What Have I Got to Say For Myself?

I am acutely aware that I haven’t posted in a while.  The thing of it is, this blog started out as a sort of social outlet, a conversation if you will, about my daily life and my dreams for the future.  It was a way to keep my momentum going.  But I was single then.  It seems terrifically unoriginal, disappointing even, that I feel less inclined to blog now that I have a in-person human partner to share things with.  “Sara got a boyfriend and now she never hangs out with us anymore. So lame.” But it’s true.  I’m not really the type that loves to just talk about myself all the time, so it’s a bit hard to muster up the inspiration to do so when I feel like I’ve been sharing everything with someone all day long already.

On the one hand, I am happy to trade a blogging life for a love life.  Fun as it is to post pictures of my adventures on the internet and receive feedback from this growing community of people both familiar and strange, it’s even better to carry in the firewood and draw up the chicken tractor plans with a real live person.  On the other hand, I don’t think blogging and having a partner are mutually exclusive.  Plenty of other people do it, after all.  I may no longer be able to call myself “a single girl” going back to the land, but the overall mission is still the same.

The truth is, I might not post as often, but there will still be plenty of plans and schemes to share.  Before and after pictures to boast about.  Even some moments to wax rhapsodic now and then.

So with that in mind, allow me to fill you in on the latest Domestead news!

1. We are observing Sober January. Between the Fella and the Roomie and I, we have been known to put away the ale faster than a Shire-full of hobbits.  This merry-making naturally crescendos to a bit of a frenzy during the holidays, and by New Year we’re all a little worse for the wear and in need of some rest and, well, detoxification.  Last year Paul and I were alcohol-free for all of January and it was such a good thing there was no doubt we would observe Sober January again this year. The Fella is on board, as are the rest of the Ranch Folk.

2. We will break our alcohol fast with our own home-made beer! The Fella and I are totally committed to reducing costs and adding creativity by making our own brews.  We won’t break the fast until the beer is ready, and, if I have my way, we won’t be buying beer at all 2013 (okay, except maybe for special occasions.) Turns out my Pa is into the idea as well, so we may have a little Ranch brewery bubbling along in the not too distant future.

3. Peaches is getting bred this month! That means little goaties and goat milk (finally!) by June. Very exciting to know this project will be moving forward after stalling slightly due to my lack of funds.

4. The winter garden is chugging along. It’s been COLD. But the layer of straw on the beds has kept everything – kale, beets, peas, onions, garlic, chard – alive. We harvested the mature kale plants heavily for New Year’s dinner, but they are super resilient and are already sprouting new leaves. God I love kale.

5. We are getting about 1 egg a day from the hens. They are smaller than the eggs Flora and Fauna used to lay. I think the old girls have officially retired. The new layers are the two Barred Rocks I got as pullets this summer.  The one lone Ameraucana still hasn’t started laying, but maybe she’ll start now that the days are getting longer (it’s still awfully cold though, she might wait until spring).

6. The bees, sadly, didn’t make it. I’ve had a sneaking suspicion about that for a while, but the rain kept me from checking. Well, the rain and my dread about facing it.  I’m not sure yet what happened. I feel like I stopped feeding them before I should have. I was confused by conflicting sources of information (i.e., my instructor said ‘don’t feed in winter,’ but did he mean winter as in ‘when it gets cold,’ or winter as in ‘the specific season before spring’?; the organic beekeeping lady said it was wrong and unhealthy to feed bees sugar; the wild bees by my uncle’s house are thriving; etc. etc.). They also could have had varroa, although I hadn’t spotted any when I tested them, and was told that new colonies are usually fine the first year. Sigh. An expensive undertaking that I have to start over with. But I definitely want to try again. Hopefully I’ll be able to reuse the hives and frames (depends on what killed them off.)

7. Haven’t been riding in a long while, although I pass by old Hammer on my walks to the river. He’s just as cheerful yet wizened as ever.  That is definitely something I need to put some effort into this year. No more slacking on riding!

So that’s the long and short of it. Some good, some bad. Such is life on the Domestead.

16 thoughts on “What Have I Got to Say For Myself?

  1. appreciate the update and totally get where you’re coming from. Post as you can. I do enjoy reading what’s happening in your neck of the woods. you were the person who inspired me to build a simple thing to store my fire wood in…(just seeing your pile of freshly split wood last Fall lit a fire under me) later- DM

    • ah! I am so humbled that you were inspired by little me to build that awesome woodshed! Especially considering my woodpile remains under a hideous tarp!

