill set: the Upper Valley Land Trust! This Land Trust, and land trusts generally, exists to provide land owners with an opportunity to conserve their property in perpetuity, which ensures their land will never be turned into condos or parking lots. Yay!

As part of the conservation program, the land trust is required to visit each property in conservation every year. In order to accomplish this herculean task, they rely upon volunteers. Enter weirdos like Mr. FW.

Babywoods staking her claim

He attended a daylong training on serving as a volunteer land steward, passed with flying colors, is now a certified volunteer land steward, and was assigned several enormous parcels (400 and 600 acres respectively) near our home. I love that he’s able to utilize his unique skills of navigating and hiking through dense woods in service of an organization with such a wonderful mission. His aptitudes were really wasted in the city. Yet another reason why we love living in Vermont.

Want More Fotos?!

While I only document homestead life once a month here on the blog, I post photos to Instagram and updates to Facebook with much greater regularity–sometimes daily! Join me there if you want more of our frugal woods.

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Onward to May frugal comrades!

How was April on your own personal homestead?

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58 Responses

  1. I never heard of hop hornbeam until today. I kind of like the sound of it. ‘hop hornbeam’. No homestead here, but there is a pretty big part of me that would love to give it a go. At my current point in life, I don’t think it’s time to give it a go. But, rock on, it sounds really, really cool.

    I have 5 daughters, so the Babywoods stories make me smile. All of them are so familiar. (She is a really cute baby by the way).

    But the big question: Is the beard going to come back? How long did the first one take?

  2. I think I definitely take for granted where I live here in VA. While we get snow in the winter, we definitely don’t get the MUD that you all do. We might have soggy ground for a couple of days before the ground hardens up. I can definitely see how it’d be tough to do all those chores in the mud.

    With that said April was a great month for us and we were able to do some really fun things. We had a wedding to attend in PA which was nice as the grandparents volunteered to watch our baby while we headed out of town for a couple of hours. It was the first time since the baby was born that we got a date night and we enjoyed every minute of it 🙂

  3. Wow Mr. Frugalwoods did shave his beard after all. I was wondering that when reading your post about his new glasses. Baby Woods looks absolutely adorable in all of her outfits!

  4. Lisa says:

    I’ve picked blackberries at two U-pick farms that have trellissed their berries. The ease with which you can pick really makes it worth paying for the berries, although nothing beats picking your way into the middle of a thorny wild blackberry patch on a hot summer day.

  5. Master Duke says:

    Nothing like summer after the cold weather! The hobby of Mr. FW sounds like so much fun and the black berries sound delicious!

    It’s beginning to warm up in the Duke of Dollar castle also, looking forward to swimming in some natural water sources (like hikes and waterfalls), fishing, and kayaking for some serenity!

    Thanks for sharing !!

  6. Oh dear, sorry to hear about mud season! That’s gotta be a nightmare for keeping things clean! In Texas it’s been in the 90s and will stay that way (and hotter) until November lol. 🙂 Our homestead has been coming along swimmingly, though. We have a big tomato harvest on the horizon, a few squashes, and some peppers. We should start seeing some zucchini and cucumber, too. We also plan to plant flowers this weekend and build a trellis for our blackberry and raspberry plants. Yum!

  7. The properties behind my house are essentially land trusts, which is why we are next door to thousands of acres of woods. (I’m only 6 mins from a city.). Each ten acre lot has 1 acre of home and 9 acres of woods leading to a nature preserve and a Girl Scout camp if you walk long enough..

    I would find it a blast exploring near by properties like mr frugal woods. i can only walk about a 1/2 a mile before I run out of friendly neighbors that will allow me to explore. No mud though…

  8. Mrs. BITA says:

    Mud season sounds charming. I’m shocked it hasn’t featured in more romantic ditties about seasons.

    Spring is upon us here in CA. Our apple trees went from bald to covered in leaves and buds overnight. Our orange tree is blooming with a vengeance (which is rather unfortunate because Mr. BITA and pollen aren’t on the best of terms). Even our normally reticent grapefruit tree wants in on the party and has shyly put forth a couple of fruit.

  9. I think it’s funny you mentioned that need to want to know and do everything so fast because of how we tend to operate as human, especially humans that come from the big city. It’s hard to just drop that “i want it now” mentality and just be patient and learn from trial and error. Never heard of a mud season but that makes total sense. Enjoy the almost-summer weather!

