a semi-rural, mini-homestead on 1/2 acre in Vermont's Green Mountains

Fresh Eggs, Organic Rocks, Pick-Your-Own Weeds, Foolish Pursuits!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Water Woes

I have always been bad at keeping a journal, and it seems that a blog is no different! Life goes by,and it is hard to take the time to sit and write about it, at least for me! It is a beautiful, sunny and chilly Sat. morning, and as I write I am listening to a woodpecker tapping on the aluminum ladder on the side of the house. he has been functioning as an alarm clock for several days now in his attempt to attract a mate! On the agenda for today is a trip to the dump, getting our photo taken for the new church directory, and maybe a trip to the Rutland Farmer's Market to try our friend Jenn's pulled pork!
Not much gardening has been going on around here...even though we have had a lot of nice weather it has just been too darn cool. My lettuce transplants are surviving in the garden, but not growing. The cold frame is a wonder tho! I have to make several more of those.
A few days ago we had to have the water line from the well (we have a shallow dug well) to the house replaced. That required a back hoe digging up most of the south side yard. My little frog pond got fairly damaged in the process. Now comes the long slow job of raking and picking up the thousands of rocks that were brought to the surface, then seeding grass. We live on old river bed, under the topsoil is nothing but rock, gravel and sand. In 1998 the river that runs along the edge of the property flooded, and the whole yard was under water. One good thing that happened was that the front yard was covered with an 8 inch layer of mud! Free topsoil! Last week, in exchange for a computer repair, a neighbor tilled up a new garden in the front yard, and not a rock in sight! Just amazing! The new garden is where I plan to plant tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and squash this year. I already know it is not big enough!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Do-it -yourself laundry detergent


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Is it Spring yet?

Spring in the Vermont mountains is an opportunity to practice patience! I want to be out in the garden SO badly but today it is 32 degrees and snowing lightly. Yesterday it was cold and rainy, we have had the woodstove fired up again for the past two days! However, we were blessed with a beautiful day a couple of days ago! The sun came out and it got up in the 60's! We got a lot done that day including general yard cleaning and building a 4X4X6 raised bed for a square foot garden. I was excited to discover the spinach has sprouted. I planted carrots, parsnips, onions and peas in the main garden and transplanted 3 lettuce seedlings from the galvanized tub "cold frame."
This year I started a multitude of seeds in the house, but they are not doing very well-not enough light. I'll have to restart alot of them, I think. The squash in particular is very scraggly looking. I am experimenting with growing onions from seed, they have sprouted well.
Despite my crabbing about the weather, we are about 3 to 4 weeks ahead of usual, weather-wise, this year. My forsythia and daffodils are blooming already, they usually don't bloom til May. And March 18th was so warm I was able to prepare the beds in the main garden and plant the spinach that just came out. I also planted peas that day, but no sign of them yet. This winter was undoubtedly the mildest winter I have ever spent in Vermont. It is a little scary. I just got my hands on the "Water" issue of National Geographic. I have been wanting badly to read it, although I know it is full of bad environmental news. Don't drink bottled water friends!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Welcome to Yankee Notion Farm! No, it's not really a farm...unless having 11 chickens, 3 cats, 1 dog, a fiance and two 20-somethings living with me counts as a farm! I have lived in the very small town of Lincoln, Vermont for about 18 years now, in a 100+ year old house right in Lincoln's quaint village. This may be one of the last places in the US where you can have livestock right in the village limits, but in deference to my neighbors I will limit myself to chickens...no pigs, cows or horses for me!
With tongue in cheek, I have called my home "Yankee Notion Farm" for many years, in memory of a wonderful place in a remote town in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont where I spent every summer vacation of my life while growing up. It was a hand-made log cabin built in the 1930's by a farmer friend of the family's as a "camp". No electricity, gravity-fed spring water, an outhouse, a woodstove and a fireplace, in the middle of nowhere....a magical place where this "Jersey girl" and her family could live a simpler life for a few weeks every year. It had a deep effect on me.
I am old enough to remember the first Earth Day back in the 1970's, and am sad to say that it seems the human race seems to learn some things very slowly....the degradation of the environment is scary. Scarier still is the large majority of people who seem not to care, or who live in denial. I know that I, as a resource-consuming American, am part of the problem, and so I am trying to find as many ways possible to be part of the solution. I have joined the quiet but growing urban and suburban homesteading revolution, and am trying to live sustainably and responsibly on my little 1/2 acre homestead! I hope you will join me as I live and learn!