Snow Day

The snow began around 9 last night and dumped about 7 inches on us overnight. We have had some flurries today and are expected more through part of tomorrow. It is pretty to look at, but other than a couple trips out to give scratch to the cooped up hens, filling the bird feeders, and clearing snow from the satellite dish, I have stayed in spinning with my feet up in front of the fire.

After posting yesterday, the mail brought me a form that caused hours of stress and tears as I had to go back a year and find every item I had sold and used Paypal as a means of receiving money and then trying to find when and how I purchased it (or received it as a gift or trade) with date and cost. That on top of a year where I spent way more money in personal property taxes and fees for Etsy than I made on Etsy resulted in me making a decision to close the online shop. I haven’t decided if I will do any live events after Covid allows or whether I am done. My experience with Paypal has had too many unpleasant moments, so I am done with it as well.

I did finally get most of the seed I was seeking for the gardens. We have a nice local nursery that gets their plants from a local grower and will get the tomatoes, peppers, and anything else that requires a good start from them. it seems odd to be planning a garden when you can’t even see where it is today. But it is nice to have a day with no where to be and the inability to go there if there was. Dinner will be simple, just stuffed baked potatoes and a salad. If I had planned ahead, I could have made a loaf of bread, but I didn’t.

Time to go throw logs on the wood stove and fireplace to keep the home fires burning, not because they need to, but it is nice.

New weekend, new weather warning

This has been an interesting week. It started out moderately warm, then snowed. Of course it snowed the night before I was finally scheduled for my first COVID vaccine and I feared that we wouldn’t be able to get down the mountain and to the center two towns over in time. We did get a few inches over a thin layer of ice and I got an automated call that the vaccine was delayed by 90 minutes, so we left almost as early as we had planned to allow time to go very slowly down the mountain, trusting that the highway would be in good shape and allowing us time if we had no issues to run a couple of errands to the bank and a USPS drop off. Our road up to the paved road and the paved road to the highway were a bit dicey, but we made it and got to the center set up by the health department in plenty of time. I walked up to pick up the paperwork from a volunteer handing it out near the door, just as they allowed us to move inside, 20 minutes earlier than they had said they would begin. I had my vaccine before the time they had rescheduled and was in and out within 30 minutes. I have an appointment for round two the end of February.

The frozen precipitation from the last storm hasn’t all melted yet because it has stayed between the low teens and 30 for several days and we are expecting 8-12″ of snow and ice beginning tonight through Monday morning. After the usual Saturday morning run for drive through breakfast and the Farmer’s Market, it was time to prepare for a cold, snowed in couple of days. A good supply of wood was hauled in to the basement for the woodstove. The rolling wood cart and wheelbarrow were filled for the living room fireplace, and put in the garage which currently has lots of room in it because the car that died was sold as is and we haven’t gotten a new one yet. Later in the day, I will scrub out the downstairs tub and fill it with water for dogs and toilets and hope that it isn’t necessary.

Week before last, the Olive Eggers started laying eggs again, then at least one of the big red hens has also begun. I get from zero to 4 eggs a day right now from 8 hens, so I am no longer having to purchase them from the Farmer’s Market.

Yesterday, in response to an email to daughter and her kiddos about their garden this year, they called and we discussed what I had seed wise, what I needed to get for us, and what we would buy already started. I figured that getting seeds in January would be a breeze. NOT. Much of what I wanted from one company was sold out, but they will send me an email when it is available. The other seed company I use isn’t even taking orders this weekend. I was able to get some of what we wanted from the Natural Foods store in town this morning. We will make it happen somehow. I thought that onion sets and seed potatoes would be bought from one of the reputable organic companies, but only perennial onions which produce tiny onions were available and seed potatoes were much more expensive than buying many pounds of potatoes at the Farmer’s Market, or were out of stock. Last year’s potatoes were from organic potatoes from the local grocer that had sprouted and I have a few pounds of Farmer’s Market potatoes in the basement that have sprouted, so I will plant what is locally available and keep looking for the onion sets. The bush winter squash seeds, 2 packages, cost a bit over $10 and they wanted to charge me $8 to ship them, I finally found them from another seed company, seeds and shipping are reasonable. This process is getting more difficult by the minute. Last year, I saw some really clever plastic templates for spacing seed in a square foot garden for about $10. I almost bought it for my grand daughter that I help with her garden, but didn’t. I looked for them today and they are now $27 for the exact same tool. I think a DIY event is in order. I can envision a 12″ wide acrylic/plastic cutting board, one of my power drills, and a few small jars of model paint and I can make the template for a few dollars.

