Category: This Month On The Homestead

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This Month On The Homestead: The Full Garden Rundown Including Building Raised Beds

May = Plants-In-The-Ground The vegetables we started from seed back in February were booted from the warmth of the kitchen into the wilds of the garden. For weeks, we took our plant starts outside for field trips to feel the breeze and learn about the sun. Finally, in mid-May, we nestled each nascent veggie into hand-dug reservoirs of fine dirt (except for the ones the kids planted, which were jammed into the soil with negligent...

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This Month On The Homestead: Stumps, Tractors, Cookies, and a Balance Beam

April is the month of anticipation. It’s not yet spring, there’s still snow, we can’t DO much, but it’s the month our faces turn to the nascent sun and realize our eight month Vermont winter will end. Someday. April is a liminal space at odds with my desire to Know Things. To know if I should wash everyone’s snow pants and pack them away, to know when warmth will spread across our woods and we...

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This Month On The Homestead: Making Maple Syrup, Starting Vegetable Seeds, and Other Pandemic Pursuits

March 2020 March was weird. I’m not sure there’s a better way to put it. We did some homesteading stuff, but mostly I stress-ate homemade baked goods while listening to podcasts about the pandemic. Now that you know this about me, we can discuss how we made maple syrup, started some of our vegetable garden seeds, and kept our children (and selves) alive. I begin with an update to let you know that Glamour Shed...

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This Month On The Homestead: Birthday Baking, Icicle Hiking, and Getting Stuck on My Own Driveway

February 2020 In a winter populated by snow storms, in a climate where cold is more familiar that warmth, and a region mythologized by horse-drawn sleighs breaking through snow, February went above and beyond. Several overachieving storms bent tree branches to the earth with the weight of snow piled on ice piled on snow. Crunching through this ice/snow laminate on snow shoes breaks the silence that follows a storm as all critters, save we humans,...

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This Month On The Homestead: Breathe Deeply, Expect Nothing, Add Carrots

January 2020 January delivers a stark reminder that the holiday festivities are finished and that snow is in residence until May. January meets us with a grim reminder that we ought gird ourselves for consistency of weather and of activity. It’s a month of monochromatic sameness. But January is also the time for decluttering and new recipes and woodstove worship. It’s an exercise in locating beauty in the mundane. In finding stillness among the snow-soaked...

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This Month On The Homestead: Hiking and The Great Indoors

December 2019 December is a dormant month. By December, we’ve completed our fall wrap-up tasks: all food from the garden is preserved, the apple cider is pressed, the tractor is switched over to the snow blower and chains, the snow tires are on the cars, the firewood is stacked on the porch, and snow obviates all homesteading labor save its removal from our driveway and walking paths. In December we turn inward and embrace the...

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This Month On The Homestead: Starting Fires, Baking Pies, and Celebrating a Birthday

November 2019 November ushered in our first snowfall and the seasons replaced, exchanged and subsumed each other. I’m never quite ready for this transition, even though I know it’s coming, even though I love the snow. It’s hard for me to let go of my preferential feelings for fall. By November 8th, we were in full winter regalia and nestled beneath the white blankets that’ll cloak the earth until spring. There’s a relief that accompanies...

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How We Evaluate Expensive Purchases: Why We Bought A Generator

I reached the limit of my desire to re-enact Little House On The Prairie every time our power goes out. So, we bought a generator. Today I’ll discuss why, what type of generator we got, how to assess a range of price points for the same product, and perhaps most importantly, why we waited four years to make this purchase. The 1870’s: Not For Me I’ve tried living a la the 1870’s and, I’ll be...

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This Month On The Homestead: Apple Cider, Tomato Sauce, and a Jack O’ Lantern

October 2019 October is the reason why I live in the New England countryside. I mean, I guess there are other reasons, but October ranks pretty high. It’s the most idyllic, most stereotypically “autumn,” most mythologized, most steeped-in-Americana of all the months. And I love it. Welcome to my recurring series in which I document life on our 66-acre Vermont homestead, which we moved to in May 2016 from urban Cambridge, MA.  Wondering about the financial aspects...

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This Month On The Homestead: A Full Woodshed, Evolving as Gardeners, Plus a Pumpkin

September 2019 As you saw in our expense report, September turned us away from summer, pushed us into fall, and forced us to reckon with the inevitability of winter. We started the month with monochromatic green and ended in a riot of leaf colors. September makes us hustle. Dropping temperatures rob us of our languid summertime pace and Mr. Frugalwoods and I rushed from garden to kitchen to firewood, each task feeling immediate and necessary...