Thursday, February 25, 2010


Despite the really low temperatures we had in January, this winter has been really mild. Already I have crocuses and daffodils blooming! Our cold framed radishes are getting big and the spinach is getting lush. Our peas have been planted and Brian has been starting our first set of tomato, eggplant and pepper seedlings.

We had a nice dry weekend which allowed us to get some good outdoor work done. Weeding the garlic and around the edges of our fenced gardens, planting some new berry bushes and moving a few young fruit trees and shrubs, and Brian made me a new clothesline! We don't have dryer, so being able to hang lots of clothes out when we have sunny days is crucial. For wet days I have a clothesline under our roof overhang. Brian has been working on our gutters; the county requires them and we need them in for rainwater catchment.

This is the time of year with our homeschooling that I go through the calendar and plan out the rest of the year and make sure we are on track for completing our curriculum by the time Brian is out for the summer. We're doing pretty well but will definitely need to stay diligent with Math lessons in order to get it done! This is also the time of year I look at the things we should be covering in the kids grades and panic when I realize we still haven't covered certain things (the periodic table?!). Over all though, we are working hard and I feel good about what the kids have accomplished.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Here we go again...

We are starting to do a little planting here and there. Mainly lettuce starts and radishes. In March our big indoor planting begins, and we will start putting the cold-tolerant seeds in the ground. It is always exciting but daunting to plan now for things that we will be harvesting in the late summer. Sometimes we don't plant enough of one thing, not enough in succession, or too much of another (like summer squash). Soon my window sills and counters will be full of seedlings. Eventually we want to cob and glass-in our South side of our house for a sun room/ greenhouse, but or now we make do with what we have.

Here are some pictures of the kids:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Disclaimer: If you are squeamish or offended by meat-eating (we used to be vegan, so I understand), please don't read the following post!

On a small farm we have to be really careful about the number of animals our land can sustainably support, and we raise some animals for meat; so this weekend we butchered one of our pigs, named Wilder. We have raised animals for meat before, but a 250+ pound pig was definitely going to test our abilities.

The killing went really smooth; Brian expertly shot her in the head and she dropped instantly. There was a lot of movement because of her nervous system, but by that time she was gone. A very brave friend of ours did a great job with the throat cutting to bleed her out. I was surprised at how emotional I felt; I even cried a little. I knew that we raised her for food and she had a great life (she was able to run around on pasture and eat good, healthy food) and a fast death. But the experience was still pretty intense. Although I feel it is important that if we eat meat we should be able to raise and kill it ourselves, I don't think I will ever be unaffected by the gravity of it.

We had three other families come out so the kids could play while the adults helped. Everyone pitched in for the hard work of killing, skinning, eviscerating and breaking down the carcass into meal sized cuts. It was a full days work and then we all shared a great potluck dinner with fresh roast pork. We sent friends home with coolers of meat and have filled a freezer for ourselves. I am going to make sausage this week which should be delicious. We will definitely think of our pig and give thanks to her every time we eat this nourishing, sustainable food.