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Quote of the Day: Harvest Time

September 11th, 2016

The rush of harvest time came. The oats were ripe, standing thick and tall and yellow. the wheat wasgolden, darke than thte oats. The beans were ripe, and the pumpkings and carrots and turnips and potatoes were ready to gather.

There was not rest and no play for anyone now. They all worked from candlelight to candlelight. Mother and the girls were making cucumber pickles, green-tomato pickles, and watermelon-rind pickles; they were drying corn and apples, and making preserves. Everything must be saved, nothing wasted of all the summer’s bounty. Even the apple cores were saved for making vinegar, and a bundle of oat straw was soaking on the back porch. Whenever mother had one minute to spare, she braided an inch or two of oat-straw braid for making next summer’s hats.

Laura Ingalls Wilder in Farmer Boy

When I was in Vermont with a friend at the beginning of August, we decided to take the short trip up to New York to visit Almanzo Wilder’s homestead. The Little House series was one of my favorites as a child, and I admit that I’ve read them four or five times as an adult as well. It was quite amazing to see the original house, it’s been restored to what it would have looked like when the Wilders lived there.
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We peeked down into the cellar and toured the barns as well, unfortunately no photos were allowed inside the house or the barns, so I only have images of the grounds.
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There was one enormous sugar maple tree in the front yard that would have been standing when Almanzo lived there. A few of the apple trees looked old enough as well, but those haven’t been dated to see for sure if they were.
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The gardens were smaller than they would have been at the time, but they did have a small one they maintained. The large lilac behind the house that would have been by the outhouse was still standing, it has grown and almost has taken over the back yard.
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On our way home we listened to the audiobook and were delighted to be able to put real images with the things we’d only imaged as little girls. If you’re a Little House fan and happen to be in Northern New York, I recommend taking the trip to the homestead. It’s nothing fancy or overdone, but it’s amazing to walk the grounds, tour the house, and place all the things in the book.

Did you enjoy the Little House series as a child?

Quote of the Day: Farmer Boy

March 10th, 2013

“A farmer depends on himself, and the land and the weather. If you’re a farmer, you raise what you eat, you raise what you wear, and you keep warm with wood out of your own timber. You work hard, but you work as you please, and no man can tell you to go or come. You’ll be free and independent, son, on a farm.”

Father to Almanzo (Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder)

Mr Chiots and I aren’t farmers, but we can certainly appreciate this quote and what it means.  Even gardening on a small scale can bring a sense of freedom and independence.  Here in Maine, we also heat with wood, which is a wonderful thing. There’s no paying the propane, natural gas, or heating oil bill.  The electric bill is smaller and the house is cozier.
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When you heat with wood, there’s a lot of work involved. Our splitter just arrived this week, so we’re now madly splitting wood in preparation for next winter.

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Yesterday was spent splitting a big pile of wood, today we’ll do the same.  We both work on splitting, loading and unloading the truck. These are the kinds of chores that are better when shared.  We started around noon and were able to split three truckloads.  Hopefully tomorrow we can do even more.
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It’s good to know that we’ll be warm and toasty all winter regardless of how full our propane tank is.  We really love heating with wood, there’s nothing quite like standing next to a warm wood burner on a cold winter morning. Not to mention, Dexter wouldn’t know what to do without a warm wood burner to sleep in front of!

What method of heat do you use in your house? 

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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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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