It’s off the to the races! Or at least that’s what it feels like…
This year marks our third spring on the homestead. I thought the first two were busy, but this year proves to be a doozy! We’ve got practically every hour of every weekend planned out from now until mid-summer. But it’s fun and gratifying work, so we don’t mind it! Here’s what’s been happening:
Maple Syrup Season
The annual maple syrup boiling took place this month. For years we’ve been tapping between one and three trees every spring and ending up with enough maple syrup to meet our maple needs for the year. It’s something we look forward to every year, as it signifies the unofficial start of the productive season.
Check out the difference in maple syrup! The jar on the left is the first run and had a much lighter flavor. The syrup on the right was from the second week and had a much deeper maple flavor- it was our favorite! Our total maple haul for this year was a gallon and some change.
The Grand Privacy Hedge
This is the project that is taking most of our time- we have been clearing scrub trees and brush in preparation for the privacy hedge we’re putting in. Up next is raking the years of old field grass and tilling a nice hole for each of the 200+ trees we’ll be planting soon.
But this isn’t just any privacy hedge! We can’t do anything “normally” or “small,” it turns out…
We’re putting in Spruce, Juniper and Arborvitae for the bulk of the privacy part, and sprinkling in a lot of other interesting evergreen varieties, plus lining the entire thing with native berry-producing shrubs to support the birds and other local wildlife. We’re using 18 different species of trees!
Since it isn’t just a couple staggered rows of the same type of trees- I mapped everything out, spacing the trees by their future mature size. There may have even been construction paper tree cut-outs involved…
It’s a big project, but one that will definitely pay off down the road!
Putting in an Antique Apple Orchard
This is one of our projects that I am looking forward to the most! We always knew that we would dedicate a good portion of our 19-acres to fruit and nut trees- but not just any trees… We’re obsessed with lost, forgotten, rare, and antique apple varieties, so we spent the winter months reading about different old varieties and deciding which we’d like to add to the homestead.
I got to visit an antique apple orchard last fall and sampled many different varieties- it was like Christmas! Each antique apple variety has so much more personality than the usual grocery store offerings. This year we will be putting in 18 apple trees, all different varieties. That’s just the start- we have a long list of apple-tree-wants and will be adding in more in the years to come.
Gardens Across America
A mission that really speaks to me- Garden’s Across America was started to protect rare vegetable varieties by growing them out in the gardens across America. We’re talking the rarest of the rare. It encourages growing your own food and learning how to save and share the seeds. In 2014 I was lucky enough to be chosen as a participant, and this year I was asked to be part of the core team- and I am thrilled! I love that I get to be part of this incredible mission.
There is still time to apply to be a grower (some garden experience is great, but a willingness to grow out plants with love and care and learn how to properly save the seeds is even better!). –> Details here!
Farmhouse Kitchen Update: Done! Finally! Oh Thank Goodness!!
I feel like I’ve been talking about our kitchen cabinets forever… probably because I have! We started our cabinet-painting project in December and finally finished it in March!
I love, LOVE the white cabinets and antique (looking) hardware- the handmade glass knobs were exactly what I was hoping for, and the simple, rustic drawer pulls match them perfectly. The never-ending hours of painting were worth it in the end.
We also added two barn wood shelves (made from wood from our beautiful but falling apart barn) on cast iron honeycomb brackets, which I am also swooning over. Being able to recycle things we collect from years passed on the homestead gives me so much joy!
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