Saturday, January 23, 2021

Truck for Sale! (and updates)

Well! There's a lot to update you on round here! Starting with my heavy decision to sell my beloved truck, Taylor. She's a 1989 4WD F150 and my main ride the past half decade. Besides repairs out costing the expense of a newer, used, truck - I simply need a more reliable vehicle. I am hoping someone who needs a trusty farm or plow truck will buy her. I'm aslig $1200 and hoping to make a sale soon. So far, no luck. But who knows? Maybe one of you need a slightly rusted red farmhand? Email if you do!

The farm has 2 new additions, a pair of meat rabbits gifted from a friend. They are being given their own run near the chicken coop and will be moved outside once the polar vortex taking over this week blows past. Not sure exactly of the breed but they are blond with brown eyes, clearly stil babies, and we think they are Palaminos. Excited to have a small rabbitry back on the farm! Shannon and I both love rabbit and it's been lovely sitting down at night with a rabbit in our laps. Really keeps the chill off!

And speaking of the cold: this farm is READY for it! There is wood stacked higher than my head in the mudroom for the back woodstove. There's a warm place by the fire. The dogs have coats, one that was my high school dog Murray's that my mom mailed me in a care package for my pups and the other is an Orvis coat I napped at the outlet when I worked there. They hate them but Friday does seem comfier with a coat on, so when it's 2 degrees in the morning they may feel silly but be a bit more comfy. Same with the horses. Same with us! Everyone is bundling up!

I am looking to expand the garden this year, really expand it. So seed catalogs are piling up like happy reminders winter doesn't last forever and I am extremely excited about putting in a 3 sisters patch. HIgh Mowing Seeds in Vermont will probbaly be our go to seed company. If you have any tips share them, please!

Stay warm out there, friends.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Fences and Forests

Homesteading has given me a life outdoors, but not the life most people think of when they hear that. Most people think of the "Outdoors" as a place for hunters, hikers, explorers and camping. But those of us in gardens, landscaping, farming, hell even working road construction or surveying land are working outdoors. What I mean is a life not sitting at a desk. And in my personal situation a life with domesticated plants and animals constantly rubbing up against the edge of wilderness. 

When I started farming I saw wild animals like foxes and possums as the enemy of my efforts. Now I see them as neighbors. I look forward to coyote calls and have learned the names and calls of songbirds and raptors. I train and work with hawks. I hike and backpack more than ever before. I find myself more attracted to reading Gary Snyder than Joe Salatin and I find myself planning hikes the way I used to plan going to rock shows. The real entertainment, the real experience, is in wild places.

Which is not meant to knock farming. Farming is my life and my love. It's my wife and my dream. But to go on tiny adventures or weekends away is a larger goal of mine. To get to spend time away and bring that love of farming with me on the trail, part of what I carry in my pack. To learn to let go of my worries about the farm and its safety. To get away for more than 2 nights a year. Not vacations. Not silly wastes of money or resources. But seeing small things with friends and when the world is more open than it is now. 

Thinking about all this today. About how excited I am to go on future hikes and how much I can't wait to plan a larger garden, too. Home and Wild, what a place to find a love affair with fences and forests. 

Monday, January 4, 2021

Happy New Year!

Throwback to snowy day's past!
The holidays came and went in a blur of snowfalls, ice, good friends, and warm fires. For the first time in my life, I woke up on Christmas morning with someone beside me. We had a feast of roast venison and homemade pierogis (my family’s tradition) and spent the oddly warm day sharing gifts with the only two people we have been quarantining around since the Pandemic started. But there was still a bit of snow on the farm, and twinkle lights, and warm fireplaces and wood stoves. We danced over and over to The Wren in the Furze by the Chieftains and drank nog and wassailed and watched the snow fall. The dogs and cats were all kissed (regardless of mistletoe) and I can’t remember a better holiday! Maybe it’s being isolated without guilt of travel. Maybe it’s her. Maybe it’s just feeling a little more grounded and certain. All in all, this is a happy and good place tucked up and into a mountain.

Things here at the farm are better than they have been in a long time. The hay and firewood is holding strong. The sales from soap and pet portraits have carried us through another month. Still behind on the mortgage, but only by a single payment instead of several. We are both lucky to be healthy and safe, so far no sign of Covid and cases in Washington County have been rare, but not non-existent. Lots of masks, small gatherings if any, and quick trips to town and back is all that is happening. I hope none of you have fallen into the conspiracy theories or Youtube rabbit holes that have surrounded the Homesteading community out there. Wear your masks, be safe, be smart.

P.S. I loved all the cards! Some of them were so touching we just read them together out loud and teared up. Thank you for sending them and I hope the mail got some of the postcards through! I am sending the soap and book out later this month to the winner! Enjoy it!