  10. Chrissy says:

    Welp…We had several dead/dying as fast as they could trees cut down. Our yard now looks sad and very bright in the back. I am not happy. I do not care for not being happy so I am up to my ears in plans for a patio (keeping the smallish concrete pad from the 60s and adding an area of crushed stone all around, I think, it is the cheapest/most casually pretty option), a trellis or pergola, sourcing some umbrellas for the tables we own already and relocating our poor hostas that will be crispy by mid July if they don’t find some shade. My budget is about $2k. We’ll see if I manage it. In the fall we will plant some trees to replace the lost loves. You can’t really replace a many decades old hard maple, but I have always wanted dogwoods and redbuds, so we will likely go that route and plant a couple of hardwoods for posterity.

    • Stephanie says:

      We lost two 100ft maple trees in our front yard. We were so sad and then discovered that because the trees were down we suddenly became great candidates for solar panels. They have been on the roof for almost two years.

  11. Chrissy says:

    Oops. I meant my budget is $1k!!! LOL. That’s basically the amount I need for the quantity of stone and wood I will use.

  12. JD says:

    When my daughter and I visited Vermont one summer, we were amused at the many postcards and greeting cards featuring tractors sunk up to their fenders, cars disappearing, and wagons all but gone, all deep in mud. We heard a lot about mud season. Here in sandy coastal North Florida, we wish we could conjure up some mud — at least it would mean there is something besides this nearly sterile sand in soil that seems to grow only sand spurs and Spanish needles.
    As a former farm girl, I can promise you, one is always behind in tasks on a farm, and that never changes. It will take time to develop a self-sufficient homestead, but you guys can do it if anyone can.
    I love the hints of spring you are getting –I wish I was there. Like Mrs. Picky Pincher, I’ve been (not) enjoying 90 degree weather, and spring is already a fading memory. Love the pictures of your farm and fam, and love the description of taking Babywoods to a wedding. I once took a one year old granddaughter to a solemn Good Friday service, since I was watching her that day but wanted to go, and I did basically the same thing — fed her the entire service.

  13. Sounds like you have lots going on! Mud season doesn’t sound appealing, but in your shoes I bet it is nice to be welcoming spring soon and getting Babywoods outdoors more and more! Good luck getting a jump start on your outdoor chores. We’ve been enjoying warm weather in North Carolina, but also lots of rain. That makes it basically mud season for us too!

  14. Debbi says:

    Hurray for spring/mud season! I hate to be a killjoy but you may want to spring for the wire trellises. Sisal will rot fairly quickly, especially with moist, heavy branches entwined through it. When that happens, the trellis system collapses and, at that point, redoing it with wire gets way more difficult. I know all of this because I tried something similar one spring because it is so much easier on you hands to work with twine than with wire. It began splendidly but did not end well at all. How is frugalhound feeling about the mud? My three pups like to roll in mud. Yet another reason I do not have carpet…

  15. Laura says:

    Ah, mud season. 🙂 We are still in the thick of it here, with way-above-average rainfalls predicted for the next several days. I’m lucky in that my country road is paved and my heavy clay soil absorbs a lot of water. As long as you don’t: allow livestock on it, walk on it or drive anything on it! 🙂 My horses are confined to a small paddock to limit mud-a-geddon! They both love mud though – maybe they heard it is good for their skin? 😉

    Spring is so amazing in areas that get a heavy winter. Just when it seems like there is no hope, the days get longer and little buds and shoots start to grow. And then May hits with some warm days and it is like living in a tropical rainforest.

    Good idea to trellis the raspberries. My uncle had a massive untended patch when I was a kid. We used to crawl into the dead canes and make tunnels and forts in an effort to get to the good berries. We went through a lot of band-aids!

