Sunday, February 7, 2010

Getting Outside in Sub-Freezing Weather

Thursday we spent the day in the winter woods. We learned about how to test the ice (with the caution that it's better just to avoid it ... I agreed). We finished making our dream catchers (using hazelnut boughs for the frames and basswood cordage, which we made by winding pieces of basswood bark into rope - it's kind like spinning yarn, only it's not fur. It's from a plant, like hemp ... sort of ... only it's a tree. Are you sufficiently confused?). We decorated our dream catchers with feathers.

Precious with her Dream Catcher

Our lunch on that day was chicken leftover soup from Wednesday. We heated it back up in the morning and put it in our thermoses. It was really nice sitting on a hill in the sun and eating the hot soup. We also brought some Cabot cheese, some bread I made (not 100% local ingredients, because I can't, with any accuracy, know where the wheat was grown, but it's locally milled in Vermont), and some eggs pickled in the juice leftover after we ate all of the pickled beets. Eating a purple-pickled egg with a bright yellow yolk is actually pretty fun ;).

Today, we went for a walk. It was a perfect winter day with light winds, bright sun, and a clear, blue sky. Lately, we've had more of this sort of day than not, and I really should be taking advantage of them to replenish my Vitamin D store.

We decided to look for a geocache while we were going to be out anyway. When we got to the area where the geocache was located, I was thinking it was a lost cause and decided to just stand a little way up the hill, enjoying the feel of the winter sun on my face ...

I was glad we didn't have to cross the stream

... but Deus Ex Machina, being the bullheaded persistent sort, kept looking, and lo, and behold! He actually found it. It was cold, especially in the shade, but he kept looking. I am totally impressed, but not surprised. He's just like that ;).

Afterward, we walked a bit and looked at trees. We brought some pine boughs home for tea, and had a (mostly) local (except the pasta) late lunch/early supper (would that be considered "lupper"?).

The bright sun today actually motivated me to get my Johnny Seed order all filled out (finally!). I may be a little late, but I still have some seed (for early stuff, like peas and lettuce) from last year, and the other stuff will be okay if it isn't planted until May. I'll send out the order in the early part of next week.

I'm planning to use more of my space than I have in the past for gardening.

I'm planning an entire "bucket" garden where I'll grow corn, beans and pumpkins.

I'm hoping to raise all of the tomatoes, broccoli, salad greens, pumpkins, beans, peas, garlic and onions that we'll use.

I hope to grow a significant portion of our potatoes.

We'll grow all of our chicken and hopefully be able to get the laying hens and ducks to actually give us some eggs ;).

We also intend to forage and preserve a lot more wild foods this year ... starting today, with the hemlock tea.

I'm not even close to tired of the winter, yet. I'd still love to see a lot more snow, and I don't mind the cold so much ... as long as I have a warm fire to come home to.

The Ground Hog tells us that spring is still six weeks away ... but it's almost time for maple sugaring, and right on th tail of that is time to plant peas.


  1. Okay I've gotta ask. What's a "bucket" garden?

  2. I probably should have called it a "container" garden, but since I'll be using 5 gal buckets, it seemed the appropriate term :). The reason I'm using buckets is that I'm planning to put the "bucket garden" on the leach field, and I can't dig into that area for a traditional garden, and building raised beds, I've read, will compromise the drainage capabilities of the leach bed. So, it's buckets ... a "bucket garden" :).

  3. Ah - I thought it might be some fancy term I'd yet to come across. I didn't realize those particular vegis would do well in containers. My big block is greens - I really want to grow lettuce and spinach and beet greens, but every time I've tried to grown spinach and lettuce - it's been a huge bust - not sure what I'm doing wrong.

  4. I have no luck with spinach, either, but last year my beets and lettuce grew really well. I think what worked well for me was that I planted them very early in the season. All three of those crops really like "cool" weather, and what I discovered is that, while it is good advice to wait until after Memorial Day to plant some things (like tomatoes), there are a lot of things that my family enjoys that should be planted much earlier - things that like it a little cooler - lettuce, most cole vegetables, spinach, and beets are among them. Peas should go in the ground even sooner.

    When I started staggering my plantings, my garden did much better ;).

    As for container gardening, really, just about anything can go in a container. I've even grown potatoes - with success! - in buckets. I don't how they will do, but I'll keep you posted :).

  5. Just want to let you know that when I need some sanity I drop in here. Just don't have the time to comment. And often I just skim your awesome stories. Living where I do, well you know, l've told you. It's like a different planet.

    Your blog is a breath of wholesome fresh air.

    Kelly and DJ have been doing geo caching. They leave my buttons in the box/container sometimes.

  6. Bayberry - The irony about you coming to my blog for "some sanity" is that people who know me in real life think I'm a bit crazy ... or at least a little weird :).

    Geocaching is a lot of fun. I'm glad to hear that Kelly has taken up the "sport."