Saturday, March 27, 2010

Death of a Pond, Requiem for a Spruce

The pond is dead. We had a beautiful pond with koi fish. The pond was dug deep enough so that the fish could survive the winter. But they are gone. This year something went wrong. The snow melted revealing more than two dozen dead fish. We drained the pond except for a few feet of water in the deepest part. We have to fix the problem and restock fish. I hope I can find someone to trade with.

I love trees. Cutting down healthy majestic trees is wrong. That said, we decided that we needed to cut down two large spruce in the the corner of our lot. We need to be working the garden better and most of the vegetable beds don't get as much sunlight as they should. So last Saturday, Walt with Brad's help, got out the chain-saw and cut down two lovely spruce. I think we all feel bad about doing that, But the garden does have much more light. We cut it early spring so as to not disturb nesting birds or seedlings in the garden. After the trees fell, the trunk was cut into blocks and branches and limbs removed. Then came the arduous task of getting the branches to the curb so the village could pick up as part of their green waste removal program. It will be chipped and recycled as mulch. The big blocks of the trunk will become firewood for backyard bonfires.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring is here in the Village

Spring has come to Central NY, and so life on the Little Homestead in the Village moves more outdoors I've spent a few very pleasant hours raking up leaves from the flower-beds. There is still so much more to do. I heard a cardinal somewhere up in one of the spruce trees sing, then in the next yard over, a potential mate answered. Then the bird songs were interrupted by church bells. That is when I made a mental list of what I like about village life. Now mind you, i'd rather be farther out in the county, either in the Adirondack Mountains or a little farmstead bordering a wooded steam. But here I am in the village that I grew up in , in the house that was owned by several generations of my family. So...I like the bird songs, I like the Church bells, I do like that I'm not far from what I need. In minutes I can be at the box hardware store, fabric store, grocery stories, libraries colleges, and other stores. In less than an hour I can be at my camp or kayaking in the Adirondack. Our neighborhood is very safe. Although my piece of land is not big, it sometimes seems to be more than I can handle anyways. (Too much lawn and weeds) We really are able to grow much of our food, We have some nice amenities , a hot tub and a pond with waterfalls. My garden has birds, butterflies and flowers. Quality of life if pretty good.

My plants under the lights are growing very well. I pruned the pussy willows and a big vase of pussy-willows is sitting on top of the piano. I put the trimmings in a vase of water and am rooting them to sell on CraigsList. My plan is to launch"Barefoot Gardens" this year. I have extra plants so I sell these through CL. At least make enough money to pay for what I need and want in the garden.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Early Signs of Spring

Last wednesday I went out to the garden to look for spring, and I found it. The temperatures had been getting above freezing for a few days. and there it was, the pussy willow was budding. Yesterday, I went back out agin . now the snow is virtually gone, I found a few begraggled pansey blooms, a clump of snowdrops, lenten rose buds and a lone winter aconite.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Independence Days - 3/5/2010

1. Plant something – Finally I wintersowed 21 different things. 2 kinds of onions,2 kinds of broccoli, alpine strawberries, several lettuce and one spinach. Since I can never have enough flowers I also sowed McKanna Columbine, Larkspur, Canterbury bells,oriental poppy

2. Harvest something - not able to yet.

3. Preserve something – some big beef bones were roasted with carrots and onions and made into stock.

4. Waste Not– I took out a bag of strawberries and a bag of rhubarb from the freeze and made two strawberry-rhubarb pie. I used brown sugar to coverup some possible "freezer taste".

5. Want Not – I scored a dozen half pint jars at a garage sale. I also too inventory of jars and canning supplies. I should get more wide mouth.

6. Build Community Food Systems – I support buying local. I was getting short of potatoes and bought a 50 lb bag from a farmer. He threw in a head of red cabbage. I also replenished my dried herbs and spiced by buying what I need from a store that sells them in bulk. I also puched more seeds

7. Eat the Food – Made a BIG batch of bread dough. I formed it into a loaf of bread, bread sticks, olive-parmesan log and a double pan of cinnamon rolls.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Simple Woman's Daybook -March 2, 2010

FOR TODAY~ March 2, 2010

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Outside my Window...Grey, A typical Mohawk Valley March Day. There is a pair of little birds, I believe they are starting to build a nest. They keep flying into the same spot in the branches of the tree at the end of my driveway.

I am thinking... About spring and planting seeds...must wintersow.

I am thankful for… being able to stay home, so I have time to bake and preserve food, and well practice some homesteading/homemaking skills.

From the kitchen... A poolish that I made last night, I will turn it into several loaves of bread soon, a big chicken defrosting for tonight's dinner Also, the remains of Katie's and Davids breakfast, eggs and fried potatoes. The potatoes are my own home canned local potatoes, and a big pot of coffee.

I am creating... bright dishcloths.

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I am going... Nowhere I hope. I'd like to finish my projects. However most likely Walt will call me and ask me to run errands.. He usually does.

I am wearing... I'm still in my "jammies", actually a sweet pale pink nightgown, with a small black floral print.

I am reading... The Morning Paper, The Farmhouse Cookbook, and A Jung Seed Catalog.

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I am hoping... Still hoping CDP will come through.

I am hearing... cars driving by, a few birds tweeting, and the Today Show on the TV.

Around the house... A clean kitchen and several piles of laundry to fold and put way.

One of my favorite things... bird houses. I found this on sale.

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A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... MUST WINTERSOW, must prune grapes, should bake bagles.

Here is a picture I am sharing with you...

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If you would like to read what other women have written in their daybooks you can do so by visiting
The Simple Woman's Daybook.com

Monday, March 1, 2010

March Chore List

Today is March 1st. I never did prune the grapes which should be done in February. I need to do that this week. I also have to do the winter-sowing that I've been putting off. This month I should can some more citrus, clean out and inventory the freezer, using it up so I'll have lots of room going into a new season. We need to be eating more from my preserved food. Then there is the quilt. If I don't finish it before the spring activities kick in, then it most likely won't get done.

Dinner was quite nice tonight. I defrosted a piece of pork tenderloin, browned it a bit with olive oil in my favorite cast iron frying pan. I poured my last jar of spiced cherries and peaches over the meat, covered it with aluminum foil and popped it into a 350 degree oven. I served it with served with plain rice and a vegetable medley.

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How is that for a different dinner idea? This is one of the reason that I preserve food in jars. I don't have to settle for run of the mill, everyday plain foods. I have a bounty of wonderful combinations right on my shelf.