  16. I am loving this series! It’s like a check list for new homesteaders in Vermont. We moved to our homestead in Milton, (only about a half hour away from you!) last summer and there’s a never ending list to do with things that cost a ton of money we don’t have. It’s hard to prioritize because everything’s important! I stress myself with all we still have left to do, like install manual water pump for the well as back up, switch the pellet stove for a wood stove, work on the overgrown vegetable garden, build a blueberry cage, raised beds, compost bins and rainwater catchment system, start cutting our own firewood, plant more fruit and nut trees, etc. Then in the future we would like a pond, patio, chickens, new roof, solar, etc. And I want them all, right now, lol. But I always have to remind myself of all the things we have already accomplished and the fact that we even have a homestead to begin with. We were able to tap our maples for some syrup, pruned our orchard and berry bushes, we’re almost done with our windbreak and mulching the fruit trees, made compost tea spray for the orchard, and finished designing our permaculture plan. I’ve also started a personal blog solely as a journal to document our process.

    The Land Trust sounds interesting. Does it work for smaller parcels? We have 12.5 acres and about 8.5 is wooded but we are also surrounded by 2000 acres of forest that is used for sugaring. My husband just took the Game of Logging course so we can start to manage our forest, so need to get a chainsaw as well as hire a forester. I look forward to this series next month!

  17. Jen says:

    I love your experiences on the homestead. I live in Phoenix, so the weather here is sooo different. We hit 100 degrees already this week! It feels like our summer has already started. Although your property in Vermont is so peaceful looking, you guys are always busy doing something – usually new and different too. I can’t wait to hear about your summer harvest!

  18. amy says:

    No beard, no purple wedding dress, a whole new look! You guys, all three, look fantastic.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I almost wore the purple dress, but I was worried it would clash with Babywoods and Mr. FW’s blue best man tie ;)!

      • Amy says:

        I have my purple address equivalent because of you! I have a question for you, we are much older than you but I have learned so much from you. We track our assets in personal capital, and we have a lot of our savings in Fidelity like you, but we have another brokerage account that we are closing, the broker is retiring and I am wondering about using Personal Capital as an investment house. Have you considered it at all? Thanks, Amy

        • amy says:

          Actually a really dumb question on my part given how many times you have generously posted your financial strategy. We have lot of money in index funds at Fidelity but I don’t like to put all our money in one place, maybe crazy on my part, so went to Vanguard but I wanted to tell you when I was talking to Personal Capital and they asked how I knew about them and I said Frugalwoods, the woman laughed and said we get so much business from them. I think your post today about women and money, so so true for me.

          • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

            Not a dumb question at all :)! I recommend low-fee index funds through either Vanguard (VTSAX) or Fidelity (FSTVX). You are diversified just by virtue of investing in index funds. It actually doesn’t matter which company you use (Vanguard or Fidelity) because it’s essentially the same product because what you’re actually invested in is the stock market, not the specific company. You aren’t adding diversity by having one account with Fidelity and one with Vanguard. And index funds are awesome because they’re very diversified–through them you’re invested in the entire market :)! Hope this helps! More in this post.

  19. Nate R says:

    Spring is here! 🙂
    Couple questions come to mind reading this month’s happenings:
    1. Will you/have you guys forage(d) for morel mushrooms? I’m trying it for my first time this year here in WI, and they’re tasty! http://www.morelmushroomhunting.com/morel-progression-sightings-map/
    2. Does VT offer free forester advice/work to landowners? In my state, our DNR-employed foresters can do work for a landowner for up to 3 days/year. For our little 4 acre forested parcel, and a larger 40 acre parcel the family owns, it’s been great to get a neutral 3rd party’s advice on the state of our patch of ground, what to do with it, how to manage it, etc. Especially advice on forest management.
    3. I couldn’t find any info on the linked site….what does the volunteer land stewart have to do? So he walks the property…..to make sure that things are as they should be, conservation wise?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Good questions! 1) We’ve done some foraging for food in our woods (for ramps, morels, etc) and thus far been unsuccessful. One of our friends is a professional forager and showed us the ropes in our woods, but we need some more guidance from him I think! 2) Most of our land is enrolled in a program called “current use,” which mandates a forester-created forestry plan, which our land has. It is wonderful to have a professional provide this advice! 3) The land steward walks the property boundaries (and other sections of the parcel) to ensure there are no breeches in how the land is being used and then reports back to the land trust with their findings.

      • Nate R says:

        Good to hear about the foraging! The frugal part of me is entertained by the thought of getting free food from the wild, as well as the health side of my brain liking the idea, too.

        Also great that you have a pro advising you on forest management! You have a relatively large piece of ground, it’s a lot to know about/take on.

