We are nearing the end of January now, and though I know that there is still a long time until spring, I can't help but start to dream about all of the possibilities it will bring. I love spring; I think it's beautiful with the lush green grass and the new beginnings starting everywhere. We will have our own beginning starting in spring, too, as we move out onto our homestead and begin life as permanent residents of that property. I can hardly wait!
And with dreams of spring, planning must begin. We've been thinking a lot about our garden at what the 2021 harvest will bring. Our supply of canned tomatoes has served us well, and we still have a nice amount of canned tomato starter, sauce, and soup to get us through the winter months ahead. We're doing well with jams and jellies, canned carrots, salsa, and pickles too and our freezer is still stocked full of homegrown and hunted meats, some frozen rhubarb and diced apples, and preserved applesauce and sweet corn. We are happy and thankful for these bounties, as they provide us with much of our nutrition throughout the winter months and help tremendously with the cost of our grocery bill each week.
However, there is a lot that we do not have enough of or items that we have used completely. All of the foraged berries that we picked have been eaten in oatmeal or muffins. The pumpkin has all been baked into pies and other treats. The potatoes were gone in November, and we haven't had fresh carrots from our garden since September. We opened up our last jar of maple syrup, which we were so, so sad about because maple syrup season is still over a month away. Maple syrup is a huge part of our diet, as we bake with it, eat it in oatmeal, and of course enjoy it over pancakes or waffles on Saturday mornings! The time will be here soon to make it again, and we are so eager to tap the trees and taste that sweet nectar once again!
We kept all of this in mind as we ordered our seeds for this year's garden and made plans for what we will need to do differently. We hardly had any harvest of peppers- no green and only 2 quarts of pickled hot peppers- so we know we'll want to plant more plants and plant them differently this year. Last year we had them integrated with the tomatoes, and we just weren't happy with the outcome. Our goal is to can much more than 2 quarts- D loves these so much! Another disappointment was our green beans. After a promising first batch, we had hoped there would be enough to can, but were sorely disappointed when the plants began to die and we ran out of beans. A friend gave us another seed packet to plant some more, but an early frost came and wiped them all out. Green beans are a daily side dish in the winter, so this was a huge bummer for us. We will definitely work to plant more rows of beans this year. So more peppers, more beans, more potatoes, more berries....all of this means more space needed in the garden!
Our hope is to expand it to the south to double the amount of space we have now and providing us with an opportunity to grow even more next year. As we aim to be as self-sustainable as we can, we will need the space to grow more food, especially as our family continues to grow and eat more! I am excited to see what it will look like, though also a bit nervous, as I know that Ms. K will be walking by this time and we will have a LOT going on with the house. But, my optimism is at a high right now- I am a dreamer, after all.
It should also be noted that dreamers should NOT be allowed to order the seeds for the garden :) In addition to a multitude of vegetables, I also ordered 25 strawberry plants, 2 more blueberry plants, 2 new cherry trees, raspberry plants, blackberry plants, and an abundance of perennial flowers. Teehee! I have such big dreams for this little homestead! I can't wait to see how beautiful and self-sufficient it will become!
Our goal was to also add meat chickens to our homestead this spring, and I am still hopeful that will happen. I haven't bought chicken from the store because of the cost and also because of our surplus of other meats right now, but it would be nice to have variety in our menu and the option of chicken once and a while. D gently reminded me that maybe we don't have to do everything this year, but it's just so hard to wait. In Wisconsin our growing season is so short and our rest time is so long...which means we have just a short window to get our goals accomplished before winter comes and sweeps them all away. And once the winter winds come and the frost covers the earth, it will be another year before changes and additions can be made to the homestead. I have told you before, I am not patient. I don't like to wait for things....but it may be best to do so this year. We will see. If I can persuade D that this IS the time to get them, then we may. But if he can persuade me waiting is better, then we won't. We will see the outcome of this one- it's still to be determined!
The house progress is still slow and steady. The well has been dug and an electrical box has been placed into the basement with all of the wiring ready for the house to get there. On February 22nd our house will officially be "set', and we can really hardly wait to see it standing there. We are working with a local contracting company to help D with the construction, and they will be completing the framing of the house. This means that after the week of February 22nd, our house will be completely framed up and ready for D to finish! All of the walls will be up, the stairs will be built...it will be amazing! They are also going to shingle the roof as well, which will also make it easier for D (and quicker!). I'll be sure to share it here once the house frame is set so you can see our little house!
We also ordered our appliances so that they'll be here and ready once we're ready for them, and our cabinets are being ordered tomorrow. Our flooring from the big oak tree on my grandparent's farm has been cut and dried, and is ready to go be cut into floor boards. It's all coming together! It's definitely taken some time, but it's coming. And I'm sure that the final product will be worth it!
There is still much to be done and much waiting to do before this all can come together. But, we are excited, nevertheless. We are excited for the potential, the reward from the labor of our hands, and the dreams that this place will fulfill. But for now, it is still the winter rest, and so rest we shall continue. Kind of. :)
Take care, friends!
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