Category: This Month On The Homestead

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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...

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This Month On The Homestead: Woodshop Woodworking

April 2018 Remember how I said last month that the snow was receding? Well, it must’ve overheard my hubris and felt the need to prove me wrong. April was, uh, pretty snowy. Although our winters are indeed long up here in Vermont, this winter took it to the extreme and overstayed its welcome. The snow would melt, tempting us with a glimpse of bare earth, only to jealously cover the nascent grass with a colorless...

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This Month On The Homestead: Seed Starting and Tree Clearing

March 2018 Early March, with its balmier temperatures and reluctantly melting snow, set our minds towards spring. We foolishly began to discuss impending blooms and said reckless things like, “maybe we’ve had our last snow of the season.” Overhearing our misguided words, March retaliated in an effort to prove how wrong we were and dumped a righteous amount of snow. It snowed daily, weekly, heavily. With gusto and vigor, the landscape was newly coated and...

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This Month On The Homestead: Hard Cider, Apple Tree Pruning, and a Baby!

February 2018 Patches of grass made themselves known this month as snow receded by degrees, not unlike ocean waves. A sunny day would initiate a melt, with grass and mud gradually reclaiming territory, biting away at the uneven edges of ice and slush. The next day, snow would mount a resistance, falling determinedly for a few hours, only to succumb to sun the next day. And so on went the month, leaving us in an...

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This Month On The Homestead: Turkeys, Foxes, And A Fisher Cat!

January 2018 It’s tempting to say that January is a barren, desolate time of year here in Vermont. But it’s not. Not really, anyway. And not if you’re attuned to the ever-present, ever-changing ecosystem of life that populates our woods. True, we’re shrouded in snow. True, we have more ice than greenery. True, some critters are hibernating. Equally true is the shimmering beauty of sun on snow and the exhilaration of inhaling frigid air while...