Homesteading // Spring Is Near

>> Friday, March 13, 2015

We had over two feet of snow on the ground just a few days ago. It’s melted to less than six inches, and I’m starting to see brown blades of grass peeking out. Along with the earth’s thawing, my own body and mind are warming up to the idea of being outdoors again. After the winter we’ve had, it doesn’t even seem real that we’ll soon be able to walk around without all the bulk. And I certainly have a lot I want to do with our “land” (errr, backyard) and there are tons of other projects that extend indoors as well.

I plan to share some of our spring goals soon, but I thought I’d first give you an update on how we did with our winter homesteading goals . . .

Research Chickens: I did some good reading about chickens and feel like I have a handle on the things that are involved with finding them, making a place for them to live, caring for them, etc. That being said, I think this year isn’t the time to get started with the endeavor because our attention is definitely sucked in too many other places. My conclusion is that raising backyard chickens isn’t something to take lightly, so I think we’re going to push out the timeline a couple years.

Make Soap: Instead of making soap, I opted to get friendly with beeswax, making candles and ornaments, and all different types of lip balms and salves (like Natural Vapor Rub). I’m even considering making the ornaments for sale next year because I had so much fun and friends + family seemed to really like them. Since I had spent a chunk of money on getting supplies for these projects, I figured I’d wait on the soap stuff -- maybe I’ll add this one to my spring list.

Make Cheese: I did make cheese! Just not mozzarella. We love Indian food, so in an effort to stop eating out as often, I tried making paneer at home using this recipe. It worked out pretty well, but didn’t hold together quite as I had hoped. It kind of reminded me of when I tried making it a few years ago except it was in more solid form. Overall, I’m excited to try some different cheeses.

Plan Garden: This year I’m going to stick to the confines of our current raised bed garden which is about 6 feet by 10 feet. I found a nice garden layout guide that I’m going to loosely follow. Right now I’m starting my seeds indoors versus buying plants like we’ve done in the past. I’ll be honest, I’m worried nothing will grow indoors or that the cats will eat any sprigs that do pop up. Only time will tell! At least the seeds were all 50% off.

Knitting, Etc.: I had a lot of fun knitting with my Martha Stewart Loom Kit this winter. I made two hats for myself, one for Stephen, and a hat and cowl set that Ada wore to school most every day. It was sort of amazing that we all actually wore the stuff I made because I’ve knitted in the past but just never finished anything. I think I’ll probably slow on the knitting when we’re outdoors more, but I’d like to extend my skills next year into some more intricate stitches and projects.

And don’t miss . . .

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* Here’s the image source for the 1800s garden above.

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