Category: This Month On The Homestead

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This Month On The Homestead: Maple Trees, Maple Sap, Maple…

March 2019 The sap is flowing, the sap is flowing! Maple sap, that is. Welcome to a special maple-flavored edition of my This Month On The Homestead series. Today I’ll cover the process of tapping our maple trees, running tubes between the trees, and collecting maple sap. Since I used a lot of words to write about all that, I’ll dedicate a future post to the actual boiling of the sap to make the actual...

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This Month On The Homestead: When Your Internet And Your Truck Conspire Against You

January 2019 What is there to say about a month like January? It’s the doldrum of a season. Winter persists. Fall is a memory. Spring is an elusive promise that seems more like a maybe than a definite. Snow engulfs everything: trees, cars, garden fences, porches, small mammals, a box of tissues I accidentally dropped off the porch and forgot about. It’s all buried under stubborn, thick white. I don’t mind winter and I don’t...

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This Month On The Homestead: Burning Brush and The Life and Times of Firewood

December 2018 Most of what happened in December related to our Christmas fiasco festivities, which I detailed earlier this week in Laugh So You Don’t Cry: What It’s Really Like to Celebrate Christmas With Little Kids. Other than that whole situation, I can report that it is still winter on the homestead. We’re still covered in snow, although not as much as in November. It’s white and fluffy. Except for the spots where it’s icy and...

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This Month On The Homestead: Snow, Power, and Celebrations

November 2018 November is stick season. November is stark trees, bare earth, cold. November is purgatory, a way station between vibrant fall and monochromatic winter. At least, that’s what November is in a normal year. This year, however, November slammed us into deep winter. As we waited for the final leaves to finish their descent and made plans to gird ourselves, impertinent snow took hold. Heedless of its prematurity, careless in its saturating abundance, snow...

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This Month On The Homestead: Bears, Turkeys, Deer, A Tractor, and Wood

October 2018 Transition visits in October. We’re caught balancing between two extremes, tentative and uncertain, unable to find sure footing in either fall or winter. There’s a riot of color on every leaf and the trees look fake with saturation. The oranges and reds and yellows all cluster around, pushing into our faces, swarming at our feet, demanding we notice their brilliance. And then, it snowed. A demure snow, doing a trial run to see...

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This Month On The Homestead: Apples, The County Fair, and A Plum Thief

September 2018 Early September carries the whiff of summer. It’s warm, the trees are lush and green, and the vegetable garden still pushes out reams of produce. We hop around bound up in our summer lives: mowing fields and grasses, harvesting and preserving vegetables, playing in the creek, and picking late blackberries. But mid-September begins to portend a change. Temperatures dip and we find ourselves closing the windows and reaching for sweaters and socks, long...

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This Month On The Homestead: Building A Woodshed And Picking Blackberries

August 2018 August is a languid, rolling experience of heat and bounty so prolific it’s overwhelming. We wait all year for baking sun and endless veggies and then when it happens, it’s almost too much to bear. There’s a temptation to run and hide from the mountains of chard and the opulence of tomatoes. But we pause, we remember that soon enough, it’ll all be gone, evaporated and enveloped by snow. And so we go...

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This Month On The Homestead: Kimchardashian and A Winch

July 2018 Verdant and warm, July on the homestead was awash in the lushness (lusciousness?) of summer. July is the month when the literal fruits of our labors begin to bear. Much of our springtime work is in preparation for July: we till, we weed, we plant, we prepare. And finally, stuff begins to ripen. July is the counterbalance to its half-birthday of January. The striking similarity is the monochromatic landscape: all white in January...

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This Month On The Homestead: Flame Weeding, Regular Weeding, And A Clay Mixture

June 2018 Yeah, yeah, it’s August and I’m just now getting around to writing about June on the homestead… if you’re wondering why, read this. It’s rare that I say these words, but, we were feeling hot, hot, hot in June. We are not hot weather people (I repeat NOT), as evidenced by our move to a snowy state. Summers here are usually temperate and quite manageable with opened windows and doors (screened, of course)....

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This Month On The Homestead: Project Perennial Food

May 2018 I’m thrilled to report that it did NOT snow during the month of May. It’s the little victories we live for around here. Spring’s tendrils took hold, tentative at first given the frozen earth they were supplanting. Slowly, crocuses poked up through still-snowy ground. Next, daffodils made a slightly more confident approach and finally, yellow and orange globe flowers busted out with wild abandon. And then lilacs! Oh the lilacs! As snow lost...