Sunday, February 17, 2008

Waiting for Spring

Well, it's a new year and I've decided to update our blog with a new template. Hopefully you will find it a bit more eye appealing.

It's been snowing off and on for a week now. I took a walk through the woods the other day out to the field to check on the high tunnel and by the time I got back to the house I was ready for a nap! The snow in the woods is pretty deep. I am looking forward to more clement weather. Here's a pic of some deer that like the grass growing beneath the snow on our drain field.

Just because I'm in the house doesn't mean I'm not busy. Besides giving the house a good cleaning, I started a flat of Scarlet Nantes carrots and Southport Red Globe onions. The Hydrastis roots I got from Horizon Herbs are growing wonderfully, and I'm patiently waiting for the Echinacea, Symphytum, and Sanguinaria to sprout. The beginning of March I'll start a flat of cabbages and Forellenschluss lettuce. If you click on the title to this post you will be taken to our 2008 Seed List. Don't know if I will get around to planting everything, but this is what I've got ordered.

I finished the baby blanket and some booties for my neighbor. They turned out really cute. I have also been trying to free-form knit a coat and hat for my Swamp Creek Farm boy dolls. That is tough going, but I'll figure out some patterns and hopefully have the dolls finished before I'm out in the field much.

I am watching the weather closely so I can start tapping maple trees. I bought 10 more tree taps from Lehman's and will have 20 taps this year. I bought a nice fire ring with cooking grate from Cabela's so boiling down the sap will be a bit more organized. I have saved some fat and good hardwood ashes to drip some lye and will make some good old fashioned lye soap, too.

I've been doing a lot of reading. Graham Hancock's Supernatural was really interesting. It is one of those books you need to chew on some. I actually have a couple of books going -- it depends on what mood I'm in. I'm about half-way through a biography of John Clerk Maxwell (one of my favorite scientists), I've just started Graham Hancock's Underworld, still reading The Sacred Bee by Hilda Ransomme, and when I feel more organized, I work through the mountain of reading material I've amassed for researching my aquaponics/kitchen incubator project. Astrologically this is a "planning only" year for me, and I believe it as I often find myself distracted with family duties. Too many things to do and not enough time, so I need to pick and choose my activities and then focus.

I've bought a couple of bins and have been gathering bedding for starting some worms. I read Harnessing the Earthworm by Thomas Barrett and Raising Earthworms for Profit by Earl B. Shields. I have been looking into using earthworms for raising my soil fertility in addition to using green manures. I think worms may be a surprising sideline project for the farm. I think I can teach Ed to tend the worms.

I have been practising my Pimsleur Czech language program. It is rather fun! I have several foreign language programs, and the Pimsleur is the only program I like. I think I shall finally learn a foreign language and "keep" it. Speaking of Czech, I made some Czech biscuits from the cookbook my Sarah gave me for Christmas. It is a great little cookbook, and as a bread baker, the different types of dough the Czech make are very interesting to me. When I get a chance I want to try the strudel dough and make apple strudel.

Time to go so I'll talk to you soon.