Seasons: Winter

Over the years I’ve come to appreciate each season. I honestly don’t think I could live some place that doesn’t experience all four seasons to their fullest. Here in the Mid-Atlantic we can experience all four in every extreme. From stifling heat in the summer, to extreme cold in the winter with two blizzards within five days and daily highs in the single digits.

As Tommy and I have begun to move towards more of a “homesteading” lifestyle (my dear, darling husband now frequently talks of how he just wants to buy a ton of land and give up his office job so he can drink his morning coffee while looking out over his land), I’ve developed a deeper appreciation for each season and it’s purpose. Much of what we do revolves around the seasons.

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Right now it’s winter. Most people probably assume it’s the time when you can kick back and relax. There isn’t a garden to tend, nothing to can, and we currently have no animals now that our broilers reside in the freezer. 

But while the ground rests, we curl up beside the wood stove and we plan. 

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My seeds are spread about as I take stock of what I still have and update my inventory, review notes from last year, and pour over my 2015 catalogs. I’m trying to figure out what to devote space to, what to grow more of, less of, where to put things. 

And while my canning jars begin to find their way back to the shelf empty, I mentally keep tabs on what I’ll need more of next year. I’m already concerned about our dwindling supply of jams, and know we need to be conservative with the applesauce and green bean supply. I’ve taken stock of what herbs I have on hand, what I need more of, and what I need to grow.

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We’ve been debating back and forth on whether to try and get an orchard going this year, or to wait till next. 

We plan to continue raising our own meat birds, but we’re trying to decide on whether we will buy pullets or just order our new laying birds as chicks when we order our new batch or broiler chicks. And pigs, well, hopefully we’ll figure out what we’re doing as far as pigs. 

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I need to take soil samples to our local feed store, and have made mental notes of what was planted where and what will need to be rotated and to where.

Other questions loom, like do we try to get bee hives going, Tom wants hops for his home brews, where can those go,  how much work will take to get a wildflower field going, and do I want to try potatoes again? 

Then of course there is always the money factor of what can we afford and what will need to wait until we can save the money for equipment, etc.

And we’ll be raising something new this year. 

A baby. 

Due in April. 

Right in the middle of when we’ll need to be doing most of these things. 

Along with making sure an investment property we have is on the market by the beginning of March, and Tommy needs to study for his professional engineering licensing exam, also in April, less than two weeks before my due date.

I think our unofficial motto could be something like, “life’s too short to wait till the perfect time to do things, so just do it all at once.” 

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By the time March rolls around, I look forward to the ground thawing so I can begin putting my plans to work. 

Well that and no longer having to haul wood and keep wood stove going, skating across our backyard to the car to defrost it before I leave, and in general, not having wear five layers to try and keep warm (and picking my husband’s coveralls off the floor, again).

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But each season has it’s purpose. Winter is for rest, for rejuvenation, and for planning. I’m never more motivated to make stuff happen than in the winter. 

By fall, I’m tired and regretting my ambitious plans. 

So I look forward again to winter, for the time to rest, and start all over again. 

Quick Tummy Trouble Relief

I can’t remember where I first read this little trick, but all I know is that it works and is almost too easy. Easy enough that I stored it away in my memory and used it out of desperation once, only to discover it really does work.


Next time you start having digestive issues, try adding 2 drops of peppermint essential oil to a tall glass of water. I like to sip the water over time, but my fiance, who hates the taste of peppermint, just chugs it as fast as he can to get it over with (and if he’s willing to do that it must work well because he thinks all my natural remedies are so “weird”).

Peppermint works by calming your digestive muscles, allowing things to pass and calm down, thus relieving your discomfort. It definitely seems works since anyone I have ever had try it has said they felt much better within 10-15 minutes. I keep a small bottle of oil in my purse so I always have it handy.

*If you are pregnant, or have a diagnosed condition that would cause you to have digestive issues, please use caution when trying this remedy. I have seen some articles that said peppermint can help those who suffer from conditions such as IBS, but I would encourage you to do your own research before trying this natural remedy. Please also use caution when giving this to children. I would not recommend it for any child under the age of two and would suggest diluting the peppermint oil even more for any child under 13.

Try it any let me know what you think.

What other natural digestive remedies have you tried?

*Hey! Please remember I not a doctor or expert. I’m just passing on knowledge to you. Please don’t think that just because something works for me, it will automatically work for you too. Use your own judgement and do your own research before trying anything.


Next Chapter

In the past couple months there have been a lot of new chapters beginning. Although one, obtaining a full time teaching position, sadly doesn’t seem to be part of the current chapter, there are still lots of new and exciting things happening in this one.

At the end of June, my (then) boyfriend and I trekked north to upstate New York for UCI mountain biking’s world cup stop in Windham, NY. While we were there for the mountain biking, and Tommy was planning on biking in it himself, it was also our vacation.

Our first day there, he was eager to hike to the top of the mountain for wine and cheese.

And other stuff…

Yes, that’s right folks, he asked me to marry him. It only took him a little over 6 years and 9 months, but he finally asked.

So after spending the next week there we headed home and had another big life event on the calendar a week later.

We bought a house.

It’s large.

It’s got land.

But there’s a catch.

We have no front steps. Or about a million other things that need to be repaired, replaced, or redone.

Yes folks, we bought a fixer-upper. In every meaning of the word. We got an amazing deal, but we now are making up the difference we saved in the blood, sweat, and tears that we are pouring into this house. Yes, we’ve literally put blood (just a little), sweat (a whole lot), and tears (mostly from me, okay, all from me), into the house at this point. And we’ve only just begun. Oh joy!

Basically everything in the house had to go. When all is said and done, the only thing not new in the kitchen will be the cabinets (budget just isn’t allowing for new ones right now). The roof is new, as is almost all the plywood under it. The whole house will have new floors. Every square inch will be primed and painted, after about a third of the sheet rock has been replaced. The bathrooms will be all new. Every appliance type item will be new. We’ll have all new doors, both interior and exterior. The window’s thankfully are Anderson’s that are in good shape. All trim work will be new. And when it comes to the outside, don’t even get me started.

And while yes, it’s exciting, it also extremely overwhelming and stressful. We are doing everything ourselves with the help of Tommy’s father who has redone a house (worse than ours actually, which is tough to beat) and built their current house which Tommy grew up in. I’m very thankful he’s so handy and helpful, as this would not be possible without him.

So as you can imagine, I haven’t been doing much wedding planning. More like scrubbing, disinfecting, demoing, sanding, painting, discovering mold issues, and tossing bottles of water onto roofs for thirsty boys. You know, house stuff.

Eventually, once we get the house in slightly more livable condition, I’ll get going. We’re looking at May or June 2013 right now, but depending on how things work out, it might be next fall.

And while I’m sad that it looks like another school year will pass without me being able to do my dream job, I also realize it might be a blessing in disguise with all I have on my plate right now.

So with that, the face of this blog will also move into the next chapter. While it’s been my personal blog, mostly about crafty things and some crunchy stuff as of late, I’ll be adding stuff involving the house, and planning a wedding. We’d also like to be at least a semi-self-sustainable so you’ll probably see some stuff about gardening, etc. in the coming year, along with married people stuff.

But only time will tell what’s in store for the next chapter.