The month is about to end and I have accrued or reserved 23 breeds of fiber for my breed blanket. I know what one of my February spins will be, I have to decide on the other. This week, I began combing locks of Gotland, so I may just go on with that.

If the power doesn’t go out during the storm, some obligatory snow shots will be shared in a few days. If the snow isn’t wet and sticky, I may haul out a sled and my ski clothes and play in it. Until I visit again, stay safe, and stay well.

How I came to be here on the blog, Part 2

I moved into an apartment between the house under construction and my new job.  We moved DH and Son 2 into an apartment in Virginia Beach until DH was ready to retire and we visited back and forth across the state every three or four weeks for almost 3 years.

In the meantime, the house was being built with Son1, DIL, and anyone he could enlist including me on occasion installing the wood siding in rooms and closets, baseboards and the interior side of the logs oiled with boiled linseed oil, floors laid, homemade floor wax created on a hotplate on the back deck. Much of the stone work had already been d one by him and DIL, what was left was finished after we moved in.

The house wasn’t quite finished, but their lease and mine were up and we began an interesting couple of months subletting, house sitting, and other alternative living arrangements while Son 1 was struggling to get the house to the point where we could get a temporary move in permit.  That day came almost 16 months after I had moved here and I was still working, hoping to retire again in the next year or so. Our exploration of our area showed us that the farm that we bought is only a few miles from the farm on which my maternal grandfather was born and raised.

Once DH retired and we moved the rest of our furniture to the mountains, I worked for another 7 months and retired with him and the farm blog was begun.  First, we planted fruit trees, beyond the coop in part of the area that had been garden, the garden was reworked to a size I thought I could handle on my own.  Then we bought a coop and I got the new chicken owner syndrome and went from a few chicks to way too many and too many of them turned out to be randy little roosters.

The coop and part of my learning curve. You can’t let them stay in your egg boxes.

Most of my life from my late teen years on, I had a vegetable garden of some form, usually just a small corner of the urban yard, but that was the extent of my farming experience.  So here I was on 30 acres with chickens, at least half of them young roosters that couldn’t stay, fruit trees that the deer were eating, a huge vegetable garden that I couldn’t keep up with and lots to learn.  We had thought about raising horses and enough cows to keep us and family in beef, but we never got the fencing done.  We did take riding lessons.  Fortunately, for the first few years, Son 1 and his family still lived in the area and he was more than willing to dispatch the young roosters while I learned to help.  It still isn’t something I like to do, but I can get much more involved in the process, preparing them for the freezer.

Over the years, the garden has been altered, fenced, and topped with hot wire to keep the deer out.  I have learned to buy only female chicks and limit the number to no more than 9 or 10.  The success with the garden encouraged me to go beyond making jam and learning to can and freeze the bounty.

During the period prior to DH retiring and moving here, I connected with a knitting group and learned to spin.  One of the friends I made through knitting, made soap, and she generously taught me one afternoon, leading me to make more of our self and house care products, and Cabin Crafted Shop was born.  And the spinning skills connected me with a local Historical site and my adventure in living history as a spinner during the Revolutionary War period began.

That brings us to the present, living in social isolation during the pandemic, enjoying the spoils of the garden and orchard, the eggs from the hens, practicing the skills I have learned to make gifts and to try to earn a little bit of pocket money from these skills.  This has been my journal over the years, my record of success and failure.  I hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane.