My absence in writing over the last several months speaks to the energy spent in physical work. Daily toil, and many accomplishments, left me feeling exhausted, just able to take care of everyday tasks. My new mantra has been, “everything I need is here within my own consciousness”. Resources need restored. Winter is my restoration.
The list still to conquer is long. The list of accomplishments is also long. We have finished installing insulation in the crawl space, painted the outside of the house, installed a new very efficient Defiant wood stove, covered the green house structure with plastic panels, finished work on the road into the homestead, purchased a tractor, designated parking with railroad ties, chopped and stacked 3 cords of firewood, began to remove the caved in chicken house, stacked dozens of piles of brush, dead wood, and branches to be burned, started a deer fence around the garden, remodeled the bathroom, began to clear out unbelievable amounts of debris from the big barn, cleared the bee house to nearly empty, and added a new blue heeler/border collie puppy to the family.
I found to my dismay that the spot I have intended for the garden was at one time farmed. The soil there is very compact from tilling, and is heavy with clay. Next year the garden will be grown in raised beds, filled with amended soil. This year we arrived late for spring planting, but I was able to plant a few things. Digging 4 rows of wide beds in the green house structure, I was able to grow tomatoes, beans, peas, celery, arugula, and lettuce. In what will be the herb garden I planted squash, more tomatoes, celery, basil, calendula, lavender, chamomile, comfrey, horseradish, and some volunteer sun chokes. I was able to gather and dry several ounces of chamomile and calendula for Essential Apothecary Alchemist. Sadly, I was unable to find time for a distillation of the rose geranium I had been growing in the greenhouse. I am not sure if they will make it through our hard frosts. Even covered and in a protected area, they look frost bitten.
The list of wild herbs I have found to date on the property are nettles, violets, burdock, mullein, lambs quarters, willow, hawthorn, elder flower/berry, rose/hips, yarrow, milky oat, fir needle, and dandelion. I was able to gather rose hips just a week ago. I cooked them down with water and alcohol. The thick mixture was then strained and honey was added. Earlier this fall we collected elderberries. I extracted most of them with water and froze it for later use. I also have some elderberries extracting in alcohol. A tablespoon of each, daily, will hopefully ward off flu virus, and keep our immune systems strong.
Though we are far removed from our previous city life, we have had a constant stream of visitors since our move. Almost every weekend has been filled with travel for us or company from afar. We do take advantage of the extra hands here, as there never seems to be a shortage of work that needs our attention. We are grateful for the company and the help.