Overall we had a lovely start to the winter season with unseasonably warm temperatures, which means the chickens got to free range for a while longer, and we were harvesting kale, chard, parsley and celery from the garden for a record amount of time! The holidays were filled with family and good food, and we also took a much needed break from outdoor projects around the homestead.
Here’s what we’ve been up to (besides eating my new favorite Sweet Apple Chicken Salad on repeat!)
This winter I decided to become a Beautycounter consultant, which you can read ALL ABOUT in this post. I had been using their high performance natural makeup and skincare products for a couple months and loved the way they were nourishing my beat-up skin. I figured that if they were helping me look and feel my best, there were others out there who would appreciate knowing about Beautycounter as well!
There is a huge need for more safe and non-toxic skincare products that actually work, and I love being part of this movement. I feel really good knowing that the few products I do choose to use aren’t harming me, or undermining the lengths we go to to produce our own clean and healthy food.
If you’re looking to improve the condition of your skin or switch out some of your old products for safer ones, I can’t recommend Beautycounter enough!
My 15 Minutes of Fame
More like 60 minutes I guess! Just this past weekend I gave a talk on Rare and Unique Edibles for the Home Garden at the 2017 Eau Claire Master Gardener’s Winter Seminar. I was so nervous because I haven’t done any public speaking since, um… college probably! I really had no idea what to expect from myself- I was just hoping I wouldn’t pass out or anything!
Well, I guess I didn’t give myself enough credit because it ended up going really well. People were “oohing and ahhhing” at the varieties I showed, laughing at my nerdy gardening jokes, and taking lots of notes.
It was great being able to share my love of growing uncommon things with other like-minded folks! I am really grateful for the opportunity- it was the perfect way to stretch myself and get out of my comfort zone. I’m glad it’s over though, ha! Time to focus on the coming growing season and our big spring plans.
I didn’t record my presentation, but I did create a page on my blog here for local folks who attended to be able to reference the plants and other resources I mentioned. If you are curious about which rare edibles I think are really cool and worthy of growing in Zone 4, you can check out my list on this page.
We’ve spent a lot of time in the last couple of weeks planning for the coming spring- mostly what things we’re going to plant!
A huge chunk of our time will be dedicated to planting a privacy border/wind break along the West side of our property (approximately 600 feet). It will mostly be boring spruce and fir trees, but we’re adding a couple really neat things into it too, like pine nuts trees! We’ve also ordered some more fruit trees to expand the ever-growing fruit orchard. And of course I’ve been pouring over the literally one-foot tall stack of seed catalogs sitting on the coffee table as we speak.
We started building garden boxes last fall and will continue with them this Spring as well- eventually they will hold things like raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, honey berries, currants, elderberries, and other odd and interesting edibles.
We’re hoping for an early spring so we can hit the ground running and get lots and lots of valuable things planted!
In eggs, that is. The girls finally turned it back on. I kid you not, the day after winter solstice, when the days start getting longer again it was like a switch flipped. Our 3+ year old hens started laying better than they have in a while, and our 4 new girls (that we hatched this summer) also started laying. It actually does feel a bit like we hit the jackpot though!
I haven’t had to buy any eggs in a month now, and we are actually getting plenty of eggs to start stashing them away for when production slows down again next fall and winter! How I freeze copious amounts of eggs in this post here!
Speaking of chickens, in January I shared the story of Little Henny and how to know when it’s time to cull a chicken. I hope you don’t need to read it, but if you want to be prepared or know how we decided, the post is here for you.
The project of having our old barn torn down and recycled took waaay longer than it was supposed to- but thankfully the crew of guys and their heavy equipment are officially out of here. We are still waiting on our barn wood dining table from the company that salvaged the wood (fingers crossed that we receive it in a timely manor) as they have been less-than ideal to work with. I plan to write a post dedicated to the process of selling our old barn, so stay tuned for that!
The company took all the boards and beams they wanted and left everything else in a big heap for us (that was the plan). We were a little bit floored at the amount of good-looking wood that they left… at least it looks good to us! I’m sure our standards are much lower than theirs, but still.
Our plan was to start burning it as soon as the snow melted, but now that we see all the nice stuff in there still, we will be sorting through it… cause their ain’t no way we’re burning all those beautiful pieces of old precious wood!! I see a lot of barn wood accents being added to the homestead this year!
Thanks for being here with us and following along on our homestead journey!
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