        Thanks for filling in the detail on the land steward role….Sounds neat, and glad there’s people out there doing that for organizations!

  20. That looks a bit too cold for me, having grown up in WI, but I am glad you are having a great time. It’s hard for me to even picture having so many weather challenges where we live in TN.

    That’s interesting about the raspberry bushes. We have a blackberry bush in our backyard, and our daughter eats them as fast as they are grown, but I had no idea there was an “ideal” way to grow them. We really should plant more, or at least a fruit tree. Decisions, decisions.

  21. Brian says:

    Who’s that guy with you at the wedding? 🙂

  22. Sherry says:

    I’m happy to say I’m celebrating my first week off since leaving my high-pressure job at the end of April. I’ll need to do something part time, but the chest pains and shortness of breath in Mid-April helped me decide to take a full month off. First order of business was getting new sneakers for the tractor (I have turf tires rather than the knobby farm type) and got about 5 of my 7 open acres mown (2.25 is wooded) and that felt good. Next up will be cutting down saplings that have invaded the perimeter of my foundation over the past couple of years and are up past the 1st floor windows. Why didn’t I do something earlier? wellllll…it was that 50-60 hr a week job thing…. yeah, that one. It’s gonna’ be a really, really good Spring.

  23. Carol Herbert says:

    I loved the picture taken at the wedding…I like Mr. Frugalwoods clean shaven…He looks much younger and you get to see his handsome face!

  24. Julia says:

    I have fond memories of being a child in Vermont and purposely trying to lose my shoes in the mud in my yard 🙂 something to look forward to with Babywoods!

  25. Diane C says:

    I find it hilarious that Mr. FW was rockin’ the Mountain Man look whilst living in corporate Boston and now that he’s a bona fide Vermont Certified Volunteer Land Steward, he looks like quite the corporate bigwig. Well, I guess the whole point of the journey is not to be afraid to zig when everyone else is zagging, so it fits! FWIW, I think he’s rocking the clean-cut look even better than MM.

  26. Maureen says:

    In Alaska, it’s called breakup, a season to itself. I love watching how your frugal lifestyle has allowed you to find and nourish your true skill sets and design the life that is true to you. More than any other, what an amazing reason and motivation to continue in the frugal camp.
    The three of you are beautiful…. May your mud season be swift and your growing season be long.

  27. Donna says:

    Bravo! The Land Trust and its volunteers!

  28. Terri says:

    Thank you for your really amazing and informative stories. I will be moving in the next 30 days(yes, I am kind of crazy at the moment), but I have gotten most of my boxes for free and have another family waiting to pass the boxes on to them when I am finished. It feels like at least some of the move is making more than my husband and me happy. Using many other great tips. Thank you for your inspiration!

  29. CloserToFree says:

    You three look so dashing in that wedding photo! Beautiful and a great reminder that you can look fabulous without buying new clothes for every special occasion (a trap I often used to fall into). Baby Woods is growing up so fast and is as adorable as ever. I enjoyed reading this update about springtime on the homestead!

  30. Karen B says:

    Your family looked beautiful and happy in the wedding! There seems to be nothing but love emanating from you three! Many blessings!

  31. Just remember, bears like berries too so keep your camera handy

  32. Norm says:

    Woah, land steward. I’m definitely putting that on the list of future retirement “jobs.” We were already thinking of buying land in the future and donating it through some kind of program like that.

  33. Jill says:

    I’ve only been to Vermont once and it was during yep, mud season. We almost got our minivan stuck on a side road in Northern Vermont – but made it out. We knew a local farmer would pull us out though – probably while shaking his head the whole time!

  34. I’ve lived here for over 10 years, and we also have black raspberry vines, but I’ve never put them up on trellises. Instead every year I’m the person designated to get the black raspberries from the back of the patch, while the boys get the ones in front that are easily reached without getting your arms scratched. I’ve frozen them and used them to make black raspberry jam, which is amazing. Maybe I should put them up on something this year instead of my usual tact of wearing long pants/long sleeves and going through the patch!

