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Finally Here

November 25th, 2015

We woke up Monday morning to an inch and a half of snow. It was beautiful, though I had a few chores that were more difficult because of the snow. I’m already loving how nicely the boxwood looks in the winter, the structure it adds is just what I was hoping for.
first snow 1
With the snow came the cold weather, temperatures are starting to dip down into the teens at night. The duck pond needs a heater, as does the waterer in the chicken coop.
first snow 2
This time of year, the freezing of the ground makes me move on towards other winter chores, mostly cleaning out chicken/duck coops and getting them set up for the winter. I’m always thankful for the lovely nutrient rich mulch provided by this chore. Usually it’s used on a newer area in the garden. It makes a fantastic week free bed come spring. After these chores I’m finally finished up for the year with a few weeks to spare, now it’s time to plan next year!

What end of the year chores are you finishing up?

Making the Most

November 23rd, 2015

When you have chickens and allow them to hatch their own nuggets, you invariably end up with extra roosters. This year we were lucky in that out of the 9 chicks hatched, there were only 3 roosters (one year out of 17 chicks 12 were roosters). That means you have to find homes for them of cull them. Finding homes for extra roosters is tough, I tried last year and no one wanted any of them.
Making Chicken Stock 1
The result is a day spent processing chickens for the freezer. We freeze the young ones and the older guys get made into chicken stock. Yesterday 6 chickens (5 ours and one from the neighbor) went to Iceland.
Making Chicken Stock 2
I always grow lots of extra celery, carrots, and leeks for my fall stock making days. I’m happy to be able to use up all the excess in the garden to have a freezer full of stock for winter soups and stews.

What are you eating this week?

Friday Favorite: My New Lamp

November 20th, 2015

Last week my trusty desk lamp died, poof, dark. It wasn’t that big of a loss since it was a cheap lamp I got on clearance many years ago. It’s actually been broken for years, but I kept using it because I dislike spending money on things that I don’t technically need. I knew exactly what I’d replace it with, I’ve been eyeing this mercury hobnail lamp from Pottery Barn for years.
new desk lamp
Lucky for me there was a wicked good sale and free shipping, so I ended up getting it for a song. Perfection in my little corner of the world. It makes me smile while I work, especially these days since the sun goes down at 4 pm and I need light to keep working. Now on to perhaps build myself a new desk…

Have you gotten anything lately that you’ve been wanting for a while?

Welcome Volunteers

November 19th, 2015

Last summer I let overwintered carrots go to seed in the garden, the result was welcome volunteers here and there this spring. I left all the carrots seedlings that sprouted up here and there throughout the potager. Yesterday, I harvested a few of them to make soup.
Carrot harvest
There are a few things I allow to go to seed because I enjoy not having to plant them again. Cilantro, parsley, dill, kale, lettuce, and fennel are all things that sprout up here and there every spring. Sometimes I pull them up, most of the time I let them grow as they wish. The result is a lot of wonderful things that I didn’t have to plant myself.

What sorts of edible volunteers do you have in your garden?

Gifts from Readers

November 18th, 2015

A month or so ago I received this lovely hand-forged tool from a blog reader. She said it was one of her favorite garden tools and she thought I’d like it as well. As I’ve been clearing out the front flowerbed, I’ve been using it to level the soil. The extra reach provided by the extra long handle is quite convenient, with it I can reach more of the bed from one location.
homestead iron 1
homestead iron 2
This tool is made handmade in Missouri by Homestead Iron. You can find their tools over in their Etsy shop. I really like some of the other items, a boot scraper would come in handy around here that’s for sure.
homestead iron 3
So far I’m loving this tool. A big thanks to Amy for sending this along. If you’re looking for a gift for yourself or for friends/family this Christmas check out this little shop.

Have you received any thoughtful gifts recently?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.