  2. No worries… I’ll enjoy your posts whenever they come up and seeing how things are going on the west coast. It’s so nice to have someone to help you with all those domesteading chores isn’t it! Sober January… such a good idea. I was hoping to do a sober year, but know that’s never going to happen. One month would be a better starting point. Hope your home brew turns out yummy.

    • Yes, one month is much more manageable. And it tends to carry over in the form of renewed discipline and moderation for much longer. Give it a try!

  3. Blogging must come from within…..so if you don’t feel like posting, give yourself permission to follow your new path and find out what new discoveries there are in the world of shared-domesteading. I guarantee that the blog in your head with teach you important lessons about life and love. PS My blogging has fallen off the radar too. I miss my garden! I suck at winter gardening.

  4. yay to the real live folks in your life…AND for the update. I think a good quality update on occasion beats a handful or a bucketful of dailies. SO sorry to hear about the bees… drat.
    I’m loving your winter garden :) what is your zone ? We’re toying w/ a greenhouse for the coming year, but not sure the cost is in line w/ the savings even long term. How are you managing it, just covering w/ straw or do you cold frame/ hoop it ?
    Happy New Year.
    *anna

    • I am very sad about the bees. I dreamed about them last night even. As for the garden, we are in zone 7. I don’t have a hoophouse, although that would really help. I could grow a lot more in one. The plants I have in are hardy, and haven’t died off yet despite several hard frosts. They just have a thick layer of rice straw over them, but are all peeking though.

  5. As one of the strange (unfamiliar rather than unusual) who follow your blog, I’ve enjoyed “meeting” you through your excellent writing. We, too, are homesteading and have shared your pain and joys as you succeeded (Brandywine tomatoes!) and struggled (boy,do we know that feeling about the bees!)
    We’re happy for you and fella, hope you have much success and joy, and look forward to hearing where you’re at when you have time.

  6. So that’s where you’ve been! :-) Agreed- can be tough to balance screen-time with face-to-face communication… My fella does not read blogs, or understand why I do or write one, so it’s doubly-hard to find or justify the time I spend on mine… but I do it when I can and when I must. A friend of ours observes Sober February every year (the shortest month, ha) and I think we’re going to join him this time around… we haven’t had much time to brew what with all the other projects and have been buying in from our friend’s microbrewery… here’s hoping your beer project is a smashing success! I also know the pain of bee-lossage… our first hive made it through last winter but not the late spring cold snaps, so we doubled-down this year with a hive of Italians and one of Carnolians… too cold to open ’em up, and lots of dead bees out front of the hives (normal), but I’m awaiting the spring nervously! They have an empty super on top with a bunch of dry sugar and a homemade grease patty (powdered sugar, coconut oil, and an essential oil blend similar to honey-bee healthy from a recipe that a local beekeeper recommended…) we’ll see! I’d feed them honey if I had any that I knew was untreated and disease-free… we didn’t harvest any but they seemed to have hopefully just enough to make it through? Our weather has been really mild so far for us…

    • I’ve been having dreams that the bees are still alive in there. And actually the scene you are describing – empty honey super, dead bees out front – is what is going on with mine too. Also too cold to open it up any more than that. Perhaps there are some bees still alive in there. We’ll see. Maybe I will put some dry sugar in there? How did you do it? Just sprinkle it in?

  7. I put the inner cover on the upper hive super, then an empty super with no frames on top of that. Dumped a bunch of sugar on top of the inner cover near the opening in the center, then put the telescoping/outer cover on top. I’ve read that this is a good way to feed in the winter when it’s too cold for syrup, and I’ve read that it’s a terrible thing to do. I figure I’ll let the bees decide and remove any leftovers in the spring? An old Croatian beekeeper who used to keep bees just outside the city told me that’s what he did and he almost never lost a hive, and another friend who keeps bees thought it was crazy. I guess we’ll see? :-)

    • Wow, there really is a lot of conflicting information out there about feeding bees. I was feeling like a dummy for getting so confused but it seems like everyone’s got a different rule about it!

  8. A new pace for a new year. Nothing wrong with that. I have found that folks here in the blogosphere are very accepting of each other’s space and pace. No strings attached and always glad to say hello. A bit of a reverse story at this end. I started blogging after my husband passed away. Then it turned into a career of sorts. A new pace for a new life… Wishing you a great new year, filled with love.

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