  35. Andrea McCulloch says:

    Thanks for sharing such lovely times with us, my ex husband missed my brothers wedding ceremony as our then 16 month old daughter kicked off and had to be taken out.
    Blackberries grow wild in so many locations in the U.K., I have never heard of anyone trying to train them on their land but it’s a perfectly logical thing to do if you want the berries to be easier to pick. Picking them over for pests is a bit of a chore, but blackberry and apple pies, tarts, crumbles, jams and jellies are worth it. Just plain blackberry is ok for jelly or jam. For the rest, apples are the best partner.

  36. Heather says:

    You should see if you can get a property tax break or some other perk for your husband being a land steward

  37. Sabbaticalia says:

    For the “growing all your own food”, two thoughts to contribute.

    First: go Grow Biointensive. The flagship book (or gateway drug 🙂 for the past several decades is “How to Grow More Vegetables […]” by John Jeavons. http://www.growbiointensive.org/publications_main.html Double-digging and very close spacing will help minimize the effort (and water) you need, while building up the soil. Several nations’ agriculture ministries in Latin America, Africa, and western Asia are integrating this into their outreach to small-holders. And one of their research interns figured out how to generate plans for sustainable diets in an average 1000 square feet per person. I think you’d enjoy traipsing through their resources ….

    Second: Build slowly and incrementally as much as you can, starting with the stuff you most cherish and is most troublesome to get by another source (grocery store, local trading, …). Soon enough Babywoods will be helping out, maybe wanting garden space of her own for cropping.

  38. Cheryl Fewell-Brown says:

    Here in Humboldt we have miniature bell peppers in our new greenhouse. I have hanging baskets of flowers an miniature blueberries too. Now that I’m retired I can spend the day out on our lot which is just big enough for us. We are putting our greenhouse in its permanent spot and building some raised beds for veggies and more flowers. Our raspberries will finally be put next to the blueberries and a new strawberry bed will be planted. After quilting/sewing, being in the yard is the best!

  39. Linda says:

    I picked 40 lbs of blackberries a few years back and ended up canning jams, jellies, juice and pie filling. We usually pick them from a large overgrown patch. The hot tip for getting the ones on the inside is to use an old pallet. It creates a nice picking platform that doesn’t harm the bushes. It helps to elevate you from the snakes that like to hide in the underbrush too. I tried to do the trellis thing, but it was a bit too much maintence for me. Enjoy the process. Blackberry picking is a fond childhood memory that I savor almost as much as the jam.

  40. I thought you found a few husband for a moment! Had to contrast and compare your post photo to profile photo a few times haha!

    xx Miss Piggy

  41. Laurie says:

    Upper Valley Land Trust is such a great organization. How wonderful that Mr. Frugalwoods is a volunteer. It looks like you guys have learned so much in just a year about being homesteaders. I’m so impressed! I love your goal of eventually growing all your food for your own needs. I read a great book a couple of years ago about two farmers in upstate New York who do that (and also run a co-op to provide their neighbors with food). It’s called The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball. For all your spare time! 🙂 Happy Spring!

  42. Christopher Johnson says:

    add a photo of the pink stuff so we can tell you what it’s called.

  43. Sandra & the 2 Spaniels says:

    Black raspberries! I am jealous, they are so delicious! You can only buy them in jams/jellies in California. They grow wild in Ohio too and I have fond memories of ice cream, pies, and other goodies from my Grandmother’s kitchen. I hope that you get lots and lots of berries!

  44. Lindsey Mozgai says:

    I can’t believe he shaved his beard! He looks like a totally different person. Love the tip about food I’ll have to stash that idea away for my wedding

  45. Matt Colombo says:

    Long time reader but first time commenter. First, thank you for your inspiration. Second, I hope that your permaculture dreams come true, and you may be the beneficiary of warmer weather in the future if you stay there for your lifetime!

    Congratulations on escaping the hustle and bustle of the city, I’ll be there soon myself. I currently live on a quiet street in Northwest DC, but, well, it’s still mostly concrete.

    Matt

  46. I’ve been reading for a while but this is the first I’ve heard you mention permaculture. I’ve been interested in permaculture for about a year now and sustainable ag for much longer. I’d love to hear more about your endeavors in regards to permaculture.

  47. Anita says:

    Well I understand being barried in snow. I live in Nova Scotia we just got rid of our snow as of April 28th. Still rain now but better than snow no shoveling. I so enjoy reading your posts. Love your descriptive writing. I look forward to your next post. Will you be doing any challenges again soon?

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