Since the arrival of our fall baby, life has been a blur. I often find myself wishing I had more time on my hands. I want more hours in the day to get things done. Oh, and I want more sleep at night too.
With the arrival of spring, things are ramping up around here once again. I thought it would be fun to give you a little life update on the cottage and farmstead.
Reviving Life in the Cottage and Yard
Last fall, we decided to act according to wisdom (not desire) and cut back on everything ’round the place. We had no idea how things would go with a new baby and we made the hard decision to have nothing going on expect family/baby stuff.
And wow. Was that ever a good decision!
But as we head into summer once again, I’m itching to get back outside into the sunshine and to work, work and work my feet off.
My gardens are calling me. I’ve been at them extra early this year and have been spending part of every day in them.
I also feel the desire to once again have our land stocked with a few farmyard creatures.
In spite of the fact that I still don’t have energy and just put out my lower back weeding the garden with a baby on my back in her carrier and am now hobbling on crutch…I want to do all the things.
It’s been a long time since I wrote a personal note here. And it’s overdue.
If you’re on my email list, you get juicy updates at the end of each one.
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But for those who haven’t yet taken the plunge?
Let me bring you up to speed.
In the Vegetable Garden
Last year, I was pregnant and working part time as we headed into the gardening season. Everything was planted late due to my fatigue. I only grew key staples. Potatoes, carrots, beets, cabbage, beans, tomatoes, garlic, onions, leeks and a few peas (for my man). We didn’t even grow squash!
But that was ok by me, because it’s easy to source locally ’round here. 🙂
We’re in the thick of planting season now.
I have to confess I didn’t properly put my gardens to bed last fall. As a result, we had a bit of extra work to do this spring, spot weeding and re-mulching the garden bed.
In this year’s vegetable garden, I’m planning to plant staples that will really make a difference in our food budget. The list includes:
- onions (red and yellow keepers)
- garlic (already in and knee high!)
- potatoes (Sieglinde or German Butterball and Yukon Gold)
- (maybe) celeriac
- peas & cucumbers (I always pair them together on the same trellis system)
- sugar pumpkins
- Red Kuri winter squash
- tomatoes (cherry and paste)
- sweet corn (maybe)
The majority of my garden will be dedicated to root vegetables and potatoes. We had planned to put in the root cellar last year (and the year before) but finances wouldn’t allow.
But if we are truly going at it this year, I want to stuff it.
On the Yard
There’s so much we want to do on the yard this year. Here’s a break down of it all.
The Root Cellar
I’ve stared at the excavated hole and the massive dirt pile in the middle of our yard for a whole year now. And I’m ready to see the root cellar project thru to the finish line.
Not that our cold room just off the kitchen hasn’t worked in the way of preserving our root vegetables. It has! But the room is small and is also suppose to store our bulk grains, fermented food, canned food and canning supplies.
It wasn’t really designed for storing potatoes, root vegetables, apples, pear and leeks.
And the dirt that root vegetables and potatoes brought it…well. I’m ready to be done with it!
A New Garden Fence
When we moved up here, we put up a temporary fence around our vegetable and kitchen garden. At the time, we couldn’t afford to put in anything better and we didn’t want to wait to start growing vegetables. So we built a temporary fence using this method HERE.
Snow has since weakened it. The logs are rotting (we used mountain cottonwood) and the whole thing looks quite sad. Then there’s the issue of attempting to weed whack under it every summer.
Well, it’s time.
We decided to put in actual posts this year, tightly stretch wire, establish gates and also run weed tarp underneath the fence line and cover it with a deep layer of wood chips.
No more weed whacking in the foreseeable future!
Redoing Our Front Entryway
When we finished building the cottage, we were flat broke. 🙂 Well, almost. We didn’t have extra $$$ to invest into aesthetic outdoor projects.
So we just dumped a hearty layer of gravel at our front entrance and left it, knowing we’d have to replace it at some point, that weeds and grass would creep through eventually.
If we’re putting in a garden fence, we’re also going to properly address our entryway (seeings as they run into one another).
Weed tarp, gravel and maybe even some of our larger native stones will be put down. I’m even toying with the idea of redoing our doorstep with native rock.
But we shall see.
In the Kitchen Garden
Of all the gardens here on our little acreage, I get the most satisfaction and pleasure from my little kitchen garden.
