Friday, March 20, 2015

Worth the Wait.

Happy first day of Spring! ...and Spring could not seem more far away. I am not going to lie...I have had a hard time today. Another gray, overcast morning sent me into an internal tantrum, and may have even brought out a few tears. How many times a day can I go check on the seedlings? (Where I sometimes stick my nose down into the little green onion stems, close my eyes, and inhale...just so I can pretend for a split second that I am in the garden.) How many times can I clean the basement, telling myself that "soon, there won't be time"? How much more time can I spend pouring over books "planning" the garden layout? Making lists about what I'm going to plant? Learning about what parasites goats are prone to? I am restless, as I am sure most of you out there are who live in the Northeast, and who live your life with the seasons, and yet it's still so cold outside that I have to give myself a pep talk every time I need to get out there.

So, today, I dutifully got out the boiling supplies for the first round of syrup making. I usually love this process, but this year it is seeming like a bit of a slog, at least right now.

And then, while it's boiling, the scent of sap fills the air, and I remember that Spring really is here, it's just not obvious yet. It's a Moment of Grace, as my mother says. A moment that seems to pull us a little bit further out of our sleepy hibernation. The sweet, almost nutty flavor of the syrup this year might just be the best we've ever made...although I am fairly certain we say that every year.

I suppose it was worth the wait...

Saturday, March 14, 2015

It has begun!

There is no time like the present, I say. Well, actually, I don't know that there is an appropriate time for stepping jumping off a cliff into the giant world of livestock. I don't really know what I am doing, and I am only guided by what feels right. What more do I need? Besides, maybe, some major encouragement and financial backing from my mom. And maybe a couple of good informational books.

So, here we go. Baby chicks (we've had chickens for a while...just not 25 babies at once). Baby ducklings (15 of them...oh my.) Did I mention I actually know nothing about ducks? And three goats coming in April, which are inheriting from a local woman. The goats are two Angora and one Pygora. I also know nothing about goats, save for a few little details I've picked up over the last few months (apparently they don't like to get wet...that's it, that's all I know).

Here it is...the big reveal: Mindful Folk Farm

There. I said it. I can't take it back. It's real. Oh my goodness.

Deep breaths.

Saturday, February 28, 2015


This is such a long time of year. There isn't really a gentler way to put it, though I do try to remain optimistic about the longer days, and changing of calendar pages, but besides those things, there hasn't been much else to give us hope that winter won't last well into July, at this point. At this time last year, we were already tapping maple trees and starting onion seedlings. This year, well, let's just say that spring will be all the more welcome.

I realize, of course, that I ought to be using this quiet part of the year to accomplish things inside that I know all too soon I will be too busy for. And I do try to be grateful, and patient...but oh, it is so very hard when knowing that just being able to feel the dirt in my hands and sun on my shoulders is still a rather long way off!

So, we are all waiting. Waiting for a sure sign of spring...or even just being able to say for sure that it's maple syrup season, or it's surely time to start seedlings...

Yes, that is snow up to the top of the window.
Sap buckets, waiting.
The canned goods are dwindling...
Even our chickens are waiting for it to be a little warmer to go outside!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Catch up

Here we are, playing catch-up again! We have been busy with birthdays, homeschooling, garden work, canning and preserving, visits from family and trying to find a general balance to it all!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

In preparation.

In preparation for the changing colors, and needing some autumn-hued silks, we have decided to use this opportunity to dye our own! This is somewhat for my own records as well, so please forgive the businesslike presentation of it all!

Silk ordered from Dharma Trading

Onion Skins:
      - We decided to mix red and brown to see what happens
      - Boiled the onion skins for an hour
      - Rinsed the silk in hot water
      - Boiled skins and silk together for an hour
      - Let them cool together in the pot, and sit overnight
      - On a whim, the next day added white vinegar in hopes of making the dye more colorfast
      - Rinsed thoroughly with cold water, until water ran clear
      - Turned out a bit mottled, but love it!

      - Brought a pot of hot water and one silk to a simmer
      - Added several oz. of saffron (a gift from Turkey from my mother-in-law)
      - Decided that the colors was not strong enough, and added a packet of peach mango Koolaid
      - Boiled silk and dye bath together for 3 hours
      - Let sit overnight
      - On a whim, the next day added white vinegar in hopes of making the dye more colorfast
      - Rinsed thoroughly with cold water, until water ran clear
      - Turned out a lovely golden color when dried...our favorite so far.

Elderberries & Goldenrod:
      - Had some elderberries dried in bulk, and some frozen fresh
      - We picked a whole bunch fresh, but the kids lost interest after a while, which is why we
         combined the two...
      - Boiled both of the above together for about an hour (and hoped they weren't off-gassing some
        deadly poison being mixed together)
      - Boiled the silk with a 1/2 cup salt, a cup of vinegar, and some water, for one hour.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Summer's end.

It's coming to a close. Summer. The air has certainly shifted, although still hot and a little humid. The crickets are chirping all day, and the evenings are quite cool. Yesterday, we decided, was the first unofficial day of homeschooling. We hiked our favorite mountain, and were reminded, on a foggy, drizzly, quiet day, why we have chosen this path. This, instead of sitting at a desk with fluorescent lights overhead. This, instead of lines in the lunchroom and barely a breath of fresh air all day long. Climbing trees instead of jungle gyms. Testing the waters of a mountain-top lake instead of being told to be quiet and sit still.

Yes...I think it's going to be a great year.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Staycation 2013 - Part II

...So after the thunderstorm passed, we proceeded to unpack the car and make dinner. All of a sudden, during dinner, we looked out and saw the most unbelievable rainbow any of us has ever witnessed. Really, there are no words to describe it. It was crystal clear, we could see where it began and ended, it was a double rainbow...and we were right smack underneath it. I'd say this was one of the top ten most magical experiences I have ever been a part of. Otherworldly doesn't even capture it. As the rainbow faded, the colors in the sky turned pink and gold, and were reflected in the water. We all felt as if we were a part of something really important, and felt truly blessed for that.

At the end of the images is a short video of the rainbow, which was really the only way to capture the entirety of it.