These hugelkultur beds are still holding their own beautifully, minus a bit of grass that has managed to slip through the rotten wood underneath. Oregano, liquorice mint, thyme, bee balm, bellflower, tarragon and veronica are all spreading and filling in spaces as they should.
Lilies are also reproducing at a nice rate.
Last fall, I found an amazing package deal on peonies. Not knowing if they would survive our early winters, I planted them in hope that half would make it. As luck would have it, we had an early snow that insulated everything.
And much to my delight, I’m watching red peony tops pop through the soil this spring, one after another.
I can’t wait to have these beautiful perennials blooming in my kitchen garden and around the cottage!
This year, we’ll also be removing the hexagonal center bed from my kitchen garden. Growing perennials is so different from growing annual vegetables. Arranging herbs, vegetables and flowers in a tasteful manner is very difficult in a round garden bed.
And last summer, I realized I just don’t need the space.
Once it’s gone, I plan to create a grassy center where I can go to sit, rejuvenate and be surrounded by my favorite herbs and flowers.
I need a happy place close to home, and I think this could be it.
Side note: I was so busy last year, I don’t think I took a single picture of my gardens! The above hugelkultur pic is from the first year and I don’t have anything better in my photo collection right now. This needs to change in the upcoming summer!
Bringing in Farmyard Creatures
Since our baby girl is big enough to outdoors (and loves it), I find myself eager to restock the land again. I can’t wait until she’s old enough to toddle out and help me harvest vegetables, feed the animals or collect eggs.
Winter was quiet ’round here. Not knowing the ramifications of giving birth/postpartum/first 6 months with a baby, we butchered off our remaining poultry the day I was in labor.
It’s amazing how quickly you can pluck feathers when you’re having contractions. There’s a real sense of urgency to get the job done ASAP!
Currently, it looks like we’ll be splitting 3 beehives so we have a total of 6, raising 2 piglets, getting 25 Ginger Broiler meat chickens and restarting our flock of egg-laying ducks with Welsh Harlequins and Khaki Campbells.
After going without animals for a season, I’ve been reminded just how special they are to me, how having them about brightens my day and life.
Don’t get me wrong: I love my gardens. But there’s something very special about watching ducks waddle around the yard, listening to a pig chomp down on table scraps or butchering your own home raised chicken.
When it comes to restocking this place with a few creatures? I say bring it! 🙂
In the Cottage
What can I say about our cottage? There’s always some project looming on the horizon.
This winter, my man built us a dining room table that actually fits our small space. To maximize seating and storage, he also build two window benches.
I keep meaning to share videos and photos with you. But lately I’ve felt as if I haven’t a moment to spare.
I’m in love with the window benches. I can’t wait until baby girl is old enough to hop up on them by herself and watch for Da-da to drive in after work.
Did I mention he just might be her favorite? 😉
We still need to get cushions for them, but I’m loving the extra storage space underneath.
There’s still so much I would like to do in this space. Like get proper furniture for the living room. Finish making our cross beam lighting. And perhaps hang a picture or two on our living room walls.
But life has been reminding me it all takes time. And sometimes, going slow is best. Your purchases are more thoughtful. You have time to live in the space and know what you need.
I think about our parents. They certainly didn’t get there overnight. It took time and homes were built up and furnished as they could afford it.
And we’re different in that respect. We aren’t just building up a home. We have lots of outdoor projects that suck our time and money. There’s also the new round of Lyme treatments we’re going through. That costs a pretty penny!
And while I don’t like having unfinished projects looming over my head, I’m learning to practice contentment in this season of life.
Eventually, it will be finished. And then?
We’ll probably get bored and long for the days when we had a 100 projects to do!
That’s My Update for You!
Rambling, it is. But that’s my life update for you. And if you want more this kind, be sure to sign up for my weekly email below.
I’m eager to embrace the spring season. Eager to get my little girl outside and watch her explore the wee bit of land we worked so hard to get.
I can’t wait to get some animal life back on the place. And when it happens, I might just disappear for a few weeks. Or months.
Because I’m ready for it. So ready.
Bring on the gardening. Bring on the poultry. Bring on the piggies and turn me loose in the great outdoors so I can refill myself with all it’s spring glory.
That’s all I ask (unless it’s that my back heals soon). 🙂
All the best,